Caris smash. Caris LeVert came to Michigan after a high school career spent as a mizzenmast. I'm saying he's thin, people. That's the joke. Or at least he was thin. This year's edition of Michigan basketball player is all swole now:
Yes yes, Irvin and Walton are also adding weight (Irvin's up to 215 from 200) but I be like dang Caris. Let's check in with his senior year of high school…
…during which he probably ripped off and reattached his arms nightly. Caris is also a legit 6'7" in shoes, so he is tall and large and is hopefully poised to rip it up this fall.
Freshman dimensions. Basketball has posted a roster. It lists:
- Kam Chatman at 6'7", 210
- DJ Wilson at 6'9", 210
- Ricky Doyle at 6'10", 250
- Aubery Dawkins at 6'6", 190
- and MAAR at 6'4", 200.
Doyle's weight is a positive. Michigan's going to need him to bang, and he's now the heaviest guy available—Donnal added ten pounds but only got to 240. Meanwhile, uncertainty about Max Bielfeldt's status for next year is all but gone: they've ceased listing him as a redshirt junior and now have him as a senior.
Fireworks nyet. I'll have a column type thing about this tomorrow, but to recap the most important completely trivial news of the week: the Michigan regents shot down the athletic departments proposed fireworks for the Miami (NTM) and Penn State games despite separating the votes. Mark Bernstein's criticism was the most pointed:
“We are not Comerica Park, Disney World or a circus ... ” Bernstein said. “I love Michigan football for what it is ... and for what it is not. It remains and should be an experience, a place that resists the excesses of our culture; intentionally simple.
“The fireworks should be on the field, not above it.”
I probably wouldn't have gone with "resists the excesses of our culture" but the overall sentiment is one I can get behind. Mostly I just want Michigan to be like itself, to maintain a separation from other options. Not because those are necessarily worse*, but because a bright line between Them and Us is inherently valuable when you're trying to gin up some fake-ass tribalism.
This is the most fundamental divide between myself and Dave Brandon: he wants to copy the Best In Class Leaders because that's the only thing he's ever been able to do. He could no more start a business than I could be athletic director, because every attempt would be Chipotle 2 or Also Applebees or Pretty Much Still Ponderosa. His one strategy for success is to do the thing that everyone else is doing.
Anyway. The new president is being carefully neutral about the whole situation…
“Personally, I didn’t have an opinion,” Dr. Mark Schlissel, who started his job this week, said Friday during a press conference with the media. “Having never attended a game there, I didn’t have a sense of the cultural aspects of it. The band marching out, I’ve never seen. I’ve never seen them at a halftime show. I don’t have context to really say whether fireworks matter or not. I didn’t really feel like I had a valid opinion.”
…but the message sent by the regents is clear. This is an organization that has just been sued because they decide things in private meetings and show up to vote things in unanimously. During the 116 votes previous to the fireworks there were eight instances of a regent voting no. Brandon just exceeded that in a single day.
The opportunity here was to provide a vote of no confidence without shooting something down that's actually important, like the budget. I mentioned that I thought a number of people towards the top were discontent but unlikely to do anything about it in the most recent mailbag; I must have underestimated the disdain.
Is this the beginning of the end? I'm not getting my hopes up just yet.
*[They are of course sometimes worse.]
Back on the market. Onetime Michigan target and temporary SMU commit Matt McQuaid, a shooting guard out of Texas, has reopened his recruitment.
For a second there it looked like McQuaid was very serious about Michigan, so I wouldn't be surprised to see the two parties reconnect. Everyone seems like a backup plan for Jalen Coleman at the moment, but if Coleman does do the weird thing and pick a Notre Dame program that hasn't really gotten off the ground under Mike Brey, Michigan wants to make sure they've got options. McQuaid is a pretty good one:
McQuaid is arguably the best shooter in the class of 2015 -- and he strengthened his case last week at the LeBron James Skills Academy, when he shot lights-out from 3-point range against the best high school players in the country. There were at least two games in Las Vegas where I didn't see McQuaid miss an outside shot. He can make shots from deep and is also capable of knocking down contested shots.
He's 6'5", so visions of Stauskas are dancing in various heads right now.
Old stuff. Wolverine Historian takes on 1986 Iowa:
Straight shooter. I may disagree with a lot of what Bob Bowlsby thinks but I can appreciate that he's not Bill Hancock:
"Enforcement is broken," he said. "The infractions committee hasn't had [an FBS] hearing in almost a year, and I think it's not an understatement to say cheating pays presently. If you seek to conspire to certainly bend the rules, you can do it successfully and probably not get caught in most occasions."
He probably thinks it's possible to fix that, and that's where we differ. I do wish someone in attendance at Big 12 media days had heard this…
"It is hard to justify paying student-athletes in football and men's basketball and not recognizing the significant effort that swimmers and wrestlers and lacrosse players and track athletes all put in," he said. "Football and basketball players don't work any harder than anybody else; they just happen to have the blessing of an adoring public who is willing to pay for the tickets and willing to buy the products on television that come with the high visibility."
…and asked Bowlsby how much harder he was working than the assembled press corps.
Etc.: Scouting Tyus Battle, Jalen Coleman, and Prince Ali at the Peach Jam. The Game will not be at night, because frostbite. CJ Lee looks back at his time at Michigan after taking an assistant spot at Marist. A preview of the band programs this year. I'm not enthralled with the idea of trying the sing-along thing again. Peppers and Funchess feature amongst the most watchable players this year.
I like lists of sports memories that include bad stuff, because bad stuff happens. So props to the Daily Gopher for including Mike Legg (and Holy Cross) on their list of Gopher hockey moments.
Shayok just received his release from Marquette, and Michigan may have something to offer 6'6" Canadian wings
The departure of Jon Horford means Michigan currently has enough room for everybody, including Austin Hatch. Any NBA departures will give Michigan an opportunity to add to the class, and it's possible Hatch and Michigan have already come to an understanding about his role with the team.
So they'll likely keep their ear to the ground in case they find a guy who they think can help. A report yesterday that Michigan had offered Marquette decommitment Marial Shayok, a 6'6" Canadian wing. That was debunked in about 15 minutes by Sam Webb. Still, Michigan probably expressed interest there, probably on the order of "if player X leaves and you come to campus we will offer you." Michigan is persnickety like that, and sometimes recruits interpret things like "we will offer you if you visit" to mean "I have been offered."
Meanwhile, Scout's Evan Daniels first reported that Michigan was looking at SF Ryan Taylor, a northwest Indiana kid currently taking a prep year in Wisconsin. UMHoops confirmed that, noting that Taylor is from the same AAU outfit (Wayne Brumm's SYF) that sent Glenn Robinson, Mitch McGary, and Spike Albrecht to Ann Arbor. Taylor's only got an Ohio offer at the moment, so if Michigan does come through he'd probably leap at the offer the instant it was made.
Michigan takes what it wants from West Virginia
Michigan's also rumored to be looking at some transfers. Former WVU sniper Eron Harris is on the market, Michigan has been said to be interested. His publicly stated reason for the move is to be closer to his Indianapolis home, though, and if that isn't PR malarkey there are plenty of schools in Indiana that would take a 42% three point shooter, including both Big Ten outfits.
And while the fifth-year pickings are slim, Webb included 6'9" Rice C Sean Obi on a list of potential 2014 adds($). Obi announced a transfer after Rice changed coaches. Obi was the only good player on a miserable Rice outfit, one who led the team in usage as a freshman and rebounded 31%(!!!) on defense, second nationally. Northwestern, Duke, Vanderbilt, and Virginia are all in pursuit, so academics are emphatically not an issue; in fact, it seems like whoever lands him is going to have to sell him on how good said academics are. Obi shot efficiently on a team that was miserable, had a respectable block rate, and is obviously a rebound machine. He would be a perfect fit.
That list has a couple of other names that haven't gotten out to the public yet. I'll leave those in the article except for one with an amazing name: PA SG Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman.
I am detecting a certain pattern here.
Yes. With the exception of Obi all these guys are wings slated to replace Stauskas. It would be a major upset if he stayed.
Michigan's numbers in this class are as up in the air as it waits not only on potential departures before the 2015-16 season—which now brings Caris LeVert, Derrick Walton, and Zak Irvin's NBA draft status into play—but also how many late adds there are in 2014. Horford's exit leaves Michigan with zero seniors on next year's roster, but the NBA will cull somewhere between three and five guys from the roster by the time this recruiting class arrives. Michigan should be planning a class of approximately equal size.
One of those gentlemen should be a blocked shot factory who hurls balls downward through the hoop when the opportunity presents itself. I know people are talking about Donnal as a 5, but if he can play the 4 for Beilein that makes everyone's life easier. He has the range to be shooter #4, certainly. Adding a third 6'9"+ guy gives you the opportunity to explore a normal-sized 4 if you want.
Who that might be is unknown. Chatter about five-stars Stephen Zimmerman and Diamond Stone has died down over the past year. Not that it means much, but Michigan didn't get a mention in a local article last month, and was not included on a list from Zimmerman's own mouth around then:
"I want to take a visit to Kentucky, Louisville, North Carolina, Kansas, Indiana," Zimmerman said. "Those schools that are schools I can't visit all that often."
One of these programs is not like the others. (HINT: clap clap clap clap.) Stone, meanwhile, was just a name vaguely interested and seems more focused on the Dukes and UNCs and such.
Manuel has filled out since this shot. And transferred.
The hottest name in that department is Oak Hill's top 50 PF/C Trevor Manuel, who visited for Michigan's senior night victory against Indiana. The aftermath of that visit caused one dude with Crystal Ball access to flip his prediction to Michigan, possibly because momma knows best:
"My mom is a huge Michigan fan," Manuel said. "I think if it was up to her I would probably end up playing at Michigan. She has always loved them and had a really great time at the game."
Manuel's from Lansing originally and if he's looking for playing time, the opportunity is there. NC State and Michigan State are the other prominent names in his recruitment. MSU's interest may be waning:
Though MSU could certainly take two bigs in this class, it's unclear if Manuel is still a priority. He's not a true post player and often moves out on the perimeter. He's being sold as an ultra-lanky, tall wing forward and he has great potential if he can continue to excel in that role. If he doesn't, he looks more like a floating, skinny post.
"Floating, skinny post," you say? I know just the man. He doesn't really fit the block machine thing but Beilein gonna Beilein. Having Manuel and DJ Wilson on the roster would still allow Michigan to be fairly normal in height, if skinny at the 4.
McQuaid is not just a shooter
The picture on the wing is clearer. Luke Kennard committed to Duke a few weeks back, leaving Michigan free to focus on other dudes. The guy on the list closest to dropping is Matthew McQuaid, a Texas shooting guard who plans to decide next month. There was a brief flurry of reporting on McQuaid and Michigan in January in which he seemed enthusiastic and then radio silence until an article yesterday in the local paper in which the author made it seem like he was a foregone conclusion to M:
McQuaid, whose father grew up in Midland, is patiently weighing his options, which include a strong, growing interest from the University of Michigan. Head coach John Beilein is supposed to make a recruiting visit in the next few weeks. U-M assistant coach Bacari Alexander has been in regular contact with McQuaid over the past several months.
“It’s a lot of fun. This is something you only do once, so I’m going to enjoy (the recruiting process) while it lasts,” Matthew McQuaid said in a phone interview a few days ago. And, yes, Wolverine fans, McQuaid is open to playing at Michigan, which has an offensive system that fits his style of play.
Michigan is in fact the only school that gets more than a cursory mention; all other programs are crammed into a single sentence detailing McQuaid's various impressive offers. A few paragraphs about decisions and then:
As for Michigan, which won the Big Ten this past season and may lose Stauskas to the NBA, Rob admits that Matthew’s style of play is a good fit in Beilein’s system. A number of Michigan recruiting websites are speculating that McQuaid will be heading to Michigan.
“John Beilein is a great coach,” Rob said. “Not every program has the right system that fits a player, but Michigan has one of those systems that does fit (Matthew).”
Does that mean that McQuaid will end up in Ann Arbor?
The answer to that question is .... stay tuned.
For one, I have not seen even one Michigan recruiting website speculate that McQuaid will end up in Ann Arbor. UMHoops last tagged him in a post in January. Ditto Rivals. For two, if the guy is planning a commitment next month it will be difficult for that to happen without an offer. McQuaid has not visited, which is a necessary prerequisite for Michigan to do so.
He's certainly talented enough to get that offer. ESPN has him in their top 50; he's a consensus four-star everywhere else.
Indianapolis combo guard Jalen Coleman is still high on Michigan's interest list. There were rumors he might commit at the Michigan-ND football game last year, though, and they did not come to fruition. The latest news on Coleman is that he… switched AAU teams. I had forgotten the glacial pace of basketball recruiting for a moment there. Now I remember. Nothing happens, ever.
Also in that department, the most recent thing to happen with IL PG Jalen Brunson was a controversy about a photo that appeared to show him flipping double birds in a state playoff game. This did not actually happen. Glacial.
Activity! Michigan is checking out OH SG Kyle Ahrens, who broke his leg early in his high school season and is just now getting back on the court for the start of AAU. He was on campus in November and holds offers from MSU and Iowa amongst other non-Big Ten offers like Cinci and Xavier.
So what does this class look like?
Fuzzy. Gone are the days that Michigan just offers some dudes as soon as they offer dudes and they all fall over like dominoes and then rise up the rankings because Michigan can scout. Now Michigan's got the profile to go after guys who don't have to rise up the rankings, and they're getting in extended recruiting battles.
I'd say McQuaid ends up in the class except he's trying to pull the trigger without having one of those offer things; if he does schedule a visit in the near future or puts off his decision so he can schedule a trip to Ann Arbor it sounds like you can pencil him in. Aside from him it looks like Michigan is pursuing a combo guard who can maybe play some point but is mostly a SG, and Coleman seems like an okay bet. I get leery when guys are about to drop and then do not drop, as most of the time that means the supposed lead enjoyed was never extant.
And then they'll want a post-ish guy. 4 or 5 doesn't really matter with the flexibility Donnal provides, but Beilein has recently rumbled about finding a shot blocker. 2015 would be the place that happens unless they find a guy from Cameroon this spring.