The nutty Michigan coverage isn't so much about Harbaugh as it is a signal to the Big Ten that Fox wants to party.
Sponsor note! If you're coming into town with a big group for, say, the Notre Dame game, your options are limited. You can drive a while, you can pay out the nose, or you can rent a whole dang house for about what it would cost for four to six hotel rooms at Gameday Housing. Hotel rooms don't come with yards to tailgate in and aren't within walking distance of the stadium, and they're all booked anyway.
Roy Manning is with it. Vine is the greatest.
Connolly on M. SBN's resident numbers-massager Bill Connolly has dropped ten items about Michigan's upcoming season. A Connolly post is always worth your time; he's very good at explaining what his numbers mean and is happy to deviate from them if he feels they're not capturing something. Michigan's not looking too good right now because of recent program history and that ugly recruiting gap that's coming home to roost right about now, but Connolly's like "eh":
That the Wolverines held steady at 20th overall last year is a positive sign, and I do think that there is some addition-by-subtraction going on in substituting a little explosiveness for a lot of efficiency on offense. They are still a few ifs away from a truly elite season, but I like their chances of getting to 10 wins overall, much more than the numbers do, anyway.
An interesting bit on the receivers:
Roy Roundtree and the receiver Devin Gardner combined for a rather awful 49 percent catch rate. Roundtree was all-or-nothing for his entire career, and Gardner was far too raw to make a significantly positive impact, and while the big-play ability could be missed (the two combined to average 18.0 yards per catch last year), the explosiveness-for-efficiency tradeoff could be welcome. Big plays are still a grave necessity, but Michigan still has Jeremy Gallon (16.9 yards per catch, 62 percent catch rate) and Drew Dileo (16.6, 67 percent) for that. To be sure, there will be bombs. They're built into the system. But Roundtree's and Gardner's catch rates were just too low; that Michigan ranked 21st in overall Success Rate+ despite the low completion rates is an incredibly encouraging sign of what may be to come.
Throw it to Dileo. Whole thing recommended.
(Not our) Kickstarter update. Pahokee and Michigan alums Martavious Odoms and Vincent Smith are featured in the Palm Beach Post:
Odoms met with Roger Horne, the director of food security initiatives at nonprofit Urban GreenWorks, and studied GreenWorks’ five urban gardens in Miami. Urban GreenWorks sells some of its urban-garden products to local vendors, something H.O.P.E. would like to do, too.
They’re hoping to build the garden just off 4th Street in Pahokee, between Barfield Highway and Lake Avenue.
“We want it to be in a place where people can see it,” Smith said.
(The article is a little old but I hadn't seen it yet.)
(Not our) walk-on down. Michigan State loses wide receiver AJ Troup for the season. While Troup didn't play last year, he was getting some hype as a potentially useful piece in State's Burbridge-and-the-handsless receiving corps after a 46-yard touchdown in the spring game.
Nope not getting excited. Nope. Okay a little. Jerry Meyer on WI PF Kevon Looney:
"Some pretty reliable local word in Milwaukee is Duke or Michigan for Kevon Looney,"247sports.com's Jerry Meyer tweeted last week. "Just what I'm hearing."
If Glenn Robinson blows up like he says he will that'll help quite a bit, as the guy wants to be in the NBA and likely will be sooner rather than later.
In other basketball recruiting news that I'll probably repeat in a week or two when there's enough stuff in the slow-moving barge to assemble into a post, California wing Kameron Chatman says he will "probably" return to Ann Arbor for an official visit.
Six more years. John Beilein says he wants to be around for a while longer:
"My plan was to at least coach six more years," he said. "So that the 2015 class, that's the class we're recruiting now -- along with the 2014s -- I wanted to coach all those guys.
"That was sort of the plan we put in mind. Obviously you had to dot some 'I's' and cross some 'T's' and there was no rush, but I was really pleased we were able to work it out."
He'll be 66 when his new contract extension expires, FWIW, and will evaluate his status then. If Alexander and/or Jordan are still around then I'd expect an internal transition.
Saban talks actual football on ESPN. Nick Saban breaks down a few plays from the title game blowout for ESPN, and Smart Football translates. Instructive for Michigan fans since Michigan is moving to an Alabama-style offense.
This in particular reminded me of something Michigan got caught in:
S: “We picked up on the fact that they weren’t real sound in coverage here. Their inside linebacker has to flow over and take the tight-end but he actually has a run/pass conflict when we fake the ball at him.” — Translation: Notre Dame has eight defenders lined up with their hand in the ground on the goal line, with only three players at the second level, including Manti Te’o, the “inside linebacker” Saban refers to. At its simplest, the purpose of the play was to pull Te’o up with a run fake and then throw behind him. Saban makes clear that it was the coverage scheme that was an issue as much with Te’o's play here — it’s just a tough assignment — and he says that when they face play-action teams they try not to put their linebackers in positions like this. He then gets a little more specific about specifically how they attacked Te’o.
Michigan put itself in the same situation against Air Force by using Jordan Kovacs as a single high safety who both had to cover one of AF's wing backs out of the backfield and clean up the pitch man on the option.
As soon as Kovacs started getting aggressive enough to beat the wingback to the outside and clean up before the play picked up ten yards, Air Force burned him over the top and would have had a 62-yard touchdown except the receiver fell down after about 30. Option football is mean, and Michigan probably shouldn't sign up to play an option team right after Alabama again, not that they'll play Alabama on purpose any time in the near future.
Paging Tom Rinaldi. Kid who named his tumor "Michigan" 1) needs a snappier name and 2) will be going to the Michigan-OSU game thanks to Brady Hoke, who hopes to make him miserable at it. Uncomfortable thought about that South Park episode in which Stan coaches a youth hockey team happening… now. Okay, now it's over.
Tweaking Ohio. Dropping the "State" from "Ohio State" makes a move to Florida:
Then, after Muschamp referred to Ohio State as “Ohio,” Muschamp deadpanned: “I’ve always been a Brady Hoke fan.”
If "Ohio" becomes, like, a nationwide thing people use to tweak The Ohio State University I think we need a parade for Hoke.
The worst scouting report ever. I don't know who Aaron Schatz is talking about here, but it's not Mike Martin:
Martin, a third-round pick in the 2012 draft, led all Titans defensive tackles last year with 8.5 hurries. That's surprising considering he's more of a classic nose tackle rather than a penetrating three-technique. Scouts considered Martin a blue-collar grinder whose best strength was his solid base. But in his first year in Tennessee, he was faster than advertised and showed a variety of pass-rush moves. Martin was considered a possible first-round pick until he really struggled during his senior year at Michigan. That was partly due to a scheme change, although oddly, the new scheme he struggled in was actually more similar to what he's playing now in Tennessee. He should be in line for a jump in playing time despite the signing of Sammie Lee Hill.
All of those bolded things are the opposite of true. The third bolded thing may be accurate if you only look at stats… for a nose tackle, which… who does that? And wait a minute right here.
Wait a minute.
This is a NOSE TACKLE who finished fourth on his team in tackles with 64. That is an incredible stat. He did this on a defense that had no high draft picks and completed an insane one-year turnaround. Nothing about this makes sense.
no tackles for this
This is the worst paragraph ever written. Not this one. That one. In the block quote. That one that asserts Mike Martin is a blue-collar guy whose main strength is holding up offensive linemen and that he was not an all-crushing force of nature as a senior who was hurt in the NFL draft by the fact that Michigan played him out of position out of necessity. "Really struggled." Okay guy.
Etc.: NCAA is trying to prevent for-profit schools from joining it, which makes my irony meters tingle all over. Wetzel on Buckeye arrest blitz. Bob Stoops encourages Oklahoma fans to tweet recruits. DO NOT TWEET RECRUITS. Shouldn't it be "Division Zero"?
Well, I'll be danged. I think this is the first documented case of a recruit stating he picked a school because he wanted the security of a long-term scholarship. He's Dyshon Sims, a 3.5 star OL recruit who just picked Georgia over Alabama:
“I also like how you get a four-year scholarship at Georgia. That’s one of the main reasons I picked it. From my understanding, you get three years at Alabama, and you only get a scholarship for each year. If you don’t show enough progression, then your scholarship is pretty much gone at Alabama.”
Nick Saban is probably not quaking at this development, but it's nice to see someone is paying attention to the fact that they can get a four-year ride guaranteed if they ask for it.
don't mention Woodson… don't mention Woodson… don't mention Woodson
Gardner camping. Devin Gardner was at the Manning QB camp thing over the weekend. That was mostly notable the general public for the fact that Johnny Manziel was bootted for showing up late, apparently hung over. Dollars to donuts as he was leaving he made several Heisman poses and rubbed his eyes theatrically in the general direction of Peyton.
Anyway, Gardner was either impressive or raw depending on who you talked to. Mike Mayock named him first when asked about juniors who impressed:
"Gardner came in at the end of the year, he's 6'4", 210, he's got a buggy whip [ed: ?] for an arm, he's highly athletic, he's raw as can be, but trust me—this kid's got some ability. I'm really anxious to watch him develop this year.
Mayock clarifies that this was not actually football, so don't think it's football.
Mayock wasn't the only guy to notice Gardner. According to Bruce Feldman, he was generating quite a bit of buzz:
NFL.com's Bucky Brooks also noted Gardner:
@dg1two might be the next Ryan Tannehill. Limited experience, but athletic and a ultra-talented passer. Great physical tools. Big arm.
If you missed al the Tannehill references last year around this time, Tannehill switched to WR for Texas A&M, was successful there, went back to quarterback for his last couple years, and was a first round NFL draft pick.
Brooks noted that there were 41 college starters showing out at this thing, so for Gardner to be a must-mention for everyone is a good sign.
Whoah. Someone pays 860 dollars too much for a ring commemorating the Mississippi State slaughter; the ring is Kelvin Grady's. Why would you put up a memento like that, other than a desire to never think about that game again?
Kevin Grady Sr. is now in federal prison for 14 years after he was convicted last year on multiple charges of bank and wire fraud and lying to federal authorities as part of a $3 million mortgage scheme. … The sons were left holding the bag on a $45,000 judgment which will be only slightly reduced by the auction, according to Visser, who represented Reitberg Realty and Rusty Richter in the court action that began in 2008.
Whoah. The piece dryly notes that "it is unclear if the buyer of the ring is a Wolverine fan or not."
Yeah, I would have bought this. ARGH CLASSY SHIRT THAT IS NOW ADORNING UGANDANS
Slight difference between this and the immature cheese BCS t-shirts from a couple years back—you know, ORANGE you glad we won, hur hur.
Yes, yes please. Smart Football makes some suggestions to improve the box score, starting with the obvious (sack yards are not rushing yards) and moving on to some good stuff I hadn't thought of:
Completions Behind the Line: Bubble screens, rocket screens, now screens, touch passes and swing passes are an increasingly large part of offenses, and, given that these plays are nominally forward passes but are typically “packaged” with running plays, they really should be their own quasi-run/pass category.
Also suggested is the addition of yards after catch, which yes.
- I'd like to see punts divided into air yards and ground yards, so I can stew over that 30-yard duck that rolled 20 more.
- QB hurries are a legit stat that should be tracked.
- WRs should be charged with drops and have their targets tracked.
Uh-oh. Luke Kennard picked up MSU, Duke, and Kentucky offers this weekend. Kentucky is a particular issue, as Kennard said he grew up a fan of the Wildcats. What is with Kentucky getting all up in Michigan's recruits? Isn't there some 6'7" guy who does not acknowledge the effects of gravity to recruit? Leave us our wonky-form shooter plz.
Hopes: nope. I'm not going to get my hopes up about Kevon Looney. I'm not going to get my hopes up about Kevon Looney.
The mutual interest comes from what Looney watched Michigan do during this past season — specifically, he saw the success Robinson experienced as a first-year player.
“I could be next,” Looney said. “When you see someone that’s built like you, has a style of play like you, and you see he’s going to get better, you sort of put yourself in that position.”
Looney knows what he’s looking for in a school.
“The best situation for me,” he explained. “The best situation where I could come in and play, where I could come in and develop. The best college atmosphere, I want to go to a real college town.”
I'm not going to tell Kevon Looney that he's like three inches taller than GRIII and GRIII's usage rate was in the Brent Petway range.
You should be Trey Burke as well. Derrick Walton, just dribbling stuff.
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.
Hey kids. I've been wandering around trying to figure out what's going on with Michigan basketball recruiting, so I figure it's time to start posting about it on the site. Guidelines:
- This will be a once-a-week feature through summer that will either get picked up by someone else or dropped during football season for obvious reasons.
- We will deign to cover 2015 kids just as much as 2014 kids since Beilein Offer Day is in a month and it's a lot easier to project basketball players a year or two out.
You are not prepared to know the destination of Trevon
Trevon Bluiett is playing very well on the AAU circuit and planning on an official cut to… well, some number of schools. His dad (also his AAU coach) is zen about this:
“I think he has an idea,” said Reynardo Bluiett, who is also Trevon’s AAU coach for Spiece Indy Heat. “I don’t ask him because I’m not prepared to know. He’s got an idea.”
He plans a decision before his senior year starts; popular opinion holds Butler the leader with Michigan and Indiana still strong candidates. Blueitt was one of the top performers at Spiece…
Trevon Bluiett, shooting guard (Spiece 17U)
Bluiett continued to play where he left off the past two weekends on the Nike EYBL circuit. The thick-bodied shooting guard is a physical wing that plays with pace and patience. He lets the game come to him. Bluiett is a great perimeter shooter off the bounce and in the catch and shoot. The junior has a quick release and good form. Bluiett also is solid off the bounce getting in the lane and getting to the charity stripe. The highly touted wing finished with 21 points.
…and seems to be a good fit for Beilein's offense. Here is an indeterminate quote from Bluiett himself:
"They've been texting me constantly, three, four times a week," Bluiett told ChicagoHoops.com recently. "Out of them, I have the best relationship with (Michigan assistant) LaVall Jordan.
"It's good to talk with him now and then."
If we meditate on this we may find enlightenment.
Trevon plus Kevon equals unstoppable power
Kevon Looney was the topic of Sam Webb's weekly Detnews article. Looney is wide open at the moment:
"It's still wide open," Parrish said of Looney's recruitment. "You have Duke, Florida, Michigan State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Marquette, Georgetown, Stanford; and he's a real educational kid, so Stanford and schools like that are going after him as well. It's still wide open for him. He hasn't cut his list yet."
Michigan didn't just pop up on Looney's list because Michigan was tardy recruiting him, they popped up because now they seem like a valid place for a top-ten player to go.
"Michigan was actually the first school his freshman year that started recruiting him," Parrish said. "Coach LaVall Jordan began recruiting him early on, so they're in there. They've been doing a great job with him. We were down at the Final Four that weekend, so he got an opportunity to go and watch the games. Not the championship game, but prior to that, the Final Four games. That always helps because he wants to play on a big stage."
Looney does have Duke, MSU, and Florida already in a top five he'll cut down to in the near future; Sam says "many pundits believe the Blue Devils are leaders in the clubhouse."
Soon to change his name to Devon
Five-star-ish MS SG Devin Booker has acquired offers from every power you can name, though Duke has probably taken itself off the board with a five-star SG commit. The most recent is Kentucky, and yes it is a little irritating that Calipari would offer a kid ranked as low as 27th.
Booker may or may not hit Michigan's camp on June first:
“I’m not sure [if I can make it to camp],” Booker reported. “I think they mentioned it to me. If I’m up there (in Michigan) and have no camp or anything else, I might go.”
Booker's recruitment is going to extend a while:
“I don’t have any timeframe right now, but probably after the summer is when I might actually cut it down of some sort,” Booker said. “And then I’ll go from there.”
Don't expect any news there for a while.
Also In 2014
CA SF Kameron Chatman has confirmed that he'll be at Michigan's camp, whereupon he'll get an offer.
Instate wing AJ Turner is seeing his options expand as he moves into summer, but appears to be a plan B recruit, as Michigan has not offered yet.
Michigan has continued to show interest in Turner, sitting courtside at the Atlanta Spring Classic the weekend before Spiece, still doing thorough evaluations. Any talk of an offer from the Wolverines is tabled at the moment.
“I’ve still been talking to coach Beilein,” said Turner. “Just going through the process right now, he said keep working hard and we’ll see what happens.”
If Bluiett or Booker goes off the board Turner will be one of the prime candidates to grab an offer in response.
2015 offer day for Michigan is about a month away. Instate combo guard Eric Davis($) is a candidate for one of those offers. He's already got an Illinois offer. On Michigan:
“Really I see what they did with Trey Burke, and John Beilein says that I could come in and be the next Trey Burke,” said Davis.
Another candidate is IL PG Hyron Edwards, who has Purdue, Indiana, and Illinois offers and claims MSU is on the docket. Edwards on M:
“The contact is tight,” he said his relationship with the Michigan coaching staff. “It is as tight as it can be right now. Coach (LaVall) Jordan, he is a nice guy. Coach (John) Beilein (too.) The players are great to me. Glenn Robinson III, Spike (Albrecht), Mitch (McGary), we all like this off the court.”
“I watched all of their games actually. I have been to some too. When they played Michigan State and IU, as well.”
He says something similar about State's interest, and has no favorites. He's not looking to make a decision for another year.
BONUS: best typo or best typo?
With all these Big Ten pogroms showing Edwards’ interest, is there a clear cut favorite yet?
Hey man that's football's problem, not basketball.
While I refuse to even mention 2016 football recruits, except when I mention them, basketball is a bit different. Michigan's after the spectacularly-named PG Cassius Winston, who has a couple BCS offers already and looks like he'll be a serious candidate for both Michigan and Michigan State offers in what will be the state's most-talented year in a long time. UMHoops caught up with him:
Despite the fact that he’s just wrapping up his freshman year of high school, Winston has an idea of what he’s looking for in a potential college.
“Point guard dominant,” said Winston. “Where the point guard controls the tempo and the pace and a great coaching staff.”
For its part, Michigan fits the ball.
“I like Michigan. That’s a point guard dominant team with lots of screen and rolls. They support you and they make sure you take care of your books and everything.”
Yes, Michigan fits that bill. It's shaping up to be a rare MSU-M head to head battle:
“I talk to Bacari Alexander a lot and every now and then we talk,” Winston explained. “Probably it’s between Michigan and Michigan State leading my recruitment [right now].”
There is yet another Gordon, his name is Eron, he's a 2016, he's got Indiana and Purdue offers already.
On my signal, unleash charity. EDSBS's annual fundraiser for Refugee Resettlement and Immigration Services of Atlanta is up. Michigan has won this thing back-to-back, crushing all comers, and I'm pretty sure if we win a third straight year we get the right of first refusal on any 7'3" Spiderman shot-blocking centers they might accidentally produce.
Orson suggests commemorating a past football game with your donation. I'm going SUMMER OF TATE!
I blame the Big Ten Network for this. And wheel routes, of course. The donation page can be reached directly here. Michigan State is currently leading.
Hagerup gets the Stonum treatment. Michigan has announced that Will Hagerup is reinstated and will be suspended for the entire 2013 season. He'll have one more year of eligibility in 2014 if he can survive the double secret probation period, which of course Stonum could not.
Q: would Michigan announce anything if their own players didn't spill the beans on social media? The timing of all these reports seems to be: "wait for someone on a message board to notice, announce once it starts getting wider attention."
If Hagerup is still on scholarship that would take Michigan's next recruiting class down one.
Kovacs doing his Kovacs thing. The NFL equivalent of a walk-on is the undrafted free agent, and Kovacs is doing his Kovacs things with the Dolphins. But first, awesome lead!
Jordan Kovacs is the rarest kind of three-time all-Big Ten player. The kind that is nearly $100,000 in debt.
That might be a first, actually. Kovacs came in for a profile on the Dolphins' site with this quote in it:
"Those within the Dolphins organization tell me that Kovacs has a legitimate shot," MiamiDolphins.com's Andy Cohen wrote, "that you aren’t as productive as he was at Michigan without having a chance at the next level."
Practice observers are united in stating he is small but impressive nonetheless. One:
Michigan safety Jordan Kovacs was the main guy who caught my attention. At first I noticed he's the runt of the litter, standing all of 5-foot-10, 205 pounds. Most NFL safeties are three inches taller, and maybe 10 pounds heavier.
"Then I noticed Kovacs has a knack for being around the ball," Kelly continued, "and plays with a feisty spirit. He pulled down one of the Friday session's two interceptions and was consistently around the ball. What does that mean? No clue at this point, but flashing is a good thing."
Former Michigan safety Jordan Kovacs, an undrafted rookie free agent signee, knows how to make an impression. He was a walk-on at Michigan and rose to prominence and had something of a cult following in Ann Arbor. He knows the way to draw attention and that's hit. He did plenty of that, taking some liberties at times in the defensive backfield. He also had an interception. So he's got my attention, at least.
Spiece means all of the scouting reports. There was an immense AAU tournament in Fort Wayne over the weekend that has resulted in an unusually large scouting dump even for the internet. Trevon Bluiett had a great weekend on both ends, filling it up and giving five-star Kevon Looney the business on defense:
Dylan on Bluiett:
We’ve been keeping tabs on Bluiett for a long time now so his offensive exploits don’t come as a big surprise. Bluiett can score the ball against just about anyone. He has a great jumpshot, can use his 6-foot-6 frame to get to the rim and even has a nice mid-range game. But it’s always encouraging when a guy that you’ve been following for a long time shows off something new. We already touched on Bluiett’s defensive exploits against Kevon Looney but his performance was very impressive – mostly because we haven’t seen that out of him. Five threes on the other end didn’t hurt, although this still wasn’t Bluiett’s best offensive game of the tournament, that would have been his 28 point outburst against Team Thad.
He told Rivals($) that Michigan and Butler are recruiting him "most vigorously" at the moment. Everyone who's ventured an opinion thinks Butler has a tentative lead, and time is running down. Bluiett wants to decide before his senior year begins.
UMHoops also put together a scouting reel on Looney. Which… wow. He doesn't have the quickness to drive on guys a lot shorter than him, but he's a 6'9" kid who blocks everything, runs the floor, has three point range, and is aggressive. I say, he might be a good player.
Scout also has extensive, uh, scouting($). Vince Edwards had a little bit of a rough outing as his teammate and OSU commit Jae'Sean Tate went to the basket over and over; everyone's now filing Looney as an "elite face-up power forward."
Oh. ESPN's Paul Biancardi puts Zak Irvin on his class of 2013 "dream team," describing him as an "alpha dog($)":
Every team needs some alpha dogs, and Irvin fits that category. He provides the luxury of having a big-time scorer who can stroke it from deep with excellent size or beat his defender off the bounce, pull up and nail it from the midrange. That scoring versatility is priceless. He also has high-level athleticism, and his frame is strong enough that he can take a hit and finish at the rim. Irvin is a competitor who can play the game up tempo or in the half court. Bottom line, he is a bucket getter who can put up big numbers.
Sports in which you attempt to throw a ball past a person with a stick. Softball clinched their sixth straight Big Ten title over the weekend with a narrow 2-1 win over Northwestern, then celebrated by clubbing the Wildcats into a fine paste 16-1 in a game I attended. I was just talking up how Sierra Romero was pretty good when she put one over the fence; later in the game they walked her with a base full. The next day, Northwestern walked her at every opportunity, plunking her the first time. Also she's the shortstop. She might be good.
Softball is the top seed for the Big Ten tourney, which is in… Nebraska. Does that make more or less sense than having the hockey tournament at neutral sites? Advanced math necessary to tell. In any case, it's a big tourney for Michigan, which currently sits on the edge of the top-eight spot that would not only guarantee them a regional but also a home super-regional should they advance.
The softball tourney is a twelve-team single elimination thing; Michigan's Friday opener won't be televised but their hypothetical semi would be at 3 Saturday and the final is 1 Sunday, both on BTN.
Meanwhile, the baseball team is fighting for the last spot in the six-team Big Ten tournament, taking two of three from Iowa over the weekend. They've got six conference games left, a home series against Purdue and a trip to Lincoln. Purdue is about as good as Iowa—not good—and Nebraska is just okay; Michigan has to keep ahead of Illinois for the last spot. They've got a game on the Illini.
Dollar dollar bill y'all. The Big Ten's distribution to its schools pops up over a million dollars to $25.7 million. The BTN is now putting out $7.6 million a year. Makes you wonder how they used to manage with just 15 million a year. Probably ate roof tiles, sat in a hot tub filled with dirt, used old batteries to decorate.
The irony of this bullet. The only good thing about the new flood of articles (YES IT'S A TWO-ARTICLE FLOOD GAWD) about Chris Webber is they're the ones spurred by the dissociation period imposed on him by the NCAA ending. So they should be the last, by God. Has anyone else ever been a subjection of this much discussion 20 years after he left his college team?
Canadian Football. Your names. I don't know what to do. There's a new Ottawa CFL team that just drafted a backup Iowa lineman in the first round because the CFL draft is only for Canadians. In any case, I bring this to your attention mostly because that team is considering the following names:
Wiki says they're choosing between the RedBlacks, the Nationals, the Raftsmen, the Voyageurs, or the Rush. Of course a Canadian team would consider "Rush" an appropriate nickname. Whatever they end up going with, they're always going to be The Fightin' Tom Sawyers to me. But I digress.
Canada. I think "RedBlacks" is actually the goofiest what with its connotations of a distant rollerball future where all things are named according to the colors that comprise them because the gubberment has confiscated nouns.
Knobwatch. When Bret Bielema isn't fighting with Wisconsin fans on twitter—seriously—he's dialing up the doublespeak to its maximum:
Will put out a release shortly with a list of a few current student athletes that will explore new opportunities. Transition is a process.
— Bret Bielema (@BretBielema) May 6, 2013
Coincidentally, "Transition is a process" is also what the noun-confiscating dystopian gubberment says when it takes your nouns.
One of those guys is a postgrad quarterback everyone will want Michigan to look at who will instead go somewhere he can play.
Barwis talking about Mealer. Via the latest TEDx event at M:
Etc.: Is the body of this article titled "Why B1G has no November night games" just "IT'S COLD"? It should be. Ringer departure official if you missed it yesterday. FWIW, I heard he'd had microfracture surgery a la Greg Oden. Where the O'Bannon case stands and is going in the near future. Ben McLemore stuff just makes me want agents to be cool wit the NCAA. Burke's got a shot at going #1.
more like #gameofthrowns amirite
In ur pocket, disrupting ur mechanics. Bruce Feldman started tweeting pictures of some guy shoving a broom at Devin Gardner and I was like "er?" Turns out one George Whitfield is a famous quarterback-coaching guy. QB Yoda, if you will. The broom is an effort to break a quarterback's mechanics down:
I talked to some front office guys, scouts and coaches, and two AFC East teams did a study of pocket-passing analytics. Both teams found that 60 percent of the time the quarterback had to make some sort of adjustment or escape before getting a throw off. Only 40 percent of the time did he take the designated drop and make a clean attempt at a throw.
If that happens behind millionaire offensive linemen being coached by millionaire coaches in billionaire leagues, you don’t get any higher than that. Two in five plays.
The first thing we do with elementary-aged kids is start them throwing on the run. I don’t care about his three-step drop. You can really improve his football quality of life if you can teach that little guy how to throw on the run.
He's all about the many plays when things don't go quite right and the quarterback has to do something other than make a perfect step-up-and-throw. Gardner still has a tendency to float balls in these situations as he reverts to his wonky high school motion.
Kyle Meinke has a roundup of all the Whitfield-related stuff you may need. He seems to think Gardner is good at football:
— George Whitfield Jr. (@georgewhitfield) May 2, 2013
Hopefully he'll need less of that than an average quarterback what with Lewan and Schofield keeping him clean.
Gold in them thar hills. Continuing a theme:
Sai Tummala has decided to decline the scholarship offer from Husker Coach Tim Miles and will instead go back home and play for the Arizona State Sun Devils.
Yeah, you vaguely remember Tummala as a guy who walked on at Michigan a couple years ago. He departed for a JUCO, blew up, and was a late signing who apparently had offers from a half-dozen schools including Pitt(!) and BYU(!). John Beilein can pick 'em, man.
In other news, Nebraska's taking a look at a Finnish power forward this weekend. This is now the other half.
I no longer prospect as much though, because the gold nuggets are coming to me. Baumgardner caught up with WI SF/PF Kevon Looney's coach:
"He's definitely interested in Michigan," Looney's AAU coach, Shelby Parrish, told MLive.com. "He likes Michigan's style of play, he likes coach Beilein -- he's very interested in him."
Looney is going to cut down to five and take officials from there. Scout has also been buzzing about potential Elite Camp visits by Devin Booker and Kameron Chatman. All of those guys are in the top 40; Looney is top ten.
UMHoops talked with 2015 C Stephen Zimmerman:
Zimmerman has also been in constant contact with Michigan — he said he’s been speaking with Michigan’s coaching staff about “once or twice a week for the past three weeks.”
“I’ve been talking to them a lot more recently,” Zimmerman said. “They seem like a great coaching staff and everything. It’s a great school.”
Maybe it's the product. Bacon has a different take on the languishing interest from students in showing up for football on time:
Getting mad at your paying customers for not liking your product as much as you think they should, then punishing them for it, is probably not something they teach at Michigan’s Ross School of Business. …
But if the athletic director didn’t ask the students what they thought about the new policy, or why they arrive late or not at all, I have a few hunches. Because tickets are so expensive now, and games take so long, the current students didn’t go when they were kids – which is when you get hooked on watching the band flying out of the tunnel and the players touching the banner. No matter how tired or hungover we were in college, we wouldn’t think of missing those moments.
Of course, our habit formed because we knew the game was going to start at 1:05, every Saturday, for years. Now it could be noon, or 3:30, or 8 – and sometimes they don’t tell you when until a couple weeks before the game.
Why? TV, of course. Which is to say, money.
Back then, we also knew Michigan would be playing a solid opponent – every game. In Bo Schembechler’s 21 seasons, they played 77 games against non-Big Ten teams. How many were not from major conferences? Exactly ten.…
When the students can show up for Michigan State, though…
I'm not sure exactly what the problem is, but Bacon is right that the product has lost some of its luster. An annoyingly loud ad is an an annoying loud ad even if it's for renting Michigan Stadium or field hockey; prices are higher; times are random.
It's over. It does not matter that MSU might have a slightly easier schedule than Michigan in the crossover games unless they can beat M and OSU in any given year, but here's a hilarious statement from Mark Hollis:
“You’re gonna have MSU playing frequently in Chicago (against Northwestern),” Spartans athletic director Mark Hollis said this week on “The Drive with Jack” radio show on WVFN 730-AM in Lansing. “Minneapolis is another market that’s important to us. We put all those out there and Jim listened to us."
I wonder why that might be.
Yes please. If Zak Irvin ends up an upgrade over Tim Hardaway it'll be with defense and rebounding—they have similar offensive games. Irvin seems more inclined than Hardaway to be an impact player on the other end of the floor:
He'll fight for minutes with Stauskas, Robinson and sophomore Caris LeVert -- and he'll do it from day one. But, that's not necessarily a bad thing.
"That's a good thing," he said. "Going against each other every day in practice is going to make us that much better. Defense is definitely going to be the difference-maker, though.
"Those of us who can play defense will be on the floor, especially at the end of games."
Coaches love to hear that.
"I'll play where they put me," he added.
He says his best spot is shooting guard, but he'll probably be a SF/PF at M. Not that there's much distinction in the offense.
Of course. Via WTKA's Ira Weintraub, Sirius is allowing you a chance to head out on the road with… POP EVILLLLL. And what better place to take in the second greatest-evil ever allowed into Michigan Stadium than the home of the first?
One winner and a guest will fly to Grand Rapids for a Pop Evil concert at the Orbit Room on May 17th where they will meet the band, then join them on the tour bus that night, heading to Rock on the Range in Columbus, Ohio for Rock on the Range on May 18th and 19th where they will have the chance to get on stage and intro the band! The prize also includes two nights’ stay in Columbus, OH and airfare home.
If you enter and win this, I will give you every MGoPoint that will fit in a 64-bit integer if you intro them as the worst thing to ever happen to Michigan football. This will get a great cheer from the crowd, and may not even be interpreted as an insult by the band.
Huh. Ace points out that in Football Study Hall's F+ rankings of the last few years of the Big Ten, Michigan's 2010 and 2011 offenses are in a dead heat near the top of the rankings:
Let the debates about whether Al Borges and Denard Robinson were a good fit rage in perpetuity. The 2011 crew made their hay with a ruthless devastation of OSU and the UTL fluketasm; they were maddeningly erratic, what with the trash tornado game and Iowa under center debacle. The previous year was fairly consistent until the grim end to the season, but never put the spurs to anyone of consequence.
Other notables: it will not surprise you to see the 2008 offense and 2010 defense on the awful lists; Michigan is in fact the only non-Minnesota/Indiana/Northwestern program to feature. Meanwhile, the two year-turnaround from the second-worst offense in the sample to the 4th-best is kind of amazing. Michigan has been the second-best offense in the league the past four years, but (surprise!) lags on defense.
Etc.: Denard is going to ditch Jags minicamp to come back and graduate. Stephen Ross called Jordan Kovacs personally when the Dolphins signed him. The SEC is chattering about nine conference games now. Also they're going to start picking which teams go to which bowls instead of vice versa. Glockner on the ridiculousness of the Lance Thomas thing from every direction. Michigan is going to be huge at WR/TE. Emmert still under fire.