Every Big Ten men's basketball program has had its hits and misses with homegrown talent. But imagine what some Big Ten programs would look like if they were also led by some of the best players in college basketball from their state.
In the Gophers' case, that would be Gonzaga's freshmen sensation Jalen Suggs joining Marcus Carr in the backcourt for Richard Pitino.
Both Carr and Suggs were recently named to the Naismith Trophy midseason team for the college player of the year award.
For Big Ten-leading Michigan or Michigan State, that would mean Purdue's standout big man Trevion Williams would've stayed in-state to suit up in Maize and Blue or give Hall of Fame coach Tom Izzo the inside presence he's lacking for the Spartans this season.
For Wisconsin, that would mean Duke's freshman standout Jalen Johnson would be giving the Badgers a major boost in athleticism and a rare player in their program ready for the NBA after one year.
Two of the best young post players in the Big Ten are Ohio State's E.J. Liddell and Michigan's Hunter Dickinson. But imagine how much Liddell would've bolstered his home state Illinois' chances at a national championship playing alongside Kofi Cockburn.
And, oh boy, could the Terrapins use the 7-1 Maryland product Dickinson in the middle for their undersized frontcourt.
Gophers fans can get as frustrated as any fan base for not keeping all of the best high school players in Minnesota from leaving home. But looking across the Big Ten shows it's not that easy to keep them.
Illinois' Ayo Dosunmu, Indiana's Trayce Jackson-Davis, Iowa's Joe Wieskamp, Rutgers' Ron Harper Jr., and Michigan's Isaiah Livers are examples of all-league caliber players on their home state Big Ten teams. Only three Big Ten teams (Illinois, Indiana, and Rutgers) are led in scoring by homegrown players.
Indiana (nine) and Purdue (eight) lead the Big Ten with players on their roster from within their state, which isn't surprising since Indiana is typically one of the top high school hotbeds for basketball talent.
The Boilermakers, who have six in-state players in their main rotation, have a bright future with Indiana natives Jaden Ivey, Brandon Newman and Mason Gillis playing big roles as freshmen this season.
The Gophers (two), Northwestern (two) and Nebraska (three) are the Big Ten teams with the fewest players on their roster from their respective states. Pitino had three Minnesotans with Gabe Kalscheur, Jarvis Omersa and Utah transfer Both Gach. But Omersa left the team after opting out in December.
Two years ago, Pitino had three starters on an NCAA tournament team from Minnesota with Amir Coffey, Daniel Oturu and Kalscheur. Coffey and Oturu left school early and are now in the NBA, which is a bright spot locally.
Hitting a homerun with out-of-state recruiting is huge. Carr is from Toronto. And the biggest steal in the Big Ten was Iowa finding All-American Luka Garza in Washington D.C.
But the Gophers' current lack of in-state players on the roster is evidence that it's still tough to sustain that local recruiting success.
"If you don't get them all, it's not an indictment on your program," Pitino said recently on the "Next Possession" podcast. "We still got some really good players. Sometimes local kids who grow up 15 minutes from campus want to get away. And that's OK, too."