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Three-star recruits dominate the Big Ten awards

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Are recruiting rankings a fool’s game? Or is the current state of college basketball set up for lower-level talent to thrive?

NCAA Basketball: Penn State at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

It’s awards season, and as discussed earlier tonight, Indiana was left with little hardware to accompany its garbage tumultuous year. In a season where typical conference powers were playing games in early March for rights to the #10 seed in the Big Ten Tournament and Northwestern is a lock to go dancing, Indiana looking in from the outside during awards season only feels right.

Still, what caught my eye was not the lack of IU, but instead the names of who actually was awarded All-B1G status. While there were some 5-star mainstays (Melo Trimble, Caleb Swanigan, etc.), the sheer number of under-recruited talent who have not only carved out roles for themselves, but thrived as leaders and go-to players for their respective teams, is astonishing.

Out of the 15 players announced for the All-B1G teams, 8 of the 15 were 3-stars coming out of high school. While yes, there are more 3-stars than 4-stars and more 4-stars than 5-stars in general, this is not the norm. Just last year, of the 16 players awarded with all-conference honors, only two were 3-star recruits or less.

There’s undoubtedly a deeper meaning for what these findings say about recruiting and the state of college basketball in 2017. Is this a one-year trend? Or does the recent explosion in the number of transfers and one-and-done nature of top talent promote untapped potential among the best prospects in the game as they are rushed to whatever comes next? It could be argued that the increased mobility never allows the players who stay only 1-2 years to get fully comfortable, and the ones who put in the effort to truly learn a system emerge with the spoils of success.

Granted, I’m very aware that one year’s data is definitely not enough to convincingly draw this type of conclusion, but it’s an interesting thought that you can be sure coaches around the country are keenly aware of when they choose who to invest recruiting resources into each year. Results matter, and these 15 players were recognized as the best in the conference this year.

Listed below are each of the players from the three All-B1G teams, listed with their final recruiting rankings in their respective classes.

First Team All-B1G

Peter Jok - Class of 2013 3 star - #277 overall/#67 SG

Ethan Happ - Class of 2014 3 star - #149 overall/#39 F

Nate Mason - Class of 2014 3 star - #171 overall/#32 PG

Caleb Swanigan - Class of 2015 5 star - #18 overall/#4 C

Melo Trimble - Class of 2014 5 star - #29 overall/#7 PG

Second Team All-B1G

Bronson Koenig - Class of 2013 4 star - #111 overall/#23 PG

Bryant McIntosh - Class of 2014 3 star - #207 overall/#39 PG

Derrick Walton - Class of 2013 4 star - #44 overall/#10 PG

Malcolm Hill - Class of 2013 4 star - #70 overall/#22 SG

Miles Bridges - Class of 2016 5-star - #12 overall/#3 F

Third Team All-B1G

Jordan Murphy - Class of 2015 3 star - #166 overall/#30 SF

Tai Webster - Class of 2013 3 star - #214 overall/#54 PG

Thomas Bryant - Class of 2015 5 star - #20 overall/#5 C

Scottie Lindsey - Class of 2014 3 star - #368 overall/#68 SF

Nigel Hayes - Class of 2013 3 star - #145 overall/#34 SF