Big Ten: Swanigan And Bryant Top Incoming Recruits

Mar 28, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; McDonalds High School All American athlete Thomas Bryant (31) poses for pictures during portrait day at the Westin Hotel. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 28, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; McDonalds High School All American athlete Thomas Bryant (31) poses for pictures during portrait day at the Westin Hotel. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports /

Recruiting is the lifeblood of college athletics. Whether it’s football, basketball or hockey, if you don’t bring in the top recruits, it’s going to be hard to succeed in the ever demanding era of college sports.

The Big Ten conference is no different, bringing in another batch of recruits ready to made their mark at their respective programs. Let’s take a look at five of the top prospects headed to Big Ten squads this upcoming season.

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PF/C Caleb Swanigan – 6-foot-8, 271 pounds (Purdue)

Swanigan isn’t the tallest power forward around, but he makes up for it with a massive 7-foot-4 wingspan and brute strength. He’s a physical player that has good touch around the basket, and can even step out and hit a midrange jumper. He’s also a fantastic rebounder, something he’ll be able to provide at Purdue from the start.

While his strength is impressive, Swanigan will need to work on his conditioning. He’s been hanging around the 270-pound area for a while now, but it would probably serve his endurance better if he got down to about 250 pounds. He’ll also need to work on becoming a more polished player offensively.

PF/C Thomas Bryant – 6-foot-10, 241 pounds (Indiana)

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Bryant is a massive big man. He’s already up to 241 pounds heading into his freshman season and has an enormous 7-foot-5 wingspan too. He’ll be a strong defensive presence down low with his ability to alter shots at the rim thanks to his length and athleticism. Offensively, Bryant already has an impressive jumper for a big man. He has range out to the three-point line and can do a bit of damage when putting the ball on the floor.

It wasn’t long ago that Bryant was stuck between the 3 and the 4, so he’s still in the process of transitioning to becoming a full-time big man. While being able to stretch the floor is important for any player in today’s game, it’ll be important for Bryant to not settle for jumpers on the perimeter.

SG Austin Grandstaff – 6-foot-5, 181 pounds (Ohio State)

Grandstaff is one of the premier scorers in the nation He’s a tremendous shooter, being able to make shots coming off screens or off the dribble. He’s a smart player that’s much more than just a shooter. He’s a good passer, and has a solid handle too. Overall, he’s a pretty well-rounded player offensively that should be able to score the moment he steps on the court at Ohio State.

Defensively he’ll need a bit of work, but that isn’t out of the norm for high-scoring high school prospects. Probably the biggest concern is if he’ll be able to become an efficient scorer. He’s used to being the focal point of the offense and getting just about unlimited shots. How will he adjust to probably not being the No. 1 option offensively?

PF Deyonta Davis – 6-foot-9, 212 pounds (Michigan State)

Davis is one the most intriguing prospects in the 2015 class, and was one of the fastest rising players in the class. He has a long wingspan at 7-foot-1, giving him good length and the potential to become a great defender. His athleticism allows him to play above the rim, and he has a jump shot out to about 18 feet that makes him a terrific fit in today’s game.

Davis is still very thin though, weighing under 220 pounds. While his athleticism and length will help cope with his lack of strength, he’ll need to get stronger to play the college game effectively.

SG Jalen Coleman-Lands – 6-foot-3, 169 pounds (Illinois)

Coleman-Lands is another big time shooting guard heading to a Big Ten program, and like Grandstaff, he knows how to put the ball in the basket. He’s a terrific shooter, really making his mark off catch-and-shoots, but he’s able to score in the variety of ways. Whether it’s from long distance or near the basket, expect Coleman-Lands to be an immediate scorer with the Illini.

While Coleman-Lands has solid size for a college shooting guard at 6-foot-3, he’ll probably be asked to play some point guard at times too. While he isn’t a terrible point guard, it certainly isn’t his most natural position. He’ll need to continue to become a more well-rounded guard, and not just a scoring one. If he can prove that he can be a point guard, his draft stock should rise as well.

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