The Big Ten's biggest winners and losers from the NBA Draft deadline
Wednesday was the official deadline for players to withdraw their names from the 2022 NBA Draft and maintain college eligibility next season.
For players, the decision to stay in school or go pro is life-changing. And the same can be said for the programs they play for. The entire trajectory of next year’s Big Ten title race looks dramatically different today than it did just a week ago.
Here’s a look at the B1G winners and losers after this year’s draft deadline.
Biggest loser: Michigan
When center Hunter Dickinson announced he was returning for another season at Michigan, it seemingly cemented the Wolverines as the favorite to win next year’s Big Ten title. Now his presence may be the only thing saving Michigan from falling to the middle of the pack.
Juwan Howard’s team was dealt a blow as both freshman forward Moussa Diabate and freshman guard Caleb Houstan each elected to stay in the NBA Draft.
Neither player reached his potential last year, but both looked ready to bloom in 2023. Apparently enough NBA scouts believed that blooming can take place at the next level.
All is not lost for the Wolverines. Howard signed the nation’s 10th-ranked recruiting class. He still has time to make up for the losses of Diabate and Houstan in the transfer portal.
By the time the ball is tipped in November, Michigan may again have a Final Four-caliber roster. But as of now, the Wolverines certainly don’t.
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Runner-up: Michigan State
Max Christie didn’t keep Tom Izzo holding his breath until the deadline, announcing last week that we would stay in the draft. But the loss of the freshman shooting guard is significant.
Michigan State’s recruiting class is no great shakes, ranking 33rd nationally. The Spartans have also struck out so far in their attempts to land a high-impact transfer. Or an any-impact transfer.
Christie, much like Houstan, showed flashes as a freshman and seemed likely to break through as a sophomore. If you were to pick players who could make the jump Iowa’s Keegan Murray and Wisconsin’s Johnny Davis did in 2022, Christie and Houstan likely topped the list.
Without some transfer help arriving in East Lansing, there will be a lot on Joey Hauser’s scoring plate next season.
Biggest winner: Indiana
For once, everything’s coming up Hoosiers.
When Trayce Jackson-Davis elected to come back rather than enter the draft, next year’s Big Ten Player of the Year race gained a clear favorite. And after Michigan’s roster was ravaged, Indiana stacks up as the favorite to win its first Big Ten championship since 2016.
The Hoosiers bring back 78.1% of their production next year — a figure that will probably stand out as extraordinary in the transfer portal era. Among power conference programs, only Virginia is set to return more production next year.
Indiana still needs to figure out how to shoot the ball. The Hoosiers were 200th nationally in 3-point shooting and 244th in free-throw shooting.
If IU does improve in that regard, the hype will be justified. The Hoosiers have the personnel to bring glory back to Assembly Hall.
The Hawkeyes lost the best NBA prospect in program history since BJ Armstrong, yet somehow came out ahead.
Keegan Murray’s destiny has been clear since before last season ended. He’s not making it past the 10th pick in the Draft. There was no way he was returning to Iowa.
The fate of twin brother Kris, however, was more uncertain. Most were under the impression Kris was just partaking in the process to support his brother and learn what he needed to improve upon next season.
But Kris apparently turned some heads during his workouts. Several sites projected him as a late-2nd round pick as-is. For many players, that’s enough to stay in the draft pool. And with Kris waiting until deadline day to make his announcement, there was a reasonable fear he might join Keegan in the NBA.
Fortunately for Iowa, Kris will be back. And without his twin blocking his path to the court, he’ll have a chance to make the same leap Keegan did last season.
Nobody expected the Hawkeyes to do much after Luka Garza’s graduation, but Keegan Murray’s emergence changed the conversation. Iowa won the Big Ten Tournament for the first time since 2006.
Expectations are likely to be muted for next year’s Hawks, too. But with Kris Murray back, they’ve got a fighting chance to exceed those expectations by a wide margin.