Basketball: Same Old Song
Saginaw point guard Tory Jackson, long thought to be signed, sealed, and delivered to Michigan, will attend Notre Dame instead, leaving Michigan without a point guard in this class. Internet rumblings claim that Michigan was the dumper here and Jackson the dumpee, but we've heard that before and the situation Michigan finds itself puts the lie to that claim. In 2006, the sole point guard on the team will be Jerrett Smith, a marginal recruit who's been reported to have problems playing defense, shooting, and passing at various times last year. While he's probably not Avery Queen 2005, it's safe to say that placing all of Michigan's point guard eggs in his basket or that of Dion Harris--who proved that he's not much of a point last year--is a risky "decision," if not an insane one.
Escape from Ann Arbor
But that's okay! The instate crop for '07 is loaded with awesome high major prospects that will fill out Michigan's scholarship allotment with pure asskicking fury. Don't get distressed about a guy who was either already committed or an inch and a half from committing who decides to go to a strange, unmentioned school after strange rumblings and implied cries of "shenanigans" from UM basketball loyalists.
Er... wasn't that supposed to be this year? Wasn't this year supposed to be the Sims/Jackson/Herzog/Lighty/Morris uberclass that vaulted us into the lofty realms of the NCAA tournament? Well, Sims is aboard, Morris is the Ray Jackson of the class, Lighty's going to OSU, Jackson's going to ND, and Herzog is still very much up in the air and if you made me guess right now I would say he's probably Not Coming Here. So now the drumbeat starts about Alex Legion, Kelvin Grady, Durrell Summers, Chris Wright, Josh Southern, and Kalin Lucas, the '07 guys who will light up scoreboards next year, be OMG Michigan LOCKZ(!), and go somewhere else.
Let's be serious: no matter the devious machinations behind the scenes here, Amaker screwed up again. The near-exclusive focus on Jackson in this class, like the focus on Crawford and Hairston in 2003, leaves Michigan grasping at kids in next year's class that may or may not come. "Not" is a 3-2 favorite. Maybe by this point we would be wise to the fact that basketball recruiting is a shady and infuriating business full of dubious advisors who mainly seem to advise players to avoid Ann Arbor and plan accordingly. (That is, if you buy this shady business at all, which I don't: Jackson is heading to ND, not Florida or Missouri. Unless Holtz has decided to channel his inner Bobby Knight, the ND program is about as rogue as a bunny rabbit.) I don't pretend to know the inner workings of basketball recruiting, but this is the second time in three years Michigan has been left in the lurch by assuming someone was in the bag when he was not.
All you have to do is watch a single disjointed offensive possession that involves 30 seconds of passing it around the perimeter and one off-balance, contested three-pointer to realize that Amaker was brought here to recruit. Unfortunately, the wages of his recruiting appear to consist largely of sleepers who are role-players at best (Smith, Coleman, Brown, Petway), soft guys from Boston, and guys that not even Amaker could screw up (Abram, D. Sims). The future bodes unwell. I do have it on good authority that Michigan is in on some kickass sixth graders, though.