Currie was originally supposed to be a 2019 commit before reclassifying. Speculation: Michigan might have asked Currie to return to his original enrollment date so that they could pursue an additional prospect in the 2018 class, and Currie might have wanted to get going on college a year earlier.
As Ace noted in his roundup, Michigan has two prospects on campus who might be close to committing: FL C Colin Castleton and NY SG Adrien Nunez are both taking visits this weekend and may drop. Castleton and his EYBL-second-best block rate may be too much to pass up for Michigan in 2018.
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.
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.
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.
Today is the first day offers go out to the hoops class of 2019, and one such prospect jumped on his Michigan offer immediately. Clarkston (MI) big man Taylor Currie, an Ohio import who nevertheless grew up a Michigan fan, announced his commitment on Twitter shortly after John Beilien extended a scholarship.
Currie is, of course, the first commit in the 2019 class.
4*, #19 C,
3*, #30 PF,
It's still early in the game for 2019 rankings. The only site to give Currie a full position ranking, Scout, released their updated rankings today. ESPN doesn't yet have a scouting report on him.
Currie still has some growing to do. He's listed at either 6'8" or 6'9" and 200-205 pounds. By the time he gets to Ann Arbor, he should have the requisite size to play the five in Beilein's system.