Big Ten Tournament in DC Could Enhance Recruiting
The Washington DC area is known to locals as "The DMV" since it encompasses the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. It's about as fertile territory for basketball recruiting as you'll find. Kevin Durant played his high school ball in Maryland. Carmelo Anthony, Rajon Rondo, and J.J. Redick played in Virginia. All of them left the area for college. Which is why holding the Big Ten basketball tournament at the Verizon Center in D.C., as was just announced, isn't a bad idea.
And it's not like top talent from around D.C. won't consider Big Ten schools. Victor Oladipo was just voted runner-up as rookie of the year in the NBA. He went to Indiana. A lot of the top players have gone to other ACC schools. Maybe that group will start to give the Big Ten a longer look now that Maryland has become Big Ten country. Especially since we're likely to see more conference games carried on television and covered by local sporting news outlets.
Beyond televisions, it was questionnable how much Rutgers and Maryland had to offer the Big Ten as new members. When it comes to basketball though, they can provide more than that. The area has been fertile recruiting territory that Duke and North Carolina have been mining for years. Coach K won't be in the game forever. The Big Ten would be wise in establishing relationships at powerhouse prep programs like the Oak Hill Academy, DeMatha, Montrose Christian, Saint Patrick, and the Blair Academy. With talk of adding another year before players can enter the NBA draft, this wouldn't just be one and done prospects either.
Whether it's the Big Ten Network or conference expansion, the league has kept an eye on the future. When it comes to basketball, the future of the Big Ten may well lie in the DMV.