After reading through Colin's write up on the roster (pre Muhammad transfer) and Bill Landis' on The Athletic, it got me thinking about what the rotation/production might be.
My predictions may seem overly optimistic, but I feel like we could use some of that. And I do have some stats/logic to back up the predictions. So here goes:
1. Justice Sueing will average 16 pts, 6 rebs, 3 assists per game and will be on the 1st Team All Big 10 team. Sueing has shot 50% on two pointers for his career. He had a 51% free throw rate (how often a player goes to the line), which is 14 pct points higher than the best from any perimeter/wing player for osu last year. Sueing is a career 73% free throw shooter and made 77 threes at Cal (31%). Though he has only averaged 2 or less assists in his career, Holtmann has already had thoughts of using him some at a point forward type spot. After recently watching 8 games of Sueing in a single session, Holtmann said: 'He's got very good vision, good passing skills.' I know he played in a weaker league, but I also believe he will have way better coaching and a much better supporting cast than he ever has.
2. EJ Liddell will average 13 pts, 7 rebs, 2 blocks and land on the 2nd Team All Big 10 Team. After being inconsistent and somewhat tenative for most the season, EJ finally seemed to adjust to the physicality of the Big 10 down the stretch. In the final 6 games, he averaged 10 pts and 6 rebs a game (6.7 and 3.8 for the season). His usage and mins should go up quite a bit with Kaleb gone.
3. CJ Walker will average 10 pts and 6 assists and be 3rd Team All Big 10. Though a small sample size, as many have documented and discussed, CJ really elevated his game in the last 11 games without DJ. His confidence taking the ball to the hoop and his midrange game really skyrocketed in the last 6 games (14 ppg, 4.3 apg). The Big 10 will be loaded again, but these are the PGs they are losing: Winston, Cowan, and Simpson (for sure) and possibly Dosunmu to the NBA. The opportunity is there for CJ to be one of the best pgs in the Big 10.
4. Duane Washington will average 12 ppg, 2.5 apg, and be named honorable mention All Big 10. Just one stat for Duane (for the back-up PG haters): The Buckeyes scored 1.3 pts per possession on Duane's ball screen passes last year. Small sample size (43 possessions), but that was better than CJ and DJ and good for 3rd in the Big 10.
5. Seth Towns will average 11 pts and 6 rebs and be named honorable mention All Big 10. Not really worried about the Sueing and Jallow offseason injuries, but Towns had two surgeries to get his knee right. Not overly concerned with re-injury, but rust and some loss of explosiveness are serious concerns. But this is a positive post, so enough of that negative crap. This kid can flat out stroke it (44% on threes as a soph). And the comforting thing about his health outlook are these 5 words: Duke, Kansas, Virginia, Maryland, Michigan. Those programs don't give out schollies at the drop of a hat and they all had serious interest in Seth.
6. Musa Jallow will carve out a nice and needed 15-25 min role off the bench. He probably won't average more than 4-5 pts a game, but he'll play good perineter defense (which they'll sorely need with Luther gone), a solid rebounder from the wing, and will have a few spectacular dunks to get the team and crowd (hopefully) going.
7. Kyle will be good old, reliable Kyle. I don't see his stats (7.5 pts, 5.8 rebs) or role changing much from last year and that's just fine. You don't need to run plays for Kyle. He'll get most of his points on pure effort: off rebs, running the floor, etc. I do think with Kyle's relentless style and injury history, he is the most likely to miss a few games, but you just have to deal with that.
8. Zed Key will have a 10-15 minute role most games and likely more if there is foul trouble or injuries involving EJ or Kyle. Key has a Big 10 ready body: 6'8", 235 lbs. He averaged 19 pts, 10 rebs, and 3 blocks on a highly successful, nationally ranked HS team that played some big time competition. I'm not saying this kid will make the All Freshmen Team in the Big 10 or anything, but I think he is better than his recruiting rankings.
9. The rest of the squad (Ahrens, Diallo, Brown, maybe a grad transfer/preffered walk on) seem like wildcards/match-up dependent to me. I'm not ruling out any of them joining the regular rotation and I am rooting for all of them. Just don't know if the mins are there. But the thing is with 11 scholarship players (Sotos won't be eligible and who knows if they go after or land a grad transfer), one injury and any of those could jump into a major role.
Now I am going to go knock on wood to make sure this roster stays intact.
On another positive note for the Bucks, there are plenty of other big name Big 10 transfers so far: Haarms (purdue), Dejulius (Mich), Mack (Neb), Griffin (Ill). Also, Oturu (Min), Smith (Maryland), Tillman (MSU), Livers (Mich), and Cockburn (Ill), all declared for the draft.
If you made it to the end, good job. Go Bucks.