Men's Basketball Preseason Notes

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Big Ten Men's Basketball Prospectus

Sept. 20, 2007

The Big Ten will welcome back 10 members of the 2006-07 All-Big Ten team, including first-team honoree Michigan State's Drew Neitzel. Two second-team selections will be back on the court in Indiana's D.J. White and Penn State's Geary Claxton (media only) while Illinois' Shaun Pruitt, a third-team selection, also returns. In addition, six players return after earning honorable-mention accolades last season (Minnesota's Lawrence McKenzie and Dan Coleman; Ohio State's Jamar Butler, Penn State's Jamelle Cornley; Wisonsin's Brian Butch and Michael Flowers).

STAT LEADERS                                                                                             Two players who led the Big Ten in three statistical categories return for the 2007-08 season. Michigan State's Drew Neiztel led the Big Ten in three-point field goals made (3.26 pg) and free throw percentage (.879). Penn State's Jamelle Cornley led the conference in minutes played, averaging 36.07 per game. 

The Big Ten returns 33 starters (60%) for the 2007-08 season. Eight teams return three or more starters, with Minnesota and Michigan State returning all five starters from a year ago. Penn State returns four of its five. Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Northwestern and Purdue all return three starters.

Three of the top five assist leaders--who averaged 4.0 assists per game or better--are slated to return this season, including Michigan State's Travis Walton (5.46 apg) and Drew Neitzel (4.31 apg) and Illinois' Chester Frazier (4.48 apg).

1,000-POINT CLUB                                                                                   Three players who have scored 1,000 or more points in their career return this season--Penn State's Geary Claxton (1,262), Michigan State's Drew Neitzel (1,033) and Minnesota's Lawrence McKenzie (1,004). Claxton is 10th on Penn State's all-time list. Neitzel checks in at No. 31 in the MSU annals. McKenzie is five points shy of breaking into Minnesota's top 30.

The Big Ten reached two attendance landmarks last season as the conference broke the two-million mark in all games for the 15th straight season, while also reaching the one-million plateau for league games only for the 30th consecutive season. In 2006-07, a total of 2,470,250 patrons passed through the turnstiles for 196 games for an average attendance of 12,652. In Big Ten contests, 1,200,542 fans flocked to conference arenas for 88 games for an average of 13,643 per outing, the highest since the 2001-02 campaign (13,790).  The conference led the nation in attendance for the 31st-straight season with  an average of 12,760 fans per game/session.