Hoops Recruitin' Is On The Floor

Hoops Recruitin' Is On The Floor

Submitted by Ace on September 22nd, 2017 at 12:07 PM

Brazdeikis Nearing Decision

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.

Scout's Evan Daniels caught up with Michigan's top realistic target, four-star Canadian wing Ignas Brazdeikis, to get his thoughts after his recent official to Ann Arbor:

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.

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

Friday Recruitin' Delays Decision

Friday Recruitin' Delays Decision

Submitted by Ace on September 15th, 2017 at 11:52 AM

Time To Not Watch This Highlight Video Again

After previously being eliminated in a move that came as a surprise, Michigan is back in the mix for four-star NC DT Alim McNeill. McNeill had planned to announce his decision on September 9th, almost certainly for stated leader NC State, but with some nudging from the Wolverines he's put that decision off until he can take some official visits, per Scout's Michael Clark:

“I’m going to take some official visits before I decide,” said the 6-foot-2, 272-pound McNeill. “I’m definitely taking officials to Michigan, N.C. State and Virginia Tech.”

Michigan is making a late push for McNeill.

“They’re just Michigan,” McNeill said. “Coach (Jim) Harbaugh and the coaching staff stand out. I also like the tradition and they’ve always been a top football program.

“I had a talk with (defensive coordinator) coach (Don) Brown. Coach Brown really sold me on their defensive tradition.

“He talked about how they feel they could develop me as a player and how they could use me in the defense. He said they like my versatility. I’m ready to go up there and see what they have to offer.”

McNeill maintains NC State leads the pack, while Virginia Tech is also in his top group and Florida State is lurking. That said, it's always good to be the school the causes a prospect to rethink his timeline. This one should get interesting if/when McNeill makes it to campus. Getting back into contention with him is big for Michigan, which is in contention but not the outright leader for their top defensive tackle targets in the 2018 class—adding McNeill back into a target group including Tyler Friday, Michael Thompson, and Rick Sandidge makes it that much more likely they'll land at least one coveted DT.

I continue to recommend against watching his sophomore highlight video.

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

Basketbullets: Walton, Irvin Ink Pro Deals

Basketbullets: Walton, Irvin Ink Pro Deals

Submitted by Ace on July 25th, 2017 at 11:48 AM

Walton Signs Two-Way Deal With Miami

A strong summer league performance and the NBA's new contract structure got Derrick Walton a gig with the Miami Heat, which signed him to a two-way deal yesterday. That means Walton will play for Miami's G-League (formerly D-League) affiliate, the Sioux Falls (SD) Skyforce, and could spend up to 45 days with the NBA squad if he earns a callup.

Walton landing a contract wasn't a surprise given his summer league performance, which had plenty of Orlando fans hoping the Magic would hold onto him.

Walton has a place in a pick-and-roll league, and it's great to see him get a shot straight out of college, even if he'll have to work his way from South Dakota to Miami.

Zak Irvin had a tougher go in summer league. While he didn't land an NBA deal, he'll still play professional basketball. VL Pesaro of Italy's Serie A (the top Italian league) signed him yesterday. He'll play with a few other Americans, including former BYU standout Eric Mika.

[Hit THE JUMP for Wagner at the FIBA Euro Championships, some 'crootin happy trails, and more.]

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.]