I had not seen this until just now. After Tuesday night's Warriors game it appears one of our favorite Spartans played a one man game of freeze tag during the post game presser and lost.
Per his high school team, 6-6 wing Harold Baruti, an unsigned senior out of Mountain Mission HS (Grundy, VA), is headed to Michigan today for an official visit. Rivals has him as a three star with offers from SMU and UNC-Wilmington. Highlight reel below.
All the high profile prospects for '16 are already signed (with a few exceptions UM has no contact with). It stands to reason that anyone Michigan adds to the '16 class will be a multi-year project or a low-upside role player.
Or does it? Let's look at Beilein's late spring recruits* to see what we might expect (assuming the two available scholarships aren't used by grad transfers or walk-ons).
- Max Bielfeldt (committed 3/6/11) - Stolen from various mid-majors (and eventually, after Michigan offered, Illinois), Max was a 6'7 C who took 2-3 years of development before becoming a useful bench player. Ended up the primary option at C (due to attrition) by his senior year on a bad team before excelling as a bench player (at Indiana). Still a great success on the part of Beilein to turn an undersized mid-major talent into a valuable rotation player in the Big Ten.
- Spike Albrecht (committed 4/6/12) - prep schooler stolen from App State (revenge is ours!) was added during the panic to replace Trey Burke (before Burke decided to come back) thanks in part to his AAU connections (McGary, Robinson, Bielfeldt) in Indiana. Turned into a charismatic and unflappable fan favorite. Like Bielfeldt, he ended up starting on a bad team but was better suited to be a backup. Highly effective in that role and, assuming health, seems destined for success in a grad year situation that better fits what he offers.
- Caris Levert (committed 5/11/12) - young 6'4 late bloomer stolen from Ohio blossomed into a 1st round NBA pick. Developed faster and further than anyone could have hoped. Early intentions for a red-shirt were scrapped once Caris proved to be better than more veteran bench players. Beilein's ultimate "diamond in the rough".
- Muhammed Ali Abdur-Rahkman (committed 4/17/14) - prep schooler stolen from mid majors. Scouting report praised his driving skills but noted limited perimeter skills. Despite the uptick in 3% and reduced turnovers that view has largely held true. Yet MAAR's already an excellent role player and improvement from freshman to sophomore year is encouring for his future. Clearly a success for Beilein as MAAR's proven to be a valuable starter on an NCAA tournament team.
- Aubrey Dawkins (committed 4/28/14) - prep schooler stolen from Dayton after he couldn't get into Stanford. Considered a 3&D wing player who lacked guard skills beyond shooting and dunking. Surpassed expectations in some ways (occasional starter as a freshman turned into a 6th man who had the best 3-point shooting on the team in Big Ten play over the last 2 years) and disappointed in others (D was awful even for an underclassmen). Didn't reach his substantial potential at Michigan, but will still be playing college ball in 2019(!).
Beilein has had fantastic success and production from his late additions. That's reason for optimism. None came with any accolodes. All were overlooked by major programs. All became valuable contributors in one way or another. From the scrap heap Beilein's gotten an excellent backup PG, a scoring SG, an impact 2-way wing, and 3-point shooting specialist. All in their freshman year. Beilein's used older prep school kids capable of contributing immediately and he's grabbed young (for their class) projects with upside.
Whoever Beilein gets, they'll probably be a solid contributor, at worst, and they may very well help right away. I'd rather get a grad transfer for '16-17 if given the choice, but have to respect to the track record.
*Novak, Horford**, Wilson and Wagner were added pretty late in the cycle too (recruiting began in Fall or Winter) but there's a significant difference between committing late and beginning your recruitment in Spring, only weeks before graduation. Robin Benzig was another Spring signing but he was supposed to sit a year. All of them also panned out in one way or another (pending whatever Wilson will do), though not always for Michigan.
**The examples of Horford and Bielfeldt (not to mention Donnal) should be all you need to be patient with Wagner, Wilson, Teske, and Davis. Beilein's bigs tend to be a lot better as upperclassmen, if they make it that far.
EDIT: I forgot Colton Christian. Adjust Beilein's Spring "batting average" to 5/6.
Sam Webb mentioned this morning that he's heard that Billy Donlon, former HC at Wright State, is in consideration for one of the open assistant coach positions on the basketball team. Sam added that he hasn't been able to confirm this. FWIW, we've had a poster state that he knows Donlon will get one of the positions (with Saddi Washington getting the other).
The purpose of this post is to introduce Donlon and to give a bit of context to his record at Wright State. I figure that even if Donlon is not one of the new assistants, well hey, you're getting free Wright State info!
A bit on Wright State:
They've only made the NCAA Tournament twice, with the last time being in 2007. They've only won their conference regular season title once (also in 2007). They are very much the second bananna to the Univ. of Dayton's program as far as the Dayton area goes. The most games they've ever won in a season as a D1 program is 23.
The Raiders play in the Ervin J. Nutter Center, which seats about 10k people for basketball. I went to elementary school with Ervin J. Nutter's granddaughter. Can you believe it?!
Donlon is 39. He was Wright State's HC from 2010-2016. He was their associate HC from 2006-2010. He won the Horizon League Coach of the Year award in 2013.
Wright State fired him after the 2016 season despite the fact that his team won 22 games total and 13 Horizon League games, the most Horizon League games the Raiders had ever won. His career winning percentage at Wright State was 53.7%, which is almost exactly equal to the program's all-time D1 winning percentage.
Several coaches and former coaches were upset by Donlon's firing. Dan Dakich said the National Association of Basketball Coaches ought to boycott the open HC position at Wright State (they did not). (*1). Chris Mack of Xavier called the firing "ridiculous." (*2).
My own two cents is that Wright State has often punched above its weight during its time as a D1 program and that it's done well to achieve what is has. It would be a truly outstanding coaching job to make the Raiders a yearly visitor to the NCAA Tournament. Wright State should remember that it's big brother, Dayton, has only recently been a regular visitor to the Tournament.
Donlon and defense:
If Donlon is hired, his youth and apparent defensive acumen will probably have a lot to do with it. As far as defensive efficiency, his Wright State teams finished 50th in the country (2015-2016), 250th (2014-2015), 29th (2013-2014), 26th (2012-2013), 93rd (2011-2012), and 132nd (2010-2011) while he was HC. While was assistant HC, they finished 60th (2009-2010), 10th (2008-2009), 99th (2007-2008), and 87th (2006-2007).
The 250th ranking in 2014-2015 likely jumps out at you, but he deserves a break when it comes to that year. The Raiders suffered a string of injuries so bad that season that at one point they suited up for four conference games without their top six players. (*3).
Donlon seems like great candidate to me. Winning 22 games overall and 13 conference games at Wright State is pretty darn good in my opinion. As I mentioned - and I cannot emphasize this enough - we're talking about a program in the Dayton, Ohio area that is not the region's preeminent basketball team. So there are, like, limits, man, on what you can expect. And while his teams haven't been great at defense each year, he's had some significant success on that front.
Barring a last-minute change of heart, source told ESPN that Michigan sophomore Kameron Chatman will transfer.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) May 3, 2016