Top point producers are headed to the pros
Wanted: Big Ten men’s basketball players who can score.
Why? Because nearly half of the league’s top 15 in points per game will not be back for sure, and others may follow.
Out of the top eight in the final overall statistics, four are definitely gone and three others — including Nebraska’s James Palmer, who finished fifth at 17.2 points a game — are going through the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee evaluation.
Players who go through that process can work out for NBA teams and might earn an invitation to the NBA combine in mid-May. Those who have not signed with agents have until June 11 to withdraw from draft consideration and return to college.
Of the Big Ten’s top 15 scorers, seven are gone for sure. Here are those heading elsewhere:
» No. 1: Ohio State junior forward Keita Bates-Diop (19.8 points): turned pro, signed with an agent.
» No. 2: Penn State sophomore guard Tony Carr (19.5): turned pro, signed with an agent.
» No. 6: Michigan State sophomore forward Miles Bridges (17.1): turned pro, signed with an agent.
» No. 8: Minnesota senior guard Nate Mason (16.7): graduates.
» Tied for No. 12: Illinois junior forward Leron Black (15.3): turned pro, signed with an agent.
» Tied for No. 14: Rutgers junior guard Corey Sanders (15.2): turned pro and signed with an agent.
» Tied for No. 14: Northwestern senior forward Scottie Lindsey (15.2): graduates.
A player who likely would have been a top-15 scorer — Maryland sophomore forward Justin Jackson, who missed most of the season with a shoulder injury — also has turned pro and signed with an agent.
Besides Nebraska’s Palmer and junior forward Isaac Copeland, other Big Ten players who have signed up for NBA advisory evaluation are Purdue sophomore guard Carsen Edwards (18.5 points), Wisconsin junior forward Ethan Happ (17.9) and Iowa sophomore forward Tyler Cook (15.3).
Palmer, fifth in overall scoring, was third in Big Ten games at 18.8 points, trailing only Carr (20.1) and Bates-Diop (19.4).
Nebraska sophomore forward Isaiah Roby finished third in the Big Ten in blocked shots at 2.0 per game, and 14th in rebounding at 6.3. Copeland was 16th in rebounding (6.0) and 23rd in scoring (12.9).
Junior guard Glynn Watson ranked tied for sixth in steals at 1.4 and tied for 12th in assists at 3.2.