It's getting to crunch time for the 2018 basketball class with visits ongoing and decisions upcoming. It's still mostly quiet on the football recruiting front, so today's roundup will focus entirely on the hardwood.
I really enjoyed it, there was three other recruits with me, two of them committed. It was a great time, just a family feel in Ann Arbor and the coaching staff and the players, I felt like that went really well. They had a big football game against Cincinnati and that was a really cool environment. Getting to see that and talk with Derrick Walton a bit, and seeing what they had to say about Coach Beilein and Michigan, and it was really cool.
He's also visited Vanderbilt, and had good things to say about them too, and there's still an official to Florida on the docket. Both Daniels and Sam Webb, however, suggested that Michigan is in the driver's seat (no gut feeling yet, however). Brazdeikis would be the crown jewel of a pretty impressive class should John Beilein reel him in. Vandy, which is heavily involved with his AAU teammate, five-star Simi Shittu, appears to be the primary competiton. We won't have to wait long to find out which way this one goes:
What’s the plan from here? Are you thinking an early decision after that third visit?
I’m definitely not going to drag this decision on too long. I probably will, yeah, not long after this third visit I will be close to making my decision for sure.
That third visit, to Florida, is set for the weekend of the 30th.
I don't envy recruiting writers on a post quota this month, as the start of both college and high school football has led to a very quiet stretch with recruiting. That's particularly the case with Michigan, which didn't host any major football visitors over the weekend; they're loading up the Michigan State and Ohio State weekends with visitors instead.
The basketball team, on the other hand, hosted a couple top targets over the weekend. The top 2018 target on the board, Canadian wing Ignas Brazdeikis, took his first official visit to Ann Arbor, and per Chris Balas he came away impressed:
"The trip was amazing," Brazdeikis reported (with two exclamation points). "I enjoyed everything so much. I just need a little time to soak it all in."
What that means is anyone's guess, but come might construe it that he's contemplating a commitment. He is slated to visit Florida and Vanderbilt, but U-M has long been one of his leaders.
Michigan is on a run of Crystal Ball picks for Brazdeikis, including one from 247's director of hoops recruiting, Jerry Meyer. If that holds, Brazdeikis will be the centerpiece of the class.
Three-star OH wing Justin Ahrenstold TMI's Josh Henschke he had an "awesome" visit, and he hit it off with Brazdeikis and two current 2018 commits:
With multiple Wolverine commits in tow, Ahrens says the entire group, including Brazdeikis, connected and discussed the possibility of playing together in the near future.
"David DeJulius, Brandon Johns, Iggy and I all got along really well," Ahrens said. "We did discuss how sweet it would be if we all went there. That would be a major recruiting class."
Ahrens has an obvious fit in John Beilein's system as a sharpshooter who hopefully can work the high screen game as well. Henschke CB'd Ahrens to Michigan; we could see this class wrap up in the relatively near future.
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.
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.
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.
June 15th is annually a notable day for Michigan basketball because John Beilein play it by the book and you're not supposed to offer rising juniors until that date, and this year was no exception: Michigan offered and picked up an immediate commitment from instate big Taylor Currie. Ace described him as "American Moe Wagner," and that would be just fine with me.
Two more offers went out as well, both to instate players: New Haven SF Romeo Weems and Redford PG/SG Rocket Watts. Both are high-level prospects and names, so… yeah. Very Important Recruits, they are.
“I’d be open to anything. But I’d like to stay home. If I stay, my family could come see me play a lot.” …
“I don’t want to come in and play behind somebody. I want to get good minutes and play.”
Michigan's ability to offer immediate playing time to a guard in the 2019 class depends on how much and how rapidly the gents currently on the roster develop. They'll lose both backcourt starters (Simmons and MAAR) after this year; Eli Brooks and Jordan Poole will be sophomores; Xavier Simpson will be a junior. That may be a difficult situation to sell early playing time in, or the curse of Beilein could strike and someone ends up in the draft. Lotta ins, lotta outs.
Meanwhile in 2018
Next year's class appears to be rapidly sorting itself out. PG David DeJulius—a new member of the ESPN 100 at #84—will likely be joined by two or three players in the next few months as Michigan sets its sights on a five-man class. The most likely addition at this juncture appears to be OH PF Pete Nance, who is more or less down to Michigan and Northwestern with Ohio State trying to get back in after their coaching change. Scout's Brian Snow asserts that while Nance is one of those ghost recruits who doesn't do much talking, expectations from the plugged in folks are that Michigan "will be very tough to beat." He looks set to make a decision after visits to Northwestern and Michigan at the end of this month, so there will not be much time for OSU to get back in.
Snow also asserts that Nance is more of a jumbo wing than a post, mitigating some concerns he is not a swaggy dawg who will eat rebounds off your face. I agree with that based on this UMHoops scouting video:
Nance's offensive game is very very Zak Irvin. He's got enough handle that his HS team uses him as a press breaker on occasion; he can drive but his lack of quickness means he's often pulling up for a jumper unless he catches someone closing out way too hard. He's looks much more like a Michigan 4 than a post. Caveat: Nance is very far from a finished product physically and his father and brother were both posts; he could continue expanding until the 5 is his home. Wagner was supposed to be a wing when he committed, after all.
I wouldn't get too worried about Nance not filling it up at NBPA. He's a developmental guy with a lot of skill a la DJ Wilson. Beilein's turned guys like him into first round picks repeatedly.
Michigan will take at least one more wing sort and possibly two given the names on the board. One who is no longer on that board: RI PF Cole Swider, who got offered by Duke and rejiggered his list. Michigan did not make his final four. Happy trails.
Canadian combo forward Ignas Bradzeikis told Evan Daniels that he won't cut his list down until the end of summer, whereupon he'll take a suite of visits. Michigan was the first name out of his mouth when asked for a list of schools coming after him, FWIW. Daniels manages to get sort of a top three-to-five out of him by asking about coaching relationships: Michigan, Florida, and UConn followed by Baylor and Vanderbilt.
For the longest time, Hunter had listed Michigan, Xavier, West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Butler among his top schools. Ohio State had offered previously but did not pursue Hunter aggressively again until after Bazley de-committed in April.
“It’s still all the same schools,” Hunter said … Asked if he has a timeline to make his college choice, Hunter said, “No, it’s wide open right now. I’m not sure when I will be ready.”
It would have been nice for Michigan to scoop up Hunter in the midst of OSU's turmoil; now they'll have to fend off a guy in a stable situation. Snow thinks Xavier has a slight advantage right now.
East Lansing combo forward Brandon Johns is coming off visits to Indiana and Purdue; like Hunter he's not tipping much of anything in public.
“People definitely mention that I’m locked into [staying in state]. That’s definitely not true,” he said. “I’m still open. It’s kind of iffy if want to leave or stay. I’m not really sure yet. That’s what I’m trying to find out, why I’m taking these visits … to see what I'm more comfortable with.”
Michigan seems confident that they'll get at least two of the above players. Instate combo forward Gabe Brown has been surging up recruiting boards. He picked up an MSU offer two days ago. Brown visited Ann Arbor on June 5th… and left without an offer in hand. Brown, like DeJulius, just cracked the ESPN 100. Michigan's hesitancy there hopefully portends good things.
The guard situation is less salutary. With the Stanford commitment of Cormac Ryan, the only guy currently on the radar with a shortlist featuring Michigan is Robbie Carmody. Carmody recently visited Purdue; Notre Dame is also a strong contender. Yea, Michgian must sway him from the dark side:
But there's also a lifelong affinity for Notre Dame — "I've always been a huge, huge Notre Dame football fan," he said — and Michigan has made a compelling case as well."
Michigan is unlikely to be the favorite here. As of a month ago he'd set up trips to ND and Purdue while the Michigan official was still in the "probably" phase.
- While he was not offered during the visit, the coaching staff told him that they need to see him live in July before making a decision, says he feels like he's in a good position to receive an offer.
He's more likely to than Brown since Carmody seems like he's headed elsewhere and Michigan doesn't have many other fish on the line.
Michigan will have just Jordan Poole as a pure SG after this season—Ibi Watson and Charles Mathews may or may not be good fits there—and may wait for a late riser if they don't get Carmody. It worked out okay with MAAR.
B1G/ACC Challenge Matchups: M Heading To Dean Dome
I guess this qualifies as a marquee opponent.
This year's Big Ten-ACC Challenge matchups were released today by ESPN's Jeff Goodman. Michigan drew one of the marquee games: they'll travel to Chapel Hill to face defending national champion North Carolina. Here's the full slate of games; dates and times are still TBD:
Northwestern at Georgia Tech
Duke at Indiana
Notre Dame at Michigan State
Miami at Minnesota
Penn State at NC State
Boston College at Nebraska Michigan at North Carolina
Clemson at Ohio State
Louisville at Purdue
Florida State at Rutgers
Maryland at Syracuse
Wisconsin at Virginia
Iowa at Virginia Tech
Illinois at Wake Forest
This will be the first time Michigan has faced Carolina in the challenge, as well as their first trip to the Dean Dome. It's the first matchup between the two programs since a certain game in 1993 that never happened and definitely didn't end horribly for the Wolverines. The nonconference schedule is beginning to come together; M will play in the Maui Invitational, host UCLA, travel to Texas, and face Detroit at Little Caesars Arena.
The UNC squad we'll see in November will look quite different from the one that beat Gonzaga for the title in March. The entire starting frontcourt of Kennedy Meeks, Isaiah Hicks, and early NBA Draft entry Justin Jackson is gone, as are key reserves Nate Britt and Tony Bradley.
They still won't lack for talent, of course. ESPN has UNC seventh in their too-early preseason rankings. The starting guard tandem of Joel Berry and Theo Pinson returns and there's plenty of talent coming up from the 2016 and 2017 recruiting classes. In addition, they landed a major piece as a grad transfer, and it's a player Michigan fans had held out hope for...
Cam Johnson to UNC
Pitt grad transfer Cam Johnson, a 6'8" sharpshooter who would've been a great fit at the four in Beilein's system, announced on Tuesday that he'll head to UNC for his final two seasons of eligibility. Pitt coach and noted jerk Kevin Stallings restricted Johnson from transferring to other ACC programs without sitting out a year, but now that Johnson's transfer has been approved he's making a strong push for immediate eligibility:
Johnson also cited an NCAA rule that stipulates graduate transfers be allowed to compete immediately at a given school, or be completely denied the opportunity to transfer to that school. Pitt is allowing Johnson to transfer to UNC, and receive immediate athletic financial aid. And so, Johnson argued, given that he wasn’t prohibited from transferring to UNC, he should be immediately eligible there.
During a recent interview, Johnson said he graduated from Pitt with a 3.9 GPA. In his statement, he wrote that Pitt officials cited his strong academic record in their decision to allow him to transfer to an ACC school and receive immediate athletic financial aid.
Johnson has a strong case and public opinion on his side; I'd expect him to be on the court this season.
This may spell the end of Michigan's pursuit of grad transfers barring another name popping up late. Johnson was the last available player who had confirmed contact with the coaching staff. The Wolverines haven't been mentioned in connection with Illinois State grad transfer MiKyle McIntosh, who's visited Oklahoma, Oregon, and Oregon State. McIntosh appears to be a top priority for the Ducks, who were also hoping to land Johnson.
Ignas Brazdeikis Not Reclassifying
Another possibility for filling the open scholarship was having four-star Canadian wing Ignas Brazdeikis—who's at #39 overall in today's updated Scout rankings—reclassify from 2018 to the 2017 class. While Brazdeikis took that under consideration, he ultimately decided to stay in 2018, per UMHoops' Orion Sang:
Traded texts with Ignas Brazdeikis, a four-star forward in the class of 2018. Brazdeikis told me that he WILL NOT be reclassifying to the class of 2017. He also said he has no visits planned for this summer and that Michigan is "most definitely" still one of his top teams.
While Brazdeikis remains a top target for 2018, he won't help fill the hole left in this season's rotation by DJ Wilson's departure, and it's looking increasingly possible that Michigan will bank that open scholarship. This post on Michigan's post-DJ outlook from a couple weeks ago may be relevant to your interests.
Yesterday's NBA Draft withdrawal deadline brought good news and bad news for Michigan. Moe Wagner will be back for his junior year; DJ Wilson is staying in the draft, reportedly after getting a first-round guarantee from Utah, which owns the #24 and #30 picks.
Wagner's return is of paramount importance. He took the highest share of shots of any Wolverine last year, and he'll be leaned on even more after the departures of the next two players on that list, Derrick Walton and Zak Irvin. With grad transfer Jaaron Simmons, a strong pick-and-roll ballhandler, stepping into Walton's role, Michigan's offense should once again revolve around the 1-5 high screen.
Losing Wilson, however, has a significant impact on how this team can play. Let's start with a look at the current roster, keeping in mind that positional designations can be fluid, especially between SG-SF-PF:
The area of concern is the position Wilson just vacated: power forward, where Duncan Robinson is poised to play huge minutes. Wilson's absence eliminates a lot of Michigan's lineup versatility. They're going to be small at the four, because Wagner isn't quick enough to stick with the vast majority of college fours, eliminating the potential to slide him down a position when Jon Teske or Austin Davis steps in at center—that lineup only looks viable against the rare team like last year's Purdue squad that occasionally plays two traditional bigs.
So how does Wilson's departure impact the team? How does John Beilein adjust? Let's take a look.
Michigan's 2017 roster is set give or take an NBA declaration and/or Mo Bamba arriving on a cloud—with one exception discussed later in this post—so basketball recruiting efforts are now focused entirely on 2018. That figures to be a large class. They'll have at least three spots with the departures of Duncan Robinson, MAAR, and Jaaron Simmons. They're also likely to lose both DJ Wilson and Mo Wagner to the 2018 NBA draft. (Taking Austin Davis last year now looks like an extremely canny move by Beilein. IMO Michigan should be redshirting a center almost every year.)
They've got a commitment from instate PG David DeJulius; they can probably take a guy at every other position on the floor.
The only one on the board now may not even be a post. PF Pete Nance, who describes himself as a "point forward" at 6'10", is a candidate to be either a four or a five. He's the son of longtime NBA player Larry Nance, and you may remember that Michigan was almost his older brother's choice:
For a while, Nance Jr. thought he'd be playing for Michigan. "They seemed very interested," he said, but a formal offer never came.
Passing on the elder Nance brother turned out to be a mistake—he was a late first round pick in 2015 after a productive four-year career at Wyoming—and it looks like Michigan is not going to repeat that with the younger brother. Nance says he's "kind of sort of" down to Michigan, Ohio State, and Northwestern. You'd think Michigan should be the favorite for a 6'10" guy who wants to demonstrate his mad skillz. I mean:
Pete Nance has the height of his father and siblings, but is his own player. His ball-handling is that of a guard and is as comfortable on the perimeter as he is with his back to the basket. He sees the floor and has an improving jump shot.
At 6'8, Nance possesses a skillset that is unmatched by his counterparts at the four spot. He is able to stretch the floor offensively with a smooth stroke and is a gifted passer out of the high post or with his back to the basket. Nance is fundamentally sound, capable of using either hand to make cross court passes or finish with a soft touch around the rim. His ability to handle the basketball and shoot it off the bounce or pick and pop situations makes the rising senior an intriguing prospect.
You'd think Michigan would be Mecca for these dudes by now.
Michigan does not have another offer out to a guy taller than 6'8" at the moment, and the majority of those guys are definitively wing sorts. Michigan did not take a post last year. If Nance doesn't come they'd be wise to find a guy they can sit on for a while and play as an upperclassman.
"We have a real good relationship," Hunter said. "I talk to (Beilein) the most. He texts me every day, he texts me after every game he watches me play and tells me what I did best and critiques me, basically."
Hunter said he's taken those messages to heart. Beilein's assessments are straightforward.
"He'll tell you the truth," Hunter said. "I like that."
Hunter is from Pickerington, the Columbus suburb that's sent Jake Butt, Taco Charlton, and Caris Levert to Ann Arbor in recent years. Hunter's been on campus three times and says his mom watches "basically every" Michigan game to get a read on their player development. Scout's Brian Snow has a recruiting update that makes it sound like M, OSU, Xavier, and Pitt are a tentative top four, and believes it's "neck-and-neck" between Michigan and Xavier.
Hunter was absolutely dominant all weekend long at Spiece. On the perimeter, he displayed an elite shot with range out to 26 feet and a very quick release. He was stellar knocking down threes off pick and pop action and off the dribble. Hunter had multiple games where he knocked down 4+ triples. Jerome played large portions of the weekend on the wing as a playmaker as well, and his vision was a real asset. He broke defenders down off the dribble and found teammates for easy lay-ups and dunks on several occasions.
Endless Motor thinks he's a top 50 player. Snow also asserted that he had a "TREMENDOUS" weekend at Spiece.
“Coach Beilein saw me play in Virginia, and he thought that I fit their system perfectly,” Swider said to UM Hoops Wednesday. “He called my dad and he called me, and he said, ‘We’d love to have you at Michigan,’ and all those things. He wants me to come up and visit campus.
“He said they specialize in guys like me — guys who can shoot the ball, know how to play the game and love to work. He said I’m a perfect fit for them, and they can have spots for me to play at with some guys leaving for the draft and some guys graduating.”
Swider appears to be Zak Irvin 2.0, a shooter who can pull up from the elbow and occasionally get to the basket:
His jumper doesn't look as goofy.
6'8" Canadian SF IgnasBrazdeikis does have an offer after an unofficial visit. Yes, a Lithuanian dude from Ontario. That's a model Michigan has used to excellent effect in the recent past. Brazdeikis appears to be a burlier gent than Stauskas:
He has the option of coming in as a 17 or an 18 and is leaning towards the latter. Michigan could have an open spot for him in 17—and if they do they would probably want him to come in, because he can be a four for them.
I haven't made any decisions, but the list is Stanford, Northwestern, Michigan, Notre Dame, Villanova, and Yale are among the ones that have been recruiting me the hardest off of that package I'm looking for. There are some others, but I would say those are the core ones.
...and was then capable of rattling off a factoid about each of these schools in a subsequent question.
The other offered guard is PA SG Robby Carmody, who has set up a fourth visit to Michigan for June. Maryland just offered, joining Michigan, Indiana, Purdue, and several other regional powers.
No reason I just wanted to use this one and we’re running out of year [Eric Upchurch]
Jaaron Simmons: His high turnovers and lots of bad twos are Ohio’s fault we think. Good on the P&R. Transition offense is only complaint that sticks.
DJ and Moe: Most have DJ in 2nd round and Moe not drafted but they’ll go to the deadline. No secret that they would go if either is a 1st rounder. Mo Bamba in a holding pattern.
Craig scouted winger Ignas Brazdeikis, a 2018 Lithuanian playing in Canada who reclassified from 2017. Phenomenal shooter, comfortable with both hands.
More thoughts on death of cable bundling/ESPN layoffs.
Search Engine Optimization: Nobody’s comfortable with that being the most important target for a content provider to be focused on.
Michigan State’s troubles: what’s taking so long? Waiting for a logical explanation (e.g. lost evidence).
America’s worst football coach comes at Harbaugh, then blocks Harbaugh. Tim Brewster’s block button is the Nixon’s List of 2017. I may have spent an unhealthy portion of yesterday trying to get on this list.
Craig submitted an article for HTTV about the 1880s that didn’t have enough about the Stevens Institute Game.
Will the NCAA legislate against Michigan going to Rome? Yes, because SEC coaches are shameless? No, because there’s no leg to stand on? Yes because that never stopped them before?
With recent visits to Florida, Georgia, and Michigan in the books, Milton is looking to possibly pull the trigger and commit to a school in order to focus on his spring campaign.
“I am thinking this week one day or like the start of next week,” Milton explained. “I am not trying to put a specific date on it but sometime soon. I just am looking for the right school that fits me.”
According to the four-star passer, his finalists are Florida, Georgia, Michigan, and Tennessee.
At this point, all signs point to Michigan, which has every pick on Milton's crystal ball made in the last month. Florida was the one-time favorite but Milton mentions in the article linked above that their contact with him "sometimes falls off." Georgia, the other school thought to be in seroius contention, just extended an offer to quarterback Tyler Shough, which Steve Lorenz says is indicative of where Milton's recruitment is going. Milton could drop any day now, though in a video interview with Scout's Jacquie Franciulli released today he mentioned he may think on it for a couple more weeks.
Simmons gets a lot of tough buckets at the basket.
Michigan added a significant piece to the roster late last night in Ohio grad transfer Jaaron Simmons, who's in line to be the starting point guard provided he doesn't jump to the NBA. While that seems unlikely given his draft stock—he's unranked on DraftExpress and listed as "likely undrafted" on NBADraftNet's rundown of potential early entrants—Simmons told MLive's Brendan Quinn he's discussing that possibility with John Beilein:
In a phone interview with MLive on Tuesday, Simmons said he is indeed transferring to Michigan and has accepted the program's lone available scholarship. However, having previously declared for the NBA Draft, he does not yet know if he will withdraw [and] spend next season in college basketball.
"I haven't decided yet," Jaaron Simmons said (pronounced "Juh-Ron"). "Me and coach (John) have been talking about that, but I haven't decided."
Simmons said he'll continue to talk to his family and Beilein about the choice to stay in the draft or withdraw and "come up with the decision that's best for me."
Simmons said whether he receives an invitation to the Draft Combine or not will not weigh in that decision. He said he does not have a timeline for his final decision, but does not plan on waiting until the NCAA's May 24 withdraw deadline.
Beilein can't comment on Simmons until he's officially added to the roster, but I can't imagine he'd accept a commitment for the last open 2017-18 scholarship without a pretty good idea that Simmons would withdraw from the draft. Unless his projection changes dramatically, it's hard to imagine Simmons would want to stay in the draft anyway.
Brian covered the basics on Simmons when news of his commitment broke last night. He's first and foremost a pick-and-roll creator, and he took on a huge usage load at Ohio, where his efficiency was hurt by having to create the vast majority of his shots. After the jump, I'll explore how he fits into the projected lineup for 2017-18.