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Recruit and Reload: Each Big Ten team's biggest need, best fit

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Keion Brooks (Jordan Wells/

Official visit season is in full swing as programs across the country look to recruit and reload. This week, the team is taking a look at programs across the country, identifying their biggest need and which one recruit on their board is the best suited to fill that need.

Today, we continue by taking a look at the Big Ten.

RECRUIT & RELOAD: Each ACC team's biggest need, best fit


Biggest need: Illinois desperately needs to fill a frontcourt spot. Kipper Nichols is the team's primary returning wing and the enrollments of Tevian Jones and Anthony Higgs should help, but a multi-positional forward remains a pressing need in Champaign.

Best fit: We could go one or two ways here as E.J. Liddell or Drew Timme would fit perfectly with what the Illini need. Either one would do, though Liddell’s fit would be ideal.


Biggest need: Finding a capable scoring wing replacement for likely one-and-done freshman Romeo Langford is of the utmost importance for Archie Miller and the Hoosiers.

Best fit: Indiana would love to add Isaiah Stewart or Trayce Jackson-Davis but the best fit for what the Hoosiers need is Keion Brooks. The in-state product was one of the top scorers on the Nike EYBL circuit this past summer and would fill some of the massive shoes that will be left by Langford once he departs.


Biggest need: Iowa has placed a priority on the point guard market but the frontcourt may be its biggest need. Filling a void in the frontcourt and finding a defensive piece is a must.

Best fit: While it may be difficult to pull off, Trayce Jackson-Davis would fit right in with the Big Ten program. He would provide for a much-needed rim presence on the defensive end and create one of the more talented frontlines nationally alongside Luka Garza.


Biggest need: Mark Turgeon has become known for his reliance on big men. If Bruno Fernando does decide to leave early, an even bigger need opens along the frontline for the Terps.

Best fit: There is not a massive need to be filled this fall as Maryland went to work early by landing the Mitchell twins. Makhi is a super talented frontcourt presence that should immediately leave a mark while his brother, Makhel, should bring another big body to its frontcourt for the next few years.


Biggest need: Seeing that Michigan, at least on paper, loses no one to graduation after this season, there is not much of a pressing need in Ann Arbor. However, shot making remains a need at any place, especially at a program led by John Beilein. Charles Matthews could leave early, opening a scoring hole for the Wolverines.

Best fit: Michigan has already done the work that it had to do by landing two talented wing pieces that can play a variety of roles for the program moving ahead. Jalen Wilson found the perfect marriage with the Wolverines as he brings frontcourt versatility and shot making skills, the ideal package that should thrive under the watch of Beilein.


Biggest need: The Spartans need to find a scoring wing to replace what could depart the program in the spring. Kyle Ahrens and Matt McQuaid will exhaust their college eligibility and Josh Langford could make the move to the NBA earlier than expected.

Best fit: The best fit for Michigan State's pressing needs would be Keion Brooks. Landing the talented wing remains difficult as Indiana, UCLA and North Carolina could have a say but the opportunity is there for Brooks from day one at Michigan State.


Biggest need: Jordan Murphy is one of the top producing forwards in America and is primed to complete his college career this season, so a talented forward is a must in the 2019 class for the Gophers.

Best fit: Zeke Nnaji would be the ideal replacement for Minnesota as the now 6-foot-10 power forward is a vacuum on the glass but also boasts tons of defensive value. However, Tray Jackson might be the more attainable prospect. Oklahoma and Seton Hall remain involved but Jackson is someone that can score, rebound and finish.


Biggest need: The graduation of Isaac Copeland and the potential of Isaiah Roby to test the NBA waters after this season make it a must that the Huskers land a multi-positional forward this fall.

Best fit: Yavuz Gultekin would be the perfect replacement for Copeland or Roby. A breakout from July, Gultekin can create his own shot, score from each level and even pass it on the go. Georgetown and Northwestern are the fiercest competition Nebraska faces for the 6-foot-7 forward.


Biggest need: Northwestern must replace a few of its holes in its backcourt, so finding someone that can play a variety of positions but also develop as his career progresses in Evanston is a pressing need.

Best fit: The Wildcats jumped in with an offer for Maceo Austin earlier this summer and haven’t backed off in their pursuit. While not the greatest shooter, Austin has improved within this facet of his game while remaining a valuable playmaker with size and someone that can guard different positions. Penn State and Duquesne remain a threat for the 6-foot-4 guard.


Biggest need: There is no primary point guard on Ohio State's roster this year and the closest that it has to one is CJ Jackson and Keyshawn Woods. Unfortunately for OSU, both will be gone by the time next September rolls round. Therefore, finding someone that can run a team loaded with scoring depth on the perimeter is evident.

Best fit: Chris Holtmann and his staff went to work early with their 2019 class by landing top-30 forward Alonzo Gaffney. But their great coup, to date, was the commitment of DJ Carton. The playmaking agent from Iowa is the perfect remedy for Ohio State’s needs in the coming years as the lefty should stabilize the Buckeyes’ backcourt.


Biggest need: Penn State needs to find a vocal wing presence that can produce on both ends to replace Josh Reaves once he graduates.

Best fit: There isn’t anyone better available for Penn State’s looming hole on the wings of the floor than Dahmir Bishop. Rhode Island and VCU are the two to beat alongside the Nittany Lions as Bishop would step into the program and immediately improve it. He is a must-get for the Nittany Lions.


Biggest need: The recent graduation of four-year contributor Vince Edwards leaves the Boilermakers without the type of versatile forward that has come to thrive under Matt Painter.

Best fit: There might not be another prospect better made for Purdue’s system than Malik Hall. The 6-foot-7 forward can play the small forward spot but also drop down a position and complete a variety of tasks as a small ball power forward. Hall is being courted by Michigan State, Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas, though Purdue remains a top threat for his commitment.


Biggest need: Shooting is a must for Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights struck earlier this summer with the commitment of Rivals150 guard Paul Mulcahy, a jumbo playmaker and one of the top passers in his class, though his stroke is his primary deficiency at the moment. Finding a consistent 3-point weapon is a must for Steve Pikiell’s bunch.

Best fit: While the Scarlet Knights would love to grab the commitment from sharpshooting guard Joseph Girard, Ismael Massoud might be even better served within the confines of Pikiell’s offense. Someone that can play either forward position, Massoud is a floor-stretching frontcourt prospect that can make shots with consistency. Auburn and the Scarlet Knights are thought to be the top contenders for his commitment.


Biggest need: Big men in numbers are a must for the Badgers this fall. Losing all-league center Ethan Happ will hurt, but so too will the graduations of Charles Thomas, Alex Illikainen and Kahlil Iverson. They have already struck with one versatile forward in Tyler Wahl but more is needed in replenishing their cupboard in the frontcourt.

Best fit: Zeke Nnaji or EJ Liddell would fit the mold of a versatile frontcourt prospect that could impact the program immediately and in a number of ways. The issue here is that neither will come easy. Kansas and Arizona will be difficult to beat for Nnaji and while Wisconsin is in the final five for Liddell, overcoming Ohio State, Kansas State, Missouri and Illinois could prove to be too much.