As we move into August and start to really get close to football season, we are still going to treat the readers to some fun basketball content. It should be a great season with a lot of expectations for the basketball Buckeyes and Chris Holtmann and company should be able to compete for a Big Ten title again this season.
Speaking of the Big Ten men’s basketball conference, there is a bunch of talent that has left the league, leaving it in a state of somewhat uncertainty.
However, with all of the players that are leaving, there are still plenty of talented ones that are returning to the conference. Here are some of the more underrated players that are looking to have a breakthrough season this year in the nations top basketball conference.
Andre Curbelo – Illinois
I almost hesitated to put Curbelo on this list because he started to gain some real traction late in the season, and might not be technically underrated anymore, but the casual fan still likely doesn’t know who he is, so I decided to keep him in.
In Curbelo’s freshman season, he was named The Sixth Man of the Year in the Big Ten and averaged 9.1 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game. Kofi Cockburn and Ayo Dosunmu got a lot of the credit for the Illini, but Curbelo had a big part in the team’s success.
With Dosunmu gone, Curbelo should take a huge leap in his sophomore campaign.
John Harrar – Penn State
Harrar came on late for the Nittany Lions and was one of the more formidable shot blockers and rebounders in the conference by season’s end. Like many of the Nittany Lions following this past season, Harrar put his name in the transfer portal, but decided to return to Happy Valley for another go at it.
Harrar averaged 8.8 points and 8.8 rebounds per game (spooky) while shooting 55% from the field. Harrar is only 6-foot-9, but he plays much bigger than that and can make life miserable for any big men that he goes up against. He can get a double-double every single time he steps on the court, and should be a focus point for PSU this season.
Jaden Ivey - Purdue
Ohio State fans will know Ivey well, as he knocked down a game winner against the Buckeyes this past season. Ivey was a freshman and was inconsistent at times, but when he was on, he was one of the top young scorers in the conference.
He averaged 11.1 points per game but shot just 39% from the field and 25% from three-point range. If he can clean that up and become a more efficient scorer for the Boilermakers, 20 points per game by his junior season is not out of the realm of possibilities.
Joey Hauser - Michigan State
Hauser did not have that strong of a season for the Spartans in his first year in the Izzone after transferring from Marquette. However, with the loss of key pieces for the Spartans, Hauser will play a much bigger role for the Spartans and should be able to bump all his averages up.
As a freshman at Marquette, he averaged 10 points per game and shot 43% from three-point land. That number fell to just 34% last season, so he will need to get that number back up near 40% to be the threat he was at Marquette his first season.
If he can, he will be a 15 point per game scorer and will be one of the best shooters in the conference and country.
Justice Sueing - Ohio State
We have talked a lot about Sueing and him being criminally underrated, especially to Buckeye fans, so I will mention him again. The Swiss Army Knife of the Buckeyes, Sueing was a do-it-all player, often times playing out of position; and — as we learned later — he played a vast majority of the season while injured.
With the loss of Duane Washington Jr., Sueing will be asked to take on more of a scoring role with the Buckeyes like he did with California in his first two collegiate seasons. Sueing is a three-level scorer and you can expect to see more of that this season in Columbus.