TO THE HOT TAKE CANNON
And then there were 4.
Does this mean good news on the Jaylen Brown front?
Former VCU signee Kenny Williams tells me he is no longer considering Michigan.— Alejandro Zúñiga (@ByAZuniga) April 30, 2015
Former VCU signee Kenny Williams tells ESPN he is down to Virginia and North Carolina.— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) April 30, 2015
Looks like Kenny Williams has set his visit date set for Michigan as May 18th. May 20th is the last day of the late signing period, so Jaylen Brown will almost assuredly have decided by then.
Williams is down to Florida, UVa, UNC, and Michigan. I'm not sure if the impending departure of Billy Donovan will impact his decision much, since Williams probably has UVa and UNC ranked higher.
Some good Wednesday morning reading.
"Talking to Coach Beilein, he's like an offensive genius," Brown told Scout. "The way he gets these guys that aren't really ranked high to be lottery picks in the draft is amazing. It's definitely something that drew my attention."
There has been much discussion of late about the success (or lack there of) of Michigan’s basketball recruiting. Specifically, that we are not getting our fair share of upper level recruits given our recent tournament success. This suggests that a teams NCAA tournament success should immediately result in an up-tick in recruiting success. This theory may well be true, but there are many other reasons for a player to pick a particular school, such as academics, location, coaching staff, chemistry with current players, style of play, legacy and so on.
But, if we are going to focus on tournament success, we must first look at said results to determine where Michigan stands in relation to other schools that we are recruiting against. As many have said, we may not win many head-to-head battles with Duke and Kentucky, but we should be on the same level as the second tier of schools (or third tier?). If we assume that most kids start paying attention to sports when they are 8 or 10 years old and committing to their college of choice when they are 16 or 17, does anything that happened more than 8 or 10 years ago mean that much to them? And if we are talking about Michigan’s 2013 title game appearance, maybe we should only look at the last 3 years. Can we agree that a 3-year sample size is too small to be relevant? I chose to look at this century’s results only, 2000 – 2015, sixteen years of NCAA tournaments.
In order to be included in the analysis, a school had to appear in the Sweet Sixteen at least once in those 16 years. That reduced the field to 65. I then awarded each of those teams 1 point for each tournament bid, 2 points for each Sweet Sixteen appearance, 3 for an Elite Eight, 4 for a Final Four and 5 for a Championship Game appearance. There was no additional bonus for actually winning the championship. I realize that this is an arbitrary system that may or may not be fair or totally accurate, but I wanted to keep this somewhat simple, while still meaningful. I then totaled the points for each school and ranked them in order. It may surprise some to learn that the school at the top of the list is MSU followed by the usual suspects: Kansas, Duke, Kentucky, Florida, North Carolina and UCONN. Michigan finished 27th, surrounded by Oklahoma State, Pittsburg, Tennessee and Georgetown.
Chart of NCAA Tournament Success
|School||Bids||16||8||4||Ch. G.||Total||School||Bids||16||8||4||Ch. G.||Total|
|Michigan State||16||11||8||6||2||96||Wichita St||5||3||1||1||0||18|
|Louisville||13||7||6||3||1||62||N. Carolina St||9||3||0||0||0||15|
|Syracuse||12||7||3||2||1||48||San Diego St||8||2||0||0||0||12|
|Georgia Tech||5||1||1||1||1||19||La Salle||1||1||0||0||0||3|
Many of us think that Michigan should be a 5 Star destination school because we were a bad call or two away from a National Championship just two years ago. However, as you can see, we have only played in 5 of the last 16 tournaments, which is surpassed by 55 other schools on this list. Even in our own conference, Maryland has 8, Purdue 9, Indiana 10, Illinois 11, OSU 12 and Wisconsin and MSU with all 16. We have been kind of late to the party.
Next, I looked at recruiting results. Since we are talking about the bounce from Michigan’s title game appearance, I only looked at the last three years, 2013, 2014 and 2015. I question how significant 2013 is since that class was probably well put to bed before the tournament was completed. In fact, 2014 recruiting was well underway already and may have only been partially affected by our near championship. However, the premise is that we should be benefiting from that run, so onward and upward.
Using 247 Sports Composite Player Rankings for each year, I broke the top 100 ranked players into 4 equal parts. The A column is for the 1-25 ranked players, B = 26-50, C =51-75 and D = 76-100. The chart lists the teams in the same order as the previous chart (tournament success). For each of the three years, I recorded how many players each school signed from each A, B, C, D category. For example, in 2013, Kansas had 3 A players, 2 B players and zero C and D.
Note: The number of 5* and 4* players varies by year. In these 3 specific years, 2013 had 23 5* and 4* went to #115, in 2014 there were only 22 5* but 4* went to #124, and in 2015 it is 23 5* and 4* up to 122. Since I cut it off at 100, not all four-star players will be included in this analysis.
I then assigned a value of 4 points to A players, 3 points to B, 2 to C and 1 point to D players. Again, an arbitrary system, but it is simple and serves the purpose. The last three columns show how many top 100 players each school signed over the 3 year period, how many total points they were worth and where each school ranked based on total number of points. Michigan, which ranked 27 in tournament success, signed 4 top 100 players over the next 3 years, which yielded 10 points and resulted in a ranking of tied for 23. This would suggest that we are having recruiting results that are similar to our tournament success. This analysis is not intended as the final word or to silence the debate, only to add some actual data to the arguments. I think Paul Simon got it right when he penned, “Still, a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.”
Note: As of this writing, there are still 8 uncommitted top 100 players in the 2015 class; #3 Jaylen Brown, #9 Thon Maker, #56 Tevin Mack, #82 George Papagiannis, #88 Kobe Eubanks, #89 Kenny Williams and #91 Marcus Lovett. If we were to get Brown, our total points would increase from 10 to 14 and move us up to a tie for 16th place (assuming other teams remain static).
Chart of Player Rankings by School
|40t||N. Carolina St||1||1||1||1||2||6||14||16|
|46t||San Diego St||1||2||1||1||5||8||30t|
There is some interesting date here, if you have the time. Despite MSU ranking at the top in tournament success, they have only signed 3 top 100 players in this 3-year period, which is still better than Wisconsin who also made every tournament and has signed only one. It will probably not surprise you to see that Indiana is better at getting talent than using it. What is up with LSU?
Bonus Michigan Recruiting Chart
|247Sports Composite Player Rankings|
|Year||1 to 25||26 to 50||51 to 75||76 to 100||Other|
|2010||77 Smotrycz||166 Hardaway|
|2012||16 Robinson||28 McGary||82 Stauskas||171 Albrecht|
|2013||28 Irvin||44 Walton||86 Donnal|
|2014||27 Chatman||123 Wilson|
|2016||100 Teske||182 Davis|
A few final thoughts.
Butler appeared in back-to-back championship games in 2010 and 2011 and yet has only signed one top 100 player since, #90 Dunham a four star in 2012. Small bounce.
Maybe star ratings are not worth worrying about. Some pretty good players who didn’t crack the top 100: #105 Denzell Valentine, #137 Victor Oladipo, #145 Nigel Hayes, #166 Tim Hardaway Jr., #188 Travis Trice, #215 Caris LeVert, #218 Frank Kaminsky and #326 Aubrey Dawkins.
Austin Davis has been bumped up to a 4*, #10 center and #82 overall by 247. The other services have not yet acted so his composite is lower. Coach Beilein way ahead of the curve as always.