We continue our "New Guys" week (it started Monday with our All-Freshmen team for 2012-13) by spotlighting some key newcomers in the Big Ten for next season.
We chose eight players – an "Elite Eight," as it were – who, for various reasons, should make an immediate impact in their first season with their new team. These are not the best eight players signed by league schools; instead, they are guys who should receive ample opportunity to make a splash.
Each of these eight (seven are freshmen, and one is a four-year transfer) will play important minutes right away, either as key starters or vital role players. We have listed them in reverse order of their expected impact.
We'll continue our "New Guys" week with a look at the Big 12's key newcomers on Friday.
8. Penn State SG D.J. Newbill Particulars: 6-4/210, Soph.; transfer from Southern Miss, preceded by Philadelphia Strawberry Mansion Buzz: Newbill, who earned freshman all-league honors in Conference USA in 2010-11, will add some much-needed athleticism for the Nittany Lions. He is athletic and physical, and should be one of Penn State's best rebounders right away. He can play the point in a pinch, and while he isn't a 3-point threat, he is a solid offensive player who plays to his strengths on that end of the floor. He also does a great job of getting to the line; he attempted 126 free throws in 2010-11, which was the fifth-most among freshmen nationally.
7. Michigan F/G Glenn Robinson III Particulars: 6-7/192, Fr.; 5-star prospect from St. John (Ind.) Lake Central Buzz: He is the son of former Purdue star Glenn "Big Dog" Robinson, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1994 NBA draft. Like his did, Robinson is 6-7. But "Big Dog" weighed in around 240, so the son has a ways to go to catch up with his dad in that regard. As with his dad, Robinson is a gifted offensive talent, with the ability to score from long range and at the rim. But the son is more athletic and has a solid, well-rounded game. He won't be asked to carry the offensive load as a freshman, but his skills translate well to what coach John Beilein wants. Robinson should fit in nicely with holdover Gs Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr.
6. Iowa C Adam Woodbury Particulars: 7-0/230, Fr.; 4-star prospect from Sioux City (Iowa) East Buzz: Iowa lacked a true center last season, but that shouldn't be a problem anymore. Woodbury can be expected to add weight and bulk, but he already has a nice game and knows how to score in the low post. While Woodbury is a lefthander, he can finish with either hand. He's not the most athletic guy, but his positives, including his passing ability, should mesh well with coach Fran McCaffrey's style of play. He is the centerpiece of a good freshman class for the Hawkeyes.
5. Purdue PG Ronnie Johnson Particulars: 5-10/160, Fr.; 4-star prospect from Indianapolis North Central Buzz: Purdue is losing starting PG Lewis Jackson, but Johnson should slide right into that vacancy. Johnson is a key part of a good four-man recruiting class reeled in by coach Matt Painter. Johnson has excellent quickness, is a solid ballhandler and is a good distributor; while he's not necessarily going to be a big scorer, he is an OK shooter with 3-point range. His brother, Terone, was a sophomore guard at Purdue this past season; in addition, Ronnie Johnson's former high school backcourt mate is Georgetown signee D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera, who played his senior season at Chatham (Va.) Hargrave Military Academy.
4. Michigan State SG Gary Harris Particulars: 6-4/208, Fr.; 5-star prospect from Fishers (Ind.) Hamilton Southeastern Buzz: Michigan State returns just one double-figure scorer (G Keith Appling), but Harris definitely has the potential to average in double digits as a freshman. He has a nice all-around game and puts his big-time athleticism to use when he slashes into the lane. He has a high basketball IQ – a must when seeing extended minutes under Tom Izzo – and is equally at home in an up-tempo attack or in a halfcourt offense. Harris also was a wide receiver of some renown, so you know he is physical.
3. Wisconsin SF Sam Dekker Particulars: 6-8/215, Fr.; Sheboygan (Wis.) Sheboygan Area Lutheran Buzz: Dekker is a gifted offensive player; he has legitimate 3-point range but also the athleticism to put the ball on the floor and finish at the rim. He can handle the ball and is a good passer, and possesses a high motor. Dekker isn't an elite athlete, but his scoring ability can't be overstated. He should fit nicely in coach Bo Ryan's offense from Day One. The Badgers return five of their top six scorers, and Dekker should help make up for the loss of leading scorer Jordan Taylor.
2. F/C Mitch McGary, Michigan Particulars: 6-10/250, Fr.; 4-star recruit from Brewster (N.H.) Brewster Academy Buzz: Michigan hasn't really had a big bruiser in the low post of late, but McGary is that guy. He is a physical player who should provide Michigan with a much-needed inside presence. McGary's passing skills make him a great fit for what Beilein likes to do on offense, and McGary is a good shooter from 15 feet in. Michigan has a proven group of perimeter players; McGary should complement them nicely.
1. PG Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell, Indiana Particulars: 5-11/165, Fr.; 5-star recruit from Indianapolis Park Tudor School Buzz: Ferrell is a pass-first point guard, and should be a steady hand for a team that needs a new point man. He is quick and can get into the lane; he also can knock down mid-range jumpers. With Ferrell, IU now has everything in place for a big 2012-13 season. There is ample offensive talent, and Ferrell's job will be to get the ball to those players where they want it and when they want it.
Other popular content on Yahoo! Sports:
• Johnny Ludden: Lakers' Kobe Bryant fails in crunch time against the Thunder
• Tim Brown: Firing hitting coach Mickey Hatcher was desperate move by Angels
• Tim Tebow's lawyers reportedly send cease-and-desist letter over Jets-Jesus T-shirt