As Rumor Mill Churns...Big Ten Crumbles?
It's OK to mock those who believe message board and Twitter rumors to be facts...and even if some of those things turn out to be true, it's simply not wise to report them as news until something's been confirmed.
All of that said, loud and clear rumors are the style of the day in a deadzone of the the college basketball post-season...and as hazy leads become facts, the nation's best basketball conference is changing rapidly; again.
Ronnie Johnson is no longer a Boiler, we all know that well...rumor mill says his Dad is seeking a place for him at a few blue blood college basketball destinations. Louder rumors suggest that he'll land at Cincy, Memphis or Xavier...Ronnie himself said he'll be taking five visits and will make a decision shortly after.
VT C/PF Trevor Thompson will transfer away from Blacksburg at the end of the school year. A week ago, rumor mill said he would be a Boiler...now IU, aOSU and others are interested. If Hammons decides to stay, Thompson coming to Purdue might be the best-possible situation for Purdue. The twin tower, one-two punch of Sophomore centers Haas/Thompson would be formidible in 2016 to go along with Purdue's glut of wing players.
Rumor mill reported weeks ago that IU's Vonleh, Perea, Hollowell and Etherington were contemplating leaving (one to the NBA). By mid-morning today, Vonleh was NBA-bound, and Hollowell and Etherington (along with a walk-on who played) had played their last games in Ass. Hall. My guess is Perea will now stick around since he'll be a starter by default...but who knows. What we do know is that his name is no longer part of the buzz, it seems.
Now, there's a rumor circulating that Hollowell and RonJon will land at the same place in the next few weeks...but this rumor seems to be in its infancy.
For months, in spite of injury, Michigan's Mitch McGary seemed to be destined for the NBA. Today, rumor mill reported that McGary and GRobIII were both on their way to the league along with Stauskas. That rumor kinda seems like a no-brainer to me...Two of these guys flirted with the idea last year; the other has a stock that's rising with each game that's played. I'll be cheering for all of this speculation to become a reality.
As it seems to happen each season, rumor mill reports that Tom Izzo will once again have NBA teams sniffing around after MSU's tourney run ends. I'm all for him leaving. Sure, some of our Twitter pals think that Izzo kicking Purdue's ass on the recruiting trail is good for Purdue's recruiting (or something like that), but I hope he heads to the league; and soon. More likely, in fact almost guaranteed, is that his shooting guard, Gary Harris will not be in Spartan green next season, as he declares for the draft after MSU's tourney run comes to a close (whenever that might be).
Nearly every aOSU player, with the exception of Aaron Craft, seems to be made for the NBA game. The LaQuinton Ross to the NBA rumor is almost official as of this evening...as an announcement seems to be imminent. He'll join Della Valle in leaving Columbus (The Italian native is leaving early to play in Europe).
Weeks ago, many thought Wisconsin's Sam Dekker was a shoe-in to leave Madison early...but in the last few days, the rumors have cooled, mostly because Wisconsin fans (kinda like IU fans in the last few weeks/days) have been bad-mouthing Dekker on Twitter and elsewhere saying that he's nowhere near NBA-ready. Conversely, manyoutside of Madison think that his teammate, Kaminsky, might declare depending on how Wisconsin bows out of the tournament.
Quieter, but still noteworthy, are rumor mill's mentions of IU's Yogi Ferrell contemplating a jump as the exodus at IU looks to leave Crean's cupboard completely cavernous. Nebraska's Petteway is also getting a little Twitter love from NBA scout wanna-bes.
Much like last season, the talent-rich B1G is showcasing itself in the early rounds of the NCAA tournament...as teams continue to win, whispers of early defections get louder. Regardless of which players actually decide to trade in their semi-amateur status for a shot in the NBA draft, the B1G will once again be drastically-different next season.
My selfish hope of all of the talk of underclassmen leaving for the NBA is that Hammons decides to return...but really, I can't blame him if he decides now is the time to go. A Hammons decision to stick around seems to be the only way Purdue even flirts with the top half of the B1G conference next season. In spite of three-straight top-20 recruiting classes, Purdue's roster depth will be decimated next season...and although Purdue is a program that relies heavily on the development of players, Purdue will stay young; even if Painter is able to grab a few 5th year mercenaries.
aOSU has a pair of 5-star recruits coming in next season and IU has one that should be instant-impact players. After that, a large handful of four-star players will fight to fill the vacuum left by the defections during this Spring within the conference.
As rumors swirl and as the conference crumbles...then reconstitutes and redefines itself yet again in quick order, Painter and Purdue have no choice but to fortify the foundation of the program on four or five players. That core has to be counter-cultural in the fast-paced, ever-changing landscape of college basketball and stick around, stabilize and work their way out of the cellar; or history will continue to repeat itself for Purdue.