...says Denzel Valentine of Big Ten Tourney favorite MSU, which is 5-7 in its last 12 games. Cumong, man.
LAST TIME: bitching about the fact that following five kids instead of fifty tends to make basketball recruiting langorous at best, endless repetition of the fact that Recruit X has not cut his 23-team list at worst. Picture of polin' down the Mississip'.
ACTION! (At least comparable to one of Ace's bi-weekly football updates.)
First, the bad news…
I thought we were bros Jerry Meyer said so
Happy trails to five-star PF Kevon Looney, who cut his list to six teams and did not include Michigan. : /
Also in Happy Trails:
- Rivals and 247 have both reported that Michigan has essentially parted ways with OH PF Vince Edwards, who's expected to commit to Purdue shortly.
- MO PF Jordan Barnett committed to Texas. Barnett didn't have an offer despite a Michigan visit. Even if he was a plan B, he might have moved up into the A range once Looney gave M the axe.
That is kind of a downer when it comes to stretch fours, but…
You call that a knife? I'm from Flint, sort of
Nevada-by-way-of-Australia-and-Flint stretch PF Jonah Bolden burst onto the scene recently, having just returned from the land of vicious dunking koala bears. As a 6'8" or 6'9" kid with excellent range he fits exactly the kind of hole Michigan was hoping Looney would fill.
He just showed up on the radar after an impressive showing at the Adidas Nations tournament:
Best prospects I've seen so far at Nations include Josh Jackson, Okafor, Stanley Johnson, Jonah Bolden, Malik Newman and Tyler Doesey
Findlay Prep is getting good one in Jonah Bolden. Face-up PF at 6-8 w/length that is finishing on break, hitting from 3, really passes well.
Believe I got asked about Australian Jonah Bolden the other day. 6-8 forward has a great looking shot and can move. Very intriguing.
At 6-foot-8, he can really shoot, he has great length and he runs the floor well. … little doubt that high majors will be interested.
Bolden can jump very well for such a tall, long player and his greatest asset is his outside shot. Very long arms allow him to be a difference maker inside defensively without the type of muscle he’ll need to add at the next level. Slithery and smooth in his ability to penetrate on the offensive end, Bolden has a very high skill level and terrific touch.
Bolden's dad is from Flint and played a year of high school ball with Glenn Rice before starring at Boise State in the mid-80s; Bolden reputedly grew up a Michigan fan as a result.
Bolden will play at Findley Prep (the same school that Michigan target and eventual OSU commit Amadeo Della Valle played at) for his senior season and enter college in 2014. Rivals seems to think he "prefers" M, and he did give this quote to Scout:
"My dad is from Michigan and I always liked the way they play, especially my position," Bolden said.
Despite growing up a Wolverines fan, Bolden said that he's completely wide open in his recruitment and isn't planning on making a decision until the spring.
"I'm not committing anywhere anytime soon," Bolden said. "I'll look at my positional availability; who is there before me. I also will look at academics."
Positional availability is going to be pretty dang good if GRIII is in the NBA draft, and he fits Michigan's style to a T. Thanks, Australia.
Michigan's interest in 2015 IN SG Jalen Coleman is sincere enough that he is one of a very few kids in that class to currently sport a Michigan offer. He's moving from Indianapolis to a prep school in northern Indiana, an area that has recently an absolute bounty for Michigan. He's looking to schedule a visit in the near future (first or second football game), and Kyle Bogenschutz reports that 1) they want to get recruiting over with, 2) Michigan is "at the top," and 3) there is a "great chance" he pops the next time he's on campus.
“It’s like a hungry dog going after a slab of meat,” Adams said. “He can put the ball in the basket.”
His comment on Michigan:
* On Michigan -- “I’m thankful. That’s a blessing to have an offer from a college team that advanced to the national championship and almost won it. I watched them the whole season and saw how they improved. I was happy for their success. I’ve been talking to Coach Jordan a lot and Coach Beilein has been texting my dad.”
Very good vibe from that compared to the things he says about the other schools.
List slicing ho!
CA SF/PF Kameron Chatman released a list of his five finalists: USC, Arizona, Michigan, Oregon, and UConn. Washington, once the perceived favorite, is a notable omission. Meanwhile, UConn was dropped at one point due to a lack of contact and unless USC's paying guys again he's not going to that tire fire, so this seems to be a duel between Oregon, the 247 Crystal Ball favorite, Michigan, and Arizona.
Supporting evidence: Chatman has scheduled officials to those three schools only, with Michigan getting their swing at UTLII.
IN SF Trevon Bluiett has sliced his list from 23 or so to seven. Michigan, Butler, and UCLA are thought to be the main contenders; Bluiett is also considering Indiana, Xavier, Arizona, and Purdue. Bluiett's dad told Scout that he thinks the list of seven is really about four and that Michigan is amongst them:
“Always have,” he said. “He’s always regarded Michigan pretty high and he loves the coaching staff, the style of play.”
Also in that article, Bogenschutz got a quote on Bluiett's impending official (scheduled for the CMU game on the 31st) that turned into a "Adidas: Bluiett to Visit U-M, Commit too?" headline. Judge for yourself:
“We got a tentative (visit) on the 31st of August, the first football game,” Bluiett’s father said. “We’re trying to make arrangements for that. I hear that’s an extravaganza.
“A lot of recruits don’t leave there uncommitted -- I heard,” he laughingly added.
Bogenschutz would later add($) that based on that interview and "conversations throughout the camp" that he "might be close" to pulling the trigger on his visit.
Bluiett has provided no timetable for a commit, FWIW. Brad Stevens's exit from Butler should give Michigan the advantage now, with official visits the best chance for other schools to catch up. Bluiett gave Brian Snow a breakdown of his finalists nad his quote on Michigan was encouraging:
I probably have the best relationship with that staff. Coach (John) Beilein lets his players go. He recruits players with high IQ’s, and they are able to get wins without him really over coaching them.
Butler's is also pretty encouraging for the Bulldogs, FWIW.
Booker still winding towards decision
Booker on Michigan:
“Well, Michigan’s been recruiting me since the eighth grade, so they have a special place in my heart I’d say because I’ve visited there seven times and my mom lives in Michigan still and she’d probably like me to stay closer to home and play,” Booker told SNY.tv. “I live in Mississippi but I’m there in Michigan for the summer.”
Zagsblog says it's a "safe bet" he'll land at M, MSU, Kentucky, Missouri, or Florida, but he hasn't officially cut his list.
Kentucky on Kennard
Snow on 2015 OH SG Luke Kennard:
“I would say UK is definitely a game-changer,” Snow stated. “I have always felt that if UK offered they would be very tough to beat and I have heard nothing to suggest otherwise. Now it isn't a done deal, but if UK continues to make him a priority I think they will be extremely tough to beat.”
Let's go Kentucky… in other recruitments of shooting guards. Not that that seems to slow them down at all.
Michigan's looking at 2014 four-star wing Josh Cunningham, presumably just in case. Add 2015 wing Tyler Williams to your offer candidates. 2015 Cleveland PF Carlton Bragg has buckets of talent. Watch him for a potential visit. If you've got Scout, highly recommend Bogenschutz's scouting of the various Michigan targets at Adidas Nations.
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.
Junior Offers Out
Kennard and Coleman
Junior day came and went with one offer issued, that to OH SF Luke Kennard, which duh. Kennard isn't on the verge of committing and would like to narrow things down.
“We’re going to have to start narrowing it down some,” said Kennard. “Top 10 or top five, and then see where we go from there.”
Kennard plans to visit each of the schools that make the cut, naming Ohio State, Michigan, Indiana, Butler, and North Carolina first when asked who has the best shot to survive the trim.
Kennard is planning to hit Michigan's team camp at the end of July; M is reputed to be in strong position. Kennard hit up the Elite 100 camp last week and impressed Scout's Brian Snow($):
Luke Kennard, SG – The Ohio native had another excellent event proving to everyone that he is not only a high level shooter, but pretty darn good at everything on the basketball floor. He is more than athletic enough to guard high level wings, and then on offense his IQ separates him from most of his peers. Kennard is still somewhat left hand dominant, but he was able to get by guys going either direction. Add in that he makes plays for himself and others, and Kennard might have been the most complete wing at the entire camp.
A Beilein guy no doubt. Kennard is talking about a decision at the beginning of his junior year, which you'd think favors Michigan. Kennard has gotten around to Indiana, OSU, and Kentucky, though, so it wouldn't be a slam dunk.
IN SG Jalen Coleman wasn't offered over the weekend because he was playing in an AAU tourney and was unreachable, but he got his yesterday. He's not as familiar to Michigan fans as Kennard is. He did tell Scout's Kyle Bogie($) that he is planning some summer visits, "especially Michigan," amongst some other tantalizing things. Coleman will be a knock-out, drag-down fight between various Big Ten programs and potentially Louisville. He's named after Jalen Rose($), so we've got that going for us.
He told Inside The Hall that, like Kennard, he doesn't plan on taking his recruitment out too much longer:
“I don’t think it’s going to be senior year, I doubt if it’d be that late,” he said. “Probably his junior year he’ll be making the decision on what school he’ll be going to because it’s good to get that done, especially being an upperclassman so you can just focus on your team.”
Indiana offered Coleman when he was a freshman and seems like the main competitor.
WI C Diamond Stone has met the visit prerequisite but wasn't offered; Sam Webb says that's because he hasn't sent in his transcript, and once he does that he'll (obviously) get the offer.
I think we're for real
It's still a little boggling to consider that Michigan can go out and snatch a top-ten national recruit who isn't an enormous puppy-man, but the more information we get on 2015 NV C Stephen Zimmerman, the more I think Michigan's in it. His mom is handling a lot of his interviews, and even though this is an interview with a Kentucky site things keep coming back around to the Wolverines($).
I'm curious--who are the schools that he's having these 20 minute conversations with?
That's a loaded question... Coach Payne at Kentucky has and Coach Jordan at Michigan, they've tried to get to know Zimm. Coach Rice at UNLV too, and I think they have a little more knowledge of Zimm because his brother is his high school coach, so I think they have a good relationship. Those are the ones I can think off the top my head.
Zimmerman appears to really enjoy the idea of playing the Mitch McGary role:
Michigan is a popular school with several guards at this camp because of Trey Burke and his success this season, I'm curious, what are your impressions of Michigan and Mitch McGary from this past season?
We were really impressed because Stephen plays with Dream Vision and we ended up playing Mitch's team quite a bit in Stephen's first summer, so Stephen got to watch Mitch and see where he was at this point to where he is after this past season. You can just see that he was a man on that court now instead of the boy we saw just a summer ago on the court. That meant a lot to Stephen to see how he developed during the year.
Has Stephen ever indicated that he's felt like a school has had a similar style of big that he is?
You know, the only one he's mentioned is with Mitch McGary. He'll mention, "hey, we run that play" or, "Ok I see what I did there, I can try that." So that's really the only one I can think of that he's voiced, but I'm sure you know from talking with Stephen that he doesn't say a lot of what he's thinking in his head, so he may not verbalize it until a few days later, he's an observer.
Zimmerman's going to visit a small list of schools and I'd be shocked if Michigan isn't one of them. He just told a Rivals guy that Kentucky and Michigan were the "most aggressive" schools after him.
Meanwhile, in 2014 land
Jordan Barnett, Devin Booker
Uh… nothing's really going on you guys, other than AAU tourney after AAU tourney after AAU tourney.. IN SF Trevon Bluiett is status quo, deciding between Indiana, UCLA, Michigan and fuzzy potential leader Butler. OH combo forward Vincent Edwards is status quo, deciding between Michigan and Purdue. Michigan got CA SF Kameron Chatman on campus and offered; that's the only recent Event aside from a visit from MO SF Jordan Barnett, who could be in line for an offer:
“[Michigan] said they would like to offer me, but coach Beilein said specifically that I couldn’t get an offer from Michigan unless he saw me play,” Barnett said. “Beilein hasn’t seen me. He said if he saw me and he liked what I did, I’d probably get an offer.”
He's looking to commit by the end of the summer; Iowa, Texas, and Florida are his other main suitors.
MS SG Devin Booker still doesn't have a well defined top list and plans to take officials in the fall. Duke and North Carolina are taking themselves out of the running a bit after getting commitments from similar players, so Kentucky looms as the biggest threat:
About [Kentucky] — Booker appears to be quite high on its list of priorities. Booker said he talks with Kentucky coach John Calipari “on a day to day basis.”
“Me and Coach Calipari, we text back and forth, we’ll talk on the phone,” Booker said. “He actually has a good relationship with my mom and dad, he’s been talking to them. So we’re talking about a visit sometime soon. I think right now it’ll be an unofficial. After the summer, I might take an official.”
He told a newspaper basically the same thing.
Booker's in Michigan for the summer with his mom, hopefully hanging out with Drake Harris and enjoying the weather. He plans some sort of cut at the end of the summer followed by some number of official visits.
All of this will be terribly exciting when Michigan smashes Kentucky's recruiting hegemony and spirits away a bunch of top 20 players. August and September promise to have a lot of movement, as it seems everyone mentioned in this post, be they class of 2014 or 2015, is talking about making a decision before their high school seasons kick off.