Hoops Recruitin' Doesn't Eat Dirt Sandwiches

Hoops Recruitin' Doesn't Eat Dirt Sandwiches

Submitted by Ace on September 28th, 2017 at 1:11 PM

The State of Things: Pretty Good!

247 changed latest commit Ignas Brazdeikis's composite ranking to reflect that half the services don't bother to rank foreign prospects. He's now the #42 overall player in the class, which would place him as the fifth-highest ranked signee in John Beilein's Michigan tenure, per Orion Sang.

That bump, combined with the scandal that's rocked college basketball (happy trails, Louisville's 2018 class), has Michigan occupying a lofty spot in the 2018 team rankings:


via 247, obviously

It really can't be overstated how nice it is to be one of maybe three or four major college basketball programs that isn't in a full state of panic over the possibility of an FBI raid. We're already seeing the fallout for other programs: Arizona lost a five-star commit; Louisville no longer has a coach, athletic director, or 2018 recruiting class, and they've suspended five-star freshman Brian Bowen. There's surely more to come, as Nike's EYBL, the most prominent AAU league, has been served with a subpoena.

Meanwhile, both recruits and coaches have to figure out how to navigate the post-Feds recruiting landscape, and both sides appear to be acting with great caution. The top overall recruit in the class, RJ Barrett, is no longer visiting Arizona after they were linked to the scandal. He's also no longer visiting Michigan this weekend and has eliminated the Wolverines; given Beilein's sterling reputation, read into that what you will.

It's going to be a long, messy ride for many of college basketball's top programs. Beilein's insistence on sticking to rules almost literally nobody else follows has rankled in the past, even those who want a generally clean program, but he sure looks better for it today. Running a program that isn't in danger of major sanctions or, like, having coaches literally end up imprisoned is going to be a major draw for the foreseeable future.

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Hoops Recruiting: Where The 2018 Class Stands

Hoops Recruiting: Where The 2018 Class Stands

Submitted by Ace on July 3rd, 2017 at 3:08 PM


Beilein is fighting for some top-tier 2018 prospects. [Patrick Barron]

With targets flying off the board, including Brandon Johns to Michigan, and a couple major visits going down of late, not to mention the upcoming July evaluation period, it's time for a fresh look at the 2018 basketball recruiting board.

SCHOLARSHIP CHART

Scholarship 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20 2020-21
1 D. Robinson* M. Wagner C. Matthews* A. Davis*
2 M-A Abdur-Rahkman C. Matthews* X. Simpson E. Brooks
3 J. Simmons X. Simpson J. Teske I. Livers
4 M. Wagner J. Teske I. Watson J. Poole
5 C. Matthews* I. Watson A. Davis* T. Currie
6 X. Simpson A. Davis* E. Brooks D. DeJulius
7 J. Teske E. Brooks I. Livers B. Johns
8 I. Watson I. Livers J. Poole  
9 A. Davis* J. Poole T. Currie  
10 E. Brooks T. Currie D. DeJulius  
11 I. Livers D. DeJulius B. Johns  
12 J. Poole B. Johns    
13        

While Michigan currently has one scholarship to work with for the 2018 class, it's expected they'll take two more commits. Between Moe Wagner's potential early departure to the NBA and the generally underwhelming debut season for the 2016 class, it's safe to expect at least one spot to open up.

COMMITS

PG David DeJulius (3*, #33 PG, #201 overall on 247 Composite; #89 overall EM). Despite a relatively low composite ranking—one that might be an error, as it's lower than any of his rankings from the four major sites—DeJulius has had a strong spring. That included a standout performance at Michigan's team camp, per Endless Motor:

We really love the fit between Michigan and DeJulius, he really excels in pick and roll sets off the dribble where he has the option to shoot from the perimeter or draw the defense and find teammates for good looks. He has a college ready body right now, and we expect him to log some minutes as a freshman with his ability to shoot the ball.

Scout's Brian Dohn posted an extensive scouting report at the end of May that was less bullish on DeJulius, noting that he needs to improve his passing and cut down on turnovers, but there's still a lot to work with here:

Currently the best thing DeJulius does is create space for himself off the dribble. DeJulius has an absolutely lethal step back jumper, and he is capable of making it both in the mid-range and from distance. While DeJulius doesn't have the speed to go past a ton of defenders off the bounce, what he does do as well as any prospect in the class is stop on a dime, and create space to make his jumper. This makes him very difficult to guard in isolation situations, and even coming off of ball screens.

Also DeJulius has the look of somebody who will be an excellent catch and shoot guy from three. Though his shooting percentages are modest right now, a lot of that is due to the fact that he is still learning the balance between a good shot and a bad shot, and when to look for his own versus getting others involved. As he gets to college and that becomes more clear, DeJulius has the stroke of a 40 percent three point shooter and someone who can really threaten a defense from beyond the arc.

Pick-and-roll play appears to be a strength for DeJulius, which should put him right in the mix for playing time with Xavier Simpson and Eli Brooks at point guard when he gets to campus. As Derrick Walton so ably displayed last season, having someone who can shoot off the dribble on pick-and-rolls is a game-changer in John Beilein's offense.

PF Brandon Johns (4*, #18 PF, #56 overall 247 Comp; #44 overall EM). Vertically explosive, skilled big wing who could be a day-one starter at the four. Much more in his recent Hello post.

C Taylor Currie (4*, #14 C, #107 overall 247 Comp for 2019). Currie announced that he'll reclassify to the 2018 class last week, which is interesting on a number of fronts. It means Michigan will also certainly take five players in the 2018 class; Beilein has become much more willing to recruit with attrition in mind. It provides insurance for an early departure by Moe Wagner; Beilein prefers always having three centers on the roster. Whether or not Wagner leaves, it gives Currie an early jump on development at the college level; even if he redshirts, which seems likely, he'll progress more by practicing with Michigan than he would playing another season of high school ball at Clarkston. More on Currie in his Hello post.

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

Friday Recruitin' Tips Domino

Friday Recruitin' Tips Domino

Submitted by Ace on June 30th, 2017 at 12:18 PM

Hoops: Johns To Michigan, Nance To Northwestern

If you missed it yesterday, Michigan picked up a commitment from East Lansing four-star Brandon Johns, who could be a day-one starter at power forward for the Wolverines. The pace of basketball recruiting has picked up in a major way, and this commitment looks like it's going to tip a couple more dominoes.

Fast-rising Belleville wing Gabe Brown, a potential backup plan for Michigan's top choices, committed to Michigan State a couple weeks ago—perhaps a sign MSU knew where it stood with Johns. Shortly after Johns committed, four-star OH wing Pete Nance, who was expected to take an official visit to Ann Arbor this weekend and likely commit, pledged to Northwestern; to be clear, this was not a case of Michigan passing on a prospect after landing their top target—they still wanted Nance even though he's had an underwhelming spring.

This afternoon another in-state spring standout, Grand Rapid Catholic Central four-star PF Marcus Bingham, also pledged to the Spartans. Meanwhile, Michigan is hosting three-star NC wing Hunter Tyson on an unofficial visit today, and he's an offer candidate with Nance off the board.

Michigan currently has two open spots in the 2018 class with point guard David DeJulius also in the fold. With Beilein now recruiting with attrition in mind it's likely they'll bring in a five-man class. They'd like to take another combo forward—top candidates include Jerome Hunter, Ignas Brazdeikis, and Tyson—and a shooting guard, where they've zeroed in on Noah Locke (Tyson could also be a fit there but a recent growth spurt got him to 6'7", so that may not be ideal).

That third spot in the class could go to another wing—the pipe dream is a Hunter/Brazdeikis haul—but a rumor emerged from The Michigan Insider mod DOTMAN this morning that could change those plans: big man Taylor Currie, currently a 2019 commit, says he's reclassifying to 2018. That gives Michigan insurance against Moe Wagner departing early for the NBA; it also means they'll likely only be able to grab one of the highly touted combo forwards. While that kills the pipe dream, Michigan isn't the outright leader for either player; Scout's Brian Snow has mentioned that Hunter may be a Xavier lean, and there's plenty of competition for Brazdeikis, who isn't expected to decide any time soon.

There are a number of possibilities, and as Nance's surprise commitment to Northwestern yesterday shows, it's tough to confidently predict any one outcome.

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