Azar is coming from a similar background to Copp or...was it Hurst? Guys who were two-sport stars in high school and good at both, but hopefully will bust out when they focus on their one sports
Baseball Recruiting—Hello: Nick Azar (+ other items)
Last Monday (June 3), the Michigan baseball program secured its second commit in the 2015 class, Nick Azar, a 6-3, 205-lb. shortstop out of Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett High School. He joins Charlie Donovan (Hello post) in that class.
Info on Azar is limited. Prep Baseball Report, which doesn't currently have him in their top 10 for the state of Michigan in 2015, posted this brief bit in a recruiting rundown:
Nick Azar, SS, Univ. Liggett HS, 2015- Azar is an outstanding hockey player in addition to his baseball abilities. Azar becomes the fourth commitment in the state from the Class of 2015. He still has a ways to go in terms of polish but he stands at 6-foot-3, 205-pounds and has solid tools. Azar committed to Michigan on Monday.
Liggett is playing Concord tomorrow in an MHSAA Division 4 state tournament quarterfinal. The bracket for that division can found here.
In Division 1 (bracket here), four of the eight teams remaining feature Michigan signees or commits on their rosters. Bay City Western (Brett Adcock) faces Rockford, Temperance Bedford (Jackson Lamb) plays Howell, and U-D Jesuit (T.J. Shook and Harrison Wenson) is matched up against Sterling Heights Stevenson (Brandon Hughes).
2014 Michigan commit Drew Lugbauer helped lead Arlington to the New York state semifinals. MSG Varsity has a rundown and highlights of the team's loss in the semis, including an interview with Lugbauer.
Last month, a local Toledo-area newspaper called The Press published a nice feature article on another 2014 commit, Jayce Vancena—Michigan-bound Vancena: "Work hard, stay humble." Here's an excerpt:
“Michigan was always my No. 1 the whole time, and once they did that, I knew I didn’t want to wait, I knew I wanted to be a Michigan Wolverine,” continues Jayce. “I’ve been up to Ann Arbor a couple of times now to meet the coaches and players, and they’ve been awesome. The baseball field is just beautiful up there, the locker room is awesome, and they have an academic hall that has tutors in every subject…just for the athletes. That is what is so great about it. It’s all academics first, and baseball second.
“Out of all the players I’ve met, the one that stands out the most is fifth-year senior Ben Ballentine,” offers Vancena. “He’s just another one of those guys who loves the game of baseball and just plays it with so much heart and passion. That’s the way I try to be. I’m still the same guy who goes out to the mound every game, and plays with all of my heart and passion. I work hard to give my best effort every time I’m out there. I haven’t changed at all.
“I’ve been a Michigan fan my whole life, I’ve bled maize and blue since the day I was born, and that day Michigan offered me a scholarship…it showed me that all of my hard work over the years had really paid off to help me achieve my lifelong dream of playing college baseball,” he concludes.
Finally, I'm throwing this item in as well, even though it's not strictly about recruiting. Chris Webb of the B1G Baseball blog spoke to Erik Bakich earlier today and got some good insight into future Michigan baseball scheduling, specifically some big-name additions for 2014 and beyond.
The 2014 schedule is highlighted by a three-game set against the Houston Cougars during the second weekend of the season. After playing in the Lone Star State Michigan heads to the Irish Classic hosted by Notre Dame where such elite programs as UCLA and NC State, both participants in the 2013 College World Series, have committed to play. Michigan’s Big Ten bye week will flip in 2014, instead of occurring at the beginning of the conference schedule the Wolverines end the regular season with a bye which features a visit from Kansas.
2015 tentatively features a return visit to Kansas, a series against Oklahoma State in Ann Arbor, a season opener at Pepperdine, and a trip to Gainesville for a series versus Florida. Tentative plans for 2016 include a season-opening series at North Carolina and a return visit to Oklahoma State.
That's a great point. Until your post I didn't think to search for hockey info on him, and it turns out, according to eliteprospects.com, he was drafted in the 10th round of the OHL draft and the 13th of the USHL draft. Not sure what that means about how good a hockey player he is, but I did find this posted at U.S. Hockey Report:
16. Nicholas Azar (#3 Kelly Green, 1-1-2) 6-2/185 — Big defensive defenseman projects well. Right now, the Belle Tire product is still growing into his body. When his coordination comes together we think he will be a nice pro prospect.
but those draft figures tell me he might be a lower end DI prospect. Maybe DIII? Other more educated people can give a better guess, but either way, getting drafted for both leagues definitely shows that he's a two-sport star. They don't just draft anyone
I'm family friends with the Azars...Nick is a great kid and very smart.
I've always seen him as more of a hockey player, though.
Awesome recap.. That future schedule is going to be tough. Hopefully it can help recruiting. I would love to see Michigan baseball become a national power. I've heard a couple of the talking heads during the cws mention Michigan as a team on the rise.
I actually played against this guy during the past year because our team is in the same division. Our team lost 3-0 but I pitched and struck him out once.
Video / Link or it didn’t happen. Cool story bro.
In the state quarterfinals today, Howell mercied Bedford 11-1. That ends the high school baseball career of Jackson Lamb, who did not get the start on the mound today after his 146-pitch outing on Saturday.
Bay City Western edged Rockford 1-0, helped by Brett Adcock's perfect relief work, retiring the final 8 batters, including the last 5 via strikeout.
It's looking very likely that Western will face Sterling Heights Stevenson (and Brandon Hughes) in the state semis, as Stevenson has a 10-0 lead over U-D Jesuit in the middle of the third.
Stevenson ended up defeating U-D Jesuit 10-7, bringing the high school careers of T. J. Shook and Harrison Wenson to a close. So, Stevenson and Bay City Western will indeed meet in the semifinals in Battle Creek on Friday.
Liggett (and Nick Azar) has also earned a semifinal berth in Division 4 with a 10-0, 6-inning mercy over Concord. Liggett faces New Lothrop on Friday.
The finals are Saturday.
the agressive scheduling. It's gotta help recruiting and it may even be better to win 1/3 at UNC/Florida type places than sweep at home against IUPUI or something, in terms of RPI. I also like how he's getting southern(ish...) teams to come to Ann Arbor to play.
As a interesting side note, Scott Stricklin, the coach that took Kent State to the College World Series last year, and the presumed favorite for the Michigan opening before we settled on Bakich, accepted the Georgia head-coaching job.
Regarding Stricklin, rumor has it that Michigan pitching coach Sean Kenny is among the candidates to join him at Georgia. I really like the staff that Bakich put together, so hopefully this rumor doesn't come to fruition. Losing an Ann Arbor native to a southern school would be a tough blow.