this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
You know what's weird about putting together these basketball recruiting things irregularly? Nothing happens. Because we're talking about a class of 3-4 kids instead of 20, these things meander down the great Mississippi, leisurely taking in a vague quote here, a scouting report there, without seeming to go anywhere. I mean, Trevon Bluiett still maintains he has a list of 24 schools or something. Takin' her easy, basketball recruiting.
In any case, things that sort of happened…
This is what the current roster looks like for 2014, assuming Robinson and McGary are in suits on draft day:
PG: Walton (so), Albrecht (jr)
SG: Stauskas (jr)
SF: Irvin (so), LeVert (jr)
PF: Donnal (so), Bielfeldt (jr)
C: Horford (sr), Doyle (fr)
Donnal may play the post; Irvin may be big enough to be a Beilein 4. Even if Donnal ends up at the 4, it's going to be a wing-heavy class. Michigan is going to skip the PG spot, has Ricky Doyle as a developmental big, and will probably take three guys who can play the 2, 3, or 4.
They could add four more players without any unexpected attrition; more likely they'll add three and bank one for a talented 2015 class. Michigan projects to have just one senior in 2014, Horford, so taking a five-man class this year would unduly restrict Michigan's ability to flog the championship game appearance to kids whose recruitments are just starting.
Leaving an open slot in in 2014 plus Horford plus an assumption of at least one piece of attrition (Irvin, Stauskas, or Walton blowing up to NBA early entry levels, Bielfeldt not getting a fifth year, someone transferring because of PT issues) would let that 2015 class reach three top quality guys: a post, a point guard, and someone who is very good at something else.
Bluiett is not making any decisions hastily
I think I just flipped my metaphor from leisurely polin' down the river to Ents, but whatever. As mentioned in UV, IN SF Trevon Bluiett has not dropped Butler after Brad Stevens's departure. That can't help, though, and Yogi Ferrell's mom thinks his list got a shakeup:
Yes, Yogi Ferrell's mom has special insight into Bluiett's though processes. Shut up.
With Scout's Brian Snow popping in on the GBW message board to proclaim he'd be "shocked" if Bluiett ended up anywhere other than Butler or Michigan, that would be a good thing. Bluiett's reputedly a guy who would like to stay close to home—Butler would be very close—so if anyone else gets involved it would likely be the in-state schools or maybe a Louisville or something. The 247 Crystal Ball flipped towards Michigan recently, FWIW.
Devin Booker remains Devin Booker, and will always be the same until probably November. He told Sam Webb that he made it down to Michigan's camp out of "loyalty" recently:
Sam Webb: I saw you last month when you were at the Michigan camp. You had another camp you were going to be going to a week later, and you had just gotten home. You get right home… come over to Michigan… why did you even make it over?
Devin Booker: “I think it’s more of a loyalty thing. Michigan’s been there since 8th grade, and a lot of my friends are going down with me. It’s just overall a good time; I can use it as an unofficial visit, and I’ve basically seen it all there, but just talking to the coaching staff, you know, it was good to go down there. "
Booker's been hanging out with Drake Harris for "like three straight weekends" as he cools his heels in Grand Rapids for the summer with his mom. He claims he has a top group but won't tell anyone.
Booker is headed to Kentucky for their Midnight Madness event. With Duke and UNC taking commits at SG, the Wildcats are likely the top threat.
CA SF/PF Kameron Chatman was just interviewed by Scout:
UConn, Oregon, Washington, and Michigan are the only schools he mentions as offers. Michigan was "good," but with positive inflection. Chatman also said his Oregon offer was "good." You see what I'm saying? About the things not happening? I mean.
Maybe a positive thing: Chatman is apparently buds with Devin Booker, and while they haven't talked much about playing together you'd have to think Booker dropping to Michigan would be a feather in Michigan's cap. Chatman plans a decision in the fall.
Pipe dreaming at the four
Sam Webb talked to WI PF Kevon Looney, who says he wants to get down to a top five this month. Sounds like Michigan will make that list($):
Sam Webb: You mentioned that Michigan was really a school that was coming on with you. Where does Michigan stand with you at this point?
Kevon Looney: “Michigan is in that top tier of schools. Michigan, Duke, Florida, Michigan State, Tennessee, Georgetown, they all in the top tier right now.”
Sam Webb: How did they get in there because it seemed like for a minute there that they were on the outside looking in? What was it about them that made them get in there?
Kevon Looney: “Michigan was always there. They had actually slowed down their calling and stop coming out. I don’t know what they thought. Then he picked it back up, Coach Beilein came to a high school in the playoffs and since that they have been staying more consistent.”
Looney has only been to Wisconsin and Tennessee, doesn't mention the Badgers in his top tier, and went to Tennessee mostly because he was in the area for a funeral. He plans on taking all of his officials. Looney was similarly coy with UMHoops.
More realistic options at Michigan's stretch four include OH PF Vince Edwards, who is still down to Michigan and Purdue, but also mentioning that Louisville is vaguely interested. Purdue sites think the Boilers may be pulling out in front:
Edwards opened things up a bit in the spring when he said he wanted to see if any other schools were going to show interest. One school that has is Louisville. To what extent, nobody really knows. They are pretty full for 2014 and have a couple guys higher on their board at Vince’s position.
Purdue on the other hand might be starting to take a slight lead, if you could call it that. Edwards stated earlier this summer that he would like to have the process over before his senior season begins in November. He also said it could be anytime between now and then so anything could change.
Edwards has repeatedly stated that he wants to be shown the proverbial love by whoever he picks, and Michigan seems to be diversifying its options at the four, so I'm with that guy.
A couple of unoffered guys are also in the mix. Jaylen Johnson is from Ypsi, has a MSU offer, and blew up at the LeBron James thing. He has "more skill than he's given credit for," sayeth the recruiting analysts there, which makes me think he's more of a fit for a pound-the-rock team like MSU than Michigan, which prefers skill and shooting to raw power at the 4. I mean:
Johnson played with one of the best motors out of any of the bigs in the camp. He was constantly making an impact on the game with his rebounding, defending, passing and scoring.
His ball skills are a little raw, but the potential is there. Just his effort defensively and on the boards is enough to help any team win games.
Doesn't sound like a fit.
Meanwhile, MO PF Jordan Barnett visited and is waiting on Beilein to see him in person to offer. He's a bit undersized at 6'7" if he's not a skill guy, and it doesn't sound like he is.
2015 point guard derby
The race to be the next Derrick Walton is on. The wooed and the wooing:
- Jalen Brunson (offer). Offered on the 23rd of June, Brunson is the top PG in the 2015 class according to ESPN. Michigan is currently… yes… I can say this… the biggest offer in his list, with Purdue, UVA, and Xavier following. Illinois and MSU are also pursuing hard. Brunson also talked to Scout, saying "Yes, I am" in a beautiful deadpan when asked if he is having fun, and claims no favorites. He's waiting until next November to decide.
- Jalen Coleman (offer). It's raining Jalens. Coleman may fit in the Miscellaneous Very Good Player category as a 6'3" combo guard and may not be mutually exclusive with other pure points, but since we know Beilein really likes his height at the SG spot I'm guessing he would be brought in as the point. Coleman, named after Jalen Rose (you are old), was "ecstatic" to get a Michigan offer.
- Sedrick Barefield. Barefield doesn't have an offer just yet but will get one the moment he steps on campus. He lives and California and is playing a typically heavy AAU schedule, so that visit might have to wait until fall.
- Corey Sanders. Sanders is the running mate of misc.-very-good player Dwayne Bacon, a near five-star in the class. While he's the lowest-rated of Michigan's potential additions, he has been impressing on the AAU circuit with his athleticism. Sam Webb just projected Sanders and Bacon to end up in the class—apparently they've added a play called "Michigan" to their AAU team's playbook. Let us consider where the program is now vis a vis the Aneurysm of Leadership.
Any of these options is kind of good. IL PG Hyron Edwards is out there still, but since he's fulfilled all the offer criteria, even attending the elite camp, but has not gotten an offer he seems to be a Plan B.
Sanders is the most intriguing/weird/dangerous/could-be-a-spy option. Anyone who sees Sanders's highlight video…
…knows that his handle his capital-T Tight and his game is capital-S Salty, which may be an artifact of an internet highlight video. But it's also quite a departure from the usual Michigan recruit highlight video, which shows the player working out without fanfare for 12 hours straight, carrying a trainer who screams profantities at him in Tagalog while eating ice cream the player himself has never and will never taste. Hard men, these point guards.
Sanders brings athleticism and heaps of swagger, but can he shoot and can he actually play point guard? Is it worth the risk if he brings Bacon along?
If Brunson sticks to his timetable I bet someone else jumps on the Michigan opportnity first, FWIW.
2015 post grabbage
Michigan seems strong with NV C Stephen Zimmerman, who just moved to #1 overall in the 2015 class to Scout and is enamored with the possibility of being Mitch McGary 2.0, except taller and (necessarily) less adorable. They're also chasing WI C Diamond Stone, who talked to Sam Webb. Stone mentioned Michigan in a small group of planned visits:
Sam Webb: Any plans on getting out to any other schools this summer or is that going to wait until the school year to get out on some more visits?
Diamond Stone: “I’m trying to figure out what Midnight Madness I’m going. Coach Calipari asked me to go to his Midnight Madness. So I don’t even know. It’ll probably be Michigan, Marquette, Wisconsin.”
Michigan hasn't had a Madness event since the first year they made the tourney, FWIW, but that's a quality group to be mentioned in: two local schools (easy to visit) and Kentucky. Stone was already on campus for the MSU football game last year, as well. Kentucky is obviously a huge problem, but if both these guys end up down to Kentucky and Michigan… well, Kentucky and only Kentucky can apparently lock both down. But you've got to think that they go to different places so they can be The Man.
2015 miscellaneous very good player
Depending on who you talk to, OH SG Luke Kennard is either a favorite or a middling shot to be miscellaneous very good player in the 2015 class. Michigan fans have been hearing about him since he was a freshman who shot a lot like John Shurna—oddly but effectively. Michigan has been on him forever-ever:
Bales recalled explaining to a Michigan graduate assistant, “You know, this is going to sound crazy, and I don’t know how good he is, but we think he’s pretty special. We have an eighth-grader who is going to be a freshman that you should take a look at.”
By Franklin’s second game at the camp, one of Michigan’s staffers was watching Kennard play. His third game, the entire Wolverines staff was watching. Like that, his recruitment had begun, even if an offer from Michigan, one of the many schools recruiting him, didn’t come until June 15 of this year.
“At the time, Luke had not received any offers,” Kennard’s father, Mark, said. “He had just gotten out of eighth grade.”
Kennard's been adding more bounce to his game consistently and ranks inside the top 50 everywhere you care to look; he picked up his offer about a month ago, and said the requisite things:
"We enjoy doing that and being there," Mr. Kennard said. "They've got great facilities.
"There's no doubt Michigan will be there [at the end]. They were the first ones that had kind of recruited Luke when we can to team camp his freshman year. That was kind of how it started."
There is of course Dwayne Bacon, Sanders's potential package-deal bro.
Today's recruiting roundup covers the MSU visitor list, a potential 2014 commit, Michigan's gentle giant of a commit, and more.
Denzel Ward: Michigan's next commit?
Last weekend, Michigan offered 6'9" IL OT Denzel Ward, who visited for the Illinois game and came away gushing about the visit and talking about receiving his "dream offer" from the Wolverines. Ward spent the game with Logan Tuley-Tillman, who gave him his best recruiting pitch, per Tim Sullivan ($):
"Me and a 2014 tackle, Denzel Ward, we both were there," Tuley-Tillman explained. "We hung out like the whole day, and we'll come back next weekend together. We had a lot of fun, and everybody already thinks we're brothers. We're going to start going along with it, too. We had fun, we both had a good time.
"I was just showing him what it was, and how it really is a family atmosphere up there, and how he would already have someone that would be there for him to help him with anything."
The pitch appears to be working—Ward will be back on campus this weekend after spending the week tweeting all of the positive things about Michigan. He might have something up his sleeve, too:
— Logan Tuley-Tillman™ (@LoganTillman) October 17, 2012
An early commitment is a definite possibility here.
Ward won't be alone as a big-time visitor for the State game; Tremendous has the whole list, and it is lengthy. Michigan's two biggest 2013 targets, VA RB Derrick Green and IL WR Laquon Treadwell, will both be present, as will a pair of backup options at wide receiver in MI WR DaMario Jones and OH WR Elijah Bell—neither hold offers but could pick one up as we near signing day if Treadwell doesn't commit. Don't expect Green or Treadwell to make a decision this weekend, but a good visit could go a long way towards locking up a commitment in both cases, especially when it comes to Green.
Visiting 2014 prospects with Michigan offers are MI WR/DB Damon Webb, FL OL Mason Cole, PA S Montae Nicholson, PA TE Brenon Thrift, and OH ATH Marshon Lattimore. The first 2015 offer, KY RB Damien Harris—who projects to be one of the top handful of prospects in that class—will also be on campus; he camped at Michigan over the summer.
There's also a major basketball recruit slated to visit in improbably-named 2015 five-star WI C Diamond Stone. He already holds offers from UCLA and Wisconsin, among others, and is likely to pick one up on his visit [EDIT: As multiple commenters reminded me of, Beilein doesn't offer prospects until the summer after their sophomore year, so Stone won't be picking one up on this trip]. Fellow 2015 five-star IL PG Hyron Edwards might make the trip up for the game, as well.
This is obviously Michigan's biggest recruiting weekend of the season, and we could see several offers go out to 2014 prospects; we'll see if a commitment is in the cards.
[Hit THE JUMP for the latest on the Dawson replacement situation and more.]