Max Bielfeldt was re-listed as a senior a couple years back and walked on senior day, so his departure was expected. It's now official, per Jeff Goodman. Bielfeldt himself:
"With (LeVert) taking that scholarship, any little option of something else happening -- me coming back -- got a little bit smaller," Bielfeldt said. "The odds aren't very high that I come back here next year."
As a grad transfer Bielfeldt can be immediately eligible next year; Bradley, near his home, has been mentioned as a possibility. Dan Dakich will still talk about his calves during Michigan games for nostalgia's sake.
Meanwhile, despite Caris's decision to stay Michigan is still under the impression they have room for another player next year.
U-M coaches have made it clear that even with LeVert's return, the roster will have room for at least one addition.
Following Tuesday's announcement by LeVert, Troy Manns, [Kenny] Williams' coach at LC Bird High School coach in Richmond, told MLive that LeVert's return does not impact Williams' interest in Michigan.
"No, not at all," he said.
Asked if Michigan told Williams it still would have space for him if LeVert remaining a Wolverine, Manns answered, simply, "Yes."
With seemingly everyone else content to fight out the playing time crunch next year that would likely be Austin Hatch either going on medical hardship or, if his family is so inclined, becoming a walk-on next year. That would cost money but would keep the door open to Hatch getting on the court some.
Last night Michigan picked up a commit from in-state 2016 C Austin Davis, a guy I don't think many people knew Michigan was even tracking. That, his currently-thin recruiting profile, and, frankly, his ears, have a certain brand of Michigan fan headed to Ann Arbor Torch and Pitchfork about this development.
…stop it. If there is a place where any Michigan coach has earned public opinion leeway, it is John Beilein recruiting three-star basketballists.
|3*, UR||3*, UR||3*, #27 C, #5 MI||NR||--|
Davis is on the sites' radars as a generic three star center, but only just.
Davis is consistently listed at 6'10" and depending on when you get the article, at anywhere from 240 to 260—he'll come in looking more like Ricky Doyle than DJ Wilson.
He is consistently among the FG% leaders at AAU tournaments, hitting 62% at "Unrivaled" in Chicago and 65% at the "Gauntlet" in Dallas just last week. There he impressed a number of observers. SpartanMag's Paul Konyndyk after Davis put up 16 and 10 (on ten shots) against Ike Anigbogu, who was just offered by UCLA:
That performance was among the best of the weekend for Davis, who outplayed rising Corona (CA) Centennial center Ike Anigbogu, who scored just seven points against the Mustangs. …
Davis is a skilled big man with good footwork, solid post moves, and the ability to finish with either hand. It is only a matter of time before the small school standout begins pilling up major conference offers.
That performance was just a couple days ago and got a lot of major schools' attention. Vandy's 247 site said to keep an eye on him as a "highly skilled post" who was "highly effective" and that the Commodores were intrigued. A Northwestern writer also highlighted him:
“He just gets [stuff] done,” said one assistant coach who watched Davis’ 16-point, 10-rebound, three-block game against the Compton Magic.
Davis isn’t the most athletic player or elite in any one area, but he’s a productive all-around player. He showed soft hands with the ball, and good touch on his hook shots. A handful of his points against the Magic came in 1-on-1 battles against Ike Anigbogu, one of the best post defenders on the Adidas circuit. Davis flashed good footwork on a hook shot against Anigbogu, and also beat him on the block a couple times.
On multiple occasions during the weekend’s games, Davis got the ball just outside the paint and patiently worked around a defender into the paint to score. He also scored several times in in back-to-the-basket situations, putting the ball on the floor and finishing nicely.
He was just 2 of 9 from the free throw line at the Gauntlet, so that's a thing to work on.
Davis is a pound-it-inside, power-dribble, finish from the block kind of guy. Sam Webb($):
Davis is a 6-10, 245 lb. throwback big. He is a true back-to-the-basket big man. On the in-state basketball scene he has earned the nickname “Big Country” after former Oklahoma State and then Vancouver Grizzlies standout Bryant “Big Country” Reeves. Davis lives in the paint, is best scoring over his left shoulder but has occasionally shown the ability to score over his right, can beat opponents with a good drop step as well, and has good hands in the post.
Davis himself on his proficiency down low:
What they saw was a guy that was really comfortable down on the blocks, where he showed he could finish well with either hand.
"My low post game has always been my major strength," said Davis. "I'm trying to improve my shooting. To be able step up and shoot threes a little bit. I've gotten better with high post jumpers."
He's working and working and working and putting things on the internet. He's also pretty aware of his deficiencies and what he has to do to remedy them:
“I definitely need to improve speed,” Davis said. “My foot quickness, stuff like that. I need to get into better shape. Those are a lot of the main areas, and just continuing to progress and getting stronger.”
Davis also spoke with Balanis about similarities he shares with Irish forward Zach Auguste and the strengths of his game.
“I’d consider myself very strong with my back to the basket and in the low post,” Davis said. “We’ve worked on expanding my game to be able to face up and my jump shot.”
Davis is also young. He is currently 16 and won't turn 17 until the end of the summer, so he'll arrive on campus days after hitting 18.
Michigan was the first major school to offer Davis; before that he had MAC offers and interest from big chunks of the Big Ten and Notre Dame. He took unofficials to Indiana, Wisconsin and Iowa in addition to the in-state schools. Perusing various 247 content gives the impression that Wisconsin assistant Greg Gard was a major proponent of the guy. Gard is a good guy to have in your corner if you're a gawky high school post.
Davis is Class B Shaq:
The junior scored 45 points in a game on two occasions, and even had a triple-double with 33 points, 27 rebounds and 10 blocks. His averages of 26.2 points, 17.3 rebounds and 4.8 blocks per game earned him AP Class B Player of the Year honors in Michigan, all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.
Davis also had a 3.95 GPA as of last year.
There's a ton, from workouts when he was a freshman to Davis being high school Shaq at 6'2" guys going pro in something other than sports to full Onsted Wildcats games. In the Class B regional finals against Milan he opens the game with a missed dunk on an alley-oop.
This went up in January and is amongst the most recent:
This is from last summer:
As is this:
This went up in November:
The video shows a mostly below-the-rim big, and while this is highlight tape you can get some hints of things he does well. He makes a number of tough catches in these videos; he finishes with both hands from in a variety of situations; he seems to have good footwork with which to reposition for layups after a power dribble.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Posts are tough to project and Davis is tougher than most because of the level of competition he generally goes against. He'll probably take a redshirt and hit Camp Sanderson, whereupon the sluggishness that does show up on film (and is something Davis himself points out as his most pressing issue) should be mitigated. How much? I don't know. I do like bigs with good hands and the ability to finish with either.
With Doyle and Donnal in front of him plus Teske, Michigan can let Davis develop until he's a redshirt sophmore, whereupon he should have a productive, Jordan-Morgan-esque career.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan's going to have a lot of fouls to give at the five, I guess? They are currently scheduled to have this setup at center in 2016-17:
- Doyle, Jr.
- Donnal, Jr.*
- Teske, Fr.
- Davis, Fr.
And that's not even counting DJ Wilson, who could well be skrong like bull by then. So this is a weird commitment given the composition of Michigan's roster. I do like the prospect of a parade of upper-class bigs. It's likely that one of Teske or Davis ends up redshirting, which is a good thing for a project big who isn't likely to be on NBA radars. See: Jordan Morgan.
They have two scholarships definitely opening up (Albrecht and LeVert) from guards; they have filled those slots with posts. If they thought someone was transferring—which Beilein has explicitly said isn't happening and Webb re-asserted just today($)—they probably would have taken a swing at 2015 big Mike Edwards. Instead Edwards committed to Georgia after Michigan got Moritz Wagner.
There's almost certainly going to be some additional attrition that opens up a slot or two (Hatch, Irvin to the NBA, maybe guys who get lost in the shuffle this year) with which Michigan pursues a point guard and one of their 6'6" SG/SF archetypes. I would imagine post recruiting is done until 2018.
Ace is on vacation this week.
The Williams conundrum
I've mentioned this in a UV or two, but it warrants mention here due to Developments: Michigan is suddenly hot in the recruitment of VCU decommit Kenny Williams, a 2015 combo guard who is back on the market after Shaka Smart took the Texas job. Williams picked up a slew of Michigan Crystal Ball picks from insiders unconnected to M—usually a good sign if they're pros, as a few are—and then Beilein started tracking him in earnest.
Beilein is serious:
The Chesterfield, Virginia native confirmed to UMHoops.com that John Beilein plans to meet with the shooting guard now that he has been granted his release from the Rams.
“The plan is for him to come down this weekend,” Williams said in a text message to UM Hoops.
Other contenders include Georgetown, UNC, and Virginia. The kid is evidently very interested in Michigan, and Sam Webb reports that Beilein really likes him… and that Williams is not a contingency plan($). That stroke gets his attention.
Where does the scholarship come from? With wings and shooting guards cramming into the NBA draft and Caris LeVert slipping towards the tail end of the first round, it does not look like it'll be the NBA's doing. LeVert:
“I still have a ways before I can start running and jumping,” LeVert said. “Going out there tomorrow would probably be a stretch. … But I don’t have to do that. The combine isn’t tomorrow. I still have a couple more weeks to go. Hopefully in a couple weeks I’ll feel a little bit better.”
Additionally, LeVert admitted Wednesday night that if the second evaluation reveals he would likely be a second-round pick, he would most likely come back to school.
“I don’t think it really makes sense to go early and be drafted in the second round,” he said.
That is a nice change from Harris/Morris/Robinson, and if plugged in people feel that Caris is not a first-rounder after his injury and the pile of early entries the needle points to him staying on scholarship. So it seems likely at this point that if Williams does commit, Hatch will transition to a medical scholarship.
What about Jaylen Brown? If Williams wants to commit it looks like Michigan will check back with Brown just in case he wants to drop, and in the highly likely scenario he doesn't they'll take the bird in the hand.
Where does playing time come from? I can't answer that one. Even without Williams next year's roster is jam-packed.
On campus right now
Offered MI K/P Quinn Nordin is in Ann Arbor as you read this. Nordin may be the top kicker in the country. Though you hear that about every kicker Michigan recruits, Nordin has 20 offers—an absolute ton for a specialists. Nordin's announced that he plans on attending MSU's spring game on the 25th so a commit is probably not in the offing, but Brandon Peters was supposed to hold off on his Michigan commitment and that didn't happen.
Michigan could have an edge since Nordin is affiliated with Kornblue kicking, and Brandon Kornblue is a Michigan alum. Since Michigan's offer, a pile of predictions have come in for M, including Ace's.
True story: when we were in college doing dumb college things one of them was voting with forks. One of the house rules was "one man, one fork" and people would express approval by exclaiming "forks up!"
This is again relevant to my life because occasionally I read articles about Arizona State recruiting pitches. This one was made to VA WR JJ Givens:
"I know for sure I'm going to Arizona State and Michigan this summer. The whole forks up mantra at Arizona State excites me, It's a program I grew up watching. With Michigan, I just love everything about them. They just got Harbaugh as their coach, they have NFL experience now. I look up to Jabrill Peppers and I work out with Derrick Green here a lot in Virginia."
Oh and Givens seems to really like the idea of Michigan. Michigan has offered, though these days they're emphatically on board the "offer everyone and let God sort 'em out" train, so it's hard to tell how high he is on their board.
I was there and it was nice
Eifler showing off his bowling score, the highest ever recorded
Scout has react from five-star CA LB Camilo Eifler, who has just returned from a tour of a number of East Coast schools($). Most interestingly for Michigan's 2015 team, Eifler describes Michigan's SAM spot as a return to the 4-3 under:
“I would most likely the WILL or MIKE position, just because their SAM is more like a two point end that rushes the passer mostly.”
So keep that in mind.
As far as Eifler's trip, it went well, getting the "blown away" headline designation. Eifler's chosen visits imply Michigan's academics are a real factor: other than M he took in Duke, Vandy, Northwestern, and Louisville. Those first three are the kind of visits you only take as a five-star if you are serious about the education thing. Eifler($):
“Most of the schools that I visited were academic schools. That’s just what I want,” said Eifler. “I want to a school to have football and academics. Michigan showed me the academic side, but also with the power football behind it that some of the other schools just didn’t have. It was good to see what it is like to be part of that.”
USC has not offered and he seems a bit miffed about that; Oregon doesn't seem like a huge factor right now… he seems very much in play. Washington has the only two predictions for him on the Crystal Ball.
Crawford still talking M
CA WR Dylan Crawford now seems like a longer shot since the "KJ Costello brings half of California with him" plan was derailed by accursed Stanford, but Michigan remains a school of major interest:
"I want to get to Oregon for sure," Crawford said. "I'm still waiting on that offer. I would also like to visit Michigan again, either unofficially or officially. Right now, I'm wide open and don't even have a top 10 yet but the plan is to narrow things down in the summer and then commit at the end of the summer."
Crawford was being interviewed about his recent trip to… yes, Stanford. And don't expect his commitment-type substance to be final:
Matt Falcon's coach on Michigan's newest commitment($):
"First of all, he's as fast as anyone around," Conley said sternly. "On the track he's setting records in the indoor 200m races and when you see him out there and he's 50 or 60 pounds heavier than the these other kids that he's running against and he's beating or tying them it's just really impressive. He is definitely a great talent. …
"What I like about Matt is that he can do a lot of things," Conley said. "Whenever we'd have a hard time blocking for him we were able to throw the ball to him because he catches it so well. He's incredible at catching the ball out of the backfield. His skill set at catching the ball is one of the best I've ever seen. We plan on using him a lot and want to put a lot of pressure on defenses. He can be really dangerous at Michigan depending on how they develop up front."
That skill will be an asset at Michigan, as Harbaugh loves those five-wide sets with base personnel. That kind of flexibility will be attractive when it comes to playing time. (And is going to be really interesting when it comes to Ty Isaac this year.)
The distant future, the year 2000
I have a policy of studiously ignoring all sophomore-and-younger offers unless given a specific reason to pay attention. This from Cass Tech 2017 safety Jaylen Kelly-Powell counts:
"I grew up in a Michigan household," Kelly-Powell began. "My Dad is a diehard Michigan fan. He named me after his favorite Michigan basketball player, Jalen Rose. I love Michigan also."
He'll be a guy to keep an eye on. Current 180th in 247's insanely early rankings for that year.
Etc.: It's too bad IN ATH Toks Akinribade is probably a tailback according to his coach($), because TOKS AKINRIBADE. Michigan is likely full at RB.
Mmmm, sacrilicious. Notre Dame youtube music, you say? I've got my schaden-stick at the ready.
This is way less bad than Freekbass, at least?
Also in Notre Dame. Goodbye, Lou Holtz.
SI.com learned over the weekend that ESPN has parted ways with Lou Holtz, who had been a college football studio analyst with the network since 2004 and worked most notably with host Rece Davis and analyst Mark May on ESPN’s Saturday College Football Final pregame, halftime and postgame studio coverage. Holtz was also a regular contributor to SportsCenter and ESPN Radio. The decision, according to sources, was closer to a mutual agreement between the parties than Holtz getting forced out.
Holtz wasn't exactly good. Once you accepted the fact that he was not there to provide serious analysis but rather to do magic tricks and babble incoherently, though, he was reliably entertaining. That's something you can't say for a lot of television "personalities." He was kind of like Dan LeBatard's dad for college football. I'm not going to actually miss him but since ESPN is 50/50 to replace the Rece Davis/Holtz/Mark May combo with three clones of Craig James I have real trepidation here.
Um, okay? Bizarre sequence of events in basketball recruiting: Shaka Smart takes the Texas job, so top-100 combo guard recruit Kenny Williams asks out of his letter of intent. In the immediate aftermath seven Crystal Ball predictions come in, six of them for Michigan. (The other: Georgetown.) Actual recruiting expert Jerry Meyer is amongst them, and both Rivals and Scout follow up with reporting on it that suggests it is not a fever dream. Georgetown's 247 guy thinks it's M and their Duke guys are somehow insistent on it.
One problem, of course: Michigan has a full roster unless Hatch goes on medical or Caris LeVert decides on the NBA draft, something that doesn't seem to be likely at the moment. And they're already really deep at guard. And they were not involved with the kid before his VCU commitment. And everybody says he committed to the Rams because he wanted to stay close to home in Virginia, which is why he doesn't seem interested in following Smart to Texas. Michigan isn't close to Virginia. And Williams does not currently have a scholarship offer. This is really several problems.
But apparently it might happen? Williams, depending on who you ask and when you asked him, is a 6'2" to 6'4" shooting guard with one of the best strokes in the country. Beilein was just down to watch him play at a tournament, so there's a concrete indicator the interest there is mutual.
A way in which it might make a little more sense. Derryck Thornton's dad has told a few people that Spike Albrecht might end up redshirting after his hip surgeries this offseason. Albrecht has one complete and one to go; the recovery timetable of 4-5 months seemed to give him a month or two to get back in the swing of things before the season.
I have a solution for your problem. NBA owner Mark Cuban bitching about college basketball:
The "horrible" state of college basketball is hurting the NBA, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said.
Cuban said he doesn't enjoy watching the college game, but his bigger concern is that the physical, slow-down style that has become common in the NCAA results in prospects who are poorly prepared to jump to the NBA.
"If they want to keep kids in school and keep them from being pro players, they're doing it the exact right way by having the 35-second shot clock and having the game look and officiated the way it is," Cuban said Wednesday night. "Just because kids don't know how to play a full game of basketball.
"You've got three kids passing on the perimeter. With 10 seconds on the shot clock, they try to make something happen and two other kids stand around. They don't look for anything and then run back on defense, so there's no transition game because two out of five or three out of five or in some cases four out of five kids aren't involved in the play.
"It's uglier than ugly, and it's evidenced by the scoring going down. When the NBA went through that, we changed things."
If college basketball is hurting the NBA so badly, it's the NBA's fault for instituting one-and-done. And that characterization of college offense coming from the land of hero-ball and isolations is even more nuts.
Yes, teams emphasize getting back in transition. I'd like someone try to find a rule change for that.
Again, there is no scoring crisis, very little has changed in the last decade of college basketball, people are
yelling pointlessly about a fractional dip in pace caused by fewer turnovers and more transition D that has actually seen offensive efficiency increase slightly over the past thirteen years. If you want to chop the shot clock to 30, fine. That will magically fix all of our problems, because there aren't any.
We just had five excellent offensive performances and Michigan State in the Final Four. Kentucky acquired 1.1 points per possession and lost by seven. And the bitching will continue because… Penn State, I guess?
A bit more on Alabama's pursuit and dismissal of Difficulties Guy. Holly Anderson writes about it, and hits the nail on the head:
Did Alabama consider the risks of bringing Jonathan Taylor to Tuscaloosa, and decide they merited his inclusion on the team? Or did Alabama never need to care about the risks at all?
Right now, it’s the only explanation that makes sense. What risk was there, really, to the program? This sport shifts glacially, and won’t change in time to adversely affect the careers of anyone who had a hand in this decision, or others like it. Neither the Crimson Tide’s recruiting nor their 2015 win-loss record will suffer. It seems most likely that they didn’t properly consider the admission decision, because they had no real need to. Because this little media conflagration that has unfolded over the past couple of days is Alabama’s worst-case scenario for a repeat assault allegation against Taylor: to be yelled at for a little bit.
Real consequences don't exist. The fanbase isn't going to deliver them (and I doubt many, if any, would). The SEC isn't. The NCAA isn't. Recruits and their parents aren't—recruits and their parents have been signing their kids up for Alabama's annual oversigning happily. The media will rattle a saber for a bit and rival fans get a bit of ammunition, and that's it. The end.
Etc.: Now that it's official I plan some passing game UFRs for Rudock; for now here's his game against Wisconsin, which was terrific. (He had some not very terrific games.) Wisconsin set to leave Adidas for UA. Urban Meyer has not pleased Jamal Dean's high school coach after declaring Dean not medically cleared.
Not literally a comic book. 28 minutes of Charles Woodson highlights from high school do not quite feature him bounding over a tall building:
Full go minus one decision. John Beilein doesn't see anyone transferring this offseason:
"Everybody seems to be all onboard 100 percent," Beilein said Monday after attending a USBWA Final Four luncheon honoring freshman Austin Hatch. "Obviously, we're not with them 24 hours a day, but I love their attitude right now."
That does not include Caris LeVert, who is deciding on the NBA draft. It seems that people around the program are cautiously optimistic he will stay for his senior year, but we won't have certainty until the early entry deadline, April 26th.
That would leave Michigan with zero scholarships this year and two plus any attrition after next season in 2016. Unless Hatch goes on a medical scholarship that would cut out Mike Edwards, the various transfers looking at Michigan, and Jaylen Brown.
In related news, it looks like Max Bielfeldt will spend his grad transfer year at Bradley.
Meanwhile, another one bites the dust at Indiana. The Hoosiers get a commitment from prep post Thomas Bryant, bringing the number of Indiana players guaranteed to get run off this offseason to three. Someone please fire Tom Crean.
Spike surgery. Spike Albrecht will have surgery on both hips to eliminate the pain he played through this season. His projected return is in four or five months, which cuts him out of all the summer stuff but should have him back on the court a couple months before the season. That should be enough time to knock off the rust.
Soon, a fully healthy Spike will also be dunking on fools.
Out go the successories posters. Harbaugh on the weight room:
"It was shiny, like somebody from Chicago came in [from a ] P.R. firm," Harbaugh said. ""This isn't a slide show.
"This is work."
Don't get a DUI and then fail your probation. Harbaugh on Glasgow:
"The legal system has got as much hanging over his head as anybody else could possibly put on him," Harbaugh said. "There's nothing more that I, or the football program or the university could have on Graham right now than what (the courts) have.
"This is somebody who is taking a breathalyzer every morning and every night. He's got to be clean, 100 percent clean, not a drop of alcohol. And he'll either do it, or he won't. I believe in him, I believe he will. But we'll all know, there will be no secrets on that. Whether he does it or he doesn't, it'll be for public consumption."
He will have to do this through January, so he will either be clean as a whistle or you'll know he wasn't.
This is a lovely shot chart. Aubrey Dawkins did two things last year:
Threes and throwdowns. He was excellent at the threes, average at the throwdowns, which still means he was extremely efficient. Next year's project is getting some of those hexagons to be larger without changing their distribution. Oh, and doing the defense and rebounding stuff.
Adjusting for the matchups and expected points in each game, scoring in the smaller tournaments has been about 5.6 ppg more than the NCAA tournament. This is 2.4 ppg higher than the typical difference in these events. That's not something that will transform the game, but if you assume that boost applies to the entire 2015-16 season, it would take the sport to scoring levels not seen since 2003. (That statement excludes last season, when scoring increased dramatically, partly because a bunch of fouls were called.)
Not surprisingly, most of the scoring increase can be attributed to an increase in pace. Accounting for the teams involved and the increase in tempo normally seen in lower-level events, there have been two additional possessions per 40 minutes than we'd expect under normal rules. This is a more modest change compared to scoring and only turns the clock back to 2011 in terms of pace. This suggests simply reducing the shot clock to 30 won't produce significantly more up-and-down basketball. A surprising finding here is that slow-paced teams were affected as much as fast-paced teams were.
One of the concerns of the 30-second clock is that it may make offenses less efficient, but the postseason experiment isn't providing much evidence of that. Accounting for the quality of the teams and the usual increase in efficiency seen in the lower-level events, efficiency was actually up, though by a miniscule 0.6 points per 100 possessions.
The efficiency thing is almost certainly noise, but it looks like any effects are going to be minimal in that department. I don't think there's much wrong with college basketball other than the fact that block/charge is impossible to call and the refs are hilariously bad in general—but that's not something you can wave a wand and fix.
Final CSS rankings out. Minor movement for most players. Zach Werenski is 9th, down from 6th. Kyle Connor moves up a spot to 13th. 2016 recruit Cooper Marody moves up ten spots to 53rd. There were some more significant moves:
NTDP forward Brendan Warren dropped from 34th to 66th, which is an early third round pick to the fifth or sixth. He had an okay year only with the U18s.
Incoming defenders Joe Cecconi and Nick Boka went in opposite directions; Cecconi dropped from 70 to 88 and Boka shot up from 176 to 117.
Given Michigan's needs next year I'm happy that Boka's stock has apparently surged, even if Warren is less of a prospect than you think he might be. I wonder if Michigan will try to bring Marody or another 2016 recruit in now given Copp's departure.
The Hockey Writers have an extensive breakdown of Werenski that compares him to Trouba. I know I'm seeing Werenski a year younger, but he is not Trouba. Trouba was a commanding defenseman at both ends of the ice. Werenski really came on in the offensive zone late in the year but was a significant source of defensive problems.
Etc.: 1914 All-American ring for "Maully," which is either John Maulbetsch's nickname or a cartoon hammer. Bacari Alexander is up for the UW-Green Bay job, which is a pretty good mid-major posting. Various OMG Harbaugh stories on spring from ESPN, MLive, MVictors, etc.
John Beilein picked up his first commit of the 2015 class today when German forward Moritz Wagner announced he'll attend Michigan:
Proud that I gonna be a Wolverine and a part of ichigan next year. Damn grateful for what Alba did for me! This is my club &always will be
— Moe Wagner (@moritz_weasley) April 5, 2015
Wagner chose the college route over playing professionally in Germany for Alba Berlin. Beilein traveled to watch Wagner play for his club team last year, and Michigan jumped to the forefront of Wagner's recruitment when they offered him last month during a campus visit.
|NR PF||NR PF||--||--||--|
The recruiting services don't evaluate overseas players, so Wagner is unranked across the board. He's listed at 6'9", 210 on Rivals, which fits with reports that he isn't quite a full 6'10", which he was listed at on several sites. When Wagner visited Ann Arbor, Rivals' Eric Bossi found a scout to give his thoughts on where Wagner would be ranked if he were an American prospect:
So, exactly what type of player is Wagner? Rivals.com spoke with an NBA scout over the weekend and the scout said Moritz isn't likely as tall as the 6-foot-10 he's being listed at, but he is plenty big to play as a college four man. The scout said Wagner has good touch, is clever with the ball and that he competes on both ends of the floor.
"He's not a guy that is on our radar as somebody who is going to be a pro right away," said the scout. "He's somebody that we see going to college and then we'll see from there. I'd look at him as a top-20 to top-40 type recruit if he were in the States."
That would put him towards the tail end of the five-stars or among the top four-stars, which... yeah, that sounds nice.
Scout's Evan Daniels caught up with an NBA Scout to get his take on Wagner's game:
From the video I’ve been able to get my hands on, Wagner’s all around skill set is what immediately stands out. He has impressive hands, good touch around the basket and can score both facing the rim and with his back to it.
“He’s a versatile kid who knows how to play ball,” a NBA scout that has evaluated him multiple times told Scout. “He’s not an athlete, but with his length and coordination he manages to deceive his opponents and get to the rack quiet easily. Once he becomes a more consistent shooter he will be a nightmare on the wing.”
“He reads the game well, gets his teammates involved and is unselfish player,” the NBA scout added. “The most impressive thing about him is his passion for the game and the will to win. He legitimately cares for the game.”
This scouting report from European Prospects comes from last May:
The young Moritz Wagner is a really interesting prospect for the future. Used as a PF on multiple occasions, Wagner showed that he has an outside game and that his future should be on the SF position. He can shoot from outside, either on catch-and-shoot situations or in the Pick and Pop when being the screener. Wagner can also put the ball on the floor which works particularly well when used against taller power forwards. He is also able to drive with direction changes and finish against stronger or taller players in the paint. Athletically, he is looking good and with his overall length, he is a good vertical presence on both sides of the court. Wagner really needs to be used on the wing positions in the future as he has the tools to become an interesting long small forward in the future.
Wagner still needs to hone his outside shot, but he's got great length for a Beilein wing, and he should be able to create offense off the dribble. While he isn't regarded as a one-and-done talent, his German team very much wanted to sign him to a pro contract, but Wagner reportedly wants to make it to the NBA and believes Michigan provides him the best path to get there.
Wagner's narrow focus on Michigan didn't allow for many other schools to come under serious consideration. When he was planning his visit, he'd also heard from Arizona, Auburn, Cal, Duke, Providence, Virginia, and UNLV. That's a pretty impressive list of suitors for an overseas prospect making a late decision.
In the NBBL (German youth league), Wagner is averaging 17 points, 5 rebounds, two assists and two steals per game while shooting 61% on twos and 30% on threes. He also averaged 9.6 points and 5.4 rebounds during the Adidas Next Generation U18 Tournament, helping Alba Berlin to a third-place finish.
Playing with Germany’s U18 team in the FIBA Euro Championships, Wagner averaged 5.2 points and three rebounds in 10 minutes a game.
The outside shot needs some work, but that's some impressive efficiency inside the arc.
Going from most to least recent:
While his athleticism doesn't jump off the screen, his skill level is apparent.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Wagner is going to need some time adding bulk at Camp Sanderson, and his slight physique—and still-developing shot—may limit his minutes as a freshman, especially if Caris LeVert comes back and a logjam results on the wings. He'll most likely be competing with Duncan Robinson and Kameron Chatman for a spot in the rotation, and of the three we've only been able to see Chatman play at this level.
Down the road, he's a very intriguing prospect. Michigan really missed having a player at the four who could create off the dribble, and while Aubrey Dawkins made some progress in that regard late in the season, Wagner looks like the most polished slasher among the guys who could play at that spot. If his outside shot comes along, he could be a very impactful stretch four.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Wagner's commitment means Michigan is currently at the scholarship limit for 2015-16, and that's assuming Max Bielfeldt will move on to another program for his fifth year, as expected. If LeVert departed for the NBA, that'd open up a spot. Michigan is still in pursuit of five-star 2015 forward Jaylen Brown, and should he decide he wants to attend, it's hard to imagine Michigan wouldn't have a spot for him, perhaps by putting Austin Hatch on medical scholarship; there have been some positive indicators for Brown since his visit, but he's still expected to end up elsewhere.
Unless Brown makes a surprise choice to come to Michigan, this should be the conclusion of the program's 2015 recruiting.