It's Booker And Blackmon Decision Eve

It's Booker And Blackmon Decision Eve

Submitted by Brian on 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

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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.

james-blackmon-jr[1]

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

Submitted by Brian on October 6th, 2013 at 2:38 PM

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Wilson pictures are thin on the ground. Via Rivals.

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

IS ALREADY HERE, YEAHHHH

GURU RATINGS

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.

NY2LA:

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."

IMPORTANT

Likes ice cream.

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OFFERS

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.

FAKE 40 TIME

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

VIDEO

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.

PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE

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.

UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS

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

Submitted by Brian on 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:

Iso_Blocking_medium[1]

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

Submitted by Brian on October 2nd, 2013 at 10:33 AM

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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.

GURU RATINGS

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.

OFFERS

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

FAKE 40 TIME

Wait a minute, this is a basketball post.

VIDEO

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

PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE

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.

UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE 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

Submitted by Brian on 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:

Strengths:
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.

Weaknesses:
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

Submitted by Brian on August 21st, 2013 at 12:53 PM

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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.

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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

Submitted by Seth on 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.

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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.

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(…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.

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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.

Basketball Recruitin': Offer Day Check-In

Basketball Recruitin': Offer Day Check-In

Submitted by Brian on June 18th, 2013 at 11:51 AM

Junior Offers Out

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Kennard and Coleman

Junior day came and went with one offer issued, that to OH SF Luke Kennard, which duh. Kennard isn't on the verge of committing and would like to narrow things down.

“We’re going to have to start narrowing it down some,” said Kennard. “Top 10 or top five, and then see where we go from there.”

Kennard plans to visit each of the schools that make the cut, naming Ohio State, Michigan, Indiana, Butler, and North Carolina first when asked who has the best shot to survive the trim.

Kennard is planning to hit Michigan's team camp at the end of July; M is reputed to  be in strong position. Kennard hit up the Elite 100 camp last week and impressed Scout's Brian Snow($):

Luke Kennard, SG – The Ohio native had another excellent event proving to everyone that he is not only a high level shooter, but pretty darn good at everything on the basketball floor. He is more than athletic enough to guard high level wings, and then on offense his IQ separates him from most of his peers. Kennard is still somewhat left hand dominant, but he was able to get by guys going either direction. Add in that he makes plays for himself and others, and Kennard might have been the most complete wing at the entire camp.

A Beilein guy no doubt. Kennard is talking about a decision at the beginning of his junior year, which you'd think favors Michigan. Kennard has gotten around to Indiana, OSU, and Kentucky, though, so it wouldn't be a slam dunk.

IN SG Jalen Coleman wasn't offered over the weekend because he was playing in an AAU tourney and was unreachable, but he got his yesterday. He's not as familiar to Michigan fans as Kennard is. He did tell Scout's Kyle Bogie($) that he is planning some summer visits, "especially Michigan," amongst some other tantalizing things. Coleman will be a knock-out, drag-down fight between various Big Ten programs and potentially Louisville. He's named after Jalen Rose($), so we've got that going for us.

He told Inside The Hall that, like Kennard, he doesn't plan on taking his recruitment out too much longer:

“I don’t think it’s going to be senior year, I doubt if it’d be that late,” he said. “Probably his junior year he’ll be making the decision on what school he’ll be going to because it’s good to get that done, especially being an upperclassman so you can just focus on your team.”

Indiana offered Coleman when he was a freshman and seems like the main competitor.

WI C Diamond Stone has met the visit prerequisite but wasn't offered; Sam Webb says that's because he hasn't sent in his transcript, and once he does that he'll (obviously) get the offer.

I think we're for real

It's still a little boggling to consider that Michigan can go out and snatch a top-ten national recruit who isn't an enormous puppy-man, but the more information we get on 2015 NV C Stephen Zimmerman, the more I think Michigan's in it. His mom is handling a lot of his interviews, and even though this is an interview with a Kentucky site things keep coming back around to the Wolverines($).

I'm curious--who are the schools that he's having these 20 minute conversations with?

That's a loaded question... Coach Payne at Kentucky has and Coach Jordan at Michigan, they've tried to get to know Zimm. Coach Rice at UNLV too, and I think they have a little more knowledge of Zimm because his brother is his high school coach, so I think they have a good relationship. Those are the ones I can think off the top my head.

Zimmerman appears to really enjoy the idea of playing the Mitch McGary role:

Michigan is a popular school with several guards at this camp because of Trey Burke and his success this season, I'm curious, what are your impressions of Michigan and Mitch McGary from this past season?

We were really impressed because Stephen plays with Dream Vision and we ended up playing Mitch's team quite a bit in Stephen's first summer, so Stephen got to watch Mitch and see where he was at this point to where he is after this past season. You can just see that he was a man on that court now instead of the boy we saw just a summer ago on the court. That meant a lot to Stephen to see how he developed during the year.

Has Stephen ever indicated that he's felt like a school has had a similar style of big that he is?

You know, the only one he's mentioned is with Mitch McGary. He'll mention, "hey, we run that play" or, "Ok I see what I did there, I can try that." So that's really the only one I can think of that he's voiced, but I'm sure you know from talking with Stephen that he doesn't say a lot of what he's thinking in his head, so he may not verbalize it until a few days later, he's an observer.

Zimmerman's going to visit a small list of schools and I'd be shocked if Michigan isn't one of them. He just told a Rivals guy that Kentucky and Michigan were the "most aggressive" schools after him.

Meanwhile, in 2014 land

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Jordan Barnett, Devin Booker

Uh… nothing's really going on you guys, other than AAU tourney after AAU tourney after AAU tourney.. IN SF Trevon Bluiett is status quo, deciding between Indiana, UCLA, Michigan and fuzzy potential leader Butler. OH combo forward Vincent Edwards is status quo, deciding between Michigan and Purdue. Michigan got CA SF Kameron Chatman on campus and offered; that's the only recent Event aside from a visit from MO SF Jordan Barnett, who could be in line for an offer:

“[Michigan] said they would like to offer me, but coach Beilein said specifically that I couldn’t get an offer from Michigan unless he saw me play,” Barnett said. “Beilein hasn’t seen me. He said if he saw me and he liked what I did, I’d probably get an offer.”

He's looking to commit by the end of the summer; Iowa, Texas, and Florida are his other main suitors.

MS SG Devin Booker still doesn't have a well defined top list and plans to take officials in the fall. Duke and North Carolina are taking themselves out of the running a bit after getting commitments from similar players, so Kentucky looms as the biggest threat:

About [Kentucky] — Booker appears to be quite high on its list of priorities. Booker said he talks with Kentucky coach John Calipari “on a day to day basis.”

“Me and Coach Calipari, we text back and forth, we’ll talk on the phone,” Booker said. “He actually has a good relationship with my mom and dad, he’s been talking to them. So we’re talking about a visit sometime soon. I think right now it’ll be an unofficial. After the summer, I might take an official.”

He told a newspaper basically the same thing.

Booker's in Michigan for the summer with his mom, hopefully hanging out with Drake Harris and enjoying the weather. He plans some sort of cut at the end of the summer followed by some number of official visits.

All of this will be terribly exciting when Michigan smashes Kentucky's recruiting hegemony and spirits away a bunch of top 20 players. August and September promise to have a lot of movement, as it seems everyone mentioned in this post, be they class of 2014 or 2015, is talking about making a decision before their high school seasons kick off.

Unverified Voracity Dons Swag Glasses

Unverified Voracity Dons Swag Glasses

Submitted by Brian on June 17th, 2013 at 3:24 PM

The great coach smackdown of 2013. Sound Mind, Sound Body—an offseason camp that is set up such that college coaches can go—is too good to be true and will flame out in the near future when sixty other camps imitate it and the NCAA closes the loophole. But for now, we get things like Michigan coaches doing drills right next to Ohio State coaches that can be bothered to show up.

This is the setup for an uncomfortably hilarious moment. Mike Vrabel gets done with his drill segment early, badgers Mattison about finishing his bit when there's still time on the clock before the next rotation, and Mattison Is Not Having That. Via Sam Webb($):

“How about you coach them as hard as you can for as long as you have them?” Mattison yelled back tersely.  “YOU GIVE THEM EVERYTHING YOU’VE GOT!!”

Mattison then donned his swag glasses and told Lawrence Marshall "that's why you don't go to Ohio State, Lawrence."

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There's a great Greg Robinson story behind that paywall still.

Run, don't walk. Outside of paywall is a terrific article by Mike Rothstein on the basketball program's unique approach to recruiting, in which Michigan offers only after June 15th of a prospect's junior year and maintains a sedulous respect for the process of getting to know kids.

“I’ll throw this at people,” Jordan said. “‘What’s your mom’s name?’ Because there’s a curiosity of why haven’t you offered. ‘How many brothers? How many sisters? What’s your family like? Have you considered the fact that we don’t really know each other, but there is a desire for a scholarship offer?’

“So now it’s like, ‘OK.’ It’s the education.”

It does seem like the Michigan offer is now something that means something, unlike a number of other schools.

There’s another, almost unintentional, byproduct. By having prospects wait for an offer and go through myriad steps, Michigan has created more perceived value around an offer from the school. Instead of just another scholarship offer on a list, it is one the player had to work for.

“To see that they still wanted to offer me, it meant a lot after recruiting me for a year and seeing how well I developed and saw how much potential I had,” Irvin said. “That was really special to me.”

Rothstein noticed that Beilein often goes after kids who are young for their grade—Caris LeVert is a recent prominent example—and got shot down when he asked the coaches about it. So he's on to something there.

Brady Hoke problems. ESPN gives Maurice Ways a fourth star, which means the list of current commits eligible for this site's Sleeper of the Year designation reads:

  • Michigan State commits

If I have to I'll open it up to kids who got just one four-star ranking, which opens the door to a whopping three guys at the moment: Ways, Chase Winovich, and Wilton Speight.

ESPN also moved Drake Harris up 25 spots to 71st; the rest of Michigan's commits had insignificant drops of a spot or two.

Sense. And sensibility. And zombies. This bowl news is trickling out so gradually it begins to remind me of the Big Ten's realignment, which was announced weekly for two months. But I think one of the priorities fans had was being able to you know, watch the Big Ten's bowl lineup and Delany has confirmed that is something on the docket:

"I think what you'll see is a truly national slate of bowls," Delany said. "I think you'll see us probably stronger on the West Coast than we've been. You'll see us as strong in Florida as we've been, but probably not as much on New Year's [Day]. I think you'll see us in Texas, and you'll see us with some games in our region, some games on the East Coast. I think it's going to be a great slate. We've made a lot of progress."

Also, the league is about to force bowls to take at least five different teams over the next six years, so no Yet Another Orlando Trip. I'm a little leery of that. The impulse behind the idea is a good one but that threatens to screw with bowl matchups.

Finally, a chorus of angels sounds from above!

"We've been trying to create a model that's more realistic," Delany said. "We'll take fewer, better tickets. If that means the payouts have to come down some, that's OK. Because it makes no sense to overpay on tickets, over-commit and find out you're really subsidizing the bowls, financing your own game."

I'm going on six years of bitching about this. No more. Freedom! (Have I told you how terrible the scholarship model is?).

Could make the West more… nahhh. Tim Beckman picks up Oklahoma State transfer Wes Lunt, who started six games as a true freshman for the Cowboys. Michigan won't see him unless Illinois rotates onto the schedule in 2016, but the addition of a quality quarterback could make the Illini the scariest 4-8 team in college football.

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The one time when a coach really could claim to block a player's transfer for their own good, and Gundy doesn't. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ –edsbs

Just once, Illinois, you could try looking at a photograph of the guy you're hiring before doing so. Then you would not hire the people you hire. I challenge anyone to find a picture of Tim Beckmann that does not beg to be captioned "derp" or "hurrrr durrrr" or "is what how can do?"

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NOPE

Tim_Beckman[1]beckman_original[1]CORRECTION Fight Hunger Bowl Illinois Football

NOPE NOPE NOPE

Okay guy. It must be brutal to write something for a newspaper in June, but uh.

Freep Guest Column: Alternate jerseys and helmets continue to impress recruits

 Mike Carter-US PRESSWIRE

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I don't think it's working. Next time put actual fireworks in the helmets?

Gant move confirmed. Brady Hoke confirmed that Allen Gant was now at SAM, stating thusly:

"He's a rangy guy and he's got length to him," Hoke said last week. "His body has the opportunity to put weight on, the structure and the genetics of the body.

"I think that's the biggest part of it."

If he tops out at 230, think Stevie Brown rather than Jake Ryan.

We missed this, but it's a little explosion-y so let's just do it now. Sam Webb puts out a Da'Shawn Hand article about two seconds after I do a final scan through my RSS feed for the recruiting roundup. Well played.

Most of it is stuff you've heard before about Professor Needs A Raise and how the Michigan staff is his favorite staff. But while I think a version of this quote was in a video somewhere this is the first time it's in text:

"My goal is try to make a decision before December,” Hand reported. “At first I was going to stretch it out, but then after talking with my pop -- we kind of had a heart to heart -- I kind of have to make up my mind. It’s a big decision, but at the same time I kind of have a gist of knowing where I’m going, but I ain’t gonna say that.”

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GO LITTLE GUY GO. RUN IN CIRCLES. YES. GO.

Etc.: Books to read from Smart Football. MC79 on data versus feelingsball.

Basketball Recruiting: The Thousand-Foot View

Basketball Recruiting: The Thousand-Foot View

Submitted by Brian on May 31st, 2013 at 12:58 PM

Michigan's annual College Practice Camp is this weekend, and is followed shortly by Michigan Offers Juniors Day—the first day coaches are allowed to officially offer scholarships. John Beilein is the only guy in the world who follows this guideline; in doing so he's created a mid-summer event in the deadest portion of the Michigan sports calendar year. For this, John Beilein, we salute you.

Now is a good time to get an overview of what's going on.

2014

Roster And Needs

Assuming Robinson and McGary enter the NBA draft, this is what the roster will look like next fall:

PG: Derrick Walton (So.), Spike Albrecht (Jr.)
SG: Nik Stauskas (Jr.)
SF: Zak Irvin (So.), Caris LeVert (Jr.)
PF: Mark Donnal (So.), Max Bielfeldt (Jr.)
C: John Horford (Sr.), Ricky Doyle (Fr.)

Michigan needs a shooting guard and would like someone to compete with Donnal and Bielfeldt at the four. The other two slots are flexible depending on talent. It is unlikely Michigan uses one on a point guard—they are heavily after a bunch of PGs, but all in the class of 2015—and I would guess Michigan banks one so that 2015 class in which the run to the title game is truly paying off will start from a baseline of two slots.

Shooting guard candidates

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Everyone all together now: Devin Booker is the leading candidate. From Missouri, mom lives in Saginaw, blew up at Michigan's camp two summers ago to put himself on the radar, may show up again since he's in Michigan for the summer anyway. Booker now has offers from Every Damn Body U, and though a couple of the truly elite schools have taken kids at his position Michigan State and Kentucky are formidable opposition. Still, Michigan seems to lead.

Michigan is also after Indiana SF Trevon Bluiett, who holds an offer and is being hotly pursued by Indiana, Butler, and plenty of others. Bluiett is having an outstanding AAU season. Michigan was thought to be trailing Butler as of a month or two ago, but Bluiett appears to be in no hurry to make a decision.

Power forward candidates

Michigan trails Duke and others for Wisconsin stretch four Kevon Looney, a top ten player who would be a crazy good fit for Beilein's system. Unfortunately, Duke can point to Ryan Kelly and say "you are also a crazy good fit for our system." Acquiring a visit from him is required before anything serious goes down. Looney did just call Michigan a "great school" in an interview with 247:

"Actually Michigan's been there from the beginning, since my freshman year," he said. "I've been talking to (John) Beilein, coach (LaVall Jordan) ... they're a great school.

"They were in the championship (game) this year. They're a great school."

Looney plans on taking his five officials. Michigan should make the cut.

OH combo forward Vincent Edwards is down to Purdue and Michigan and is waiting around to see which one of them showers him in more rose petals. He's more of a defense-and-rebounding guy than a shooter, but he's good enough at that bit to be around the top 50 most places.

Wild cards

Michigan is emerging on the lists of a number of highly-touted players. The hottest name at the moment is CA SF Kameron Chatman, who's coming up for the camp. Dave Telep says Michigan is a "big player" with Chatman and praises his overall game:

One of my favorite guys on the circuit is small forward Kameron Chatman. There’s something about this kid. Few have his overall feel for the game.

“I hate losing; just mean being an unselfish player with a high IQ,” Chatman said. “I want to do whatever it takes to win. [Whether] that’s scoring or rebounding or getting my teammates going.” When you hear these words, often times they are hollow, but not with this young man. He plays exactly how he speaks.

Beilein guy yo.

Chatman will take an unofficial visit and get an offer this weekend, and while he's not expected to commit flying across the country is a sign of serious interest. Chatman's a consensus top 50 recruit with a loose top three of Michigan, Oregon, and Washington. Distance isn't much of a factor for a kid from Long Beach, then, and neither Washington or Oregon is a Duke-level threat. USC and Arizona are also involved.

2015

Only Horford graduates, though given the way Michigan has been developing point guards Derrick Walton may be the top pick in the draft by then; Zak Irvin is also a threat to leave early. It's tough to project specific positional needs this far out but no matter what Michigan will be looking for at least a big and a point guard.

Offer day is just two weeks away. We'll get a better view then of who the main targets are, but Beilein has a second requirement to get that offer: a visit. Some of the guys on the list haven't made it to campus and thus won't be officially offered.

IN PG/SG Jalen Coleman. Camping, has offers from Indiana and Purdue already, is probably a shooting guard right now, top 50 player:

“North Carolina State and Texas have also been in contact,” Coleman said. “A lot of schools. But also the ones like Michigan State, IU and Purdue have been coming in and staying in contact. Michigan and Michigan State have said they are looking forward to having me up there as soon as possible and doing something, which could be an offer.”

Coleman may not get a June 15th offer as he is probably not a point guard and Michigan may want to see where there roster stands before offering SGs.

IL PG Hyron Edwards.

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Also camping, in possession of Purdue, Indiana, and Illinois offers, Edwards is going to play somewhere in the Big Ten. He told IU site Inside The Hall that he's pumped about potentially getting that M offer:

The Illini and Boilermakers have offered and the Wolverines, who won’t offer class of 2015 prospects until June 15, seem to be heading in that direction. He said he hopes to work in an unofficial visit to Bloomington when in town for the adidas May Classic and will be in Ann Arbor on June 1 for Michigan’s elite camp.

“(Assistant) coach (LaVall) Jordan has been talking to me about it,” he said of a potential scholarship offer from Michigan. “If I do get the offer, that would be pretty great.”

CA PG Sedrick Barefield. Barefield has widely varying rankings, from unranked three star to top fifty kid. UConn, KState, Arizona, and Cal are also involved. He needs to get up for a visit before an offer.

FL PG Corey Sanders. Sanders told UMHoops he gets compared to Trey Burke and has a positive relationship with Michigan's coaching staff:

“I love Michigan’s coaching staff. They’re nice, they work with me,” Sanders said. “When we talk, it’s usually like business, how everything will work out, the school, the system, all the players who were there before me — especially with the point guard position how Trey Burke was there. Looking at his game compared to mine and things like that.”

Sanders is less hyped than just about everyone on this list, currently an unranked three star most places.

FL SF Dwayne Bacon. A top 20 kid in the 2015 class, Bacon can't make this weekend's camp but has scheduled an official visit($) for the Central Michigan game. He's a teammate of Sanders and they are talking about being the proverbial package deal.

OH SF Luke Kennard. Kennard, a sweet shooting wing with a wonky Shurna-style release, has been on Michigan's radar longer than anyone else in the 2015 class and has seemed like a good bet to commit at points. These days Ohio State folks are feeling about as confident as the Michigan ones are. Kennard has already been on campus multiple times($) and is almost certain to get a June 15 offer. He plans summer trips($) to Michigan and Ohio State.

TX C Elijah Thomas. Just profiled by Sam Webb in the News, Thomas is an early five star who claims he's "always been a Michigan fan"—we are finally reaching the point where high school kids only remember the Beilein era, self high five—and jokes about his close relationship with LaVall Jordan:

"The relationship is really good," Thomas said. "I call him all the time. I don't call him too much because he has a family (laughter), but I call him every now and then. We talk academics, we talk basketball -- we just talk about why I want to be great and everything else."

OSU, Indiana, and Illinois have already offered and he says distance won't matter; he wants to visit M, Duke, and Kentucky.

WI C Diamond Stone. Stone was on campus for the Michigan State game last fall and as a top ten player in the 2015 class will get offered with prejudice on the 15th. His dad is from Flint, which helps. Everyone on earth will get involved shortly, however. He told the Baltimore Sun that Maryland's entry into the Big Ten is an asset, which says something since they're leaving the ACC.

NV C Stephen Zimmerman.

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The third five-star center Michigan's involved with in the 2015 class, Zimmerman told Scout that he planned a trip out to Ann Arbor($) sometime this summer:

Based on Zimmerman’s range of ability, Michigan is one of the schools in consistent contact, spotted courtside over the weekend. Wolverine assistant lavall jordan has continued to build on his strong bond with Zimmerman over the past year, connecting on the phone as recently as Monday evening.

“It was great,” said Zimmerman. “He’s a really great person. I like talking to the people from Michigan. They’re like me. It seems like a great program and they want me to go on an unofficial down there sometime this summer. And I think we’re going to.”

Once that visit happens Zimmerman will become a serious target. The planet is after Zimmerman as well, but Zimmerman's mom dropped a Michigan reference unprompted($) when talking to Duke's scout site:

Post touches is a thing that many people like to talk about when evaluating programs, do you feel like there are programs that have set themselves apart in how they utilize their bigs and post touches they give?

I'm sure there are, I would say there probably are some, like Michigan, Kansas, but you also have to realize that you have to have gifted bigs to do that. Not every school has them.

Why are three five-star centers talking up Michigan? Mitch McGary's tournament explosion. I like Mitch McGary.