i refuse to even consider this a possibility
basketball recruiting roundup
Grad transfer Grant Mullins visits this week. [Photo: Columbia Spectator]
After the departure of Aubrey Dawkins, Michigan has an open spot to fill, and this week has brought some clarity about how John Beilein plans to do so. First, here's a quick look at the scholarship situation:
|1||M. Donnal||MAAR||M. Wagner||A. Davis|
|2||Z. Irvin||K. Chatman||D.J. Wilson||X. Simpson|
|3||D. Walton||D. Robinson||A. Davis||J. Teske|
|4||MAAR||M. Wagner||X. Simpson||I. Watson|
|5||K. Chatman||D.J. Wilson||J. Teske||J. Poole|
|6||D. Robinson||A. Davis||I. Watson|
|7||M. Wagner||X. Simpson||J. Poole|
|8||D.J. Wilson||J. Teske|
|9||A. Davis||I. Watson|
|10||X. Simpson||J. Poole|
There's the one spot to fill for 2016-17; Michigan could take a grad transfer and still have three open scholarships (plus 2017 commit Jordan Poole) to work with for the 2017 class, or they could take a late-rising 2016 recruit to round out what would be a five-person class. Both options are still on the table.
The Grad Transfer Route
As first reported by Sam Webb and confirmed by Brendan Quinn, Columbia grad transfer Grant Mullins will visit campus on Wednesday. Mullins is a 6'4" combo guard who knocked down 44% of his three-pointers last season, and he's Not Just A Shooter™; he made 49% of his twos, got to the line at the fourth-highest rate in the Ivy League, and even posted respectable defensive rebound and steal rates. Dylan has further statistical nuggets that are quite intriguing from Michigan's standpoint:
Mullins graded out in the 94th percentile nationally in pick-and-roll efficiency (including passes) according to Synergy Sports. He also graded out in the top ten percent of college basketball players in catch-and-shoot ability and shooting off the dribble.
Without Caris LeVert, M struggled to replicate their past success with the pick-and-roll. Ideally the team would have a player capable of reliably finishing at the rim who's also a willing distributor; last year, it was one (MAAR) or the other (Irvin/Walton). In addition to providing excellent outside shooting, Mullins could bring that dimension back to the offense.
Mullins took visits to Cal and Syracuse, and those two schools appear to be M's chief competition.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
With the regular signing period for the 2015 class less than a month away, it's time for one of our every-so-often basketball recruiting roundups. Headlining this edition is a visit from one of the best players in the country.
Jaylen Brown Sets Official
2015 GA SF Jaylen Brown, the #2 overall prospect in the country, has twice had to cancel planned official visits to Michigan due to scheduling conflicts. The third time should be the charm, as Sam Webb reports he's set to visit later this week:
Scout's #1 player in 2015, Marietta (Ga.) Wheeler SF Jaylen Brown is slated to visit #Michigan Thursday and Friday of this week
— Sam Webb (@SamWebb77) March 16, 2015
A potential commitment from Brown would have a significant impact on the outlook for next season, but Michigan faces daunting competition: Brown has also visited Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, and UCLA, in addition to the in-state pairing of Georgia and Georgia Tech. Everyone's favorite one-and-done factory currently leads his 247 Crystal Ball picks.
Brown is one of two 2015 prospects left on Michigan's radar with one scholarship available, making the not-so-safe assumption that Caris LeVert stays and Max Bielfeldt doesn't return. The other, far more likely option is German forward Moritz Wagner, who added a scholarship offer during his official visit for the Rutgers game.
[Several class of 2016 updates after THE JUMP.]
We're in a brief dead period for basketball recruiting, which seems like an ideal time to check in on the latest developments. I'm keeping the focus on the 2015 and 2016 classes for now; Michigan is still in the early stages of reaching out to 2017 recruits, and there's plenty to cover in the '15 and '16 classes, anyway.
2015: Dozier to SC, M Interested In German Prospect
After Michigan took transfer Duncan Robinson, it appeared they were all but done with the 2015 class, but the coaching staff is still pursuing a few talented prospects, including a couple players who've only emerged on M's radar in recent weeks. Michigan won't land anyone during the early signing period, which began yesterday and runs through the 19th, but they're in on a few players that could sign in the second period (April 15-May 20).
First, let's take one target off the board: PG PJ Dozier ended up surprising many with his decision yesterday, but it wasn't the surprise Michigan fans hoped for—instead of choosing Louisville, as expected, Dozier decided to stay in his home state and play for South Carolina. Happy trails to the young man.
Even operating under the unlikely assumption that no underclassman leaves the program after this season, Michigan has an open scholarship to work with for 2015-16, and they're focusing on a handful of top targets.
One of them just the radar: Berlin (GER) forward Moritz Wagner, whose highlights grace the top of this post—the 6'9" forward very much has the look of a classic Beilein big. Beilein flew to Germany recently to personally invite Wagner to campus; if he visited, he'd presumably get an offer. Duke and UConn have also reportedly shown interest, and Wagner also will have the option of going the professional route, per UMHoops:
“To study has always been my goal and that is parallel to the sport in the United States at the best,” Wagner recently told Berliner-Zeitung (translated). “On the other hand, it was always my dream to become a professional. Because the temptation is great, tackling issues. This is both cool.”
Wagner was born April 26th, 1997 and would be a member of the 2015 class. He recently told BZ-Berlin that he will make a decision on his future, signing professionally in Germany or attending college in the United States, after the season. He has reportedly been offered a four-year contract by Alba Berlin.
Obviously, this is a wait-and-see situation.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the recruiting outlook, including Michigan getting into the mix for the nation's #2 overall prospect.]
So That Was Odd And Didn't Happen
PROTIP: DON'T GOOGLE IMAGE SEARCH "ABORT" WITHOUT "MISSION"
WVU transfer Eron Harris is headed to MSU, and without ever visiting Ann Arbor. This was seemingly a mutual decision after a conversation before the visit, as Harris had a vision of the way he wanted it to go that Beilein did not share. So, okay. Whatever.
2015 Class: Still Trying To Exist
Moving on, the 2015 roster now looks approximately like this, give or take a Caris NBA departure or miraculous Hatch recovery:
- PG: Walton (Jr), Albrecht (Sr)
- SG: MAAR(So)
- SF: Irvin (Jr), Dawkins (So)
- PF: Chatman (So), Wilson (So), Bielfeldt(Sr)
- C: Doyle (So), Donnal (So)
You could probably slide Irvin and Chatman down a spot, but the upshot is that Michigan would like a guy approximately shaped like a shooting guard. Given the age and NBA departure threat levels of the folks on the roster, a PG/SG combo would be a nice fit. Prime candidates include offerees like MI combo Eric Davis, IL PG Jalen Brunson, and IN SG Jalen Coleman. All of these gentlemen have Michigan in a leading group, and MSU adding two 2015 SG types in a couple days should help Michigan out—MSU is also in the lead group for all those gentlemen.
Status for those three:
Davis wants to narrow by July, take officials in August and September, and decide by October. He wants to shoot a lot of threes, so we've got that going for us.
Brunson has a top eight including Michigan that he wants to narrow in August, and then he'll take officials and decide before the November signing period. Playing time has always been a major priority for him, so Michigan might actually want him to wait until spring. If he decides before it's clear whether Caris enters the draft (or Walton—longshot I know, but I'd like to introduce you to 10% of this year's first round).
Coleman, as per usual, has not provided any indication of when or where he might commit. He did tell a 247 gentleman that he was planning on "cutting his list soon" and that fit (check), opportunity (likely check) and proximity to home (eh… close enough?) are his main priorities.
Coleman has been too busy making rims explode on the AAU circuit to get too much into recruiting, where he's shooting 50% from three on almost 100 attempts. 247's Crystal Ball still says Michigan almost all the way, but with Coleman telling folks that "to this point, Coleman's dad has been in charge of the recruitment—with Jalen having little involvement" means that you should take any and all thoughts/hopes Michigan leads with a graint of salt.
2015 Big Options
If Chatman does end up sliding down to the 3, which is very possible with his skill set, Michigan would have a reasonably-sized opening for either a 4 or a 5, depending on where they want to play Mark Donnal long term. There are a couple options in this recruiting class still.
One is OH PF Esa Ahmad, who's a little undersized at 6'7" but has been playing well and is planning visits to both MSU and Michigan. Another is 6'10" Henry Ellenson, a power forward out of Wisconsin with three point range and a lot of high-major interest. Michigan is currently on the periphery pending the all-important visit:
"Michigan was at my house, and so was Michigan State," Ellenson said. "Michigan has been talking to me lately. I like Coach [John] Beilein down there. He is a great guy and easy to talk to.
"I know I will take my five officials next fall, but I'm not sure where I am going yet. I know they are big on coming to campus. We'll just see if the timing works out."
Get 'em on campus, etc. Ahmad and Ellenson are both ranked around 50 or 60 most places… except ESPN, which has Ellenson 5th(!) overall.
Michigan's elite camp has come and gone with three headliners: NJ SG Tyus Battle, NV PG Derryck Thornton Jr, and MI PG Cassius Winston, all 2016 five-stars. Those three were the class of the camp, according to Scout. Sam Webb on Thornton($):
This kid has all of the tools. Elite quickness, explosion, three-point range, and he is unselfish. He crossed too many players over to really keep track of and was generally capable of getting to wherever he wanted on the floor. Thornton excels in space, which is why it wasn’t a surprise to see him wave off ball screens. He just doesn’t need them to leverage on a defender.
[Much, much more at the link, FWIW.]
Despite that, the Scout guys generally thought Winston was better right now, though Thornton had more upside because of the whole nobody-can-stay-in-front thing. Battle is a lights-out 6'5" shooter.
Other notables($) included IN SG Kyle Guy ("a much smaller Nik Stauskas"), OH C Jon Teske ("6-10 and skilled … the physical part will come"), and OH SF Seth Towns ("6-7 shooter" whose shot wasn't falling). I don't think Guy or Teske will get offers until M lets Battle and TJ Leaf think about theirs; Towns is still a possibility since Michigan doesn't seem to have a guy obviously in front of him on their board, but it sounds like that offer may take a little bit longer to come.
Teske seems like he's almost recruiting M at this point, and a 6'10" guy with skill inside and out is someone Michigan will be keeping an eye on.
Thorton's vague top five
Thornton told Scout that five teams were coming for him hardest: Kentucky, Michigan, UConn, Cal, and USC. Those kind of statements are generally soft top X lists, and it seems unlikely Cal or USC can hang with the two teams that just met in the NC game and Derryck's dad's coach. Thornton on M($):
“Their offense is so spread out. They’re about development but the offense is really spread out, the bigs are mobile and there’s a lot of pick and roll stuff. They key on development and I love that.”
Thornton has no timetable but it sounds like he might get things over quickly.
“It’s early but I already have 20 offers,” noted Battle. “Michigan has been recruiting me hard, Villanova, Syracuse, Ohio State, Duke, and several other schools.”
Michigan may be recruiting him harder than everyone else because Thornton is recruiting for them? Yeah! That's the ticket. That is the ticket.
Now that we've reached the relatively busy summer, it's time to once again temporarily break out basketball recruiting into its own post.
2015 Saginaw combo guard Eric Davis has acquired a Michigan offer after an unofficial to Ann Arbor. Davis, a 6'3" gentleman ranked in the top 50 most places, has offers from big chunks of the Big Ten, Florida, and UCLA. He's currently projected to head to State, though he's played things close to the vest. He told Rivals "I don't have favorites," just like Jalen Coleman tends to do. Unlike Coleman, he does have an idea when he'd like to get things over with: September.
Davis is only the third guy Michigan has offered in the 2015 class; Jalens Brunson and Coleman are the others. Does this say something about Michigan's confidence level with them? Probably. If either was super enthused they would not be waiting around. They'd be trying to pre-empt Eron Harris.
Speaking of Harris, it's status quo($) 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.
Sounds like Donte Grantham is your next Hello post.
After months of poling down the Mississippi, taking in the sites while chewing on a piece of wheat comes a frenetic burst of machine-gun commitments. Michigan's already seen Trevon Bluiett go off the board to UCLA; Michigan State lost Tyler Ulis to Kentucky. Ypsi's Jaylen Johnson picked Louisville before Michigan could offer.
Those are the first dominoes in a string that should fall over the next couple months. As a reminder, it seems logical that Michigan will take a class of four guys. C Ricky Doyle is committed; Michigan will take one guy they think can play the four, one guy who can play SG, and a wing or combo 3/4.
WV SF/PF Donte Grantham is down to Michigan, Cincinnati, Clemson, and West Virginia. He's taken official visits to Cincinnati and Michigan recently, and Cincinnati responded to their shot a couple weeks ago by taking another combo forward and ceasing their recruitment of him. The tea leaves there combine with insiders on Scout and Rivals predicting good things, and soon. If he drops soon he'll be a Wolverine; the only thing that would give you pause is if he decides to take some additional visits.
Grantham's 6'8" with shooting range and would likely be a stretch four, but has shown some ability to put the ball on the floor and get to the basket. He's a postgrad, so he'll come in a little more polished than other kids.
CA SF/PF Kameron Chatman may drop this weekend on his official visit to Arizona, where Damon Stoudamire is a close friend of the family. Michigan seems to be running second at the moment; if Chatman escapes the desert uncommitted they will have a real shot. Chatman will have to act fast if he's going to join the Michigan class, though, since…
CA SF/PF DJ Wilson appears next on the pecking order. A fringe top 150 kid to the sites, Wilson is a high academic kid who took an official to Columbia—yes, that one—and is scheduled to go to Gonzaga this weekend. Michigan will host him the week after, and if an offer is forthcoming may drop on the spot. He says flat-out that Michigan leads. Wilson's even bigger than Grantham, pushing 6'9", and he sounds like a Beilein guy all the way. ESPN:
He is still growing at almost 6-foot-9 and his ball skills (in the open court) as well as his 3-point shot are impressive. He can face-up defenders and maneuver his way to the rim as well.
Wilson is a great prospect but his assertiveness at both ends needs attention. He plays in spurts and doesn't exert much energy consistently, especially in the areas of rebounding and defending.
Sounds like Evan Smotrycz 2.0. Hopefully he can get those deficiencies ironed out.
NV SF/PF Jonah Bolden is settling in at Findlay but cannot take official visits until he has an SAT score. That happens in October for him. He's planning on a spring decision, and while he just put Michigan in his top ten and rumblings have M in a strong position for him, timelines might not work out.
On the other hand: if Bolden shows that he's an elite recruit this fall, Michigan should have a spot for him. The projection above assumes Michigan banks a scholarship. If he's just that good they could say "screw it" and take him.
MS SG Devin Booker seems to be trending towards Kentucky. Depending on who you talk to his friendship with Ulis is either important or not, but it certainly doesn't hurt the Wildcats that he's on board. That Booker is still on recruiting boards after seven unofficials to Michigan and a recruitment that started in eighth grade implies that he's been looking for something he hasn't found in Ann Arbor; the vibe here is that this has gone on too long for this to end well. See Wesphal, Parrker.
old-timey haircut FTW
IN SG James Blackmon, Jr. is the other A-list option. An Indiana decommit who is a Kentucky legacy, he was thought to be a heavy UK lean. Now folks are split on his eventual destination. He visits Michigan this weekend and has an official to UK set up in mid-October; a recommitment to Indiana is also another possibility.
You'd think that one of Booker/Blackmon committing would put off or maybe even cause Kentucky to stop recruiting the other guy, at which point Michigan would seem to be in good shape, but at Roster Turnover U they may need a whole new damn team next year; tough to predict what UK will do. FWIW, some trawling of UK message boards indicates that fans don't think UK will take both. Here is your grain of salt.
OH SG/SF Javon Bess looks to be the primary backup plan. Bess is drawing a lot of Big Ten interest at the moment, and Michigan is amongst them:
"He said that he’d let us know (about a possible visit), because they’re still recruiting Devin Booker and James Blackmon Jr. They’re going to see about them,” Bess said. “He said in a week or so they’re going to call me and we’re going to set up a visit. If it comes to that, where I set up a visit, then I’ll have a scholarship when I get to Michigan. He said he waits for recruits to get to Michigan to offer them.”
So, that's clearly a plan B thing there.
Grantham drops for Michigan soon. Chatman heads to Arizona; Michigan offers Wilson on his visit and he commits. Kentucky picks up one of the shooting guards, and then it's up to them if they want the other. If not, that guy extends his recruitment a bit. I actually feel a bit better about Blackmon than Booker in the event that Kentucky is out of the picture for either. It's 50/50 whether a Plan A picks M; if not, they get Bess.
Michigan then enters the late signing period with an open slot they may or may not use.