My objective tonight is simple: Pick the thirteen Big Ten basketball players who would make the best team, a team that would dominate the nation and steamroll to a title. Jeff Goodman over at Fox Sports put together his own ultimate team for the whole country a few weeks ago, and we thought it would be fun to put a Midwest twist on things.
Here's your 2009-10 Big Ten Ultimate Team -
G: Trevon Hughes, Wisconsin.
G: Chris Kramer, Purdue.
G/F: Evan Turner, Ohio State.
F: Draymond Green, Michigan State.
F: JaJuan Johnson, Purdue
It's a roster heavy on veterans. Hughes provides strong leadership as a team-first guy who can do a little bit of everything. Kramer barely beat out out fellow defensive aces Jeremiah Rivers and Jeremy Nash. Turner might be the national POY before the year is out. Draymond Green is a huge body, a rock-solid rebounder, and can score, and would pair well with Johnson in the frontcourt.
Reserves were tough, because I had a long list of guys worthy of consideration. Here's who I picked (in order of selection).
Scoring Guard: Talor Battle (over Kalin Lucas, barely)
Scoring Forward: John Shurna (over Robbie Hummel)
Defensive Center: Mike Tisdale (other options: fellow Illinoisian Mike Davis, Dallas Lauderdale, Colton Iverson)
Backup Point Guard: Demetri McCamey (leads Big Ten in assists, can tote the rock when Turner is out of the game. Michael "Juice" Thompson also would do a good job here)
Three-Point Gunner: Jon Diebler (over Blake Hoffarber, Jason Bohannon)
Freshman Guard: Drew Crawford (over Brandon Paul and DJ Richardson from Illinois)
Freshman Forward: Christian Watford (best frosh in the conference)
13th Man: Damian Johnson (tough call, but I'll take the big-play defender from Minnesota over worthy candidates like Durrell Summers or Jeremy Nash)
The young guys are there to provide hope for the future, and are legitimate talents in their own right. With everybody filling a role, I feel like this team could take on and handle anybody in the country.
By the way, it's a tossup between Tom Izzo and Bo Ryan for coach. There a ton of great candidates in the conference.
My brainstorming process gave me the following guys as candidates:
Michigan State: Draymond Green, Kalin Lucas, Durrell Summers. Purdue: JaJuan Johnson, Robbie Hummel, Chris Kramer, E'Twaun Moore. Ohio State: Evan Turner, Jon Diebler, William Buford. Wisconsin: Trevon Hughes, Jason Bohannon. Minnesota: Lawrence Westbrook, Ralph Sampson III, Colton Iverson, Blake Hoffarber. Illinois: Demetri McCamey, Mike Tisdale, DJ Richardson, Mike Davis. Northwestern: Michael Thompson, Jeremy Nash, Drew Crawford, John Shurna. Michigan: Manny Harris, DeShawn Sims. Penn State: Talor Battle. Indiana: Jeremiah Rivers, Christian Watford. Iowa: Matt Gatens.
Thanks to Bleacher Report's Jameson Fleming for proposing this idea!