Big Ten Weekly Five: 05.31.12 EditionPosted by Deepak Jayanti on May 31st, 2012
- The Indiana–Kentucky series just isn’t happening. The negotiations had begun again a few weeks ago but the latest proposal was rejected again. According to reports, Kentucky rejected the four-year extension proposed by Indiana which includes a game at Kentucky and Indiana. The positive sign is that the schools appear to be continuing to try to keep this traditional rivalry alive for the sake of college basketball and the fans of the respective schools.
- Illinois‘ decision to hire John Groce was met with a fair amount of friction by some alumni because they had their doubts about his ability to recruit in Chicago. Groce continues to search for a top assistant who would focus on player development but also help him lead the effort to establish recruiting connections in Chi-town. Isaac Chew was brought in as an assistant due to his ties to Chicago but he left Champaign after a short stint to work with Buzz Williams at Marquette. Illini fans can’t be discouraged with this news because Groce understands that the rebuilding effort will need a great coaching staff and is willing to take his time to put it together.
- Ohio State‘s Jared Sullinger is considered one of the top ten players in the upcoming NBA Draft. Most of the mock drafts have Sullinger slated to go in the later part of the Lottery. Sullinger may not have a clear position in the NBA but his leadership during his sophomore year to lead the Buckeyes to the Final Four will certainly help his case as the pre-draft workouts will pick up pace over the next few weeks.
- While Jared Sullinger may be a consensus pick in the Lottery, Illinois‘ Meyers Leonard will need to prove his value during the workouts a little bit more. Leonard hopes to be a first round pick in a draft that features several big men such as Thomas Robinson of Kansas and North Carolina‘s Tyler Zeller. Leonard could have used another season at Illinois to polish his post moves but his physical abilities and work ethic ought to help him get to the next level.
- Tom Izzo and politics? Why not? Izzo could not have become a great college coach without his abilities to sell the Michigan State program and his brand of basketball. Now, he is trying to translate his leadership experience in public policy as he is one of the key speakers at the Mackinac Policy Conference in Michigan. Perhaps listening to a coach with multiple Final Fours and a National Championship can help build teams outside of the basketball court.