Hoops Hello: Xavier Simpson

Hoops Hello: Xavier Simpson

Submitted by Ace on September 9th, 2015 at 2:40 PM

So the Cassius Winston situation cleared up in a hurry.

As it turns out, Michigan had a top-100 prospect ready to commit, and 2016 Lima (OH) point guard Xavier Simpson did just that this afternoon after a late push by the Wolverines. Simpson originally planned to choose today between finalists Illinois, Iowa State, Miami, and Wisconsin. Increased attention from Michigan's staff in the wake of Winston's shifting visit plans changed the outlook entirely.

Simpson is the fourth commit in the 2016 class, joining wing Ibi Watson and big men Jon Teske and Austin Davis.

GURU RATINGS

Scout Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
4*, #12 PG,
#55 Ovr
4*, #87 Ovr 4*, 84, #12 PG,
#66 Ovr
3*, 92, #13 PG,
#80 Ovr
4*, #13 PG,
#69 Ovr

The four services are in general agreement on Simpson, all listing him in the bottom half of the top 100 overall prospects. He's the #12 or #13 point guard prospect in the country on the sites that bother with positional rankings; Rivals, for some reason, not only fails to do those but lists players only at G, F, or C unless you click on all their profiles.

Simpson is diminutive. He's listed at 5'11 and 165-170 pounds on three of the four sites; Scout has him at 5'10, 155.

SCOUTING

Here's Scout's free evaluation:

Evaluation

Simpson isn't the most physically gifted player in the class, but he is one of the most effective. Standing only 5-foot-11 he shows absolutely no fear on the basketball court and has set his team up for a lot of wins during his high school and AAU careers. He needs to continue to refine his jumper, but his leadership and ability to run a team make him an in demand prospect.

Strengths

  • Basketball IQ
  • Big-Game Player
  • Toughness

Areas to Improve

  • 3-Point Range
  • Athleticism

I'll have much more on Simpson tomorrow in an updated post. Football duties beckon for now.

Hoops Recruitin' Sets Officials

Hoops Recruitin' Sets Officials

Submitted by Ace on August 18th, 2015 at 2:00 PM

Winston Narrows List, Stops By A2

John Beilein's top recruiting priority is to land a quality point guard in the 2016 class and U-D Jesuit four-star Cassius Winston has been the number one target on the board for a while. Michigan got a couple encouraging developments on that front this week when Winston cut down his list and then dropped by Ann Arbor for an unofficial, per The Wolverine's Chris Balas ($):

Winston trimmed his list to four recently, striking Harvard from his list and leaving Michigan, Michigan State, Stanford and Pitt. Most believe it's a U-M vs. MSU battle, and Winston added some intrigue when he visited Ann Arbor again Aug. 16. 

...

"He loves everything Michigan has to offer, loves the basketball," his dad said. "He really likes the academics, too."

Winston is slated to take an official visit on September 19th; he's already taken one to Stanford and is supposed to see MSU the week prior, giving M the last crack unless he adds other visits to the schedule. His father told MLive he's getting a little tired of the recruiting process and would like to make a final decision before his senior season begins. This looks like an in-state battle and the Wolverines may have a slight edge right now.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]

Hoops Recruitin' Lives And Learns

Hoops Recruitin' Lives And Learns

Submitted by Ace on August 5th, 2015 at 2:00 PM

Lesson Learned

After Tyus Battle took the last available scholarship in the 2016 class only to decommit and cause Michigan to lose out on fellow five-star wing Josh Langford, it looked like John Beilein's strict adherence to not oversigning—even in the attrition-heavy environment of major conference college hoops—cost Michigan their shot at an elite wing, especially after they accepted the commitment of three-star Ibi Watson last week.

Sam Webb hinted in the wake of Watson commitment that was not, in fact, the case. When Webb broke the news that five-star wing Miles Bridges, a Flint native who plays for Huntington (WV) Prep, would visit on Monday, the picture became clear: Michigan is changing their recruiting tack and they're not done recruiting wings.

Michigan had been the only school in Bridges' top five not to offer him, since he hadn't taken a visit to Ann Arbor yet. That changed following Monday's visit, according to Webb. While Kentucky and Michigan State are the favorites to land Bridges, there's reason for optimism. Bridges is AAU teammates with top point guard target Cassius Winston, and they've mentioned a desire to play together in college. [Insert caveat about package deals here.]

This is a significant shift for Michigan, as it'd mark a change in Beilein's willingness to project attrition when recruiting. The Wolverines need a point guard in this class; it's expected commit Austin Davis will take a prep year and reclassify to 2017 to make room for one. There isn't an obvious way to make room for one more, but Beilein isn't exactly at risk of going Full Crean (never go Full Crean); with the logjam at the three and the four, plus the potential for a Zak Irvin breakout year, it'd be a surprise if every eligible member of this year's team was back in 2016-17.

It's a lesson learned the hard way, but it looks like Beilein took note of what happened with Battle and is making the requisite adjustments to his recruiting strategy.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]

Friday Recruitin' Is Quick

Friday Recruitin' Is Quick

Submitted by Brian on July 3rd, 2015 at 12:21 PM

Ace is still on vacation.

Hawkins at two

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NJ WR Brad Hawkins announces in a minute here. Recruitin' heuristics and the Crystal Ball suggest Michigan fans will be happy. South Carolina seems like the other option, but even their experts at 247 are saying all signs point to M($).

More detail on Xavier Kelly

KS DE Xavier Kelly just announced a top eight with Michigan in it. That could mean anything, but the way the Kellys are talking Michigan seems like one of the strongest contenders. Via Sam Webb, the paterfamilias($):

“It was great,” the elder Kelly said of the visit.  “They had a lot of great things about it, but I was expecting big things from Michigan.  I went in there kind of biased already, but it was real good. We had a good time.  We kicked it with the coaches, had lunch with them, and toured the facilities.”

"Kind of biased already" is a good thing to hear. Kelly also gave a lengthy interview to Rivals—availability is good for your prospects to land a kid. Brandon Brown($):

"It's a pretty big deal that my dad is from Detroit because I have a lot of family there," Kelly said. "They support me and Detroit's not very far from Ann Arbor so they could come support me and I could go visit them so that's always good."

Kelly wants to get down to a top five before the season. Michigan is a near lock to make that list. Long way to go, otherwise: he plans on taking his officials and committing at the Army game.

Moar 2017 rankings

Scout jumps in with rankings for rising juniors. Thanks to Magnus, a list of the instate kids who made it:

#25 Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR, Cass Tech
#116 Ambry Thomas, CB, King
#126 Josh Ross, LB, Orchard Lake St. Mary's
#194 Ja'Raymond Hall, OT, Oak Park
#216 K.J. Hamler, WR, Orchard Lake St. Mary's
#239 Allen Stritzinger, RB, Warren De La Salle
#266 Corey Malone-Hatcher, DE, St. Joseph
#269 Hunter Rison, WR, Skyline

Looks like a pretty good year in Michigan. Yes, Hunter Rison is that Rison's kid, so I wouldn't get too excited about the fact he's at Skyline. Aside from that, Michigan is in good shape with Ross, Hall, and Stritzinger already. They have been pursuing Peoples-Jones with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind and he seems to be responding, but he's going to be a major national recruit and it's hard to get a read on him this early.

Other 2017 receivers to keep an eye on

Early offer Joshua Palmer is moving from Brampton, Ontario to Florida powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas this fall and tells Scout that he is "feeling Michigan the most". FL WR Daquon Green tells Scout that OSU and Michigan are at the top of his list, with OSU slightly ahead. Green is planning a visit to OSU in July that may turn into a swing through Michigan if he gets it set up with the coaches… and then he plans to decide before his junior season.

Basketball re-set

Tyus Battle has changed his relationship status on Facebook to "it's complicated" and removed mention of Michigan from his social media stuff. The previous sentence caused a brand of old and crotchety Michigan fan to shake his fist at the screen.

In any case, the is-he-or-isn't-he gone seems to be resolved. Michigan could get him back. I wouldn't count on that. The parents seem to be pushing him to reconsider, and when that happens it's a long, long way back. Unless Battle is absolutely dead set on Michigan I don't see this resolving pleasantly.

So. Moving on, OH SG Jarron Cumberland visited and seemed like a very good bet to be plan B. Then he suddenly committed to Cincinnati. Premium scuttlebutt said that the lack of an offer had something to do with a transcript hiccup; for whatever reason Cumberland decided not to wait around to see if he would get one.

On to the next. Michigan was looking at NY combo guard Kevin Huerter as a 2017 when Battle was in the fold; without him he is a very viable option as a 2016 recruit. Huerter announced he would take a set of five unofficial visits to Michigan, Syracuse, Villanova, Notre Dame, and Maryland. That is an impressive top five; Huerter has a rep as a kid who seems like a Beilein recruit. They will almost certainly go hard after him now.

Michigan is also back in with KY PG Quentin Goodin, who has replaced Louisville with Michigan in his final five. The other schools: Xavier, Florida, Miami, and Western Kentucky. That's a much more tractable list than Kentucky, Duke, and Duketucky if Michigan can overcome whatever reasons they were left off the list in the first place. Goodin, at 6'2", is probably mutually exclusive with in-state PG Cassius Winston. Good to have multiple options in any case.

Battle remains an option. Rivals says it's on the table and there should be a resolution pretty soon here($)—like within a week. I'm just guessing but I think the Syracuse visit and optimism was a product of recruiting gentlemen talking to his dad—and the lack of a commitment from that visit was the death knell for the Orange. At that point he's looking at UConn and Duke, but Duke apparently has moved on. UConn is a good program in a terrible league. So it's that or start all over or try to get back.

Etc.: CA WR Dezmon Patmon says Michigan would be at the top of his list($) with an offer. He is the nephew of DeWayne, FWIW. Sam talks with Rashan Gary's mom in two parts. OSU's head recruiter "is not Chris Partridge" so they don't have that going for them.

Thursday Recruitin' Plays Explosive Deathmatch Football

Thursday Recruitin' Plays Explosive Deathmatch Football

Submitted by Ace on May 14th, 2015 at 1:58 PM

Winston On Campus

2016 U of D Jesuit point guard Cassius Winston, the #23 overall prospect on the 247 Composite, is expected to be on campus today for an unofficial visit, per The Michigan Insider's* Kyle Bogenschutz ($). With two bigs already in the fold—albeit with rumblings that Austin Davis could reclassify to 2017—and Tyus Battle adding a dynamic wing to the class, getting a point guard will be the main focus going forward, and there's little question Winston is at the top of Michigan's wish list.

Winston's father told Bogenschutz that this is still a battle between the Wolverines and Michigan State. Winston will have a little more time to focus on recruiting in the near future, as a broken wrist suffered last weekend will sideline him the next 6-8 weeks. 

Step Into The Octagon. For Football. I Think.

Jim Harbaugh announced a quarterback camp to coincide with Michigan's Exposure U Presented By Troll God camp. The available details are limited to the above for now. Colin Kaepernick! Jay Cutler! Denard Robinson! Jameis Winston! Uh... Zac Robinson! A F****** FIGHTER JET! CAAAAAAAAAAAGE MAAAAAAAATCH!

You know what? The fewer details we add to the above, the better. Stay tuned for an indeterminate time until QB ARMAGEDDON.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup]

Hoops Recruitin' Sets Official

Hoops Recruitin' Sets Official

Submitted by Ace on March 17th, 2015 at 2:00 PM

With the regular signing period for the 2015 class less than a month away, it's time for one of our every-so-often basketball recruiting roundups. Headlining this edition is a visit from one of the best players in the country.

Jaylen Brown Sets Official

2015 GA SF Jaylen Brown, the #2 overall prospect in the country, has twice had to cancel planned official visits to Michigan due to scheduling conflicts. The third time should be the charm, as Sam Webb reports he's set to visit later this week:

A potential commitment from Brown would have a significant impact on the outlook for next season, but Michigan faces daunting competition: Brown has also visited Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, and UCLA, in addition to the in-state pairing of Georgia and Georgia Tech. Everyone's favorite one-and-done factory currently leads his 247 Crystal Ball picks.

Brown is one of two 2015 prospects left on Michigan's radar with one scholarship available, making the not-so-safe assumption that Caris LeVert stays and Max Bielfeldt doesn't return. The other, far more likely option is German forward Moritz Wagner, who added a scholarship offer during his official visit for the Rutgers game.

[Several class of 2016 updates after THE JUMP.]

Monday Recruitin' Splits Hairs

Monday Recruitin' Splits Hairs

Submitted by Ace on August 18th, 2014 at 1:57 PM

Rivals100 Update: Clark, Cole Move Up

Rivals updated their 2015 top 100 today, and one of the biggest risers on the entire list is a Michigan commit. After excelling at the Rivals elite invite-only camp, TE Chris Clark vaulted up 90 spots to #56 overall, where he's in a dead heat with UCLA commit Alize Jones for the honor of top-ranked tight end:

Clark had a fantastic showing at the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge Presented by Under Armour in Baltimore. He is a complete tight end, not just a glorified receiver. His film shows that he is an excellent blocker. In Baltimore, Clark showed that he can run and catch like a hybrid tight end. There was a heated debate about whether he should be the top tight end in the country, over Alize Jones. The two are ranked No. 55 and No. 56 in the country and the smallest of differences were part of an extensive discussion. -- Friedman

Also mentioned among the top risers on the list is NC SDE Darian Roseboro, who many feel will be a Wolverine—myself included—when he announces his college choice on August 29th. He rose 37 spots to #42 overall, just 12 spots away from five-star status:

Roseboro is a defensive end in a defensive tackle's body and that's a good thing. He has the explosiveness and nose for the ball one hopes for in a defensive end and the size of a defensive tackle. Roseboro has the natural ability to play with good leverage as well. This helps him anchor down against the run. -- Friedman

Aside from Clark, Michigan has two other commits in the top 100: CB Garrett Taylor, who stayed put at #48 overall, and WR Brian Cole, who moved up from #106 to #89. (Cole's nearly caught up to former commit George Campbell; the one-time five-star slid to #78, as concerns about his hands continue to hurt his stock.)

Also of note: Michigan's top-ranked remaining target, CA WDE Keisean Lucier-South, climbed five spots to #30 overall, earning him the final five-star designation on the list.

While RB commit Mike Weber didn't crack the list despite being ranked at #103 the last time around, it's doubtful he drops much, if at all—after strong showings at multiple camps, he's impressing Rivals Midwest analyst Josh Helmholdt in fall camp:

The full Rivals250 and further rankings updates will be out this week.

[Hit THE JUMP for updates on a couple Cass Tech prospects, Asmar Bilal, Michigan's pursuit of a top-five 2016 prospect, basketball recruiting, and more.]

Offer Day Aftermath

Offer Day Aftermath

Submitted by Brian on June 16th, 2014 at 12:33 PM

Michigan basketball holds off on offering juniors until June 15th, whereupon they send out a wave. June 15th was yesterday; the wave:

NV PG Derryck Thornton Jr.

Of course. Thornton's profile has been building for years, as he adds a little bit of hype to the pile every time he breaks someone's ankles. By now you probably know the details here: assistant Jeff Meyer coached the elder Thornton, they've been on campus multiple times, they convinced Battle to come along for a four-day visit that coincided with Michigan's elite camp.

Thornton's made some noises about an early decision, first telling UM Hoops that that it was a possibility and then Scout's Kyle Bogenschutz that he was thinking of pulling the trigger($) during the very conversation in which he found out he got his offer. With his dad describing the visit as a "15 out of 10," Michigan is the favorite. It seems like he wants to confirm things with an official visit in the fall… on which he would be on a commit watch unprecedented in the recent history of Michigan basketball.

Thornton does plan a Kentucky visit in the next week or two that should result in a UK offer. Memories of Devin Booker make that fairly ominous, but if Michigan's still in the lead after that it doesn't seem likely anything will displace them. I have added "Derryck" to my spell check, FWIW.

PROJECTION: Thornton commits to Michigan on his official visit, which I bet a dollar will be for the PSU football game.

MI PG Cassius Winston

Winston has received much less attention from the Michigan internets than Thornton largely because he seems less likely to end up in Ann Arbor. He is just about as talented as Thornton, and his rankings reflect that—he's top 50 everywhere and pushing for five-star status some places. Observers at the elite camp thought he outplayed Thornton slightly, even.

Winston is not likely to make an early decision:

In his two remaining years of high school, Winston has plenty to refine in his game and several goals that he’d like to accomplish before thinking ahead to Michigan. He insisted that even if he gets an offer, he’d like to take in the whole process and then gauge what the next move will be.

At the point Winston does get serious about a commitment Thornton will either be in the bag, off the board, or in that state where the supposed leader has led to long for it to be a good thing.

PROJECTION: If nothing changes with Thornton, drifts elsewhere. If Thornton's head gets turned, Michigan turns the jets on.

KY PG Quentin Goodin

In a bit of a surprise, Goodin did get his offer. He checked the visit box with his own appearance at the elite camp, and he is just a notch below Winston/Thornton to the guys doing the rankings. Michigan may have felt secure enough to offer because Goodin's made no bones about where he wants to go if the opportunity arrives

"I would definitely take the opportunity to play at Kentucky if I got it.”

…and by the time that gets resolved Michigan will have a good idea about whether or not they're going to close out the Thornton sweepstakes. Goodin says he won't commit until next August, so offering now is relatively risk-free.

Kentucky and Louisville don't seem too enthused at the moment so Goodin is looking heavily at Indiana, which has offered. Tennessee and Ohio State are other possibilities.

PROJECTION: Commits to Indiana.

NJ SG Tyus Battle

Battle is a relatively new name, and a high-profile one with interest from Syracuse, Kentucky, Duke, etc. He visited with Thornton fro the duration of the elite camp, and that has put Michigan in excellent position, especially if they get a commitment from Thornton. Battle's dad:

“Michigan was awesome, we had a great time,” Gary said. “Tyus really enjoyed the visit. The coaching staff is very thorough. We really enjoyed their presentation and the campus and the way they would use Tyus. Obviously, academically Michigan is something we like a lot.”

This is not a slam dunk like Thornton seems, though: Battle went from Michigan to Villanova and will swing through Louisville and Kentucky in the near future. Thornton's top group appears to be Michigan and I guess some other guys; Battle is going to be a… battle. He gave Bogenschutz some positive quotes($), but nothing on the level of those Thornton is issuing.

PROJECTION: I don't know, man.

OH SF Seth Towns

hsboys-d1-3-14-art-gulm2k34-1hsboys-d1-3-14-jq-04-jpg[1]

yes that's Trey Burke's high school

Towns didn't have the best elite camp but Michigan still pulled the trigger anyway. Like Thornton, Michigan seems to be way out in front for Towns (Webb paraphrasing Towns($): Michigan "DEFINITELY number one"); like Thornton, Towns is not pulling the trigger immediately.

With the June 15 offer Towns's recruitment is a formality; as long as Michigan keeps their interest level high he'll be in the class. So expect a 6'7" or 6'8" shooter($)…

"As a player, his ability to shoot it is his strength, for sure," Always100 Ohio Warriors AAU coach Fred Moyer said in May. "He can get it off the dribble and go. His best attribute right now is getting it off the catch and a one-dribble pull-up jumper. That's money when it's on.

…Zak Irvin 2.0?

PROJECTION: Commits to Michigan by end of summer.

CA PF TJ Leaf

Leaf is a five star inside/outside big who could play the 4 or 5 at M. He's been on campus multiple times, with his most recent visit a brief trip up from Bloomington, where his AAU team was playing. Leaf's interest is sincere; he seems to have a relatively solid top four of Michigan, Indiana, UCLA, and Arizona. He told Scout recently that those were the teams recruiting him hardest, and dropped this quote on M:

"I just went to Michigan. I loved the coaches and liked the campus. It's a really good program."

That top four was the same in May, FWIW.

Leaf has previously said that one of the things that makes Michigan attractive is the certainty that Beilein be there for the duration of his career, something that is probably true at UCLA and Arizona as well. Indiana… maybe not.

Leaf plans a January decision after some official visits. The major question is "are Towns and Leaf mutually exclusive?" If so, Leaf will get pushed out of the class by Towns unless he changes his timetable. I don't think that's necessarily the case, as a 3/4 like Towns can coexist with a 4/5 like Leaf.

PROJECTION: No good feel for this one, but UCLA has a coach who isn't on the hot seat and Michigan is likely to have competition for his scholarship slot. So: UCLA.

OH C Jon Teske

image

Unless that's a small child I estimate Teske's height at 11 feet

Teske is the least-hyped of all the offerees. A consensus three-star, Teske fits the mold of Beilein big men: he's a developmental project with a soft shooting touch. Coach quote:

"The thing that he's got is that he can score and shoot the basketball," said Medina coach Chris Hassinger. "His skill development is maybe higher than the guys they have at the Division I level right now."

Teske may not be a three star for that much longer, as he picked up an Ohio State offer recently and is now being listed at 6'11"… and growing. Injuries have limited his exposure to date.

PROJECTION: If OSU goes after him hard they will probably get him, otherwise money is on M.

Basketball Recruitin': No Harris, Offer Day Imminent

Basketball Recruitin': No Harris, Offer Day Imminent

Submitted by Brian on June 9th, 2014 at 2:29 PM

So That Was Odd And Didn't Happen

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PROTIP: DON'T GOOGLE IMAGE SEARCH "ABORT" WITHOUT "MISSION"

WVU transfer Eron Harris is headed to MSU, and without ever visiting Ann Arbor. This was seemingly a mutual decision after a conversation before the visit, as Harris had a vision of the way he wanted it to go that Beilein did not share. So, okay. Whatever.

2015 Class: Still Trying To Exist

Moving on, the 2015 roster now looks approximately like this, give or take a Caris NBA departure or miraculous Hatch recovery:

  • PG: Walton (Jr), Albrecht (Sr)
  • SG: MAAR(So)
  • SF: Irvin (Jr), Dawkins (So)
  • PF: Chatman (So), Wilson (So), Bielfeldt(Sr)
  • C: Doyle (So), Donnal (So)

You could probably slide Irvin and Chatman down a spot, but the upshot is that Michigan would like a guy approximately shaped like a shooting guard. Given the age and NBA departure threat levels of the folks on the roster, a PG/SG combo would be a nice fit. Prime candidates include offerees like MI combo Eric Davis, IL PG Jalen Brunson, and IN SG Jalen Coleman. All of these gentlemen have Michigan in a leading group, and MSU adding two 2015 SG types in a couple days should help Michigan out—MSU is also in the lead group for all those gentlemen.

Status for those three:

Davis wants to narrow by July, take officials in August and September, and decide by October. He wants to shoot a lot of threes, so we've got that going for us.

Brunson has a top eight including Michigan that he wants to narrow in August, and then he'll take officials and decide before the November signing period. Playing time has always been a major priority for him, so Michigan might actually want him to wait until spring. If he decides before it's clear whether Caris enters the draft (or Walton—longshot I know, but I'd like to introduce you to 10% of this year's first round).

Coleman, as per usual, has not provided any indication of when or where he might commit. He did tell a 247 gentleman that he was planning on "cutting his list soon" and that fit (check), opportunity (likely check) and proximity to home (eh… close enough?) are his main priorities.

Coleman has been too busy making rims explode on the AAU circuit to get too much into recruiting, where he's shooting 50% from three on almost 100 attempts. 247's Crystal Ball still says Michigan almost all the way, but with Coleman telling folks that "to this point, Coleman's dad has been in charge of the recruitment—with Jalen having little involvement" means that you should take any and all thoughts/hopes Michigan leads with a graint of salt.

2015 Big Options

If Chatman does end up sliding down to the 3, which is very possible with his skill set, Michigan would have a reasonably-sized opening for either a 4 or a 5, depending on where they want to play Mark Donnal long term. There are a couple options in this recruiting class still.

One is OH PF Esa Ahmad, who's a little undersized at 6'7" but has been playing well and is planning visits to both MSU and Michigan. Another is 6'10" Henry Ellenson, a power forward out of Wisconsin with three point range and a lot of high-major interest. Michigan is currently on the periphery pending the all-important visit:

"Michigan was at my house, and so was Michigan State," Ellenson said. "Michigan has been talking to me lately. I like Coach [John] Beilein down there. He is a great guy and easy to talk to.

"I know I will take my five officials next fall, but I'm not sure where I am going yet. I know they are big on coming to campus. We'll just see if the timing works out."

Get 'em on campus, etc. Ahmad and Ellenson are both ranked around 50 or 60 most places… except ESPN, which has Ellenson 5th(!) overall.

2016: Comin'

Michigan's elite camp has come and gone with three headliners: NJ SG Tyus Battle, NV PG Derryck Thornton Jr, and MI PG Cassius Winston, all 2016 five-stars. Those three were the class of the camp, according to Scout. Sam Webb on Thornton($):

This kid has all of the tools. Elite quickness, explosion, three-point range, and he is unselfish. He crossed too many players over to really keep track of and was generally capable of getting to wherever he wanted on the floor.  Thornton excels in space, which is why it wasn’t a surprise to see him wave off ball screens.  He just doesn’t need them to leverage on a defender.

[Much, much more at the link, FWIW.]

Despite that, the Scout guys generally thought Winston was better right now, though Thornton had more upside because of the whole nobody-can-stay-in-front thing. Battle is a lights-out 6'5" shooter.

Other notables($) included IN SG Kyle Guy ("a much smaller Nik Stauskas"), OH C Jon Teske ("6-10 and skilled … the physical part will come"), and OH SF Seth Towns ("6-7 shooter" whose shot wasn't falling). I don't think Guy or Teske will get offers until M lets Battle and TJ Leaf think about theirs; Towns is still a possibility since Michigan doesn't seem to have a guy obviously in front of him on their board, but it sounds like that offer may take a little bit longer to come.

Teske seems like he's almost recruiting M at this point, and a 6'10" guy with skill inside and out is someone Michigan will be keeping an eye on.

Thorton's vague top five

Thornton told Scout that five teams were coming for him hardest: Kentucky, Michigan, UConn, Cal, and USC. Those kind of statements are generally soft top X lists, and it seems unlikely Cal or USC can hang with the two teams that just met in the NC game and Derryck's dad's coach. Thornton on M($):

“Their offense is so spread out. They’re about development but the offense is really spread out, the bigs are mobile and there’s a lot of pick and roll stuff. They key on development and I love that.”

Thornton has no timetable but it sounds like he might get things over quickly.

Battle, meanwhile, is headed to Villanova next. He told a national scout reporter that Michigan was coming after him hard in a way that may be meaningful:

“It’s early but I already have 20 offers,” noted Battle. “Michigan has been recruiting me hard, Villanova, Syracuse, Ohio State, Duke, and several other schools.”

Michigan may be recruiting him harder than everyone else because Thornton is recruiting for them? Yeah! That's the ticket. That is the ticket.

Unverified Voracity Bats Eyelashes

Unverified Voracity Bats Eyelashes

Submitted by Brian on May 8th, 2014 at 12:39 PM

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Harris had ten points on four shot equivalents in last year's matchup.

Open the floodgates. As you've probably heard, WVU transfer Eron Harris got his paperwork and immediately spoke to a gentleman of distinction:

That is quite interesting. Harris, a DO WANT shooter, is essentially a class of 2015 guy who will be super-ready to play with two years of eligibility. But after taking MAAR and Aubrey Dawkins, there's no question that grabbing him seriously impinges on Michigan's ability to promise 2015 kids like Jalen Brunson and Jalen Coleman playing time—and their ability to offer scholarships. (Maybe less so Brunson since he is more of a PG, but with Walton likely still around Michigan's pitch has to center around the two of them playing at the same time.)

Do you grab that guy? Since Michigan's having a hard time holding onto guards for more than a couple years, I would say yup. Harris is also less of a deterrent to the 2016 kids Michigan seems to be doing very well with since he'll be around a maximum of one year after their arrival.

In the flurry of articles following that tweet two things became clear. One, being closer to home is not as much of a priority as the right fit

"The fit is more important that the location (of the school)," Harris said. "Eron is used to seeing his brothers and family more than he has the past couple years. But if he has to go to New York or California to find the right fit, then that's what he'll do."

…and two, Michigan's going to have to put on its prettiest dress and bat its eyes:

Within two hours of getting his release, Harris had already been contacted by Butler, Indiana and Purdue as well as Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, New Mexico, Notre Dame, Ohio State and UCLA.

Harris is a terrific get-your-own-shot shooter who would have an apprenticeship before seeing the floor. If he's fleeing Huggy Bear because of fit, Beilein is pretty much the opposite… and this quote all but begs you to read between the lines:

“It is going to be the place that I can be myself,” said Harris. “I want to be myself. I want to go out there and play basketball and love playing basketball. I am a competitor first, and I want to play instinctively. That is it. I want my coach to respect me and I will respect him."

The art of shade, man.

OPEN THE PRETZEL. One WI SG Brevin Pritzl, a shooting guard out of Wisconsin, blew up over the past couple of weeks of AAU tourneys. This has intrigued Michigan, who's bringing him in for a visit this weekend. An offer is probably not in the offing unless they're really serious about moving on from the dawdling Jalen Coleman, but he's a guy to keep an eye on down the road.

2016 priorities. MI PG Cassius Winston is a highly-rated gentleman in his own right, one who Michigan has a lot of interest in. He's waiting for an offer this summer, but not in June:

“I’m pretty sure, if I know correctly, that I’ll be offered by the end of the summer,” Winston said on Saturday at the Spiece Memorial Run-n-Slam.

To me that says Michigan is going to give Derryck Thornton the first crack before they expand their PG POV. That expresses a level of confidence that Michigan didn't have when they went after Derrick Walton; they offered the other instate PG, Monte Morris, at the same time.

In other Thornton news, current main competitor Arizona picked up their second 2015 commit from a highly-rated PG, which can't hurt.

Hibbity hooblah! It's NFL draft time, hooray. Taylor Lewan will go in the first 15 picks tonight; Jeremy Gallon and Michael Schofield are likely to follow in the next two days. Baumgardner profiles Gallon:

"We've had dozens of guys go off to college and (not make it)) that had circumstances a lot better than Jeremy's," said Rick Darlington, Gallon's former coach at Apopka High School. "He had to fight to get into college. Then he had to fight to stay in college. Then he had to fight to get on the field.

"You look at him now, and it's easy to say he was a great college player in the end. But it was never as easy for him as it was for others. He always had to struggle ... it didn't come easy."

Gallon had to take three classes after his graduation just to get to Ann Arbor, which I know is something that was a problem with admissions. Not in Gallon's specific case, necessarily, but in the sheer numbers of guys Rodriguez recruited that needed serious help. Michigan would not look at Gallon today even if he was 6'4" because hypothetical rising senior Gallon's grades would make them move on.

On the one hand, some guys come through and become Jeremy Gallon. On the other, attrition watch.

In other news, Hoke defends Taylor Lewan again.

I didn't expect anything different, but wow. Various NCAA personages are appearing in front of a congressional committee today to talk about unionization. There is a lot of ludicrous stonewalling like the Stanford AD refusing to state how much his coaches make when you can google it in five seconds—the answer is three million dollars—but nothing quite so faceplam inducing as congressmen taking up irrelevant talking points that have already been eviscerated and left for dead while waving his iPad around:

Congressman Roe then resumed playing Candy Crush Saga before a brief nap, so he missed this riposte:

People in congress are just in congress for no reason.

Anger bit. Jim Delany talked to USA Today for two extensive pieces, one of which makes me involuntarily shake my fist at nothing in particular when Delany has the balls to make this assertion:

Q: Eight games vs. nine is a hot topic right now. What was the driving force behind the Big Ten going to nine conference games?

A: For us, it's a combination of things. One is the Playoff. Another thing is we're going to get larger (as a conference), we're going to play each other more. We want to be a conference.

Well, you were, Jim. And then somebody had to chase money in a nonsensical way, thanks to the faulty assumption that the current setup wherein sports leagues can involuntarily tax non-fans is going to last in an era of streaming.

This is not a "conference":

What I really like is that every athlete in the Big Ten who plays football will play every opponent inside the four-year period. That's what I like.

That is more of a conference than the SEC's setup where crossover teams without protected rivalries see each other once every six years, but Michigan hasn't played Wisconsin in four years. They may as well be in the Big 12. Going forward they will play the other division less than half the time.

I feel that this has to be intentional trolling. I mean I just…

There is subset of MBAs who have their own opposite-day dialect of the English language.

Simplify : offense :: aggressive : defense. "Seven ways that Lane Kiffin will change Alabama's offense" unfortunately doesn't include "make it squintier" but does include this familiar refrain:

3. Playbook simplified

One change won't be too obvious from the seats or living rooms. After playing with in an offense known for complicated terminology, players see a difference in Kiffin's style.

"Some coaches and quarterbacks over-analyze things at times," receiver Amari Cooper said. "Sometimes it can be pitch and catch, let the play-makers make plays."

Cooper, the leading receiver each of the past two years, also likes the in-game adjustments he saw from game film.

"Coach Kiffin calls plays based on matchups and what he sees," Cooper said. "Like I said before, it's a simple offense. If he sees they are in man-to-man coverage and I have a hitch route, it converts if he's close to me, we are going to throw a little fade route and make something out of it."

I really need Al Borges to get hired somewhere so there can be an article about how he's going to simplify offense X.

That article includes obvious balderdash like "finding the playmakers" as if that's a huge overlooked priority for an outfit that saw AJ McCarron throw for 9.1 yards a pop with a 28:7 TD:INT ratio and rushed for 5.8 yards a carry without even removing sacks. But it also gives you some insight into what Nussmeier does:

2. Fullback added

Alabama's been primarily a one-back running team during the Saban era. They used an H-back to help clear the way, but it sounds like the Tide will be using a more traditional fullback in 2014.

Michigan's picked up a one-back offensive coordinator just in time for their four-man fullback crop to ripen. To H-back you go, gentlemen.

Etc.: NFL.com scouting reports are creepy. Remember when John Beilein was not a golden colossus? Why Nick Saban hates the hurry up. Former MI SF AJ Turner is now prepping in NH and might be a guy to keep an eye on if Coleman doesn't work out.