Big Ten Basketball 2019-20 Key Roster Changes and First Prediction

After widely being considered one of, if not the best, conferences in the country in 2018-19, Big Ten basketball appears destined for a drop off next season.

Virtually every team in the league must contend with the loss of significant components to their roster, and no one appears to have a high impact from day one recruiting class.

While you can never be certain in this era, roster turnover appears to be largely finished at this point, and with that we go team by team and examine what is in store for the 2019-20 season.

The teams are shown in our way-too-early estimation of how the league standings will shake out next March.


  • Top returning:  Cassius Winston, Kyle Ahrens, Joshua Langford, Aaron Henry, Xavier Tillman, Gabe Brown.
  • Top leaving:  Matt McQuaid, Kenny Goins, Nick Ward.
  • Recruiting class:  No 25 nationally / No. 2 Big Ten.  Rocket Watts (No. 38), Malik Hall (No. 58), Julius Marble (No. 210).
  • TDH Take:  The Spartans are a near consensus pick for the top spot despite key losses.  Can Cassius Winston do it all?  Do they have enough size?  This conference race is a tougher call than most think, but Tom Izzo gets the benefit of the doubt.


  • Top returning:  Kaleb Wesson, Andre Wesson, Luther Muhammad, Duane Washington, Kyle Young, Justin Ahrens, Musa Jallow, CJ Walker (transfer).
  • Top leaving:  CJ Jackson, Keyshawn Woods.
  • Recruiting class:  No. 13 nationally / No. 1 Big Ten.  DJ Carton (No. 33), EJ Liddell (No. 42), Alonzo Gaffney (No. 47), Ibrahima Diallo (No. 291).
  • TDH Take:  Chris Holtmann is off to a good start in Columbus and year three is setting up nicely for the Buckeyes.  With a lot of returning talent and the top recruiting class in the league, Ohio State is a legitimate threat to win the conference if they can score from the perimeter.


  • Top returning:  Trent Frazier, Kipper Nichols, Giorgi Bezhanishvili, Andres Feliz, Ayo Dosunmu.
  • Top leaving:  Aaron Jordan.
  • Recruiting class:  No. 64 nationally / No. 9 Big Ten.  Kofi Cockburn (No. 44), Bernard Kouma (No. 339), Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk (NA)
  • TDH Take:  Pencil in Illinois as our surprise team for the upcoming season.  The Illini made strides in 2018-19.  With the league seemingly down and Illinois returning most of their key pieces, things look promising for Brad Underwood to make a major jump.


  • Top returning:  Anthony Cowan, Jalen Smith, Eric Ayala, Darryl Morsell, Aaron Wiggins, Serrel Smith, Ricky Lindo.
  • Top leaving:  Bruno Fernando.
  • Recruiting class:  No. 27 nationally / No. 3 Big Ten.  Makhi Mitchell (No. 65), Donta Scott (No. 141), Makhel Mitchell (No. 163), Chol Marial (No. 166), Hakim Hart (No. 455).
  • TDH Take:  The Terps will have a lot of key pieces back including a dynamic inside/out tandem with Cowan and Smith.  The supporting cast is the question.  Who will emerge for Maryland?


  • Top returning:  Devonte Green, Aljami Durham, Justin Smith, Rob Phinisee, De’Ron Davis, Jerome Hunter, Damezi Anderson, Race Thompson, Joey Brunk (grad transfer).
  • Top leaving:  Juwan Morgan, Zach McRoberts, Evan Ftizner, Romeo Langford.
  • Recruiting class:  No. 54 nationally / No. 6 Big Ten.  Trayce Jackson-Davis (No. 29), Armaan Franklin (No. 147).
  • TDH Take:  Indiana loses its top two scorers from a disappointing season.  Can they improve with a more balanced attack and size?  We think so, assuming Hunter is cleared to play, which is reflected in slotting IU at No. 5.  Archie Miller needs to show progress in year three for Indiana to avoid missing the NCAA Tournament for a fourth straight year.


  • Top returning:  Matt Haarms, Aaron Wheeler, Eric Hunter, Nojel Eastern, Trevion Williams, Evan Boudreaux, Sasha Stefanovic, Jahaad Proctor (grad transfer).
  • Top leaving:  Ryan Cline, Grady Eifert, Carsen Edwards.
  • Recruiting class:  No. 56 nationally / No. 7 Big Ten.  Brandon Newman (No. 120), Isaiah Thompson (No. 200), Mason Gillis (No. 209).
  • TDH Take:  Can Matt Painter pull the rabbit out of the hat again?  He’s lost seven starters in the last two years, but it still feels foolish to doubt Purdue.  Who will emerge as a high level scorer in the group?  That appears to be the main question, but you know the Boilers will play fundamental and hard.


  • Top returning:  D’Mitrik Trice, Brad Davison, Nate Reuvers, Brevin Pritzl, Kobe King, Aleem Ford, Micah Potter (transfer), Owen Hamilton (transfer).
  • Top leaving:  Ethan Happ, Khalil Iverson, Tai Strickland (transfer), Taylor Currie (transfer).
  • Recruiting class:  No. 126 nationally / No. 14 Big Ten.  Tyler Wahl (No. 190).
  • TDH Take:  The headline loss is Happ.  There are still key pieces returning but depth seems to be lacking with less than stellar recruiting by Greg Gard over the last two years.  The Badgers will remain a tough out and it could be a break-out season for Nate Reuvers.


  • Top returning:  Zavier Simpson, Jon Teske, Isaiah Livers, Eli Brooks, Brandon Johns.
  • Top leaving:  Charles Matthews, Jordan Poole, Ignas Brazdeikis.
  • Recruiting class:  No. 118 nationally / No. 12 Big Ten.  Cole Bajema (No. 106).
  • TDH Take:  Big losses for the Wolverines, but the biggest loss might be the culture created by John Beilein, and Luke Yaklich’s defensive system.  With just one incoming recruit, year one could be a tough one for new head coach Juwan Howard.

9.  IOWA

  • Top returning:  Joe Wieskamp, Jordan Bohannon, Luka Garza, Connor McCaffery, Ryan Kriener, Cordell Pemsl, Jack Nunge.
  • Top leaving:  Tyler Cook, Nicholas Baer, Isaiah Moss (transfer).
  • Recruiting class:  No. 65 nationally / No. 10 Big Ten.  Pat McCaffery (No. 81), Joe Toussaint (No. 227).
  • TDH Take:  The big question is the health of Jordan Bohannon.  Iowa could move up several spots with him, but the Hawkeye guard had offseason hip surgery and his 2019-20 season is in question.  The losses might be too much to overcome without the veteran leader.


  • Top returning:  Daniel Oturu, Gabe Kalscheur, Eric Curry, Jarvis Omersa, Payton Willis (transfer), Marcus Carr (transfer), Alihan Demir (transfer).
  • Top leaving:  Amir Coffey, Dupree McBrayer, Jordan Murphy, Matz Stockman, Isaiah Washington (transfer).
  • Recruiting class:  No. 39 nationally / No. 4 Big Ten.  Isaiah Ihnen (No. 90), Tre Williams (No. 128), Sam Freeman (No. 391).
  • TDH Take:  The losses of Coffey and Murphy will be difficult to overcome for Richard Pitino in a critical season for his future with the Gophers.


  • Top returning:  Lamar Stevens, Mike Watkins, John Harrar, Myles Dread, Myreon Jones, Izaiah Brockington (transfer), Curtis Jones (transfer).
  • Top leaving:  Josh Reaves, Rasir Bolton (transfer).
  • Recruiting class:  No. 80 nationally / No. 11 Big Ten.  Seth Lundy (No. 211), Abdou Tsimbila (No. 361), Patrick Kelly (No. 472).
  • TDH Take:  It is a critical season for head coach Pat Chambers, and he will once again have the services of Lamar Stevens.  But is that enough?  Penn State will continue to be difficult to play against, but they do not appear to have moved the needle from a talent perspective.


  • Top returning:  Geo Baker, Montez Mathis, Ron Harper Jr., Peter Kiss, Caleb McConnell, Myles Johnson, Shaq Carter, Jacob Young (transfer).
  • Top leaving:  Eugene Omoruyi (transfer), Issa Thiam, Shaquille Doorson.
  • Recruiting class:  No. 121 nationally / No. 13 Big Ten.  Paul Mulcahy (No. 151), Akwasi Yeboah (grad transfer).
  • TDH Take:  The transfer of Omoruyi to Oregon was a late stunner and puts a major dent in what appeared to be a potential season of progress for Steve Pikiell.  While there is still plenty of returning talent, this no longer appears to be a team that will escape the bottom third.


  • Top returning:  A.J. Turner, Anthony Gaines, Pete Nance, Miller Kopp.
  • Top leaving:  Vic Law, Dererk Pardon, Ryan Taylor, Jordan Ash (transfer), Baret Benson (transfer), Aaron Falzon (transfer).
  • Recruiting class:  No. 57 nationally / No. 8 Big Ten.  Robbie Beran (No. 105), Jared Jones (No. 215), Daniel Buie (No. 318).
  • TDH Take:  It is shaping up to be a challenging year in Evanston for Chris Collins, as the Wildcats are a long way from their 2017 NCAA Tournament appearance.  Northwestern lost the foundation of their team in Law and Pardon, and they don’t appear to have done enough to replace them.


  • Top returning:  Dachon Burke (transfer), Thorir Thorbjarnarson, Haanif Cheatham (transfer), Shamiel Stevenson (transfer)
  • Top leaving:  Isaiah Roby, James Palmer, Glynn Watson, Isaac Copeland, Tanner Borchardt, Thomas Allen (transfer)
  • Recruiting class:  No. 42 nationally / No. 5 Big Ten.  Yvan Ouedraogo (No. 103), Samari Curtis (No. 183), Akol Arop (No. 383), Kevin Cross (NA), Jervay Green (JUCO), Cameron Mack (JUCO).
  • TDH Take:  The roster has almost completely turned over as Fred Hoiberg takes over for Tim Miles in Lincoln.  No starters return for the Huskers — and that appears to make for a challenging year one for the new regime.

Note:  Recruiting class rankings based on 247 Sports Composite.

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