Posted by Brendan Brody on October 23rd, 2015
Even in an era where many teams within both college and pro basketball are making the decision to go smaller with their lineups, the massive post player is not dead. Need proof? Look at top-three NBA draft picks Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor, who parlayed their respective one-and-done seasons into multi-million dollar contracts. On that note, three B1G freshmen will enter college basketball this season looking to achieve similar results, with high expectations and impressive pedigrees in tow. Rookie Thomas Bryant will give an Indiana unit with shooters galore some height on the interior. Freshman prospect Diamond Stone spurned his home school in Wisconsin to join a Maryland team with legitimate National Championship hopes. Lastly, newcomer Caleb Swanigan de-committed from Michigan State to team with the heavyweight tag team of AJ Hammons and Isaac Haas at Purdue. All three will almost surely have an impact on the league this season, but which one will be the biggest force?
Diamond Stone Gives Maryland the Size It Needs (Photo: WaPo)
Bryant, for one, seems to be exactly what Indiana needs. Last season the Hoosiers were outstanding offensively, ranking ninth in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency. They did so predominantly by shooting the lights out and simultaneously cutting down on the turnovers that plagued them in 2013-14. You have to figure that adding a legitimate post player with significant offensive ability will only enhance the Hoosiers’ opportunities to find quality looks from the perimeter. But even more importantly for Tom Crean’s squad, Bryant really needs to make his presence known on the defensive end. Indiana cannot rank anywhere close to last season’s 214th best (worst?) defensive unit in the land if it wants to improve upon a 20-14 mark. The combination of Bryant and Michigan transfer Max Bielfeldt gives the team much more in the way of size and bulk than they had a year ago. With a true big man defending the rim, Troy Williams and the Hoosiers’ other wings should be able to apply more ball pressure.
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