"...don't believe something because an "expert" is saying it. Believe it because of the evidence."
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.
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.