this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
Dave: What future non-conference game are you most looking forward to?
Seth: As the usual question-asker I rarely get a chance to take the obvious response, in this case the 2020 trip to Washingon. So I'm gonna celebrate my good fortune with a top five list:
1. Seattle. Many U.S. cities are basically the same buildings, chain restaurants and NFL team just rearranged. Seattle is one of the few who are not that. Imagine San Francisco's waterfront, Brooklyn-like neighborhoods, and Portland's love affair with the 1990s. Then add 1000% more polar fleece, and coffee so good you should probably avoid it lest you spend the rest of your life as a Whole Foods shopper.
Seattle pier [me]
2. Michigan-Washington = classic football. In addition to the once-a-decade home-and-home we've been scheduling since the 1950s, we've met the Huskies four times in Pasadena, including Bo's first win:
(the only time in history "who wants it more" was probably a thing)
It's rare enough to keep them exotic, and familiar enough for a wealth of subplots, like the 1983 game where Michigan learned The Wave.*
3. Washington fans. Like other schools you can name with a rich football tradition, a healthy respect for academics, and who have survived Ty Willingham, Huskies fans are surprisingly tolerable. They remember Marlin Jackson like we remember Omar Lowe.
4. Gameday should be pretty good. It's one of the older programs in a gorgeous stadium on a gorgeous old campus in early September. In 2020 Chris Petersen would be in his seventh year, Harbaugh his sixth, provided both survive until then. No bets that far in the future are sure things in college football, but the two former quarterbacks are likely enough to have their respective programs consistently ranked by then.
5. Family. The moment the news broke last year that Michigan was going to Washington I secured a promise from the wife that we'd be there, then called my particularly awesome cousin in Seattle to book our room. This thing is stone; family members have received notification to keep all weddings and pregnancies clear.
* Michael Florek covered the history of this for HTTV '14. Short version is the Huskies stole it from some Vancouver hockey fans, then M cheerleaders picked it up on the '83 visit and taught it to Michigan Stadium, where the bowl was a natural fit (and Bo blew one). Michigan fans took it to Tiger Stadium in the 1984 World Series, and it went national from there.
[After the jump: somebody I used to know]
Michigan's picked up a commit from NJ WR Brad Hawkins. Here is an informative post about him.
|4*, #38 WR,
|4*, #42 WR, #7 NJ
|4*, #25 WR, #6 NJ
|4*, 92, #37 WR
|4*, #38 WR
There is virtual unanimity about where Hawkins falls amongst the top football prospects in the country: about 200th. Every service ranks him somewhere between 191 and 224.
Hawkins is a nice combination of burly-go-get-it and the athleticism to get separation. ESPN calls him a "physical specimen" and praises his ability to get open:
Shows some suddenness off the line for a bigger player. Has a long, strong stride to get into routes quickly and cover ground. Is deceptively sudden in confined spaces and can shift gears to flash double moves. … Above average body control opening up and adjusting to throws outside strike zone. Tracks deep ball well and fields over the shoulder throws naturally. …tremendous red zone potential as he continues to get stronger to be a significant factor on the jump ball.
247's Clint Brewster describes him as a version of Junior Hemingway:
…gives you a lot after the catch. … tough player in traffic and catches contested passes. He's not a blazer on the outside but has adequate speed and shows some quickness to take away angles from defensive backs. Power player and uses contact well in his routes. … He's able to use his body to box out defenders and snags the ball away from his body out in front. Really attacks the ball in jump ball situations.
Rivals is just as high on him as everyone else is but they were higher before his appearance at a camp stop. He dropped about 50 spots afterwards. This is their explanation as to why:
"Hawkins does a lot of things on the field very well and he will be a solid pickup for one team but there isn't a ton of explosiveness to his game. He has a knack for coming up big in big moments but consistently dominating on the field is something he needs to show more consistently."
Other camps he attended had a similar vibe, with a 7 on 7 appearance in Carolina—which was unspecified—netting him a "best hands" award. Both that appearance and the Rivals camp highlighted his reliability. Carolina:
…such a reliable receiver. He works the middle of the field very well and was always there for his quarterbacks in tough situations. Hawkins always seemed to be open because he runs great routes and covers a lot of ground coming out of his breaks.
…hard to point out any one area where Hawkins dominated on Sunday; but he does everything well. The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder is an all-around wide receiver who can break press coverage, gets on top of defensive backs in a hurry and catches everything thrown his way. The four-star has a basketball background and that came through in the way he was able to high-point the football and out-leap defenders.
He is one of those guys. You know, those guys. The ones that are large and good at boxing out and maybe don't have announcers moaning about how unbelievably open they are.
Hawkins was down to Michigan and South Carolina pretty quickly in his recruitment, but he reports an impressive offer list including OSU, Oregon, Penn State, MSU, Miami, Florida, Auburn, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Wisconsin, and so forth and so on.
Hawkins's teammate Ron Johnson just committed to Michigan a couple weeks ago; 2017 OL Cesar Ruiz also has an offer. Before that Camden had a drought of D-I prospects going back to 2009.
FAKE 40 TIME
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
I mentioned Junior Hemingway above and I'll mention him again: Hawkins appears to be the kind of guy who can go up and get it in a crowd but also is slippery/mean enough to be an option on screens. He probably isn't going to blow by cornerbacks on the regular but with his ability to position his body and block out defensive backs he may not have to if he's going to be effective.
Hemingway got absolutely enormous at Michigan, pushing linebacker size as an upperclassman—Hawkins isn't that burly yet but at 202 he is filled out well for a high school receiver.
Other potential comparables are Greg Mathews and Amara Darboh.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Hawkins is the 21st commit and first outside wide receiver in the class. (IN four-star Chris Evans is tentatively slated for slot receiver.) It's likely Michigan adds one or two more guys at his position, with fellow New Jersist Ahmir Mitchell the most likely name to join him.
Past that, 21 is not much less than 25. By backdating three early enrollees, Michigan can go up to 28 if they have room, and they're recruiting like they do.
Ace is still on vacation.
Hawkins at two
NJ WR Brad Hawkins announces in a minute here. Recruitin' heuristics and the Crystal Ball suggest Michigan fans will be happy. South Carolina seems like the other option, but even their experts at 247 are saying all signs point to M($).
More detail on Xavier Kelly
KS DE Xavier Kelly just announced a top eight with Michigan in it. That could mean anything, but the way the Kellys are talking Michigan seems like one of the strongest contenders. Via Sam Webb, the paterfamilias($):
“It was great,” the elder Kelly said of the visit. “They had a lot of great things about it, but I was expecting big things from Michigan. I went in there kind of biased already, but it was real good. We had a good time. We kicked it with the coaches, had lunch with them, and toured the facilities.”
"Kind of biased already" is a good thing to hear. Kelly also gave a lengthy interview to Rivals—availability is good for your prospects to land a kid. Brandon Brown($):
"It's a pretty big deal that my dad is from Detroit because I have a lot of family there," Kelly said. "They support me and Detroit's not very far from Ann Arbor so they could come support me and I could go visit them so that's always good."
Kelly wants to get down to a top five before the season. Michigan is a near lock to make that list. Long way to go, otherwise: he plans on taking his officials and committing at the Army game.
Moar 2017 rankings
Scout jumps in with rankings for rising juniors. Thanks to Magnus, a list of the instate kids who made it:
#25 Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR, Cass Tech
#116 Ambry Thomas, CB, King
#126 Josh Ross, LB, Orchard Lake St. Mary's
#194 Ja'Raymond Hall, OT, Oak Park
#216 K.J. Hamler, WR, Orchard Lake St. Mary's
#239 Allen Stritzinger, RB, Warren De La Salle
#266 Corey Malone-Hatcher, DE, St. Joseph
#269 Hunter Rison, WR, Skyline
Looks like a pretty good year in Michigan. Yes, Hunter Rison is that Rison's kid, so I wouldn't get too excited about the fact he's at Skyline. Aside from that, Michigan is in good shape with Ross, Hall, and Stritzinger already. They have been pursuing Peoples-Jones with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind and he seems to be responding, but he's going to be a major national recruit and it's hard to get a read on him this early.
Other 2017 receivers to keep an eye on
Early offer Joshua Palmer is moving from Brampton, Ontario to Florida powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas this fall and tells Scout that he is "feeling Michigan the most". FL WR Daquon Green tells Scout that OSU and Michigan are at the top of his list, with OSU slightly ahead. Green is planning a visit to OSU in July that may turn into a swing through Michigan if he gets it set up with the coaches… and then he plans to decide before his junior season.
Tyus Battle has changed his relationship status on Facebook to "it's complicated" and removed mention of Michigan from his social media stuff. The previous sentence caused a brand of old and crotchety Michigan fan to shake his fist at the screen.
In any case, the is-he-or-isn't-he gone seems to be resolved. Michigan could get him back. I wouldn't count on that. The parents seem to be pushing him to reconsider, and when that happens it's a long, long way back. Unless Battle is absolutely dead set on Michigan I don't see this resolving pleasantly.
So. Moving on, OH SG Jarron Cumberland visited and seemed like a very good bet to be plan B. Then he suddenly committed to Cincinnati. Premium scuttlebutt said that the lack of an offer had something to do with a transcript hiccup; for whatever reason Cumberland decided not to wait around to see if he would get one.
On to the next. Michigan was looking at NY combo guard Kevin Huerter as a 2017 when Battle was in the fold; without him he is a very viable option as a 2016 recruit. Huerter announced he would take a set of five unofficial visits to Michigan, Syracuse, Villanova, Notre Dame, and Maryland. That is an impressive top five; Huerter has a rep as a kid who seems like a Beilein recruit. They will almost certainly go hard after him now.
Michigan is also back in with KY PG Quentin Goodin, who has replaced Louisville with Michigan in his final five. The other schools: Xavier, Florida, Miami, and Western Kentucky. That's a much more tractable list than Kentucky, Duke, and Duketucky if Michigan can overcome whatever reasons they were left off the list in the first place. Goodin, at 6'2", is probably mutually exclusive with in-state PG Cassius Winston. Good to have multiple options in any case.
Battle remains an option. Rivals says it's on the table and there should be a resolution pretty soon here($)—like within a week. I'm just guessing but I think the Syracuse visit and optimism was a product of recruiting gentlemen talking to his dad—and the lack of a commitment from that visit was the death knell for the Orange. At that point he's looking at UConn and Duke, but Duke apparently has moved on. UConn is a good program in a terrible league. So it's that or start all over or try to get back.
Etc.: CA WR Dezmon Patmon says Michigan would be at the top of his list($) with an offer. He is the nephew of DeWayne, FWIW. Sam talks with Rashan Gary's mom in two parts. OSU's head recruiter "is not Chris Partridge" so they don't have that going for them.
[What is this? Joe Pichey, serious bbq-ing dude, has been writing up tailgating recipes on his blog MMMGoBluBBQ and "borrowed" him. Stubb's sponsored it because they're fans of the site, and we said hail yes because their sauces are friggin amazing. So here's a special 4th of July recipe.]
The 4th off July weekend is always a fun one for me. I love the 3 day weekend. I love the extra time with the family and I love relaxing in the hammock with a cold one while my smoker works its magic. For me, the 4th has always meant burgers and chicken with a side of sweet corn on the cob. I always like to try new things, so I decided to give the Chicken Lollipop a go. I'm glad I did.
- Chicken Drumsticks
- Stubbs BBQ Rub
- Stubbs Sticky Sweet BBQ Sauce
- Stick of Butter
[Things get sticky if you hit the jump]
Checking in with Michigan’s NBA Wolverines --
Knicks Sell Low, Hawks Hope to Buy High on THJ
On June 25th, the New York Knicks traded Tim Hardaway Jr. for the draft rights to Jerian Grant, taken by the Atlanta Hawks at pick #19. Atlanta, which had traded back from #15 – part of Brooklyn’s trade for Joe Johnson – eventually also acquired two future second-round picks from Washington in addition to Hardaway, the former Wolverine who is now entering his third season in the NBA.
The trade, from Atlanta’s point of view, was considered a mistake, earning a “D” grade from ESPN’s Kevin Pelton:
After a solid rookie season, Hardaway regressed badly in Year 2, making just 34.3 percent of his 3-pointers and posting a below-average true shooting percentage. Hardaway needs to be a knockdown shooter because he's such a liability at the other end of the floor… Perhaps the Hawks believe that in their system they can develop Hardaway into a capable defender… Consider me skeptical…
During the draft, #NBATwitter was shocked at the move:
The Knicks getting a 1st for Tim Hardaway Jr is...wow.
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) June 26, 2015
@m0beatZ I have faith in the Hawks to develop him, but he's so awful defensively, it wouldn't be hard to find someone
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) June 27, 2015
I would have traded Tim Hardaway straight up for the 60th pick, so
— Seth Rosenthal (@seth_rosenthal) June 26, 2015
Knicks get their point guard in Jerian Grant. Hawks get Tim Hardaway. Winner? Knicks.
— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) June 26, 2015
Enjoy Tim Hardaway Jr., Atlanta. He's very good at taking shots. Also, being related to former NBA players. Also, other stuff, I'm sure.
— ☕netw3rk (@netw3rk) June 26, 2015
Even if Atlanta “lost” the trade, the clear short- and long-term winner in this deal is Hardaway – regardless of how the 19th pick (Notre Dame superstar senior point guard Jerian Grant, who also has NBA bloodlines, was taken, but Delon Wright, Justin Anderson, Bobby Portis, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and Tyus Jones were also available) turns out, the Knicks parlayed an expendable asset (which was evidently overvalued with that pick) into Grant’s potential as a starting NBA point guard and Hardaway moves from the 17-win Knicks to the 60-win Hawks at a critical juncture in his career.
New York was the worst NBA team in several advanced metrics last season and, because of trades and injuries, the only players to play in at least half of their games (with a minimum of 1,000 total minutes) were Shane Larkin, Jason Smith, Hardaway, Langston Galloway, Quincy Acy, and Jose Calderon. Of those guys, Calderon and Smith had the highest career PER numbers; theoretically, Hardaway was the third-best player on the most abysmal team in the league. That might actually be overstating things, because it’s hard to accurately measure defensive impact and Hardaway was frequently criticized for a lack of ability and / or effort on that end of the floor.
In hindsight, getting drafted by the Knicks was clearly poor for Timmy’s career development. After declaring for the draft in the weeks following Michigan’s Final Four run, Hardaway parlayed a strong set of workouts and what was perceived to be a weak draft class into a first round contract with New York. Tim was pretty solid as a rookie – he tallied 20 or more points ten times and shot 130-358 (36%) from three, a solid clip and substantial volume. He finished fifth in Rookie of the Year voting and wound up on the first-team All-Rookie team alongside Michael Carter-Williams, Victor Oladipo, Trey Burke, and Mason Plumlee. Although the ‘13 draft class has seemed as mediocre as predicted, Hardaway did have a better rookie season than two players with potential star power – the Greek Freak, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Rudy Gobert (a French center who plays with Trey in Utah).
[After THE JUMP: there is no sauce affiliated with Philly.]
AHHHH PLAY FOR MICHIGAN
Ex-Harbaugh staffer: 'A great white shark, mouth open, staring at you'
That's from a longer profile he wrote in May on the often-inscrutable Harbaugh. I referenced this yesterday, but whenever these things happen I think about a Nietzsche quote despite never having read any Nietzsche. You see, there was this science-fiction Civ game called Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri and when you got one of the techs it always said this at you:
Man is a rope, tied between beast and overman—a rope over an abyss. A dangerous across, a dangerous on-the-way, a dangerous looking-back, a dangerous shuddering and stopping. What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not an end: what can be loved in man is that he is an overture and a going under. I love those who do not know how to live, for they are those who cross over.
-- Friedrich Nietzsche ,"Thus Spoke Zarathustra"
Pretentious! But sometimes Harbaugh does not know how to live, like when he's on a national radio show and the preening show host starts in by asking him if he's ever soft. The vision of masculinity presented by Cowherd is so disorienting to him that his mind goes blank in terror*.
The good news is that Harbaugh can now enact the Thought Control government form. So he's got that going for him.
*[Just as I recoil at the arrogant bro-dom presented by Jim Rome.]
More Harbaugh. Face time in the 1993 Rose Bowl.
Doesn't say much there, either.
Yes, please. The NCAA may be slightly loosening its tie when it comes to the NBA draft:
Under the proposal, which was a coordinated effort by the NCAA, the National Association of Basketball Coaches and the NBA, underclassmen would be allowed to attend the Chicago pre-draft combine in May, get evaluated by team personnel and given a true reading on their draft status. The players would then be able to decide if they wanted to stay in the draft or return to school. They couldn't sign with an agent, though.
The current draft rules don't allow a player to return to college once he officially declares for the NBA draft. The NBA would still have an early entry deadline of late April and an official withdrawal date of 10 days before the draft, as per the collective bargaining agreement. But the NCAA would then have its own withdrawal date moved up from the week after the Final Four to sometime in mid-to-late May.
That last sentence is confusingly worded and should be "moved back". This is progress of a sort—the kind of progress that takes you back to about eight years ago when this was the standard. College coaches hated it because they didn't know who would go and who would stay when the late signing period—which also starts about week after the Final Four—began. So they changed it. Now they might change it back.
Anything that acknowledges the reality of the NBA and NFL is a good change. This one is a bit half-hearted, and it seems like it's flirting with disaster to make this change without delaying the late signing period. Kid signs, other kid decides to return: whoops. You know that's going to happen.
The best solution here is draft and follow.
Exposure to price. When people start talking about the inevitable cable unbundling that is coming, they often make this calculation: if only X percent of people would get ESPN and ESPN costs Y amount of money, then ESPN is going to cost Y * (1 / X) dollars. That's a lot of dollars! Bet you don't want unbundling now! An example:
So you'd think a standalone ESPN app, with all their channels, would cost around the same [as Netflix, Hulu, HBO, etc.]. As Lee Corso would say, not so fast. ESPN's perceived value and what the network actually needs to sustain their business model are vastly different.
One industry source I spoke to believes ESPN would have to charge sports fans at least $30 a month for an a la carte version of the networks to offset lost cable subscriber fees and advertising. MoffettNathanson Research believes Disney would have to charge $36.30 a month for ESPN to achieve the same level of reach it enjoys today.
At this point, we've reached a similar structure to European television. Channels such as Sky Sports, which carries popular properties like the English Premiere League, are not part of the basic service and run at $40 a month for the family of networks. Sky Sports even offers "day passes" for roughly $15. While hardcore American sports fans can justify similar prices here in the States, casual fans will balk and just catch the big event games on over-the-air networks.
But as taxi drivers and music labels and newspapers have found out, the internet tends to erode comfortable perches from which you can rake in piles of dough. ESPN has the advantage of still being a monopoly, but if the product was the only reason you could charge Y dollars you would not be able to get every song ever made for ten dollars a month.
The existence of Sling TV, which has ESPN and ESPN 2 and 18 other channels besides, for 20 bucks, is plenty of evidence that ESPN cannot reach that price point—and probably will not even try. Sky is a very different business model because the thing that is by far their main attraction, soccer, is virtually ad-free. You get some signage in the stadium, shirt sponsors, and halftime when everyone goes to the bathroom and gets a snack. That's it. The prime reason American sports keep spiraling in value (and can no longer fit in their assigned time slots) is that they are much more amenable to commercial breaks. Sky is trying to maximize its revenue; ESPN's attempt to maximize its revenue is going to come in much lower because 1) Americans are going to balk at the 40 dollar price and 2) advertisers want the eyeballs ESPN can deliver so very badly.
ESPN is currently subsidized by a lot of people who do not care about sports. When the internet is television, that goes away—and it does not necessarily get replaced one for one.
This is why adding Maryland and especially Rutgers was folly. In the near future the only people who get the Big Ten Network are going to be people interested in the Big Ten. They will no longer be able to snatch a dollar from the pocket of every cable subscriber in New Jersey who is a Tulane man. This is going to happen in ten years, at which point whatever short-term revenue gain will be spent, Jim Delany will have his bonus, and the Big Ten will be stuck with a couple of teams nobody cares about.
[HT: Get The Picture.]
Sauce relocates. Nik Stauskas is traded to the 76ers for… uh… stuff?
Many in Philadelphia wanted Stauskas last year. Now, 12 months later, Hinkie got him, a 1st rd pick, and 2 pick swaps for basically nothing.
— Derek Bodner (@DerekBodnerNBA) July 2, 2015
Stauskas had a rough first year in the NBA in a terrible situation, but that's awful quick to give up on a guy and dump him with some terrible contracts in exchange for cap space. Like the Pistons giving away a first round pick to be done with Ben Gordon, the main "asset" Sacramento acquired was the ability to not have Carl Landry on their cap any more. So they could go sign more free agents. Someone try to rip the face off the Kings GM just in case it's Joe Dumars.
Only incompetent Germans. Louisville's new helmet is… this…
Which I kind of like for an Arena League team. Of the future. Playing a life and death game against octopus space nazis.
Here is a conveniently-timed article titled "Adidas: Sports Apparel Laughingstock."
The old recruiting ghost story. Willie Williams has been revisited. It is a funny and sad story, one that you've probably heard before. Apropos of little, here is former Florida Gator on his trip to Penn State:
As if that story wasn’t juicy enough, Crowder spoke of his visit to Penn State as a recruit, which was “the worst.”
“They sit me in a room with two bottles of Mad Dog 20/20 Banana Red,” Crowder said. “They say ‘drink these, we’re gonna go out.’ Okay, I get all feeling good. We walk out of the door, go down two doors and go back into an apartment and it’s four big white girls sitting there and me. Big ole white girls. Talkin’ about 250.”
Crowder no doubt said his decision was all about the academics.
Here's this! It is a show featuring a bunch of Michigan guys, one a former walk-on QB under Moeller, and an mgoshirt.
It appears it is still looking for a home. If you are a TV executive, adopt it maybe.
Etc.: Here is a good thing about the buddha-fication of David Foster Wallace. Akron built a stadium. It's not going well. Warde Manuel($) is a name to watch for Hackett replacement. Bring Your Champions, They're Our Meat on the NBA Draft.