fair point that
Now that we've reached the relatively busy summer, it's time to once again temporarily break out basketball recruiting into its own post.
2015 Saginaw combo guard Eric Davis has acquired a Michigan offer after an unofficial to Ann Arbor. Davis, a 6'3" gentleman ranked in the top 50 most places, has offers from big chunks of the Big Ten, Florida, and UCLA. He's currently projected to head to State, though he's played things close to the vest. He told Rivals "I don't have favorites," just like Jalen Coleman tends to do. Unlike Coleman, he does have an idea when he'd like to get things over with: September.
Davis is only the third guy Michigan has offered in the 2015 class; Jalens Brunson and Coleman are the others. Does this say something about Michigan's confidence level with them? Probably. If either was super enthused they would not be waiting around. They'd be trying to pre-empt Eron Harris.
Speaking of Harris, it's status quo($) with him: looking to visit Michigan and State and then make a decision. It is possible that the two schools are going to get some combination of everybody they're competing over: Brunson, Coleman, Harris, and Davis are all mutual targets who play SG/PG who are projected to one school or the other by the Crystal Ball or down to those two and Purdue. Whoever drops first would push the others towards the rival.
Leaf Acquisition: Possible
Along with a gaggle of high-profile 2016 point guards Michigan is also receiving favorable attention from 2016 CA PF TJ Leaf, currently a five star. Leaf's family is originally from Indiana, mitigating distance issues, and for a face-up 3/4 like Leaf, Michigan's style of play is highly attractive. His dad gave Sam Webb some encouraging quotes($) in a lengthy article:
“What we like about Michigan is that the two, three, four positions seem to be somewhat interchangeable from the way that I see it,” Leaf’s father and coach Brad said. “That’s the type of versatility that T.J. has and that’s what Michigan likes… guys that can play multiple positions. This is why we really really think Michigan is a great fit for him at this point at this time in his career.”
Before you get too excited, Leaf has given highly positive quotes about Indiana as well, and any number of West Coast schools are pursuing him. Sounds like Michigan has as legit a shot as anyone.
Leaf was on campus for the most recent ND game and is thus in position to receive a June 15th offer.
I am probably going to hate you, no offense it's just sports
2015 WI SG Brevin Pritzl took a Michigan visit, left without an offer, visited Wisconsin, got his offer, and then said he would shut it down after visiting Marquette. He has a tentative plan to make a commitment by July. This has caused a flood of Wisconsin predictions on the 247 Crystal Ball, a group which we joined.
If Pritzl's going to be off the board in a couple months it's likely Michigan will either have acquired Eron Harris or still be waiting on Jalen Coleman. So, yeah, file Pritzl under "guy making banked threes at the buzzer against M for Wisconsin."
I'm not going to bother learning how to spell this
A brief rumble of excitement shot through the e-fanbase a couple days back when Michigan was mentioned in the same breath as Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, a Ukrainian phenom who is apparently looking to hit up college basketball before the NBA.
Despite being 16, he is apparently a 2014 recruit, which complicates things for Michigan since they are currently pursuing Harris. Both Rivals and Sam Webb shot down the idea that uh… the Ukrainian guy was at all likely to even visit, with Webb saying flatly that it wasn't happening and Chris Balas mentioning that European teams are going to try to keep him across the Atlantic for the next couple years. Also, a few other teams—UVA and Kansas are most heavily mentioned for him—were ahead of M even if he decided to play in the USA.
Mykhailiuk is setting up some trips before making a decision; in the event that he does end up in Ann Arbor that would be the time to start planning your hybrid Ukrainian/Michigan flag. He has UVA and Kansas the next couple weeks. Michigan might take a poke if he's still on the market and Harris goes elsewhere.
Speaking of June 15th
That is of course the magic offer date for the 2016 class. One man's opinion on who gets issued scholarships on that date:
NV PG Derryck Thornton Jr—Undoubtedly Michigan's top priority.
CA PF TJ Leaf—see above. They don't have a higher post prority.
OH SF Seth Towns—has the grades and the visits, M seems to like him a lot. Not a slam dunk like Leaf/Thornton according to the rankings.
NJ SF Tyus Battle—as long as he comes in for camp and transcripts shake out would be goofy not to.
MI PG Cassius Winston—would file higher except for that UMHoops interview where he says he's on track for an offer by the end of the summer. Giving Thornton a shot to jump first? Or maybe a transcript thing he's fixing with summer school?
IN PG Eron Gordon—visited last fall, projected by world to go to IU, but a top 50 guy who may warrant an offer. But if they don't offer Winston it's hard to see them offering any PG until they get a sense that Thornton will wait.
KY PG Quentin Goodin—confirmed he will camp, so always a possibility.
ON PG Jamal Murray—visited for Indiana game in March, top 50 guy.
OH SF Matthew Moyer—straight A student who is enthusiastic about M. Michigan may prefer Towns.
NC DE Darian Roseboro took an extensive visit to Michigan last weekend and reported back favorably; Sam Webb has an article on the result, in which Roseboro's dad raves and says he's seen what there is to see:
“I’ve seen all I’m going to see,.” Mr. Roseboro said flatly. “I’m not going anymore visits. Maybe he and his mother and grandpa will go one or two more places… maybe Tennessee, maybe (North Carolina) State, (North) Carolina or Duke. It won’t be any place further than what we’ve been.”
They want to come to a decision in the next couple months between Michigan and the schools listed above. NC State is popularly held to be the biggest threat… can we still be confident recruiting against NC State? I feel we can. .
Camps and such continue
Rivals's camp tour arrived in Detroit recently, and while there aren't a whole lot of local 2015 kids that Michigan seems to be pursuing there is one they're definitely after. He is Cass Tech RB Mikey Weber:
"Nussmeier, the day he came in, he contacted me and he brought me to their facility and he showed me a lot of things and he really opened my eyes back to Michigan," Weber said. "Nussmeier brings that Alabama style of running and that's what I'm looking for."
Weber was named the #1 player on offense in attendance:
Weber was virtually unguardable during the one-on-one period. The Rivals250 member is extremely agile and can change directions on a dime. Weber ran extremely crisp routes and had very good hands.
MSU seems the main competition unless Notre Dame puts on a press, but we are now in a situation where we can hope a highly touted running back commits to MSU before Michigan's target decides. In this case that's OH RB Larry Scott, who is reportedly about to drop to MSU.
/waves tiny 'punt' flag
Notre Dame, for its part, just got back in after a "misunderstanding" had Weber thinking an offer was coming when it was not. The two parties still seem to be at arm's length at the moment.
Weber's planning a hats-on-the-table decision at the Army game, FWIW.
Malzone just has to fire the photon torpedoes down the tubes to get an offer
MI QB Alex Malzone was the QB MVP, FWIW, and may be inching closer to a Michigan offer:
The most noticeable thing about him was his rifle arm. The ball really pops off his hand and gets to his target in a hurry. Malzone's good footwork helped him throw a very accurate ball. He was able to hit most of his receivers in stride throughout the day.
His throwing session($) for various college coaches went well:
“My conversation with Coach Nuss went very well,” Malzone said. “He’s been all around the country seeing guys throw. I think he has one more, maybe two more on his list. He told everyone from the beginning he was going to see everyone throw. And then see what happens from there. And that’s pretty much what he told me. He said he was very impressed."
If I had to bet, Malzone's recent performances and flagging interest from the crew of elite California dudes will lead to Michigan issuing that offer. Wake Forest has issued his first BCS offer.
Elsewhere, PA OL commit Jon Runyan Jr showed up for a camp in the NY/NJ area, providing an opportunity for someone to provide scouting on him:
Runyan, a Michigan commit, was technically sound. His initial punch had purpose and he moved his feet well. He stayed low in his pass protection stance, and he did not reach. His balance was good, but he had a little difficulty when a speedy defensive lineman tried to go straight up the field on him. He was solid, and will continue to improve as his strength and size increase.
Listed at 6'3.5" and 265 pounds, Runyan is slated for the interior unless he hits a growth spurt.
Welp, part one
If you need a definition of how the recruiting landscape has shifted over the course of the last football season, here it is($):
Coming off a spring game visit to Michigan State on Saturday, Detroit King linebacker Tyriq Thompson has the Spartans out front as the team to beat in his recruitment. … Thompson's father played for Michigan and he holds an offer from the Wolverines.
Previously MSU was only in play for certain recruits with family backgrounds that favored MSU or had academic red flags that Michigan, for better or worse, is shying away from. Now they're leading for a Michigan legacy with a Michigan offer. This is what happens when you have the most unwatchable football season in the country while your instate rival wins the conference and Rose Bowl.
Quick, play some more LFO, Special K!
Welp, part two
CA DE Keisean Lucier-South called Michigan a childhood favorite and was super-enthused about the offer that did come from Ann Arbor, but at the moment he's got another school out front($):
"UCLA is probably I would say the team to beat right now. I have been talking to them the most right now and I've seen them and been to their school the most so they're the team to beat."
He does have an official planned to Michigan this fall (also ND) and is going to take his time.
OLSM LB Daelin Hayes was set to commit to Michigan at that Rivals camp before putting off his decision. His performance at the camp justified the early offer:
Hayes is looking like he will be among the nation's best in that class after what we saw on Sunday. It was always known that Hayes was talented, and that at 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds he had ideal size. However, he missed his sophomore year after getting injured in the first game of the season and there was some questions as to justhow good he was. We got that question answered pretty sufficiently on Sunday when Hayes proved to be on another tier athletically.
As far as his recruitment goes, his current offers are from M, MSU, Wisconsin, and Tennessee and isn't maintaining any leaders. He plans to camp($) at M, MSU, and Wisconsin so it doesn't seem like he's looking to go too far afield.
MI OL Thiyo Lukasa seems to be an instate battle, one that probably favors Michigan this instant but see Welp Part One above.
Basketball is going better, stop me if you've heard that before
Chatman and Wilson zoom up available rankings
It's another final rankings update, so Michigan recruits must be shooting towards the ceiling. This time it's Scout, which finally makes Kam Chatman a five star (at #23) after Chatman was the #1 four star on Rivals and 247. Also rocketing up the rankings is DJ Wilson, who finishes #67 after being an anonymous three star upon his commitment. "Gold in them thar hills" tag: deployed.
Unfortunately, it seems like Michigan and Cole Huff aren't going to end up making sweet three point babies… this sentence got really weird really fast. I was powerless to stop it, you have to believe me.
Anyway. According to his AAU coach, Huff is down to two:
Cole Huff is down to Creighton and Iowa where he is visiting tomorrow he will be making a decision following the visit #Eleate
— clint parks (@Brotherhood05) May 1, 2014
Given the way they'd been talking about Michigan before I have to assume that Michigan did not end up pursuing Huff. That isn't the craziest thing in the world if Chatman and Wilson are both stretch fours… I just thought a guy who had that size and shot like that would be a lock to perform under Beilein. C'est la vie.
With Huff off the board, the next major event in basketball recruiting is likely to be the June window in which Michigan conducts its elite camp and fires out offers to 2016 prospects. Michigan is going to have a couple of big, big time guys on campus for that camp. One of them is going to be NV PG Derryck Thornton Jr. If that seems like an odd place for a guy super interested in Michigan to be, Chris Balas has a long piece($) on the reason Michigan is high on his list. Turns out Jeff Meyer coached his father back in the day when he was at Liberty, and things went better than they do with Rutgers coaches:
"One word - integrity," Thornton Sr. told us last year. "I remember him as a man as much as a coach. He had high integrity. Of course he'd get after you in practice, but that's what you do as a coach. There were times he'd call you just to check on you and see how you were doing."
Tom Crean just fainted, then cut down some nets.
Thornton plans to be at Michigan's elite camp for nearly a week, and an offer will certainly follow. Thornton is the #19 player in the country on the 247 composite, and their Crystal Ball has swung from 100% Arizona to 50-50 over the past few weeks.
As a bonus, Thornton and his dad have seemingly convinced NJ SF Tyus Battle to take in the elite camp as well. Syracuse is supposed to lead for Battle; get 'em on campus and all that.
And Michigan has plenty of options after those two… it seems that the 2016 cycle is the one where Michigan is really starting to see the payoff from their recent success. AL SG Josh Langford (not that Josh Langfeld), claims "high interest($)" in Michigan…
“Oh I definitely want to get up to Michigan,” Langford’s father said. “And Michigan State has also shown a lot of interest too so, I definitely want to get up to Michigan to check them out.”
…MI PG Cassius Winston is waiting on his offer, KY PG Quentin Goodin is tentatively planning to go head-to-head with Thornton at the elite camp, and ON PG Jamal Murray has M and MSU near the top of his list with only one visit under his belt—that to Michigan. Chances are Michigan locks down a top-50 PG in 2016.
Etc.: 2016 PA RB Miles Sanders is a Michigan offeree who's just getting into the recruiting process($). Penn State just offered. 2015 UT LB Osa Masina releases a top eight with Michigan in it. More importantly: is his twitter handle a shoutout to Greg Ostertag?
Hello. Ace is on vacation, so I take over recruitin' for the week.
Let's start with basketball, because things are happening(!)
Huff and Dawkins will decide within a month
The departure of Mitch McGary leaves Michigan with two scholarship yet to give in this recruiting class and Michigan seems determined to give them, what with someone blowing up into a lottery pick every year. Unusually for spring-term basketball recruiting, when things like "Michigan got a commitment from Spike who?" occur, the picture here is crystal clear.
Option 1A: CA/NH SF Aubrey Dawkins took his visit to Dayton and came back asserting that he was done taking visits($) and that he'd have a decision between the Flyers and M within a week. No offense to Dayton, but this quote seems to favor Michigan:
"It’ll really be academics… which is better from that standpoint? Which degree carries more weight?”
Some guys talk about academics and they mean having a support system that will guide them through; Dawkins talking about prestige seems like a good indicator for Michigan and its shiny rankings. Dawkins also dropped a quote about being "pleasantly surprised($)" by his visit to Dayton, which is a backhanded compliment that gives you an idea of where his mind was going into that trip. Dawkins did give a different decision criteria to the Dayton site:
"The most important thing I'm looking for is opportunity and how I can come in and contribute. Not necessarily start, but carving out a role on the team."
If Michigan can convince Dawkins of that they'll probably land him. With just fellow sleeper freshman-to-be Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman slated to back up the SF/SG spots, it seems likely they'll be able to do so.
Option 1B: Nevada SF/PF transfer Cole Huff set three visits before the McGary news, all to schools in the Midwest, and then added Michigan once their spot was definitively open. He was at Creighton yesterday, Iowa next week, and Dayton the week after. The chatter coming from Huff's camp (ie, his AAU coach Clint Parks) is positive for Michigan, to the point that quotes like this are showing up in newspapers:
“As far as Cole goes, it’s Michigan,” Parks said. “And when a school like Michigan calls…”
And that was before Huff was certain he had an offer. He is now. Huff would be a terrific add, already the top pick and pop guy in the country(!) as a sophomore coming off a year of weights and Beilein coachin'.
That would fill Michigan's scholarship allotment for the first time in a while with no seniors last year. Don't be alarmed, though. Even if Michigan does get both Huff and Dawkins they'll likely have room next year to chase the Brunsons and Colemans of the world. Michigan may not exercise their option of giving Max Bielfeldt a fifth year, Austin Hatch may end up on medical scholarship, and if LeVert continues on his current trajectory he'll be pirated away by the NBA—especially if the NBA moves to a 20-year-old minimum. The median expectation for scholarships to give next year seems to be 3, plus or minus a LeVert or Irvin or Walton.
If Michigan misses on one of the two gentlemen above, the spectacularly-named Igor Ibaka is a name that's been bandied about after announcers at older brother Serge's NBA game said he was gathering Michigan interest. Igor, a 6'9" PF currently at a JUCO as he adapts to life in the US, does not appear to be a serious target at the moment.
Nothing much is happening with 2015s, as is basketball recruiting's wont, so after the spring period resolves itself the next major event will be Michigan's annual June 15th offer spree to 2016s.
Offer watch at QB?
MI QB Alex Malzone is threw for for Nussmeier($) this week and should get clarity as to where he sits on Michigan's list. WOTS is that things went well:
I'm hearing that @alexmalzone KILLED it in his throwing session this morning! Crisp, accurate... very few balls hit the ground
— Sam Webb (@SamWebb77) April 28, 2014
If Michigan does offer it sounds like Malzone is likely to drop soon thereafter.
Most valuable hooray, not on lists boo
Kinnel got a Prestigious Invite this weekend
OH S Tyree Kinnel is one of the least touted defensive backs to commit to Michigan over the past couple years, and that's a good thing. Kinnel's a four star most places and will at least be holding his spot on Rivals after he was named the DB MVP($) of their most recent camp:
Kinnel's play during one-on-ones sealed the deal. He was very physical with the wide receivers and had very good instincts. Kinnel wasn't tricked by head fakes and knew when to sit on a route. He bumped many receivers off their route in the open field and was deceptively explosive when breaking on the ball.
Kinnel got an invite to their Five Star Challenge thing and will get an opportunity to move up. That was a Rivals-exclusive event FWIW, so don't expect anyone else to react.
Also of note from that camp are LBs Brendan Ferns and Darrin Kirkland. Ferns (Yes That Ferns) is Michigan freshman Michael's younger brother and despite being a 2016 he drew mention as a guy to watch, as he's already a little bigger than his brother and "moved very well in space." Ferns recently picked up offers from Minnesota and WVU to go with a Virginia one that kicked things off. Michigan is still evaluating.
Kirkland, meanwhile, has a Michigan offer and there was a window in which chatter had him strongly considering becoming member of the class. That should cease, as Kirkland's moving his commitment date back from May 30th to August after Texas and Nebraska offers and Michigan does not seem super high on his list at the moment:
Kirkland is prepared to narrow his list of offers to a top eight on Sunday. He previewed that list by naming Ole Miss and Tennessee as two schools who were strong contenders to make the cut. He has visited both programs, traveling to Ole Miss within the last month.
Kirkland did tell Brandon that Michigan would be in that top eight a couple weeks ago.
Also in guys getting diverted from Michigan, PA OL Sterling Jenkins reconfirmed his final two of OSU and PSU.
We are on this list at least
"I think the Michigan one went better than the Ohio State one to be honest. I felt a little more comfortable with the players at Michigan. Both Coach Hoke and Coach Meyer have a good idea of what they want to do at the tight end position. I think I would say that Michigan is the favorite right now though."
Post-visit glow is always something to be cautious of; in this case a guy coming off an OSU visit who still says he likes M better is probably meaningful. Clark's next stop is a June visit to MSU. Unfortunately, these days you can't just go "lol out of state recruit visiting State." See above.
FWIW, Clark's high school, Avon Old Farms, sent Mike Cox to Michigan.
That seems less than good
MN DE Jashon Cornell took a visit to Michigan State's spring game. Before he said there was a possibility he would swing by Michigan afterwards; he apparently did not. And the aftermath:
Five-star DE Jashon Cornell says Michigan State is his No. 1 school after his visit today
— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) April 26, 2014
Whether or not that stands up, that's a new spot for MSU to be for a big time recruit who doesn't live in Michigan. It spurred a number of 247 crystal ball folks to flip their prediction to the Spartans, including the creepily accurate Steve Wiltfong. Cornell plans a decision in August, so time is running out and officials will not make an impact. Your "guhhhhh" quote of the day:
“I noticed that defense is all world and I see myself playing in that defense in the future,” Cornell said.
MSU's recruiting profit from having 40k at Spartan Stadium for an actual game instead of a desultory 10k for 90 minutes of punting and 45 minutes of disjointed scrimmage is right there. Winning the Rose Bowl probably helps, yeah.
But not all is lost at DE
NC DE Darian Roseboro, a four-star on the fringe of the top 100 in the 247 composite, just finished a four-day(!) visit to Michigan. Articles are still pending; as a preview Sam Webb dropped a quote from Roseboro's dad in a message board post entitled($)
"The frontrunner for Roseboro?"
The answers to these questions are generally "yes"; Webb further asserted on WTKA that Michigan was now in "pole position" for Roseboro. FWIW, he's been predicted to NC State by the three people who have ventured a guess on the Crystal Ball.
A dance to the death with James Franklin
NJ OL Grant Newsome isn't announcing a top list, but it appears that Michigan and Penn State are well out in front for him. He's visited both campuses, plans to decide in late June, and wants to visit M and PSU again before that:
The four-star said he wants to see the full package at Penn State and let his mother see the campus at Michigan since she couldn’t make it when he visited this spring. Newsome said he wants to decide in late June after visiting the Lions and Wolverines in late May or early June, adding he does not plan to announce a top group prior to deciding.
Newsome also mentions M and PSU most prominently in a 247 article, with secondary mention to OSU, Alabama, and LSU.
Etc.: Further good feelings about FL WR Auden Tate from 247; if he visits sounds like it's time for a commit watch. VA DE Clelin Ferrell has Michigan in his top 10-ish($), but comment chatter from guys vouched for by 247 makes it sound like VT is the proverbial lock. Michigan offers 2016 DC OL Jauan Williams, whose only experience on a college campus is at Maryland. Wide open? The widest. They've also offered 2016 GA OL Ben Cleveland.
Possesses excellent dunkface (via PennLive)
First reported by Sam Webb and confirmed by multiple sources, 2014 Allentown (PA) Central Catholic G Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman committed to Michigan while on his official visit this afternoon.
Abdur-Rahkman picked up heavy interest from the Wolverines as they prepared for the potential losses of Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III; once those two declared for the NBA Draft, MAAR's recruitment hit the fast track. He becomes the fifth member of Michigan's 2014 class, joining Kam Chatman, Ricky Doyle, Austin Hatch, and DJ Wilson.
|3*, NR SG||NR SG||2*, 64, #101 SG||NR SG||NR SG|
As one would expect from a prospect picked up as a late-cycle contingency plan, MAAR flew under the radar of most of the recruiting services, with only ESPN even bothering give him a complete ranking—and they don't even list his weight. The other sites are in relative agreeance regarding his measurables; all list him at 180 pounds, with Rivals and 247 pegging him at 6'4" and Scout shaving off an inch.
Unsurprisingly, scouting reports on a largely overlooked prospect are hard to come by—there's not a single scouting-related article on him on Rivals, Scout, or 247. ESPN's evaluation was last updated in June 2013, so while it gives us a starting point, it doesn't include any progress MAAR made during his senior season [emphasis mine]:
He's extremely versatile with the size and length to offer minutes at any of the three perimeter positions, and is a match-up problem virtually anywhere on the court because he's capable of making plays for himself and others over top of smaller guards and has the speed, quickness, and handle to go by most bigger wings. He's equally versatile defensively where his size, length, and ability to cover the court might even be bigger weapons.
He's a dribble drive player on the offensive end, and not yet a consistent outside shooter. That flaw in his offensive repertoire is likely to be exposed much more at the next level when the game slows down and he's not able to get out in the open floor with the same frequency. Even at that, he's going to be much more effective in an up-tempo system at the next level.
He has a very intriguing combination of size, length, quickness, and smooth handle but he's going to have to continue to get more skilled on the perimeter in order for his game to translate as well to the college level.
The inconsistent jump-shooting is a concern for any guard coming in to play for John Beilein, though MAAR's drive-oriented game at the very least gives U-M a different type of player to put out there, especially if he lives up to his reputation as a defensive stopper.
The most recent, thorough analysis of Michigan's latest addition comes from UMHoops, which posted a scouting report on MAAR this week, as well as the video embedded later in this post. The whole thing is obviously worth your time; Dylan praises his transition game and passing ability, sees room for improvement in his shooting and ballhandling, and comes away with this conclusion:
Abdur-Rahkman might not be the traditional Beilein wing, but he would bring a lot of things to Michigan’s backcourt that are currently lacking. He looks like a natural fit to play the two-guard spot, but down the line he could potentially slide to the three or the one. Michigan’s inability to contain dribble penetration last season was no secret and Abdur-Rahkman might be able to shore up some of those concerns – especially down the line. He’s already physically mature (he’ll turn 20 in September) which means he could be ready to play at a college level, but also that he’s been able to bully younger players at the high school level.
That last bit means MAAR is probably closer to his ceiling than your average incoming freshman, which can be a benefit in the short-term but does add some concern for how much he'll improve over the long haul.
Sam Webb asked Abdur-Rahkman for a self-evaluation this week, and he had no issue noting the areas of his game that need improvement ($):
I’m more of a facilitator, get in the lane, drive and kick, find the big guys inside. I can play defense. I’m a good defender – perimeter. I can shoot a little bit…I need to get better. Dribbling better, but need to get better. Midrange is pretty good.
Despite his scoring acumen, note that MAAR calls himself a facilitator first and foremost.
Coach/teammate evaluations are difficult to trust entirely for obvious reasons, but do at provide insight into how a prospect handles himself in the locker room, and Abdur-Rahkman comes in for high praise in that regard:
“He is a complete player,” [Central Catholic head coach] Dennis Csencsits said. “Not only does he lead us in scoring but he leads us in assist, he is a very good rebounder so he is a really well-rounded player, very smart, very savvy basketball player.”
Although he continues to excel on the court, Abdur-Rahkman’s teammate says the “friendly and outgoing” star has been their mentor.
“Muhammad has helped me become a better leader and a better teammate,” sophomore point guard Zay Jennings said. “Just learning some basketball [techniques] that he does, overall, he is just a good teacher and a good leader.”
As you'll see, MAAR was a scoring machine in high school, but the stats, film, and quotes show that he's an unselfish player, as well.
About those stats—they're quite impressive:
Barring a major surprise, Abdur-Rahkman will be named to the Pennsylvania all-state team next week [Ed: he was], making him the first player in Lehigh Valley history to be an all-state selection four times.
He also was a unanimous choice as The Morning Call's player of the year for the second consecutive year.
The 6-foot-4 swingman was the driving force behind one of the greatest seasons in Lehigh Valley basketball annals.
With Abdur-Rahkman averaging 23.6 points, 4.1 assists and 6.2 rebounds per game, Central Catholic became the first area boys team to win its first 29 games, sweeping the Lehigh Valley Conference and District 11 3A titles en route.
The dream season ended with a 60-50 loss to eventual state champion Neumann-Goretti, but few will ever forget this Central Catholic team or the talents of Abdur-Rahkman.
He finished with 2,136 points — the most in CCHS history and the sixth most in District 11 annals.
That article contains more background on MAAR and focuses, once again, on his humble demeanor and unselfish play. This quote from Abdur-Rahkman sums it up:
"The numbers don't mean much to me," he said. "I'm just glad we won four district titles. That was our goal. We put in a lot of hard work and we just got better each year. One day it will all hit me what we've accomplished but right now, hard work is what I want to be remembered for."
Before picking up the Michigan offer on his visit, Abdur-Rahkman held offers from Bucknell, Delaware, Drexel, George Mason, Lehigh, Robert Morris, and VCU, according to ESPN.
The UMHoops scouting video is a must-watch:
Brian posted his impressions on it earlier this week:
MAAR's shot selection here would be terrible except he's in high school and the shots he's getting off are probably better than wide open looks from a number of his teammates. And he puts down a lot of his terrible, terrible shots. It's the open ones, whether it's at the free throw line or generally, that seem to need work. As UMHoops notes, one of the games here features five threes from MAAR, which is a major outlier for a guy who hit 1.9 a game.
We could see some improvement in MAAR's shooting once the onus for creating most of the team's offense no longer falls on him.
Also, a four-second assessment of his athleticism reveals that...
...yup, he's athletic.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Abdur-Rahkman needs to develop on the offensive end, but he still might see the floor next season—his physical maturity should help him there. While the worries about Michigan's depth for 2014-15 have focused on the frontcourt, Jon Horford's transfer and the NBA losses have created a ripple effect that leaves the backcourt a little thin, especially at the two. While Caris LeVert will play the vast majority of those minutes, Zak Irvin—the presumed starting three—may have to play more minutes at the four than the two, especially if Mitch McGary decides to go pro.
That leaves MAAR as the only backup guard aside from Spike Albrecht and Austin Hatch, and it's unlikely Hatch is going to be ready to play after returning to the court this past season. I doubt Beilein used a scholarship on a 20-year-old freshman at a position in need of depth without plans to utilize him immediately; even with the iffy jump shot, MAAR should carve out a niche role as a defensive specialist who can get out and lead the break. How he's utilized from there will depend largely on the development of his offensive repertoire.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan has one remaining open scholarship for next season. I'd be surprised if they took another recruit in the class. It's more likely they'll look to add a transfer if the right player shows interest, and if that doesn't happen they can pocket the scholarship for 2015-16, which currently has just one open spot—though that figure could grow given the distinct possibility Mitch McGary and Caris LeVert are NBA-bound by that time.
EDIT: Or I'm totally wrong, as Sam Webb just tweeted out the latest offer news:
#Michigan has offered 2014 New Hampton (N.H.) Prep guard Aubrey Dawkins
— Sam Webb (@SamWebb77) April 19, 2014
This can mean a few things: the transfer front isn't looking so good, Beilein expects further attrition, or the coaches just really like Dawkins. We'll see.
Michigan is bringing in not one but two basketball recruits this weekend as they seek to fill the holes NBA attrition has wrought on the roster. Michigan now has two slots open and possibly a third depending on the status of Austin Hatch. They will seek to fill at least one spot, obviously. A second late offer is less likely, but if you can get a transfer like Eron Harris…
…you get a guy like Eron Harris. Ditto Sean Obi. Guys with 31% DREB rates don't grow on trees.
But neither of those guys is on campus this weekend. Two gentlemen are.
Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman
Try to remember as you are watching this that it is high school and in high school many, many shots are flat-out terrible. Googling Aubrey Dawkins for the next section I discovered that his high school career ended when his team scored five points in the first half and ended up going down 35-25.
Anyway: MAAR's shot selection here would be terrible except he's in high school and the shots he's getting off are probably better than wide open looks from a number of his teammates. And he puts down a lot of his terrible, terrible shots. It's the open ones, whether it's at the free throw line or generally, that seem to need work. As UMHoops notes, one of the games here features five threes from MAAR, which is a major outlier for a guy who hit 1.9 a game.
I do not want to guess at the collective net worth of the families represented here
Unfortunately there's not any equivalent video of Dawkins out there where you can see the overall shape of his game. There are only the highlight videos in which he never misses and dunks everything.
In them you do get some information. Dawkins has a diversity to his layup game, capable of getting off shots quickly when he gets to the rim from a variety of angles. His three point stroke is pretty high and decently fast. And he has impressive hops. Not GRIII level, but he'd probably be the most athletic dude on the team. He has that airborne pause you see sometimes where the guy takes his time dunking because he can. He can be an above the rim guy; MAAR is not.
Like many guys available late, Dawkins took a prep year after his high school career. That paid off with a scholarship offer to Dayton recently and now bigger outfits are sniffing around. As of last year, Dawkins was a two-star to ESPN who was Just A Shooter on the college level:
If Dawkins wants to take his game to another level, he must get better handling pressure while dribbling. His handle can get sloppy when defenders get into him-especially when he goes left. His jump shot is solid, but as he gets stronger it needs to get more consistent for the scoring guard position.
He's added a crossover to his game, it seems; he's probably more Hardaway than Stauskas or LeVert in terms of ability to create shots inside the rim.
While Dawkins took a prep year, MAAR's also older, so that's a wash.
New Challengers Appear
you're supposed to put them on your eyes bro
On the other hand, Michigan might be amenable to a fifth-year transfer who would not interfere with whatever they're planning for the roster down the road. When Ace took a look at available fifth years the pickings were slim; they've just gotten less so:
USC’s leading scorer, Byron Wesley, is has left the program because he was uncomfortable over his role next season, according to sources close to the situation.
Wesley, who could not be reached for comment, is considering Big Ten schools Indiana and Michigan and should be immediately eligible since he expects to graduate from USC this summer.
The 6'5" Wesley was impressively efficient for a miserable USC outfit, hitting 72/50/34 from the floor with high usage and taking care of the ball as the Trojans' undisputed go-to guy.
The question is whether Michigan can offer him the kind of role he wants with LeVert and Irvin slotted into the 2 and 3. This is a guy coming off 32 minutes a game; he's not going to want to be a 20 minute backup, and incredibly that's probably what he would be even after Michigan got raided by the NBA unless Irvin gets a lot of minutes at the 4. I know he was just a freshman but that seems like a pretty bad idea to have a guy with a DREB rate south of Nnanna Egwu playing your second-biggest spot on the floor.
If Wesley was three inches taller they'd be all over him; as it is, Sam Webb mentioned on WTKA that chatter about Wesley is coming from California, not locally. One dollar says Wesley's camp knows Nik Stauskas is NBA-bound but not much else about Michigan's situation.
Cole Huff is a large man who can stroke threes, but he's no center
A gentleman who is three inches taller is expressing similar transfer interest. He is Nevada F Cole Huff:
No visit dates have been set yet for Cole Huff but Dayton Iowa creighton Vanderbilt Michigan are the schools he's most interested in
— clint parks (@Brotherhood05) April 18, 2014
FWIW, Huff was restricted from transferring basically anywhere on the West Coast, a restriction later lifted—but before that tweet from his AAU coach.
The catch here is that the stated reason for Huff's transfer was to play the 3, which he thinks is his NBA position. This is not likely to happen at Michigan, but if the real reason is "I hate my coach" or "I want to play in the tournament" or something then M would have a real shot.
At first blush, Huff looks like a good fit, an 82/50/40 shooter at 6'8" with a low turnover rate and a pretty good 14% DREB rate. Huff is in the same eligibility spot as Eron Harris: he'd have to sit next year and then would have two to play. At 205 he is probably a 3/4 at Michigan except in desperate situations, so his attractiveness depends largely on how plausible Mark Donnal is at the 5.
The fit is also less than ideal here since Huff has to sit out a year and duplicates a number of skills already on Michigan's roster in a way a rebound vacuum like Sean Obi does not. But Obi might go off the board to Duke this weekend and Michigan hasn't been involved just yet, so perhaps they perceive their needs differently than they look from the outside.
Shayok just received his release from Marquette, and Michigan may have something to offer 6'6" Canadian wings
The departure of Jon Horford means Michigan currently has enough room for everybody, including Austin Hatch. Any NBA departures will give Michigan an opportunity to add to the class, and it's possible Hatch and Michigan have already come to an understanding about his role with the team.
So they'll likely keep their ear to the ground in case they find a guy who they think can help. A report yesterday that Michigan had offered Marquette decommitment Marial Shayok, a 6'6" Canadian wing. That was debunked in about 15 minutes by Sam Webb. Still, Michigan probably expressed interest there, probably on the order of "if player X leaves and you come to campus we will offer you." Michigan is persnickety like that, and sometimes recruits interpret things like "we will offer you if you visit" to mean "I have been offered."
Meanwhile, Scout's Evan Daniels first reported that Michigan was looking at SF Ryan Taylor, a northwest Indiana kid currently taking a prep year in Wisconsin. UMHoops confirmed that, noting that Taylor is from the same AAU outfit (Wayne Brumm's SYF) that sent Glenn Robinson, Mitch McGary, and Spike Albrecht to Ann Arbor. Taylor's only got an Ohio offer at the moment, so if Michigan does come through he'd probably leap at the offer the instant it was made.
Michigan takes what it wants from West Virginia
Michigan's also rumored to be looking at some transfers. Former WVU sniper Eron Harris is on the market, Michigan has been said to be interested. His publicly stated reason for the move is to be closer to his Indianapolis home, though, and if that isn't PR malarkey there are plenty of schools in Indiana that would take a 42% three point shooter, including both Big Ten outfits.
And while the fifth-year pickings are slim, Webb included 6'9" Rice C Sean Obi on a list of potential 2014 adds($). Obi announced a transfer after Rice changed coaches. Obi was the only good player on a miserable Rice outfit, one who led the team in usage as a freshman and rebounded 31%(!!!) on defense, second nationally. Northwestern, Duke, Vanderbilt, and Virginia are all in pursuit, so academics are emphatically not an issue; in fact, it seems like whoever lands him is going to have to sell him on how good said academics are. Obi shot efficiently on a team that was miserable, had a respectable block rate, and is obviously a rebound machine. He would be a perfect fit.
That list has a couple of other names that haven't gotten out to the public yet. I'll leave those in the article except for one with an amazing name: PA SG Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman.
I am detecting a certain pattern here.
Yes. With the exception of Obi all these guys are wings slated to replace Stauskas. It would be a major upset if he stayed.
Michigan's numbers in this class are as up in the air as it waits not only on potential departures before the 2015-16 season—which now brings Caris LeVert, Derrick Walton, and Zak Irvin's NBA draft status into play—but also how many late adds there are in 2014. Horford's exit leaves Michigan with zero seniors on next year's roster, but the NBA will cull somewhere between three and five guys from the roster by the time this recruiting class arrives. Michigan should be planning a class of approximately equal size.
One of those gentlemen should be a blocked shot factory who hurls balls downward through the hoop when the opportunity presents itself. I know people are talking about Donnal as a 5, but if he can play the 4 for Beilein that makes everyone's life easier. He has the range to be shooter #4, certainly. Adding a third 6'9"+ guy gives you the opportunity to explore a normal-sized 4 if you want.
Who that might be is unknown. Chatter about five-stars Stephen Zimmerman and Diamond Stone has died down over the past year. Not that it means much, but Michigan didn't get a mention in a local article last month, and was not included on a list from Zimmerman's own mouth around then:
"I want to take a visit to Kentucky, Louisville, North Carolina, Kansas, Indiana," Zimmerman said. "Those schools that are schools I can't visit all that often."
One of these programs is not like the others. (HINT: clap clap clap clap.) Stone, meanwhile, was just a name vaguely interested and seems more focused on the Dukes and UNCs and such.
Manuel has filled out since this shot. And transferred.
The hottest name in that department is Oak Hill's top 50 PF/C Trevor Manuel, who visited for Michigan's senior night victory against Indiana. The aftermath of that visit caused one dude with Crystal Ball access to flip his prediction to Michigan, possibly because momma knows best:
"My mom is a huge Michigan fan," Manuel said. "I think if it was up to her I would probably end up playing at Michigan. She has always loved them and had a really great time at the game."
Manuel's from Lansing originally and if he's looking for playing time, the opportunity is there. NC State and Michigan State are the other prominent names in his recruitment. MSU's interest may be waning:
Though MSU could certainly take two bigs in this class, it's unclear if Manuel is still a priority. He's not a true post player and often moves out on the perimeter. He's being sold as an ultra-lanky, tall wing forward and he has great potential if he can continue to excel in that role. If he doesn't, he looks more like a floating, skinny post.
"Floating, skinny post," you say? I know just the man. He doesn't really fit the block machine thing but Beilein gonna Beilein. Having Manuel and DJ Wilson on the roster would still allow Michigan to be fairly normal in height, if skinny at the 4.
McQuaid is not just a shooter
The picture on the wing is clearer. Luke Kennard committed to Duke a few weeks back, leaving Michigan free to focus on other dudes. The guy on the list closest to dropping is Matthew McQuaid, a Texas shooting guard who plans to decide next month. There was a brief flurry of reporting on McQuaid and Michigan in January in which he seemed enthusiastic and then radio silence until an article yesterday in the local paper in which the author made it seem like he was a foregone conclusion to M:
McQuaid, whose father grew up in Midland, is patiently weighing his options, which include a strong, growing interest from the University of Michigan. Head coach John Beilein is supposed to make a recruiting visit in the next few weeks. U-M assistant coach Bacari Alexander has been in regular contact with McQuaid over the past several months.
“It’s a lot of fun. This is something you only do once, so I’m going to enjoy (the recruiting process) while it lasts,” Matthew McQuaid said in a phone interview a few days ago. And, yes, Wolverine fans, McQuaid is open to playing at Michigan, which has an offensive system that fits his style of play.
Michigan is in fact the only school that gets more than a cursory mention; all other programs are crammed into a single sentence detailing McQuaid's various impressive offers. A few paragraphs about decisions and then:
As for Michigan, which won the Big Ten this past season and may lose Stauskas to the NBA, Rob admits that Matthew’s style of play is a good fit in Beilein’s system. A number of Michigan recruiting websites are speculating that McQuaid will be heading to Michigan.
“John Beilein is a great coach,” Rob said. “Not every program has the right system that fits a player, but Michigan has one of those systems that does fit (Matthew).”
Does that mean that McQuaid will end up in Ann Arbor?
The answer to that question is .... stay tuned.
For one, I have not seen even one Michigan recruiting website speculate that McQuaid will end up in Ann Arbor. UMHoops last tagged him in a post in January. Ditto Rivals. For two, if the guy is planning a commitment next month it will be difficult for that to happen without an offer. McQuaid has not visited, which is a necessary prerequisite for Michigan to do so.
He's certainly talented enough to get that offer. ESPN has him in their top 50; he's a consensus four-star everywhere else.
Indianapolis combo guard Jalen Coleman is still high on Michigan's interest list. There were rumors he might commit at the Michigan-ND football game last year, though, and they did not come to fruition. The latest news on Coleman is that he… switched AAU teams. I had forgotten the glacial pace of basketball recruiting for a moment there. Now I remember. Nothing happens, ever.
Also in that department, the most recent thing to happen with IL PG Jalen Brunson was a controversy about a photo that appeared to show him flipping double birds in a state playoff game. This did not actually happen. Glacial.
Activity! Michigan is checking out OH SG Kyle Ahrens, who broke his leg early in his high school season and is just now getting back on the court for the start of AAU. He was on campus in November and holds offers from MSU and Iowa amongst other non-Big Ten offers like Cinci and Xavier.
So what does this class look like?
Fuzzy. Gone are the days that Michigan just offers some dudes as soon as they offer dudes and they all fall over like dominoes and then rise up the rankings because Michigan can scout. Now Michigan's got the profile to go after guys who don't have to rise up the rankings, and they're getting in extended recruiting battles.
I'd say McQuaid ends up in the class except he's trying to pull the trigger without having one of those offer things; if he does schedule a visit in the near future or puts off his decision so he can schedule a trip to Ann Arbor it sounds like you can pencil him in. Aside from him it looks like Michigan is pursuing a combo guard who can maybe play some point but is mostly a SG, and Coleman seems like an okay bet. I get leery when guys are about to drop and then do not drop, as most of the time that means the supposed lead enjoyed was never extant.
And then they'll want a post-ish guy. 4 or 5 doesn't really matter with the flexibility Donnal provides, but Beilein has recently rumbled about finding a shot blocker. 2015 would be the place that happens unless they find a guy from Cameroon this spring.