Again with the killing. The Daily's latest feature is on Michigan's connection to the St. Mike's prep program that produced Louie Caporusso, Andrew Cogliano, Brandon Burlon, and plenty of other Wolverines over the years. It features a what-if on the level of "what if Kevin Garnett went to Michigan":
When Lindros first visited before the OHL draft, Berenson was sure to make the right impression.
Berenson called Lindros into his office with an offer he hoped the 6-foot-4 power forward wouldn't be able to pass up. Hanging in the coaches’ room when Lindros entered was a traditional white Michigan jersey, with the trademark 'M' on the chest. Berenson then revealed the back of the sweater: LINDROS 88.
Lindros had been No. 8 at St. Mike’s, but Berenson was making a statement.
“I didn't let anyone have a high number back then,” Berenson said. “But (Lindros) was big time, and we knew that. Gretzky was 99 — I gave Lindros 88.”
The offer was made and the decision was left up to Lindros. He chose Michigan.
The OHL promptly changed its rules against trading first-round draft picks and Lindros went there instead.
Also most of the pictures are credited to "Danger Nesbitt," which is either author Stephen Nesbitt's ironic nickname or ass-kicking nine year old sister.
Recruiting blitz. Lost in the most crammed sports day I can remember—basketball, hockey, and US soccer were all going on simultaneously—was the commitment of 2012 Canadian wing Nick Stauskas. Stauskas claimed a Kansas offer at one point and was definitely getting recruited by Wake Forest, Iowa State, Butler, and others. Scouting from UMHoops's "Hello" equivalent:
Strengths: Stauskas is a well built swingman who can really shoot the basketball. He has good size for the two-guard and has gotten noticeably stronger within the last year. He is a big time shooter who makes shots in bunches and can never be left unchecked anywhere within 25 feet of the rim. He can handle and pass the ball in the open floor, will attack bad closeouts off the dribble, and isn’t afraid to mix it up inside the paint to battle for rebounds.
The consistent knock is raw athleticism; a half-dozen reports on UMHoops are split down the middle on whether or not he can actually create a shot for himself. On WTKA this morning Sam Webb said he was like Stu Douglass with a better handle, but once you start talking about a 6'6" Stu Douglass who can get to the rack are you really talking about Stu Douglass anymore?
Stauskas's commitment fills Michigan's roster for 2012 if there's no attrition. That's kind of a big if at this point, so Michigan should be planning to fill Darius Morris's slot. Most people talk about Indiana five star Gary Harris as someone to look at but that's something of a pipe dream. I'm still holding out for man-mountain Sim Bhullar because it would be terribly fun to have a 7'4", 300-pound Indo-Canadian on the team. As a bonus, envision Gus Johnson exclaiming his name.
BONUS: Remember the almost-but-not-quite recruitment of Nate Lubick? That paid off with dad:
Stauskas credited his high school coach, Dave Lubick, for helping to connect him with the Michigan staff. "He was the one who started the relationship with Michigan," Stauskas said. "They never would have seen me if not for him."
It was just a couple of years ago that Michigan recruited Lubick's eldest son, Nate, as hard as anyone in the country and while he ultimately committed to Georgetown, the process left Lubick extremely impressed with Beilein.
"I thought it was a gift that I was given, that I was now able to give to this family," Lubick said of getting to know Beilein. "This is a great man and a great coach. I have as much respect and admiration for him as I do anyone I've met in this business."
Invites questions as to why he went to Georgetown, but whateva. If you're curious as to how the younger Lubick did this year, he played half of Georgetown's minutes and shot well but was extremely low-usage. Like Petway low-usage.
…right now they like me playing the four and, depending how I develop, they said I might play a little five as well.
Q: Where do you feel the most comfortable in their offense and defense? MB: Their four spot. They said next year they are thinking about running a little bit more two-post stuff. I think either one, they are kind of similar to us with the offense. If I can develop my game a little bit over the summer, I think I’d be comfortable at either one.
Bielfeldt says he shoots "when he has to" but is more of a post and short corner guy, so his fit in the offense is going to be interesting. Same goes for Brundidge, FWIW.
The first five. Now that we've got five full classes of Beilein recruits, a brief survey:
Since picking up Douglass and Novak in his first class Beilein has recruited just one unranked kid anywhere except the five—Bielfeldt. Pickups at those four spots all seem to be in the 75-125 range with at least one guy who seems to be (or has already proven to be) massively underrated per class: Morris, Hardaway, Burke, and Robinson III. Morris throws a wrench into theories about four-year players but I don't think anyone expected he'd be in a position to think about moving on when he was recruited.
Redux. I added this a few hours after I posted on the Zapruder goal, but in case you missed it and need to email a North Dakota fan or something:
The guy you're emailing will then say that's not conclusive and you'll throttle him with your mind.
Additional Fab Five stuff. Via Wolverine Historian, the 1993 Purdue game:
want to throw up right now, i cried shortly after the loss. F*CK VCU with a capital FFFFFFFF. Your fans are all ugly decrepite mason nazi pricks who don't know the essense of our great program. they were lucky as hell.
If you thought incoherent rage was restricted to football fans… well, no one thinks that. Just click over.
Etc.: MSU C Garrick Sherman transfers. Slightly sketchy seeming since MSU does not have a scholarship for Harris at this instant, but Sherman did play 30% of MSU's minutes this year so it's not like he's a total scrub. Once Nix hits five bills they might regret losing him.
the video of the goal, and I can't believe anyone could even begin to make an attempt to argue it wasn't a goal. The only way that's not definitively a goal is if you close your eyes and refuse to watch the replay.
Assuming Morris doesn't enter--and stay in--the draft this year, and that no one else leaves the program before the beginning of next season, Beilein won't have a scholarship available to offer to anyone in the 2012 class in advance of the November early signing period. By the time a spot clearly opens up after the end of next season, many of the top players (including, most likely, Gary Harris) will already have signed with other schools.
Regarding Stauskas, it seems to me that his quick commitment after Bielfeldt's announcement wasn't a coincidence. I'm sure he was aware of Michigan's scholarship situation and knew that U-M's last opening wasn't going to be there forever.
Not PANIC anyone else, but just some, you know, slight concern? That we're almost 2 years away from being able to add any impact players (frontcourt particularly, but a superstar backcourt guy would be accepted) without first LOSING a really good player? Particularly at a time when we could finally be making some noise, and be attractive to star players, both on the court, and the court surrounding them. It seems the scholarships open up just in time for our guys to go pro, and have a down season. I wasn't really looking forward to waiting till year 7 or 8 to make a Championship run, barring a Butler/VCU type breakdown (and we'll see how legit those become next Monday). Was hoping you could add an impact player or two with our guys when they're veterans, rather than waiting to replace them, and then waiting for them to develop...just in time for them to go pro before they can get any more help. I mean, Beilein's not 35, this isn't a 20 year plan.
Most of the current individual recruits are fine independently, but the lack of scholarships as a whole from some early reaches are hurting the ceiling of the program. And you have to strike while the iron is hot, and you're on the upswing. Because we're not established enough yet to regularly steal guys from the big boys...and for every pleasant surprise, there's a reach that's just that...a guy who rides some bench till he contributes a bit his senior season. Probably over worrying, but hopefully going to the Tournament 3 out of 4 years next year was supposed to bring us back to competitive recruiting, I had hoped, and not depending on all diamonds in the rough.
As long as Morris comes back, I think the team has a chance to have a very good season next year. Barring a major injury or injuries, they should compete for the Big Ten title and will be positioned to make a deep tourney run.
The following year, even if both Morris and Hardaway left for the NBA, I think the team would have plenty of talent to have better than a "down season"--but I guess it depends on what your definition of "down season" is. The roster in 2012-13 would include Morgan, Vogrich, McLimans, Smotrycz, Horford, Christian, Burke, Brundidge, Bielfeldt, Robinson III, and Stauskas. That team might not be championship material, but wouldn't a season much like 2010-11 or a bit better be a reasonable expectation?
That said, I do wish we still had a scholarship available to offer to a Gary Harris or some other high-profile player from the class of 2012. It's hard to second-guess Beilein given his track record, but I would have preferred saving the scholarship given to Bielfeldt for the 2012 class. It may be true (as jmblue says) that these things tend to work themselves out, but that's not always the case. For example, I'm not convinced that Illinois really had a scholarship to offer Bielfeldt. And right now, it doesn't appear that Michigan will have a scholarship to offer to Gary Harris, who, from what I've read, is likely to make his choice this summer or fall.
STILL doesn't let anybody where high-number jerseys. I don't know, maybe he's offered them to recrutis before and they've just never actually came to Michigan, but it's not like that was just weird then, I would be very surprised to see any Michigan player with a higher number than Sparks' 39 and I'm not sure the last time somebody did.
Eric Lindros playing in college hockey would have been as unfair to the rest of the NCAA as it was when Paul Kariya played a season and a half for Maine. Too bad we never got to see it...
Speaking of what could have been, I remember back when JMFJ committed, and how he was best friends with Sidney Crosby. Just imagine if somehow Crosby had ended up playing for Michigan instead of going to the QMJHL.