Niko Porikos grew up in an NTDP billet home. Cool story.
[ed: press release. dump all your "he's not working out!" hopes]
May 4, 2011
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan sophomore guard Darius Morris (Los Angeles, Calif./Windward HS) has decided to forego the remainder of his college eligibility and remain as an early entry for the 2011 NBA Draft.
"There have been long discussions with my family, friends and my Michigan coaches," said Morris. "After gathering all the information possible, I have decided to stay in the NBA Draft and pursue my dream of playing professional basketball.
"This was a difficult decision; however, in the end I decided to go with my heart. Playing professional basketball has always been a dream for me. I feel this is the right time for me to pursue that goal. It will be hard to leave the University of Michigan; however, I truly believe the basketball program is moving in a very positive direction.
"First of all I want to thank everyone at the University of Michigan and all its great fans. I would not be in the position I am today without the guidance of Coach (John) Beilein and his staff. I appreciate all the support I have received from all my teammates and everyone involved with the program. I will forever be a Michigan Wolverine. Lastly, and most importantly, I must thank God for blessing me with this opportunity."
"We, as a staff, have watched Darius grow as a person and as a player these past two years," said U-M head coach John Beilein. "His improvement on the court has been the result of his God-given talent and his intense desire to become the best player he can be. His work habits, especially in our individual skill development time, have been outstanding, and we all witnessed the results of his efforts this season.
"Over the past month, we have worked with the NBA advisory committee and several NBA teams by gathering information to assist Darius and his family in exploring his options. We know they put a lot of thought into this important decision.
"Darius has been a catalyst in the continued growth of our program and we wish him nothing but the best in his professional basketball career and beyond. He will always be a Michigan Wolverine."
Morris, who was an All-Big Ten Conference third team selection by both the coaches and media, helped the Wolverines to a 21-14 record and a trip to the NCAA Tournament third round in 2010-11. He recorded the largest margin of improvement in scoring in the Big Ten, jumping from 4.4 points per game as a freshman to a team-best 15.0 points per game this past season.
Morris broke the U-M season record for assists with 235, becoming just the third Wolverine to record 200-plus assists in a season. He recorded the third triple-double in U-M history with 12 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists against Iowa (Jan. 30). Morris tallied seven double-digit assist games, including a career-best 12 helpers against Concordia (Dec. 6) and Bryant (Dec. 20). Overall, Morris led the Big Ten with 6.71 assists per game, putting him fifth in the nation.
In two seasons in Ann Arbor, Morris started 53 of 67 career games, compiling 666 career points (9.9 ppg), 197 rebounds (2.9 rpg) and 319 assists (4.76 apg).
The NBA Draft, comprised of two rounds and 60 total selections, will be held Thursday, June 23, at The Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
Since I'm out in Arizona I have been saying Saguaro ATH DJ Foster (5'10", 180 lbs) was more than worthy of an offer for some time. He finally got a Michigan offer Monday, and I caught up with him to talk about it. Here's a look at his defensive film and what he had to say.
TOM: I know Michigan offered today, but who came out to see you?
DJ: Coach Ferrigno stopped by school today. I couldn't really talk much, you know how that goes. Today was the first day of spring ball though so he watched a little bit of our defensive practice. After that he said that I had an offer from Michigan. Auburn was out today, they didn't offer but they told my coach that they might be offering pretty soon.
TOM: I know your coach, Coach Sanders, has been saying Michigan should have offered you for awhile now. Where is your interest level at with Michigan?
DJ: My interest is pretty high. When Cyrus [Hobbi] took his visit last year to Michigan he said it was hands down the best campus he had ever seen. That stuck with me, so I hope I can get out there to see it. Plus all the tradition and history they have, and I know a few guys out there like Taylor [Lewan].
TOM: I'm assuming when you say you want to get out there that it would be for an official visit, and not an unofficial visit?
DJ: Yeah, I plan on taking all five of my official visits. I'm definitely going to try to use them on schools that I can't really see on unofficials. I would love to use one of them on Michigan.
TOM: I know Michigan is kind of late to the party here, but do you have a top group yet?
DJ: As of now I kind of have a top five, but schools keep offering so it keeps changing. Right now it's USC, ASU, Oregon, Stanford, and Cal. That changes all the time though, like when schools like Michigan offer. My top three is probably USC, ASU, and Oregon for now.
TOM: To jump back to Michigan, have the coaches told you what they're recruiting you as? You're so versatile you can probably play anywhere.
DJ: Michigan is recruiting me as a defensive back. I'm fine with that, I like either side of the ball.
TOM: Speaking of your versatility, can you describe your game to people that haven't seen you play?
DJ: I can adapt to anything. If they want me to play receiver or cornerback, I'll work hard no matter what. I have some size and power, and I have very good vision. I don't really know if I'm better on offense or defense, I like both sides. I have people tell me both, some people say they see me as a defensive back in college so I don't know.
TOM: Since the Michigan attention is coming late, is there still a chance for them? I know you said your interest is high, but what does that mean?
DJ: Definitely, I like Coach Ferrigno, so they definitely have a chance. That's going to be big for me is the relationship with the coaches, and my parents are going to have a say in it. I'm not going to rush into anything, and like I said I'm going to take all my official visits.
It's been an eventful few days, and by the time most of you read this Michigan will have gotten its newest commitment. Outside of that commitment here's a look at a few other prospects and future happenings. As always you can find more updates on my Twitter page, and please feel free to email me with tips and questions at TomVH@MGoBlog.com.
6'5", 260 lbs.
Matt Godin recently announced that he was ready to make his decision. He's yet to decide on how he will announce it, and is currently mulling over a few ideas.
I decided on my date because my family is all going to be home, and it's just the right time to do it. I feel, other than these three schools, there is nowhere else I would like more.
That date is May 12th, and the three schools are Michigan, Michigan State, and Wisconsin. I will let you know how Matt decides to announce his decision when he tells me.
6'4", 210 lbs.
Another instater that had been planning on making his announcement within the next weeks, Thompson sounds like he's now wavering on what to do.
I did [have the announcement scheduled] but I still don't think it will happen. I'm just not ready, it's too much. I think I'm far from a decision to be honest. There was a team that was looking good, but now there are others that have come aboard and I'm not sure if I'm ready.
Apparently there are some bigger name schools that are showing Thompson interest and they may have caught his attention. I, for some reason, didn't take this to mean that he really isn't going to announce on the 11th. Just don't be surprised if it doesn't. There may be a few questions that need to be answered with Michigan and their two TE commits.
5'11", 167 lbs.
I know it's a bit early to be talking about 2013 prospects, but Thomas already holds a Michigan offer and he was just on campus in Ann Arbor.
I went up there [Saturday] after the MSU spring game. I really, really like Michigan. I like how they do their schooling and they put school first and then sports. I was supposed to go up there awhile ago, but I couldn't because of baseball.
Besides the Michigan offer Thomas also holds verbal offers from Michigan State and West Virginia. This visit to Michigan gave him a chance to talk to the coaches and see the facilities up close.
The coaches were just really nice about everything. They walked me around different places, and they showed us the locker room and the lounge. They didn't really sell me on anything, they were just telling me about the program and what they have to offer.
Although Thomas admits to being an Ohio State fan, he says he will take a more business approach to his recruitment.
I am an Ohio State fan, but I'm going to look at what's best for me. I don't want to pick a school and then say I wish I would have gone to Ohio State. I also don't want to pick Ohio State and say man I wish I would have gone to a different school. I'm thinking about committing after my last game of my junior season, so we'll see what happens.
Thomas really likes Ohio State, but I take him at his word that he'll be unbiased in his approach. He's in contact with 2012 RB Bri'onte Dunn, FWIW.
Ohio LB Joe Bolden decided to commit in person in Ann Arbor because it was more respectful.
Ohio RB Bri'onte Dunn has not re-opened his commitment from Ohio State, but he will be visiting Michigan soon. He just got an in school visit from Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison. I believe there is genuine interest there from the Dunns. They are interested to see the outcome of the NCAA investigation at OSU.
DT Ondre Pipkins will narrow his list in June, which will also be around when he's visiting Michigan. He told me that he will likely make his final decision later on, but there is a chance it could happen in the summer time. He said an earlier decision will depend on how his summer visits go.
Pennsylvania RB Greg Garmon is visiting Michigan in the next couple weeks. He wants to learn more about Michigan, who is in his top three with Penn State and North Carolina. The Tarheels currently lead.
New York QB Chad Kelly, nephew of Jim Kelly, will be visiting Michigan today [Monday]. He does not have an offer yet. Like the rest of the unoffered QBs, he might have to wait to see how everything plays out before he gets considered.
Yet another new Wolverine, and we're on the front page again. Action since last rankings:
4-27-11 Ohio State gains commitment from Frank Epitropoulos.
4-29-11 Michigan gains commitment from Joe Bolden.
4-30-11 Michigan State gains commitments from Benny McGowan, Zach Higgins, and Riley Bullough.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Watchlist||Scout Avg||ESPN Watchlist||24/7 Avg|
All rankings will be on the 5-star scale this year (when available) for easier comparing across services. Full data after the jump.
I normally don't post anything on a commitment, and don't want to take away from Tim's front page Hello post but I wanted to share what Michigan's newest commit Joe Bolden had to say about Michigan and why he committed.
TOM: There was a Cincinnati journalist that tweeted you were going to make your decision this weekend. I know you said you were undecided earlier, so what made you change your mind?
JOE: Yeah, he tweeted that and I got some phone calls and text messages about it. I told everybody that I wasn't sure. That was for me to keep it on the down low until me and my family had made the decision. I didn't want it to be a big deal, or anything to happen like what happened with Kaleb Ringer in the newspaper. I thought what that reporter did was wrong and I hope he realizes that. It's also just about being humble, too.
TOM: How did you tell the coaches?
JOE: I'm actually on my way back from Ann Arbor right now, we went up there with my siblings and my grandparents. Family was important to me and that's part of why I chose Ann Arbor. I wanted to do it in person because it shows more respect when you say it in person and look someone in the eyes to tell them you're coming to their school.
TOM: When did you really know it was Michigan? Or a better question, you said God gave you some signs that Michigan was the place. What were some of the signs?
JOE: After my second visit up to Michigan with my mom and dad. We had just gotten home about 10:30 at night, and my dad has a twitter account. Someone had tweeted right when he checked it that everything this guy says is gold, and it was about Coach Mattison. That was just one, but it was just odd the timing of everything and what we just saw.
TOM: I know that you're mature for your age, so I'm assuming that Michigan is the only school you'll be looking at? No wavering.
JOE: I'm very solid on it. I wouldn't have made the decision if I wasn't. There were a lot of factors that played into it, and there were some factors on why I did it so early. I thought why wait if it's the right school, with the right people, and I don't see any better opportunity to play college football and get an education.
TOM: Caleb Stacey was trying to convince you to come to Michigan, are you going to reciprocate and try to recruit anyone yourself?
JOE: I'm obviously going to encourage the guys Michigan has offered to choose Michigan because I want the best for my recruiting class and Michigan. At the end of the day it's going to come down to their decision. I'm not in their shoes, they need to do what's best for their family.
This is an offseason post. You’ll find no revelations buried in records or statistics, no concrete prognostications on the coming season, and it neither applauds nor condemns the recent coaching change. It is merely one fan’s take on a somewhat transitory period of Michigan football.
Sometime after its owner has gone to bed, a Michigan jersey sprawled on the grass becomes indistinguishable from any other uniform. The blues fade into green then scarlet then nothing at all; the burst of maize flirts with the audacity of Nittany white before settling into a muted gray. The colors play their tricks and all that remains is crumpled fabric.
The uniform is not actually different in those hours after it was cast aside in triumph or defeat, but to a nocturnal observer its identity can feel temporarily misplaced.
Some colors just float on the light.
If rocks could swim, pigeons were toasters and the lunar cycle affected Michigan football, we would be experiencing those silent hours that are neither dusk nor dawn but that uphold qualities of both. Today's Michigan fans are like those nocturnal observers, watching the same winged helmets crown the same fervent players in the same Michigan uniforms, but somehow the team's identity, that ineffable thing that makes it whatever it is instead of something different, has been temporarily misplaced.
This is not to say we find ourselves in, or anywhere near, the proverbial dark ages of Michigan football. Instead we bask in the entropic calm of night, that recuperative time only partially remembered in the infancy of the following day. The night comes and it goes and it is not good or bad; while it's here our visibility is diminished and our perception is skewed and identities might become misplaced, but in the morning we are usually stronger because of it.
Some praise the Lord for Light,
The living spark;
I thank God for the Night
The healing dark.
~Robert William Service
Exeunt the night.
You may think that Brady Hoke is a god or devil, and you'd be wrong. If you tell me he's lucifer, you've stumbled closer to the mark but most likely by awkward chance. It's been 108 days since Hoke was hired, no games have been played, and how he will fare in the coming season is a fair question for better time-travelers. Although his success may still lurk in the realm of our collective optimism, Brady Hoke is already bringing something palpable to this team. It's light materialized into rote sound bytes about "toughness" and "fundamentals." It's identity. It's the dawn that ends the night.
Michigan may have the reigning Big Ten offensive player of the year, but the sharpest weapon in its arsenal at the moment is a newfound sense of self-definition. Six months remain to dissipate the lingering darkness, but already the contours of the future program are becoming visible.
Sing to the colors that float in the light;
Hurrah for the Yellow and Blue!
Yellow the stars as they ride thro' the night,
And reel in a rollicking crew;
Yellow the fields where ripens the grain,
And yellow the moon on the harvest wain; Hail!
Hail to the colors that float in the light;
Hurray for the Yellow and Blue!
-Charles M. Gayley, 1878
Just about everyone knows the chorus to the fight song, but many fail to recognize the above words as those to the alma mater. It's said that these words earned Gayley the sum of ten dollars after he entered them into a contest at the University of Michigan. Today they seem to hold a certain magic, a special meaning for a team battling the haze of the early morning and struggling to find its identity. As this team rides thro' the night, these words offer a reminder of what awaits in the coming dawn.
The light is coming, and the colors are beginning to float.