Several Newcomers Shine in Big Ten’s Opening Weekend

Posted by Brendan Brody on November 17th, 2015

Some played in all the postseason All-Star games as high school seniors while others were a little bit further under the radar, but several Big Ten freshmen shined on the floor during their introductions to college basketball. Here are a few of the league’s “diaper dandies” who made head turns during the first weekend of action.

Deyonta Davis blocked five shots in his first game for Michigan State against Florida Atlantic. (

Deyonta Davis blocked five shots in his first game for Michigan State against Florida Atlantic. (

  • Deyonta Davis and Matt McQuaid, Michigan State: Davis gets lost in the Big Ten shuffle somewhat because of the holy trinity of bigs (Diamond Stone, Caleb Swanigan, and Thomas Bryant) that enter the league this season. All he did in his first game was throw up a 13-point, 11-rebound, five-block showing in which he proved that he too could become a monster down the line. If Davis adds 10 to 15 pounds of muscle during this season or next summer, he will turn into an abject terror. McQuaid, the other Spartans’ freshman to shine over the weekend, is known for his shooting ability but looks like he could become a secondary ball handler off of the bench. He dished out three assists while displaying a poise and court sense that few newcomers readily possess.

  • Caleb Swanigan and Ryan Cline, Purdue: The Boilermakers look like they belong in the Top 25 after two weekend victories and AJ Hammons hasn’t even played yet. Small sample size be damned, Swanigan is going out of his way early to disabuse any notions that things will be clogged in the paint this season. He showcased an ability to step outside the lane (making three of seven three-point attempts over the weekend) and even displayed some dribbling and passing abilities en route to consecutive double-doubles. Cline lived up to his reputation as an expert marksman, making 7-of-13 treys as Purdue converted an absurd 30 triples as a team. The Indiana native also managed five assists against zero turnovers in 34 total minutes of action.
OG Anunoby has fit right into the Indiana scheme. (Inside the Hall)

OG Anunoby has fit right into the Indiana scheme. (Inside the Hall)

  • OG Anunoby, Indiana: Anunoby looks as though he will easily slide into the role that Emmitt Holt played as a defensive and rebounding jack-of-all-trades guy a year ago. He led Indiana in blocks and tied for the team lead in steals in just 15 minutes of action against Eastern Illinois on Friday. He scored in the paint, played hard on the defensive end of the floor, and seems content to focus on finding ways to contribute without the ball in his hands. The additions of Thomas Bryant and Max Bielfeldt should make Indiana better on the defensive end of the floor, but Anunoby could become a key piece in that pursuit as well.
  • Daniel Giddens, Ohio State: Don’t be surprised if Giddens moves into the starting lineup for the Buckeyes very soon, particularly if Trevor Thompson continues to struggle like he did against Mount St. Mary’s on Sunday. Giddens came into the game early and was a factor right away on the offensive glass, confidently finishing plays with authority around the basket. If he can add a little more polish in the paint as the season wears on, the Big Ten may have another impact big man on its hands.
Brendan Brody (307 Posts)

Brendan Brody is in his fourth season covering the Big Ten for RTC. Email him at, or follow him on twitter @berndon4.

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