Weekend Deathmatch: Dawkins Versus MAAR Versus Everybody

Weekend Deathmatch: Dawkins Versus MAAR Versus Everybody Comment Count

Brian April 18th, 2014 at 11:44 AM

Michigan is bringing in not one but two basketball recruits this weekend as they seek to fill the holes NBA attrition has wrought on the roster. Michigan now has two slots open and possibly a third depending on the status of Austin Hatch. They will seek to fill at least one spot, obviously. A second late offer is less likely, but if you can get a transfer like Eron Harris


…you get a guy like Eron Harris. Ditto Sean Obi. Guys with 31% DREB rates don't grow on trees.

But neither of those guys is on campus this weekend. Two gentlemen are.

Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman

UMHoops put together a scouting video from an array of clips available on the internet. The first four minutes, which all come from one high school game, is the most illuminating:

Try to remember as you are watching this that it is high school and in high school many, many shots are flat-out terrible. Googling Aubrey Dawkins for the next section I discovered that his high school career ended when his team scored five points in the first half and ended up going down 35-25.

Anyway: MAAR's shot selection here would be terrible except he's in high school and the shots he's getting off are probably better than wide open looks from a number of his teammates. And he puts down a lot of his terrible, terrible shots. It's the open ones, whether it's at the free throw line or generally, that seem to need work. As UMHoops notes, one of the games here features five threes from MAAR, which is a major outlier for a guy who hit 1.9 a game.

Aubrey Dawkins


I do not want to guess at the collective net worth of the families represented here

Unfortunately there's not any equivalent video of Dawkins out there where you can see the overall shape of his game. There are only the highlight videos in which he never misses and dunks everything.

In them you do get some information. Dawkins has a diversity to his layup game, capable of getting off shots quickly when he gets to the rim from a variety of angles. His three point stroke is pretty high and decently fast. And he has impressive hops. Not GRIII level, but he'd probably be the most athletic dude on the team. He has that airborne pause you see sometimes where the guy takes his time dunking because he can. He can be an above the rim guy; MAAR is not.

Like many guys available late, Dawkins took a prep year after his high school career. That paid off with a scholarship offer to Dayton recently and now bigger outfits are sniffing around. As of last year, Dawkins was a two-star to ESPN who was Just A Shooter on the college level:

If Dawkins wants to take his game to another level, he must get better handling pressure while dribbling. His handle can get sloppy when defenders get into him-especially when he goes left. His jump shot is solid, but as he gets stronger it needs to get more consistent for the scoring guard position.

He's added a crossover to his game, it seems; he's probably more Hardaway than Stauskas or LeVert in terms of ability to create shots inside the rim.

While Dawkins took a prep year, MAAR's also older, so that's a wash.

New Challengers Appear


you're supposed to put them on your eyes bro

On the other hand, Michigan might be amenable to a fifth-year transfer who would not interfere with whatever they're planning for the roster down the road. When Ace took a look at available fifth years the pickings were slim; they've just gotten less so:

USC’s leading scorer, Byron Wesley, is has left the program because he was uncomfortable over his role next season, according to sources close to the situation.

Wesley, who could not be reached for comment, is considering Big Ten schools Indiana and Michigan and should be immediately eligible since he expects to graduate from USC this summer.

The 6'5" Wesley was impressively efficient for a miserable USC outfit, hitting 72/50/34 from the floor with high usage and taking care of the ball as the Trojans' undisputed go-to guy.

The question is whether Michigan can offer him the kind of role he wants with LeVert and Irvin slotted into the 2 and 3. This is a guy coming off 32 minutes a game; he's not going to want to be a 20 minute backup, and incredibly that's probably what he would be even after Michigan got raided by the NBA unless Irvin gets a lot of minutes at the 4. I know he was just a freshman but that seems like a pretty bad idea to have a guy with a DREB rate south of Nnanna Egwu playing your second-biggest spot on the floor.

If Wesley was three inches taller they'd be all over him; as it is, Sam Webb mentioned on WTKA that chatter about Wesley is coming from California, not locally. One dollar says Wesley's camp knows Nik Stauskas is NBA-bound but not much else about Michigan's situation.


Cole Huff is a large man who can stroke threes, but he's no center

A gentleman who is three inches taller is expressing similar transfer interest. He is Nevada F Cole Huff: 

FWIW, Huff was restricted from transferring basically anywhere on the West Coast, a restriction later lifted—but before that tweet from his AAU coach.

The catch here is that the stated reason for Huff's transfer was to play the 3, which he thinks is his NBA position. This is not likely to happen at Michigan, but if the real reason is "I hate my coach" or "I want to play in the tournament" or something then M would have a real shot.

At first blush, Huff looks like a good fit, an 82/50/40 shooter at 6'8" with a low turnover rate and a pretty good 14% DREB rate. Huff is in the same eligibility spot as Eron Harris: he'd have to sit next year and then would have two to play. At 205 he is probably a 3/4 at Michigan except in desperate situations, so his attractiveness depends largely on how plausible Mark Donnal is at the 5.

The fit is also less than ideal here since Huff has to sit out a year and duplicates a number of skills already on Michigan's roster in a way a rebound vacuum like Sean Obi does not. But Obi might go off the board to Duke this weekend and Michigan hasn't been involved just yet, so perhaps they perceive their needs differently than they look from the outside.


Basketball Recruitin': Maybe Something Happened? No.

Basketball Recruitin': Maybe Something Happened? No. Comment Count

Brian April 14th, 2014 at 12:39 PM



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.


Hokepoints is a Basketball State

Hokepoints is a Basketball State Comment Count

Seth March 11th, 2014 at 1:01 PM


My regional breakdown, still.

After I did that regional study of football talent production by state, Michael Elkon (Braves & Birds, SB Nation, regular HTTV contributor) asked if I'd do the same with hoops recruiting. I responded that I'd love to, but we just had our first child and I need some time to stare at her. This is also my response for why I didn't have any content last week. In fact it is my excuse for everything; to those who don't have kids I can say "you don't understand" and they have to shut up because this is the ultimate trump card. Those who are already parents keep quiet because they're in on it. Having kids is AWESOME!

Anyway it's back to work, and because it's me that means charts. So back to charts.

This is NOT exactly accurate

Data are from the Rivals (most easily accessible) databases since 2003. Putting lists of football and basketball recruits against each other is not a one-for-one comparison. Basketball has more teams, fewer recruits per team, way more international players, and players who went directly to the NBA or committed to Kentucky or some other stupid one before they're done with the pretense.

Top basketball players are also far more likely to go to prep schools, and these are often nowhere near their hometowns. The Rivals database lists actual hometowns for many prep players, but not international ones, so, e.g., Canadian from Canada Nik Stauskas registers as a Massachusetts recruit despite being from Canada. Where a hometown was noted I used that. Some states will appear disproportionately large because their prep programs draw kids from around the region, but that is also an advantage to the schools near the prep programs.

Talent Supply By Region

As with football, the Southeast appears to produce a disproportionate amount of talent compared to its population, but to nowhere near the extreme as it is with football. Observe:

Region % U.S. pop
% of Top ~400
Hoops Recruits
% of Top ~400
FB Recruits
Atlantic 22% 20% (-2) 15% (-7)
Midwest 18% 18% ( - ) 14% (-4)
Northeast 5% 6% (+1) 1% (-4)
Pacific 19% 14% (-5) 14% (-5)
Plains 17% 17% ( - ) 18% (+1)
Southeast 19% 25% (+6) 38% (+19)

The Atlantic, Midwest, and Northeast are considerably better represented, suggesting a marginally higher basketball orientation than the national average. My guess is this has a lot to do with the fact that it doesn't snow in gyms.

The list of top states in proportionally producing more basketball talent was heavily influenced by the prep school effect: New Hampshire (more than 3x their share of hoops talent) was done by three schools: Tilton, New Hampton, and the Brewster Academy. Most of Nevada was Findlay Prep, and Bishop Gorman sent most of the rest. Leaving those aside, the big basketball states (proportional to their population) were Kansas (209%), D.C. (202%), Mississippi (185%), Georgia (183%), Iowa (172%), Virginia (166%), North Carolina (154%), and Indiana (150%).

State Hoops Football % Pop
Illinois 28% 21% 23%
Indiana 18% 10% 12%
Iowa 10% 2% 6%
Michigan 14% 14% 18%
Minnesota 6% 5% 10%
Ohio 17% 45% 21%
Wisconsin 8% 4% 10%

There's a reverse prep effect at the bottom: Vermont and Rhode Island were drained by New Hampshire it appears, and Delaware seems to have sent their kids to Virginia or D.C. The remainder to produce less than half as much talent as you would expect from their populations: Alaska (17%), Montana (25%), Colorado (34%), Nebraska (40%), New York (41%), South Dakota (45%), and New Mexico (47%).

Michigan (3% of the U.S. population, 2.4% of the top basketball talent) was about in the middle, about even with Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Missouri, Ohio, and Arizona. Straight-up Michigan is the 14th biggest producer of basketball talent, and the 12th biggest producer of football talent. I thought the more interesting stat was within the Midwest (that above table), where Ohio produces nearly half of the top football prospects the basketball talent is shared.

[jump for where they go]


It's Booker And Blackmon Decision Eve

It's Booker And Blackmon Decision Eve Comment Count

Brian October 30th, 2013 at 4:00 PM

Michigan's 2014 basketball recruiting will either just about wrap up or flail about like a demon-god with two of its favorite psuedopods hacked off tomorrow when Devin Booker and James Blackmon, Jr., both announce decisions.

Devin Booker


Michigan was long thought the favorite for Booker, a 6'5" shooting guard out of Mississippi, despite his dad's status as a Missouri program legend. That had a lot to do with his mom, who lives in Grand Rapids and supposedly has been enthused about Michigan for a while. His final five:

Booker, rated the No. 18 player in the Class of 2014 by ESPN, has publicly narrowed his choices to Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, Missouri and Florida. However, Kentucky, Missouri and Michigan are believed to be the favorites for his signature.

Michigan led, then everyone piled on Kentucky once they offered, and everyone's still on Kentucky despite a late move by Missouri, which hosted him for an official on the 19th immediately followed by an unofficial.

Kentucky folk remain confident; a random internet poll on the local paper's website favors Missouri, with Michigan running at 11%. Booker announces at 4PM.

James Blackmon Jr.


Blackmon's also dropping Thursday, publicly down to a similar list of IU, Michigan, MSU, Kansas, and UK. Blackmon's done a full tour of those schools after his decommitment from Indiana, and after some Michigan chatter things seem to have swung back to UK, heavily. His dad played there.

I guess the hope on both of these recruitments is that people don't really know what's going on with either kid, like they didn't have much of a read on Kam Chatman. That does not seem to be the case, unfortunately. These opinions about both picking Kentucky are of the Strong Take variety.

Blackmon announces at halftime of the Troy-ULM game on ESPNU.

What Next

Michigan's likely okay at the 2 even if they strike out tomorrow, which it seems the world expects. Stupid UK's stupid inability to get their plan A targets. Caris LeVert will be back, and Nik Stauskas should be. Even if Stauskas does leave for the NBA, Michigan can back up LeVert with a few minutes a game running two points or going big with Kam Chatman or Zak Irvin.

Michigan does project to have two open slots entering the spring signing period, and would probably like to use one and bank one, which would make the 2014 class two (open plus the graduation of Jon Horford) plus whatever attrition there is in the next two years, NBA or otherwise.

Obviously, the guy on everyone's radar is NV by way of Australia PF Jonah Bolden, who debuted with a splash at the Adidas Nations tournament, likes Michigan (his dad's from Flint) and is an excellent stretch four fit for Beilein's system. He's spending his final year of high school at Findlay Prep in Las Vegas, where Michigan has recruited before, nearly reeling in OSU redshirt freshman-to-be Amadeo Della Valle. It'll take a while for Bolden to get all his academics ironed out what with the transfer, but Michigan would almost certainly go after Bolden in earnest once that's settled.

Fellow Australian Dante Exum, a 6'6" fellow skyrocketing towards the top of NBA draft boards, was 50-50 between entering the draft and college as of late August and had Michigan in a top five with Indiana, UNC, Kentucky, and Oregon. That's a longshot for a lot of reasons.

If the big guns don't come through, Michigan will scour locally for another LeVert type: tall, young for his grade, late-rising.


Hoops Hello: DJ Wilson

Hoops Hello: DJ Wilson Comment Count

Brian October 6th, 2013 at 2:38 PM


Wilson pictures are thin on the ground. Via Rivals.

CA SF/PF DJ Wilson has committed to Michigan. Informative update…



Rivals Scout ESPN 247
3*, #135 overall 3*, NR 3*, NR overall
#52 PF
3*, #219 overall
#49 SF

Wilson's ratings are pretty meh. He's a skinny 6'9" kid who was injured for much of the all-important evaluation periods the last couple years and put up about ten points a game when healthy. So those rankings are legit, for generic club X.

For Michigan, he's a fit for what they want to do and may outperform the middling-at-best expectations above. John Beilein likes three things: length, shooting, and intelligence. Wilson brings all three in spades. His AAU coach:

"D.J. can shoot it, handle it and pass it at 6'9 and is just scratching the surface in his basketball career. He is going to surprise a lot of people. He's a great kid and an extremely hard worker who wants to be really good at his craft. Schools just wanted to see if the back was an issue and clearly it's not."

At 6'9", he's a jumbo wing in the extreme or good-sized stretch four. He's got a sweet jumper with range out to three, and he's a 4.0 student who took an official visit to Columbia. The one in New York.

That back issue held him out for the entirety of last year's AAU circuit, which held his rankings down. He missed a big chunk of this year's, as well. This is from late July:

The last player into the 2014 Rivals150 at No. 150, D.J. Wilson has been sidelined by injuries for most of the past six months. Finally healthy, the 6-foot-8 combo forward from Sacramento (Calif.) Capital Christian is starting to show some things. …

What jumps out immediately about Wilson is his ability to stroke deep jump shots and the ease with which things seem to come to him on the offensive end. Because of his size and skill, he plays as a both a plus-sized wing or a face-up four who can stretch defenses and knock down shots.

Another evaluation from that tourney:

DJ Wilson had the college coaches buzzing with his play. Standing at 6’8” with a skinny frame, Wilson showed off a text book jump shot and went 3-3 from behind the line in a strong first half performance. His shot was smooth and effortless with range several feet behind the arc. When pressured Wilson used a pump fake to drive to the basket and finished with a soft floater.


Has a knack for doing a lot of things on the court and being very efficient. Wilson rebounds the ball well, handles, looks to get contact in the paint, and shows a nice touch with his left. Uses his length to his advantage on defense as well.

Here a lack of ridiculous athleticism is made up for by sheer length and craft.

A lack of assertiveness and questions about his energy level are the other consistent complaints, which get referenced even when he's playing well. Scout:

…back on the court Saturday and looked really good. Wilson hasn’t stopped growing and has now hit the 6-foot-8, 6-foot-9 range, only adding to his value as a prospect. Wilson played harder than he has in the past, scored on the offensive glass and hit three triples off the catch. He’s a project but no doubt has upside.

ESPN's evaluation loves his upside ("quintessential frame with long arms and overall great length"; "great ball skills"; "impressive" three point shot") but lingers on a lack of energy exerted on both ends of the floor, especially when it comes to rebounding and defending. Hopefully that's an evaluation impacted by the lingering back issues.

Those back issues are a concern, as they had the specter of something chronic with their duration and consistent flare-ups. The CU Rivals site has the best description of what went down there:

The spring was a successful one, until injuring his back and having to sit out the July live period. An inconsistent recovery looked to be completed when Wilson averged 15.4 points per game over the first seven of the season.

But problems with his back creeped back up, eventually keeping him out of this past spring evaluation period because of inflammation.

"I could have played but I'd rather wait until summer," he said of sitting out the spring. "I didn't want to risk anything."

FWIW, his doctor told Wilson that the injuries were "things that only happen once."


Likes ice cream.



Wilson had offers from Gonzaga, Cal, Colorado, USC, Harvard, Columbia, and a few others. There were reports that everyone who lost out on Chatman (Oregon, USC, and Arizona) tried to get Wilson to dump his M visit and visit them this weekend, FWIW.


Square root of negative one fakes. You can't write i these days without getting it autocorrected at the start of a sentence.


Junior year video:

UMHoops scouting video:

Wilson features extensively in a recent Capital Christian workout video that is for hardcore folks only:

One-on-ones start at about seven minutes and are the most interesting bit. Also the difference in Wilson's body from video one to this recent one jumps out; guy has done a lot of work despite the back injury.


If you're still betting against Beilein's ability to unearth talent, you're hanging out at the penny slots swearing a lot. Don't sweat the rankings too much. Wilson's a high-upside project who fits well with Beilein's system and is a good bet to maximize his potential. He's an academic fit who should be able to generate shots with his brain in Beilein's system, and his injury makes it likely he's underrated.

ESPN compared Kam Chatman to Tayshaun Prince, but it's Wilson who's eerily reminiscent of the lanky 6'10" shooter and long-armed devil, down to that baby hook in the lane that is one of Prince's go-to moves. Wilson brings the stretch four shooting and good-enough driving ability that Prince does; he's skinny and lacks crazy athleticism but is also good enough in those areas.

The downside here is Evan Smotrycz: a quality-shooting stretch four with the ability to get to the basket who's allergic to rebounds and defense and eventually drives Beilein so crazy he bites his head off like a bat. Then he transfers to Maryland. Wilson, not Beilein. Or the bat. Bat's dead, bro.


Wilson fills one of Michigan's combo forward slots; since they were willing to take both Wilson and Donte Grantham it seems they will woo a few guys going forward, most prominently Australian transplant combo forward Jonah Bolden.

Bolden's recruitment will end in the spring; Michigan's pursuit of a shooting guard is going to conclude much more quickly, with both IN SG James Blackmon Jr and MS SG Devin Booker likely off the board by the end of the month. If Michigan gets one of those plan A SGs it's status quo—unless there's attrition, Bolden or bust for scholarship #5 and only if Bolden plays like a must-take—but if they miss on both they might hold onto scholarship #4 if they feel confident in Bolden and confident they can get away with a class consisting almost entirely of skinny combo forwards, especially if OH SG Javon Bess is off the board to Michigan State by then.

Can they? I think so unless they're getting early entry vibes from Stauskas. He'll have two more years when this class arrives, as will Caris LeVert. You could even slide Zak Irvin down if you wanted; Michigan does just fine with SGs who are more shooter than penetrator, and gol dang if that's not a huge lineup.


Unverified Voracity Collapses Under Buffalo

Unverified Voracity Collapses Under Buffalo Comment Count

Brian October 3rd, 2013 at 1:19 PM

As told by Bo. MGoUser Don unearthed this piece of coaching film nostalgia explained by Bo himself:

These days you don't see defensive linemen go to the ground like that when doubled, because they're not 230 pounds anymore. The rest of it remains accurate to this day. Meanwhile, the NFL's hot new trend is Bo offense. Someday that guy's going to make something of himself.

Ten years ago. At some point in the third quarter something terrible happened in the Metrodome, causing me to reflexively go "aaaurrrgh" or something similar, and part of this was a frenzied hand motion that relocated my girlfriend at the time from the couch to the floor. Then Michigan won the game. Minnesota 2003, everybody!

The Star-Tribune delves into the crippling loss ten years on:

“If we win that game, the program is 100 percent different, no doubt about it,” said former quarterback Bryan Cupito, a freshman in ’03. “If we win that game, I would say the next five years of Minnesota football is completely different. I think that would have changed things in a big way.”

For one, flipping the result of that game would have created a four-way logjam at the top of the Big Ten standings with Michigan, OSU, Purdue, and Minnesota all at 6-2. That Gopher team had an unbelievable amount of talent in the run game—Thomas Tapeh, Marion Barber, and Laurence Maroney were all on that team—but they could not survive the John Navarre show in the fourth quarter.

“Once they started scoring touchdowns,” Utecht said, “that little voice kind of pops into your head like, ‘Oh no, please tell me this is not going to happen again.’ ”

Maroney and Matt Spaeth would at last get their revenge two years later when Jim Herrmann called the worst blitz ever in that weird game where they turned the clock off.

Say hello to more iso. Space Coyote breaks down the manballiest play of them all, iso:


While iso's not really something you can base your offense around it can acquire larger chunks when linebackers are shooting gaps like crazy (like ND was) or when you've got a numerical advantage with your QB. In normal situations it's a small gain. This is a good point:

With the move of Glasgow to center and the insertion of Bryant into the lineup at LG, it means a few changes may be in order. Bryant, less the fleet of foot and more the very large, squatty man that is more of a hitter and less of a reacher, probably indicates that Michigan will go to more of a traditional man blocking scheme. Add on that Glasgow isn't the quickest of players for the center position in a stretch run team, and it's likely that Michigan will be running less zone stretch and more gap blocking type activities (with the occasional inside zone mixed in).

What a bizarre shift, and one that should sap your enthusiasm for the new-look offensive line. They've been trying to do one thing a lot for four games and now that they've got Bryant the thing that makes sense is to dump all that preparation in the trash and hope to do something not quite entirely different. Bler.

Not sure why inside zone isn't something SC thinks will feature; me, it seems to makes sense with the personnel and the apparent zone focus of the offseason.

Talking with Chatman's people. People get all out of joint about the 247 Crystal Ball when it's wrong, as it was with Kameron Chatman*, but, you know, like, whatever. It's just, like, people's opinion, man. They should add a confidence rating so we can distinguish between "I will eat my hat if Malik McDowell does not end up at Michigan" and "if I could withdraw this prediction I would but since I cannot here is a blindfolded man pointing a gun." Chatman would have been the latter for us.

Beilein got the thing done in the usual way: identifying talent early and getting on it before anyone else did:

"The thing we liked about Michigan was, first and foremost, Michigan has been recruiting us the longest," Mr. Chatman said. "Coach (Beilein) has been in with us. Coach Meyer started his recruitment in July of 2012, and he’s been there since day one. From him going up to Long Beach Poly, checking out open gyms, staying in contact when Kameron couldn’t play — our relationship even started prior to that, and then to stick through it and even turn it up. In the spring and summer, Michigan’s interest was apparent all the way through."

It was not the guy you might expect that really caught the Chatmans' eyes:

"I think Kameron was very impressed with the development of Jordan Morgan and his story. Not necessarily coming in being the guy who could be forecasted to play in the Big Ten as a contributor but will possibly be a full-time starter this year and is also in graduate school. He’ll go on to be successful."

That's a guy with his eye on some unusual things.

*[Note that Ace and I are jointly operating the main MGoBlog predictotron there; I was the one who projected Chatman to Arizona, not Ace.]

Dominoes. Everything is happening right away in basketball recruiting:

  • Michigan coaches visited IN SG James Blackmon Jr last night en masse, hours after Blackmon tweeted out "decision coming soon"; in the aftermath Bacari Alexander sent out something starting with "it's been real" but that he was returning to the guys already on the team to get practice going. Many internets have decided that this means something bad about Blackmon, but in context—Alexander tweeting out pictures of the jet he and the crew are flitting around in, another en masse visit to Grantham—I don't read anything into that.
  • Speaking of WV PF Donte Grantham, he announces between Michigan and Clemson tomorrow at noon. Insiders are all over the place on who it'll be. Grantham just took an unofficial to Clemson and Michigan just descended on him with the whole staff; tea leaves are murky. A 50-50 proposition.
  • There's no such uncertainty with CA PF DJ Wilson, who's visiting this weekend and should be offered, whereupon the universe expects an instant commit. Wilson's the lowest-ranked of the guys Michigan's after but as a 6'9" super-intelligent (he's got Ivy offers aplenty) shooter he's the sort of kid Beilein snaps up without thinking twice. If things get really crammed and Wilson is amenable he might take a prep school year, but with other BCS options and increasing interest that's asking a lot.
  • MS SG Devin Booker takes his official this weekend, and while most feel he's ticketed for Kentucky now I'm saying there's a chance. As previously mentioned, one or the other may get pushed away from Kentucky when the first one drops. Any rumors about MSU getting in on Booker look pretty flimsy given a couple of Plan D offers Izzo just shot out to wing types.

Blackmon has a visit to UK set for the 18th; Booker set a tentative commit date of October 31st; he later took that back but that remains a reasonable timeline. Michigan's 2014 class should be full-ish by the end of the month.

HEY YOU'RE A JERK (you're right shhh). Don't talk about my sister like that, only I talk about my sister like that:

"I think he kind of just panics a lot," Minnesota safety Cedric Thompson told the Minneapolis Star Tribune in a story published Wednesday. "I think when he scrambles, he kind of just throws the ball."

Gardner will revert to old bad ways when pressured or rolling out, which is about 90% of his accuracy issues. Not like Cedric Thompson is going to benefit from this information, since Cedric Thompson is probably going to be eating paste as someone runs by him. (Cue Minnesota blog version of this bullet.)

Trying to make it big. The NYT on the BTN's adoption of college hockey:

“We’re in an investing phase, not in a moneymaking phase, with Big Ten hockey,” Silverman said. “The hope is, over time, that we can grow the sport so it can pay for itself and hopefully be an overall benefit to the network.

“We think it will bring in new viewers. We think it will help with our ratings. But we’re making a significant investment, and it’s not a short-term investment.”

They have nine consecutive doubleheaders on Friday nights, which is the reason you have no gametimes on your tickets. A lot of those are at 7 or 6:30, which might dent attendance. Hopefully Michigan can make it work, as the atmosphere inside Yost is still one of the main draws to college hockey even after its undeniably steady decade-long decline.

By the way, those UNH games that were inexplicably going untelevised have been picked up by Fox College Sports. That leaves the following games as the only untelevised ones this year:

  • @ RIT (which is televised locally on what looks like a Time Warner channel like Comcast's)
  • Michigan Tech, Friday Nov. 1
  • @ UNO, Saturday Nov. 16
  • @ Wisconsin, Jan. 11
  • Wisconsin, Feb. 1
  • @ Penn State, Feb 7

That's a quantum leap forward, especially with UNO and RIT offering live streams. This is how far the college-hockey-on-TV thing has come: even the USA game is set to be televised(!) on FSD.

Etc.: Inside the Western Michigan rainout decision. Ole Miss players heckle "Laramie Project" performance. This never happens at New Miss. This is not a humor article about craft beer, because it is the truth. Losing, faking, and recovering the Brown Jug. The 1930s were fun. Jon Falk honored.


Hoops Hello: Kameron Chatman, Informatively Updated

Hoops Hello: Kameron Chatman, Informatively Updated Comment Count

Brian October 2nd, 2013 at 10:33 AM


Michigan just landed OR SF Kameron Chatman according to various folks but most importantly Kameron Chatman. At 6'7", Chatman is either a 3 or 4 at Michigan and is a consensus top 50 player. He joins FL C Ricky Doyle in a 2014 class that will likely grow to four.


Scout Rivals ESPN 24/7 Sports
4*, #23 overall
#8 SF
4*, #29 overall 4*, #49 overall
#12 SF
4*, #36 overall
#9 SF

Chatman's ratings are in a tight, elite range with ESPN, the relative skeptic, still declaring him a top-50 player. Scout's the most optimistic, placing him one spot from a five star rating. Everyone rates him as a small forward, but at 6'7" with ostentatiously long arms, Chatman could easily play the 4 in Beilein's system if he fills out—he's currently 25 pounds short of Glenn Robinson III's 220.

Robinson's actually a good comparison in terms of profile, as Chatman shot up recruiting boards after an impressive AAU season as a rising junior. For example, he debuted in Scout's top 100 at #42 last July, and since then he's continued to rise incrementally. His rankings are only a few slots short of where Robinson's finished.

A growth spurt from 6'3" to his current 6'7" has a lot to do with that. That necessarily leaves him a skinny guy still adjusting from his previous guard role to more of a wing/post role. This creates an UPSIDE (but raw) theme in a lot of his evaluations. Rivals's generic profile eval is a good example:

Big wing is still developing and growing into his body. One of the top rebounding wings in the class of 2014 and a very alert playmaker off the dribble. A good mid range jump shooter who is extending his range. His toughness allows him to play as a skilled four in a small lineup.

ESPN's Dave Telep was gaga about the guy, but strictly as a developmental prospect:

5. Kameron Chatman, SF: I'm feeling out on a limb here with Chatman. When I watch him, I see a guy in need of a cheeseburger and a weight room but with the potential to be a pro someday. Others receive more attention, but to me, there's something about his overall skill set and lack of physical development that makes me his potential exciting. I'd have no problem taking a flier on him and labeling him as one of the best 25 prospects in the class.

Telep would later name him the guy most likely to track down his peers late in the recruiting process, citing his "monster ceiling"; ESPN's evaluation praises his "terrific frame with very long arms and overall great length."

What Chatman promises is a tantalizing combination of point forward skills…

What you have to love about the 6-foot-6 (and growing) Chatman is his versatility. At times, he brings the ball up the floor and initiates the offense, others he plays on the wing, and then he plays in the high post and the offense is run through him there.

as skilled as any player in the West, capable of playing any position from 1-4. …could end up closer to 6-foot-8 or taller by the time he hits a college court. His ball handling skills are fantastic for a player his size and he's a quality passer with point guard instincts.

a slick passer with excellent court vision who understands how to predict defensive movements. Both on the interior and at range, he alertly hits cutters and spots open teammates on the block.

very young-looking, and still pretty slender, but he’s one of the elite prospects in the west for 2014. He’s got a nice lefty stroke that’s good to about the stripe, a point guard’s feel for the game and excellent ball skills.

…Beilein-thrilling basketball IQ…

superbly skilled 6-foot-6 wing/forward is beginning to grow into his maturing body. His length, high basketball IQ and point guard mentality make him one of the more unique prospects in the west for 2014.

This kid just knows how to play the game. …basketball IQ is one of the best in his class out west. The versatile forward usually positions himself perfectly on the glass, which helps him corral rebounds on both ends and when he has the ball, he doesn’t take long to use his high level vision to make the right pass to a teammate.

…and excellent rebounding for a wing-ish guy.

He is also a way-above-average rebounder for a wing.

His rebounding stands out. Chatman is a conscientious boards-man on both ends, and he's especially dangerous on the offensive glass.

benefits handsomely from outstanding height and length. He's not only long, he plays big because he doesn't mind contact and has a knack for using his knees, hips and elbows to clear space. 

There are some downsides. His jumper is evaluated inconsistently—some guys say it's good, some say not so much. It can be a is a rainbow thing

he did connect on a couple of high arching mid-range jumpers Chatman struggled for the most part this weekend.

His jump shot can be hit or miss, but the southpaw wields a very high-arching shot that's difficult to block.

His mid-range jumper was falling and his three-point shot arches so high it looks like it might hit the rafters. When he's connecting from the outside it really opens up the rest of his game.

…that may indicate he's never going to be a Stauskas gunner. There is a trajectory that is the trajectory basketball has agreed upon is the right one, and if you deviate from that significantly you're either a savant or not a high-end shooter. A number of the evals do say he's got a good mid-range jumper and can extend out to the three point line. I'd guess he's going to be like GRIII in that department, at least to start: he'll take open threes and connect at a mediocre rate.

The other downsides are the usual with a kid who hit the late growth spurt that leaves him a jumbo guy with mad skills: he's skinny, and can be awkward at times. Scout sums him up:

Chatman may open his career as a highly regarded utility player, rather than someone who's ready to step in and become a first or second scoring option. He's still seeking a polished offensive identity, but while he's cultivating his scoring attack he'll nevertheless contribute in myriad other aspects.


Chatman's main suitors were Michigan, Arizona, Oregon, USC, and Connecticut. He also had offers from Memphis, UCLA, Washington, and a couple others.


Wait a minute, this is a basketball post.


There's very little out there, as Chatman missed his junior year after a transfer to California.


Chatman's a boom-or-bust type in the mold of a… uh. Sam Dekker? That's the best I've got in the current Big Ten. Dekker was a beanpole 6'7" recruit with excellent ballhandling skills for his size; Chatman is similar. Chatman is more of a rebounder, less of a shooter (Dekker was 39% from three in year one) and probably will have a similar impact as a freshman.

The ESPN guys compared him to Tayshawn Prince, which is another possibility if he extends his shooting range to three and grows another couple inches. Also, remember when you were sad that Keita Bates-Diop shocked people by picking Ohio State? Well, they cloned that dude and called him Kameron Chatman.

When Chatman enters next year Michigan will be down Jordan Morgan, Mitch McGary, and Glenn Robinson III. That'll probably pull Andrew Donnall towards the five, leaving most of the minutes at the four for Chatman, Zak Irvin, and whoever the second combo forward is in this class.


Chatman's commitment gives Michigan flexibility for the final two guys, as he could be considered a three or four for Beilein depending on whether they get more of a wing type or a post type with guy #4; #3 is going to be a shooting guard.

That leaves Donte Grantham, DJ Wilson, and Jonah Bolden in play. Grantham is deciding this week between Michigan and Clemson, and Wilson is a presumed lock if Grantham doesn't grab the last spot. Assuming one of the first two drops, Michigan will have to execute some contortions if it's going to add Bolden in the late signing period; he'll have to establish himself as just too good not to take in his year at Findlay Prep if Michigan is going to add him as a fifth guy in 2014.

Chatman had struck up a relationship with MS SG Devin Booker, FWIW, and that may help alleviate the Tyler Ulis pull at Kentucky. Michigan's pretty much stuck waiting for Booker or James Blackmon Jr to pick Kentucky and hoping to swoop in on the one still out there.


Basketball Recruiting: Domino Time

Basketball Recruiting: Domino Time Comment Count

Brian September 25th, 2013 at 4:12 PM

Sounds like Donte Grantham is your next Hello post.

After months of poling down the Mississippi, taking in the sites while chewing on a piece of wheat comes a frenetic burst of machine-gun commitments. Michigan's already seen Trevon Bluiett go off the board to UCLA; Michigan State lost Tyler Ulis to Kentucky. Ypsi's Jaylen Johnson picked Louisville before Michigan could offer.

Those are the first dominoes in a string that should fall over the next couple months. As a reminder, it seems logical that Michigan will take a class of four guys. C Ricky Doyle is committed; Michigan will take one guy they think can play the four, one guy who can play SG, and a wing or combo 3/4.

Combo Forward

Via UMHoops

WV SF/PF Donte Grantham is down to Michigan, Cincinnati, Clemson, and West Virginia. He's taken official visits to Cincinnati and Michigan recently, and Cincinnati responded to their shot a couple weeks ago by taking another combo forward and ceasing their recruitment of him. The tea leaves there combine with insiders on Scout and Rivals predicting good things, and soon. If he drops soon he'll be a Wolverine; the only thing that would give you pause is if he decides to take some additional visits.

Grantham's 6'8" with shooting range and would likely be a stretch four, but has shown some ability to put the ball on the floor and get to the basket. He's a postgrad, so he'll come in a little more polished than other kids.

CA SF/PF Kameron Chatman may drop this weekend on his official visit to Arizona, where Damon Stoudamire is a close friend of the family. Michigan seems to be running second at the moment; if Chatman escapes the desert uncommitted they will have a real shot. Chatman will have to act fast if he's going to join the Michigan class, though, since…

CA SF/PF DJ Wilson appears next on the pecking order. A fringe top 150 kid to the sites, Wilson is a high academic kid who took an official to Columbia—yes, that one—and is scheduled to go to Gonzaga this weekend. Michigan will host him the week after, and if an offer is forthcoming may drop on the spot. He says flat-out that Michigan leads. Wilson's even bigger than Grantham, pushing 6'9", and he sounds like a Beilein guy all the way. ESPN:

He is still growing at almost 6-foot-9 and his ball skills (in the open court) as well as his 3-point shot are impressive. He can face-up defenders and maneuver his way to the rim as well.

Wilson is a great prospect but his assertiveness at both ends needs attention. He plays in spurts and doesn't exert much energy consistently, especially in the areas of rebounding and defending.

Sounds like Evan Smotrycz 2.0. Hopefully he can get those deficiencies ironed out.

NV SF/PF Jonah Bolden is settling in at Findlay but cannot take official visits until he has an SAT score. That happens in October for him. He's planning on a spring decision, and while he just put Michigan in his top ten and rumblings have M in a strong position for him, timelines might not work out.

On the other hand: if Bolden shows that he's an elite recruit this fall, Michigan should have a spot for him. The projection above assumes Michigan banks a scholarship. If he's just that good they could say "screw it" and take him.

Shooting Guard

MS SG Devin Booker seems to be trending towards Kentucky. Depending on who you talk to his friendship with Ulis is either important or not, but it certainly doesn't hurt the Wildcats that he's on board. That Booker is still on recruiting boards after seven unofficials to Michigan and a recruitment that started in eighth grade implies that he's been looking for something he hasn't found in Ann Arbor; the vibe here is that this has gone on too long for this to end well. See Wesphal, Parrker.

old-timey haircut FTW

IN SG James Blackmon, Jr. is the other A-list option. An Indiana decommit who is a Kentucky legacy, he was thought to be a heavy UK lean. Now folks are split on his eventual destination. He visits Michigan this weekend and has an official to UK set up in mid-October; a recommitment to Indiana is also another possibility.

You'd think that one of Booker/Blackmon committing would put off or maybe even cause Kentucky to stop recruiting the other guy, at which point Michigan would seem to be in good shape, but at Roster Turnover U they may need a whole new damn team next year; tough to predict what UK will do. FWIW, some trawling of UK message boards indicates that fans don't think UK will take both. Here is your grain of salt.

OH SG/SF Javon Bess looks to be the primary backup plan. Bess is drawing a lot of Big Ten interest at the moment, and Michigan is amongst them:

"He said that he’d let us know (about a possible visit), because they’re still recruiting Devin Booker and James Blackmon Jr. They’re going to see about them,” Bess said. “He said in a week or so they’re going to call me and we’re going to set up a visit. If it comes to that, where I set up a visit, then I’ll have a scholarship when I get to Michigan. He said he waits for recruits to get to Michigan to offer them.”

So, that's clearly a plan B thing there.

Likely Outcome

Grantham drops for Michigan soon. Chatman heads to Arizona; Michigan offers Wilson on his visit and he commits. Kentucky picks up one of the shooting guards, and then it's up to them if they want the other. If not, that guy extends his recruitment a bit. I actually feel a bit better about Blackmon than Booker in the event that Kentucky is out of the picture for either. It's 50/50 whether a Plan A picks M; if not, they get Bess.

Michigan then enters the late signing period with an open slot they may or may not use.


Unverified Voracity Busts Out Orbiting Panic Guy

Unverified Voracity Busts Out Orbiting Panic Guy Comment Count

Brian August 21st, 2013 at 12:53 PM


also Panic Kornheiser Google Image Search

Dammit, dammit, dammit. You have probably heard that Amara Darboh has blown up something in his foot and is out for the year. This calls for the little panic guy.


Michigan is not going to replace Darboh's combination of size and blocking and receiver expectations should be downgraded a notch. Judging from scrimmage highlights and practice buzz, Jehu Chesson or Joe Reynolds is the next man in. Hopefully it's Chesson, who has excellent upside; realistically both guys are going to split Darboh snaps.

Michigan may also turn to more plays on which Devin Funchess splits out. While Funchess doesn't have the same speed Darboh does he can duplicate some of the leapy-catchy Hemingway business Michigan just lost.

At least Darboh gets a redshirt.

Elsewhere in PANIC. Bad sign:

"More production" in this case probably means "fewer blown tackles/coverages." That's bad. What's more, the seemingly odd move of Courtney Avery back there signals that Michigan is scrambling at that spot. If it was a safety coming through another safety, fine. A 175-pound corner whose health is constantly in question triggers my alarm bells.

That's a death knell for Josh Furman, for one. While it's less of a negative sign for Jeremy Clark since he's just a year into the program, it would have been nice if he was able to play once Wilson faltered.

Feel better? George Campbell Whitfield, broom-wielding quarterback guru, on Devin Gardner:

“I was shocked,” Whitfield said. “I had only seen him in a couple cameos at Michigan. I was shocked at all the talent, how strong he was, how athletic, how fast.

“We worked on a lot of footwork ... weight transition, the ability to drop, put your foot in the ground, stop and work back into a play. That’s not always easy. ... We spent quite a bit of time on chaos training — what happens if two linemen got beat, halfway through drop, and I don’t have to pull rip cord or I’m getting chased to left sideline, I’m a right-handed quarterback, how do I make this throw?”

Gardner's main issue is accuracy—too many times last year he missed on simple throws because of erratic mechanics. Hopefully an offseason of ownership sees him make serious progress there.

[after THE JUMP: pudding pops, Bartlestein on the shot, and advice for freshmen.]


This Week's Obsession: Beilein's Boom and the Sustainability of Shakalaka

This Week's Obsession: Beilein's Boom and the Sustainability of Shakalaka Comment Count

Seth June 19th, 2013 at 6:27 PM

WARNING: This post contains graphic depictions of Glenn Robinson III committing violent acts upon basketball rims for no apparent reason. If you suffer from jam-related heart problems, please high-five your nearest cardiologist before viewing.


Accompanying Soundtrack.

It's the weekly, roundtabley feature where we ask MGoStaff things that MGoReaders are asking. This week's recruits:

Brian Cook, 5-star, Center, 6'4/190. Finds gifs very exciting.

Seth Fisher, 4-star, Wing/guard, 6'0/238. Pure shooter.

Ace Anbender, 5-star, PG, 6'0/180, Mr. Basketball in Michigan

Mathlete, 4-star, SG, 5'10/185, Kansas offer

Blue in South Bend, 5-star,  PF, 6'0/190, McDonald's All-American, #2 player in Indiana

And the query:

We have no doubts that John Beilein can unearth diamonds, and now there's mounting evidence he can jump into Top 10 battles as well. Do you think basketball crutin' can maintain these trends long-term, or that once the glow of a Finals run wears off and other teams catch on to his tricks that Michigan is in danger of falling back to the pack?

BiSB: A couple of things happened that might give this Time of Peace and Good Harvests some staying power. The first is the recent set of facility upgrades. The practice facility is clearly a big thing, and Crisler has gone from a near-crippling liability to, at worst, a neutral factor. Second, and probably more important, is that Beilein showed the ability to coach a team filled with elite talent, and to use thoroughbreds properly. The knock on Beilein is always that he's a "system guy" who uses faux-Euro tweeners to run top-of-the-key weaves and launch 30 3's a game. Michigan was getting out and running, throwing 'oops all over the place, and generally looking like an athletic killing machine. They even used a big man effectively. As much as the Aneurysm of Leadership was the turning point in this whole thing, blue chip talent doesn't want to be Zack Novak.  They want to be GRIII, and to play for a coach who can utilize them properly. That Michigan made the final was obviously huge, but the fact that Michigan got to show their high-flying wares on a national stage was equally important. Also, Trey Burke was Trey Burke, which Trey Burke.


(…except when Trey Burke was Spike Albrecht doing his Trey Burke impression.)

Seth: As long as we're not expecting them all to be Trey Burke I agree the tournament run and the GR3-ness of the current roster should see Michigan settle somewhere among the top of the conference. Basketball recruiting isn't like football: there are a few teams who compete for the one-and-dones, and a few teams like MSU and Duke who remain consistently competitive from a steady stream of future NBA benchmen who want college degrees, pocked by an annual five-star or two who want part of the winning that entails. The thing that makes Beilein's niche sustainable, I think, is that it plays to Michigan's strengths as a program. It's still system ball (just with better side attributes). The difference now is he has access to those All-Americans who would be perfect candidates for his system and Michigan's academics, but who were scared off by the appearance that it couldn't compete at the top levels.

Mathlete: I actually think the current cycles will be the most critical. Beilein built the program to where it is today without guys who were elite prospects when committing (aside from Mitch McGary's one season on the books) and he knows who he is. He is going to keep building with the guys he needs and knows how to piece together. Today his scouting can include players inside the Top 100 lists, which is nice. The current danger is can he successfully do what he has always done while managing a roster of early departures. In basketball losing one player early can really alter the make-up of a team. This year Michigan will be replacing two and possibly two or five next year if Chad Ford has his say. This is what you call a good kind of problem but it is a new one. I have no doubt Beilein has put a lot more thought into this than we have, but he hasn't been around this on an annual basis like a Calipari has. The next two or three seasons on the court and in the recruiting cycles will determine if Michigan is elite to stay or whether last season was the high point and the program returns to where they were 2-3 years ago, consistent tournament team but not consistently elite.

Ace: I think the staff can maintain or even improve on this level of recruiting for a number of reasons, first and foremost because John Beilein and Co. are so good at identifying talent early. It's easier to get five-stars when you identify them when they're three-stars (GRIII) or start recruiting them heavily before the basketball blue-bloods (a big factor in Michigan's standing with Devin Booker).

The last couple years have also provided the perfect storm for Beilein to recruit at a level above his prior standard. Bryan mentioned the facilities and probably undersold them—having poked around the practice facility, I'd say Crisler Center is a critical recruiting tool. The Fab Five documentary came out, giving recruits reason to think Michigan basketball is cool for the first time since, well, before Tommy Amaker, anyway. Oh, and the basketball team made the title game on the strength of a three-star point guard developing into Trey MFing Burke, turning the supporting cast of talented freshmen into household names (even Spike!) and giving Beilein the ability to pitch national championship potential and have it really mean something.

We've already seen the interest from blue-chip prospects start to seriously pick up; look no further for evidence than 2015 five-star center Stephen Zimmerman, who hails from Las Vegas and appears to be showing the most interest in Michigan and Kentucky. That shows the momentum this program has right now. The key will be keeping Michigan at a level where they're competing for Big Ten titles and hitting the second weekend of the NCAA tournament (at least) with regularity. If they do that, these kind of players will keep poking around the program, and enough will sign to give the Wolverines more than enough talent when combined with Beilein's diamonds in the rough.


Gratuitous GR360 dunk. /high fives Brahmajee

Brian: Basketball recruiting is far more volatile than football just because of the numbers involved. Take a look at Michigan State's current recruiting class: a couple of random three-stars they picked up late after Jabari Parker decided on Duke, along with everyone else they were recruiting. Or envision a world in which Mitch McGary goes to a more traditional power. So it's hard to judge when Michigan's barely been in a big-timer recruiting battle yet. 

Instead they've made their hay on identifying prospects quickly and getting them to pull the trigger immediately, as GRIII and Walton and Irvin did. These days I don't think John Beilein can walk into a gym without the rest of the country perking their ears up. Since Beilein's going to wait to offer them and other schools aren't, we're in for a number of Devin Booker recruitments where Michigan has been laying groundwork for years but has to fend off guys who got wise a bit later.

The 2014 and 2015 classes will be the acid test. Lock down Booker and grab an elite 2015 big to go with some top 100 wings and it's on at the top of the league; settle for plan Bs and Michigan likely levels off as a contender a half-step behind Indiana, State, OSU, etc.

I think they will get enough of their top targets. Michigan's got stability, facilities, a sexy run to the title game, a fun offense, a reputation for talent development, a burgeoning list of NBA alumni, and a hell of a staff. They don't even start recruiting guys who might need a little help to qualify or want a little something on the side. What's missing? A couple more years of being in the national consciousness, and that's coming.

BiSB: I also think that, to an extent, football and basketball are feeding off each other. Lets not forget that the Commit-a-palooza last year happened during the Michigan/OSU basketball weekend, and IIRC most of the top basketball commits have been spotted at football games. Michigan has some very public swag these days (praise to the Swag Mattison), and there doesn't appear to be a slowdown in the near future.

Forest view, though: Michigan has brought in, what, six ESPN 100 guys in the last two classes? With a couple of five stars? And they are in the hunt for some even bigger names going forward? Beilein Über Ham on Wheat with Mayo.