Top 5 Basketball Players In The Big Ten This Season

The Big Ten hasn't won a national championship since 2000, but they could be the premier conference in the country this year. Along with having several legitimate Final Four contenders, many of the nation's top players call it home. Here are the best of the best heading into this season:

5) C Caleb Swanigan - Purdue Boilermakers

A consensus top-10 recruit, Swanigan is a bruiser (6'8", 275 lbs.) that should fit right into the physical Big Ten style of basketball. He's arguably the most polished post player in this freshman class and knows how to use his body to rebound and create shots for himself on the block. Conditioning is an issue, but he should be the focal point of the Boilermakers this season - expect him to deliver in a big way.

4) C Diamond Stone, Maryland Terrapins

The 6'10", 250-pound already has an NBA-ready body, and he hasn't even played a game for Maryland yet. Stone makes his money around the basket, using his strength to create space and his soft touch allows him to shoot a high percentage. He's also comfortable stepping away from the basket and is a proven winner (four straight high school state titles). Mark Turgeon's Terrapins turned heads last season, but Stone's arrival is the biggest reason why they sit atop many preseason polls.

3) SG Denzel Valentine, Michigan State Spartans

Valentine is the leading returning scorer for the Spartans, and he's expected to take his game to another level with the departure of point guard Travis Trice and forward Brandon Dawson. He'll be the focal point of Michigan State's offense, and his all-around game (6.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists per game) could make him the most impactful player in the Big Ten.

2) PG Yogi Ferrell, Indiana Hoosiers

Ferrell, now a senior, looks poised and ready to lead the Hoosiers to the top of the conference this season. He's the leading returning assist man in the Big Ten, and his playmaking should take another step forward this season with the arrival of freshman big man Thomas Bryant and another season playing alongside sophomore guard James Blackmon Jr. (15.7 ppg). Couple that with the 16.8 points he's averaged over the last two seasons and you have someone who's poised to have a big, big year.

1) PG Melo Trimble, Maryland Terrapins

Trimble was a breakout star last season, serving as one of the best point guards in the country as a freshman. He narrowly lost the Big Ten Freshman of the Year award to D'Angelo Russell, and many were surprised that he chose to return to school this year. Trimble averaged 16.2 points and 3.0 assists per game a year ago thanks to his incredible slashing ability, but with an improved shooting stroke, he should be a first-team All-American candidate at the end of the season.

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Related Topics: NCAA Basketball, Diamond Stone, Denzel Valentine, Purdue Boilermakers Basketball, College Basketball, Michigan State Spartans Basketball, Caleb Swanigan, Maryland Terrapins Basketball, Yogi Ferrell, Big Ten Basketball, Indiana Hoosiers Basketball, Melo Trimble