Next year Manny Harris will either be a senior or in the NBA, and we all kind of hope it's the NBA because that will mean he played at a high level and blew up the idea that John Beilein can't develop players for a career at the highest level. Michigan will then have zero Manny Harrises on the roster unless one of two high-profile wing recruits Chooses Wisely. One is local guy Trey Ziegler, the son of CMU's basketball coach, but his decision is a long way off. He'll decide in the spring.
The other is Tennessee's Casey Prather, who plans to make a decision in the next couple weeks. Prather's taken trips to Clemson, Florida, and Michigan. He also lives next door to Vandy and has been on a ton of unofficials there. Those teams represent his final four. In the past week, these things have happened:
- Sam Webb said Michigan was "the team to beat" on WTKA a few days ago. This is not the same as a strong, strong, strong gut feeling but Sam is not a guy who says things like that lightly.
- Webb wrote an article for the Detroit News that briefly touches on 2011 commitment Carlton Brundidge and then goes into serious detail about Prather's recruitment. Money quote amongst a bevy of potential selections:
"(Rating Michigan's recruitment of Prather) on a scale of 1- 10, I would say a 12," said Jackson North Side coach Tony Brown. "I've seen more Michigan coaches at games. Michigan has been there through thick and thin. I can't say that every other school, in my opinion, showed. The head coach, he flew down to Fayette-Ware when we were in the district tournament. I was impressed then because Fayette-Ware is in the middle of nowhere. When I came out of the locker room, I looked up and there was Coach B. He was just displaying that proud M symbol on his sweats."
- Prather decided against a Vanderbilt official visit.
- Clemson cancelled a scheduled in-home visit and did not reschedule.
- John Beilein made his in-home.
- Prather's AAU coach posted this to twitter:
Potentially I could have two guys play in Big Ten Country but are living in SEC Land...Parity at its best, I love it!
And whats funny about that is, both guys are known for putting up good offensive numbers but Big Ten is known for grind'em out games that are won on the defensive end. Not that Hollins and Prather won't guard your butt but they're both so skilled offensively.
None of this is definitive, of course, but the tea leaves suggest that it's either Florida or Michigan. There's been some Florida chatter but look at the News article. It's packed with quotes from coaches and Prather's father. Webb's close to the situation, and the article he wrote up came from the same conversation that caused him to call Michigan the team to beat—with precious little time to beat them—on the radio. And Prather's AAU coach didn't quite say Prather was in the bag… but… yeah… quite. I'm thinking the "Beilein cannot recruit" meme will be lying in tatters soon.
While we're talking about basketball recruiting. UMHoops has your overview for you.