Per Jeff Goodman, Michigan has picked up a wing:
Kentucky transfer Charles Matthews is headed to Michigan, source told ESPN.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) June 21, 2016
Matthews was a freshman at Kentucky last year, where he played sparingly. He'll sit out next year and have three left.
As a recruit he was #59 in the 247 composite and the #16 shooting guard; at 6'6" he could play the two or three at Michigan. His ranking dropped over the course of his recruitment from five-star territory (he was #17 on the composite at one point) to the mid four-star range. The most recent scouting report comes from his freshman year:
Good: Matthews has been a pleasant surprise this season finishing at the rim and along the baseline. With some development, he looks to be a valuable asset to the program in the years to come because of his length, athletic ability and defensive prowess.
Homework: Must continue to round out his game and become a more consistent outside shooter.
This is not a typical Beilein recruit. He's the platonic opposite of Duncan Robinson:
"Last summer, they tried to play him at point guard--that’s not what he is," Calipari said. "He’s a playmaker off the ball. He’s a slasher, he’s a finisher." … At 6-foot-6 and 175 pounds, Matthews possesses many of the qualities that Calipari typically covets: he's long, athletic, can get to the basket and has the ability to defend multiple positions.
"He's a tireless defender. He can guard multiple players … He can get to the basket anytime he wants but he could always become a better shooter," DeCesare said. "He needs to work on his free throw shooting."
Mathews is super athletic and defensively oriented, which will thrill Billy Donlon. He might be something of a bricklayer, which won't thrill Beilein. Beilein is renowned as a guy who can teach offense and shooting; this will be a test.
Wilkes Visits, Adds Offer
Five-star 2017 Indiana wing Kris Wilkes visited Ann Arbor on Sunday. As expected, Michigan put forth an offer, though Wilkes has yet to offer up any quotes about it beyond a quick post-offer tweet. Most of the top Big Ten programs are after Wilkes, as are the likes of Butler, Kansas, UCLA, and Xavier. Kentucky, which hasn't offered him, currently leads his Crystal Ball.
Michigan's best bet in 2017 continues to be three-star in-state wing Jamal Cain. Last week, Scout's Brian Snow posted that Xavier is now "basically out" for Cain after adding 2017 wing Jared Ridder, who's also a 3/4 type; that leaves Michigan as the odds-on favorite.
Four-star OH wing Kyle Young, who also holds a Michigan offer, included the Wolverines in his top ten and told 247 he'll be on campus for M's team camp this month. Young is coming off a visit to Ohio State, which is considered the early favorite for him.
UMHoops's Sean Moran reports Michigan has been getting involved with top-100 2017 IL PG Nojel Eastern:
“After the first EYBL sessions a lot more schools have been involved,” said Eastern. “The head coaches text me more and I get more calls. New schools, Michigan, a lot of them call my mom, but the one that calls me is Michigan.”
Michigan needs a point guard this cycle and Eastern is one of the more intriguing prospects at the position: he's listed at 6'6", 200 pounds. If the coaches can get him on campus, an offer is likely to follow—MSU, OSU, Purdue, and Illinois are already among the schools to offer him.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
A Late Riser Emerges?
The young man you see above displaying a visceral hatred for rims is 2016 Grundy (VA) Mountain Mission SG/SF Harold Baruti, who at the moment looks like the most likely option to fill one of the two open basketball scholarships. Baruti came to Ann Arbor on an official visit last weekend, and it sounds like a scholarship offer is on the way as long as he clears an academic hurdle or two:
Per his HS coach, 2016 wing Harold Baruti has not yet received a scholarship offer from his OV to Michigan. But workout went "very well."
— Brendan F. Quinn (@BFQuinn) May 5, 2016
Re. Michigan and 2016 wing Harold Baruti: Still no scholarship offer. U-M checking if he'll be cleared academically.
— Brendan F. Quinn (@BFQuinn) May 9, 2016
Baruti, who moved to U.S. from the Democratic Republic of the Congo two years ago, also still needs to pass the TOEFL before U-M will offer.
— Brendan F. Quinn (@BFQuinn) May 9, 2016
At 6'6", ~200 pounds, Baruti could provide much-needed depth on the wing. According to Quinn, Utah and Texas Tech are also showing late interest in Baruti, who holds scholarship offers from SMU, UNC-Wilmington, Utah State, and Tennessee Tech. While he doesn't look like the most polished prospect, he's got plenty of athleticism—he looks like a guy who could eventually fill the GRIII role of cutter/finisher who shoots just well enough on corner threes to keep defenses spaced out.
Speaking of wing depth, the just-released senior highlights of 2016 signee Ibi Watson are worth watching. While the highlight video caveat applies, he looks like a strong finisher and impressive passer; if he can hold his own on defense he can see a significant role right away as a backup at the two and the three.
In other hoops recruiting news, Michigan's offer has vaulted them into the top three for in-state 2017 SF Jamal Cain, per TMI's Josh Newkirk:
“(Michigan) is for sure top-three,” Cain said. “My top three, well, the schools that have been in contact the most have been Michigan, Marquette and Xavier.”
Cain mentioned academic support as something that stood out on his visit, and later said that factor is of significant importance in his decision, which should come during or after his senior season.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
M Offers Jamal Cain
Today's roundup starts not with football, but with some long-anticipated hoops news, courtesy of MLive's Brendan Quinn—Michigan has offered three-star 2017 MI F Jamal Cain:
Jamal Cain made the short trip from Pontiac to Ann Arbor for an unofficial visit to Michigan on Wednesday afternoon. He made the drive back with a scholarship offer in tow.
Cain, a three-star small forward from Detroit Cornerstone Prep, added the Wolverines to his list of committable offers as U-M joined the likes of Xavier, Georgia, Marquette, Florida State and others as his biggest suitors.
Cain's outstanding play over the last season has raised his profile considerably, and Michigan should be a strong contender to land him. M has three open spots in the 2017 class in addition to a commitment from four-star SG Jordan Poole; that number could dwindle to two if John Beilein decides to fill the current open scholarship with a 2016 recruit, but either way Cain will be a top target moving forward.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
BREAKING: Grant Mullins has committed to Cal as his transfer destination per his Instagram https://t.co/203han7GQ1
— Mike McAllister (@McAllisterScout) April 27, 2016
Shortly after wrapping up a visit to Michigan, Columbia grad transfer Grant Mullins announced his commitment to Cal for his senior season. The combo guard was also considering Syracuse.
This leaves Michigan with an open scholarship for next season, and unless another grad transfer candidate emerges out of the blue, it's likely John Beilein will use it on a late-rising 2016 prospect—or, like he did last year, leave the scholarship open, which seems like the least-desirable route.
Sam Webb reported last week that Michigan was showing interest in four-star WI F Kostas Antetokuonmpo, but there hasn't been any word on him since then. The coaches checked in on IMG Academy three-star F Aleem Ford last week; he committed to Wisconsin shortly thereafter. Unless the coaches can get Antetokuonmpo to campus, they might be scrambling for other options.
Those other options almost certainly won't include Spike Albrecht, who's already visited Purdue and plans to see Wichita State and Syracuse. Even if Michigan decides they're willing to sacrifice some early development for Xavier Simpson to bring Albrecht back, the Wolverines won't represent Spike's best opportunity to play the most minutes.
So pumped for the Don Brown era. Half because of his defense, and half because dude is on Harbaugh's level when it comes to photos:
— Steve Lorenz (@TremendousUM) March 30, 2016
Don Brown's seen some things. Some things better left buried. But the law doesn't work like that. The law just keeps bringing things back, like a cat with a hairball.
Basketball roster not exactly set yet. Michigan has lost Spike Albrecht and Ricky Doyle, bringing their 2013 roster to 13. But they don't appear entirely settled with their roster yet:
Michigan, California, Syracuse and Hawaii are among the schools that have contacted Columbia grad transfer Grant Mullins.
— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) March 30, 2016
Mullins, a combo-guard, was super-efficient in the Ivy League last year (36th nationally in ORTG, 44% from three, lots of FTs at 83%) on a team that looks a lot like Michigan, statistically. Michigan also reached out to Sacred Heart transfer Cane Broome, though it doesn't look like anything is coming of that.
What's the deal with that as regards Spike, then? I don't know. Maybe Spike isn't likely to be the same player, or Xavier Simpson was going to take his minutes. Or Michigan is just keeping options open in case someone who has not decided to transfer does so in the future.
Red status not set either. Red's offered some quotes to news organizations about his impending decision, which seems honestly yet to be determined:
“I’m going to talk to [Manuel]…I don’t want to make an emotional decision because I’m mad at somebody or something, I want to make a decision that’s good for the program,” Berenson said.
Who or what he would be mad at is unknown. This in the Free Press doesn't really sound like a guy who was planning to come back but wanted to anyway:
“There’s no question ... the start of the year, I was pretty much resigned to the fact this would be the last year,” Berenson said. “But as the year went on, it got better and better. I thought it made more sense and it was working.
“I don’t want to be in the way, that’s the other thing. If I’m going to coach, I want to coach.”
The relative success of the team might extend his desire to coach. So… yeah. I said my bit on what should happen already.
Not bad. Wisconsin hired Tony Granato as their new head coach. Granato is a former NHL head coach who is a Wisconsin alum who had a prolific NHL career; he was a Wings assistant. He's bringing his brother Don, the NTDP head coach, and former OSU coach Mark Osiecki with him. Osiecki was doing a not-bad job with OSU when his tenure was suddenly and inexplicably terminated just three years in.
That is a lot of coaching firepower for one program. Wisconsin is going to bounce back just fine. With the addition of Notre Dame this early blip in Big Ten hockey is going to look like just that—a blip. The league has four historical powerhouses; those programs don't just stay down.
Well, most of them…
Not good. Meanwhile in erstwhile Big Ten hockey powers, Tom Anastos still has a job because apparently Sunil Gulati is running MSU's athletic department now. Mark Hollis is making statements that are downright delusional:
“I feel really good about where we’re at,” Hollis said. “…I’m also an AD that has to look at, ‘OK, what’s the next five years going to look like, based upon the past five years?’ And from all the assessments I’ve put into this and all the folks I’ve talked to, I’m very confident we’re going to have success here next year and in the immediate future.”
That is the most insane thing I've heard an athletic director say, and I was exposed to years of Dave Brandon. Anastos's teams have gotten worse every year, and this is year five. You can no longer say these things in year five:
Comley left the program bare, though Anastos has been careful not be be overly critical publicly. Most of the players he inherited were not highly recruited.
And guess what… most of the players Anastos is recruiting are not highly recruited. Their recruiting class is bulked up with 20-year-olds like MSU is Merrimack or something, and the guy they seem the most hyped about coming in next year is an overage forward out of the BCHL named Taro Hirose.
Hirose does have a nice line (15-56-71 in 58 games). It probably won't translate. Dexter Dancs came out of that league two years ago with 67 points in 56 games and has mostly been a fourth-liner at Michigan. Before him, Ben Winnett had 58 points in just 39 games; his career high in four years at Michigan was 14 points.
Meanwhile Anastos will not have the services of leading scorer MacKenzie MacEachern, former third round pick and the most Scottish thing not in a bottle. His lone returning draftee at F was –30 last year. I mean… what does it take to fire this guy?
I look forward to having the "Tom Anastos still has a job?" conversation again next year after Wisconsin gets instantly better with their new staff. I'm sorry I'm a broken record about this but keeping Anastos is brutal for the league and what used to be my favorite rivalry in sports.