Tyus Battle to Syracuse

Tyus Battle to Syracuse Comment Count

Seth July 13th, 2015 at 1:01 PM


Five-star former basketball pledge Tyus Battle (Hello!) (Goodbye) has ended his recruitment; despite the sanctions, he's going to play for Boeheim.

So that sucks. Michigan was hard after both Battle and similarly ranked (just outside top 10) Alabama SF Josh Langford, and Battle pulled the trigger in May when it appeared Langford was about to take that option away from him. Beilein apparently thought that decision was earnest enough that he cut off pursuit of Langford, who committed to Michigan State three days after Battle reopened his recruitment.

When you play the game of thrones… There's of course going to be a lot of Michigan fans upset at Battle, and Battle's family, and Syracuse, and the world in general.

How Michigan went from a near-guarantee of one game-changing talent to none with a richer rival isn't complicated: Beilein is operating with honesty in an environment where most everybody else is just trying to get theirs. Because of the nature of basketball—small rosters and the sure effect of pure talent—winning a guy like Battle or Langford is highly likely to substantially change your team's prospects. Once you're into the extreme edge of 17-year-old basketball ability distribution, there aren't enough humans out there to start getting picky over which ones have nice families, a firm handshake, and a head for marine engineering.

This is known. We have a "basketball recruiting is dirty like dirt in a dirt sandwich" tag for this reason. When you make a play for a guy who could make any team better, you're entering a cutthroat world where any weakness—including trust—will get exploited.

So we got Lannister'd, and it was cruel, and possibly avoidable. But before you go advocating poison (or worse, tweet at a recruit) remember that highly sought teenagers have to navigate the same sea of bullshit.

Obviously Battle was pretty serious in his interest in Michigan, since there seems to be little reason otherwise to keep the option open. Obviously Langford wasn't guaranteed to come here if Battle didn't commit, since an end to pursuit on Michigan's end was enough to push him to Izzo. Obviously if the same had happened to Izzo and Michigan was the beneficiary we'd be laughing right now.

How much do you wish this was different? The more people you meet, the more you'll realize they tend to expect everyone else to operate the way they do. Dishonest people expect dishonesty; the operating factor in "nice guys finish last" is nice guys tend to be surprised when the competition isn't so nice. Beilein has lost enough battles to Kentucky to know how the world operates outside his program, but the essence of Beilein is he's ready to trust because he's trustworthy. Sometimes this gets him burned, other times Mr. Basketball of Indiana finds it astonishingly refreshing. Take the good with the Battle.

What now? Michigan is still pursuing 2016 PG Cassius Winston, which hasn't changed, and has a scholarship offer to PG Quentin Goodin. They'll probably offer another wing now. That Beilein recognized Battle and Langford early enough to be a major player for their services speaks to a scouting ability that hasn't lost its edge. That same ability has served him well with late pickups Spike, MAAR, Dawkins, LeVert, and…

I trust he'll be a good one.


Friday Recruitin' Is Quick

Friday Recruitin' Is Quick Comment Count

Brian July 3rd, 2015 at 12:21 PM

Ace is still on vacation.

Hawkins at two


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.


Unverified Voracity Cheats At Dodgeball

Unverified Voracity Cheats At Dodgeball Comment Count

Brian June 24th, 2015 at 12:00 PM

Dodgeball got heated. Denard and Devin talk to Isaiah Hole at the A4 camp:

Battle status. Still no commitment, apparently planning on taking what would be his final official visit to either UConn or Kentucky, door with Michigan may remain open. Jarron Cumberland's visit did not result in a commit($) and there is no public mention of an offer, but Sam Webb says that things went very well and that you shouldn't read much into that.

Meanwhile, Syracuse blog Nunes Magician* has some insider info:

NunesMagician.com was told earlier today that the official visit went "very well," but Jim Boeheim did not receive a commitment. …

As each day goes by, Syracuse fans should feel less optimistic. The staff has been on the 5-star New Jersey native since his freshman year. He has visited the campus multiple times, but is still tentative to pull the trigger.

This is kind of how I feel about Jonathan Jones, the Florida linebacker who seems like he's been on the verge of a commit for months now.

In any case, Duke is not getting involved again, Syracuse doesn't seem like a particularly appealing destination for Battle for whatever reason (a good one: they are down a quarter of their scholarships for as long as Battle will be in college), and UConn is currently in the American. If he does visit Kentucky that blows up the "distance is the main factor" thing.

Maybe the door is still open? If not it sounds like Cumberland will be in the class pretty soon.

*[The name of this is a long story involving a bad quarterback.]

Bonjour pronto. That's French, right? Alpaca-outta-nowhere commit Benjamin St-Juste is Canadian, and if we've learned anything from South Park it's that Canada's a little bit different than the United States. One of the differences is that Canadian high school is apparently as long as you want it to be.

People were talking about St-Juste as  2016 or 2017 commit yesterday; today Tim Sullivan notes that there's a chance he could come in this fall($), as he's around 18—the usual age you enter college. I think there will be room, and the corner depth is going to be iffy after this year so you may as well.

Unnecessary dumping on Java aside. Summer Swarm commit Rashad Weaver sounds like an exceptional student:

An accomplished student throughout his high school career at Cooper City High School outside Fort Lauderdale, Florida, most of Weaver's courses are of the advanced-placement or honors variety. Meaning his grade-point average can soar above the customary 4.0, if he's able to push it that high.

During his sophomore year, he had it up to a 4.6. But as a junior, a simple misdirection had him aggravated.

Weaver enrolled in an AP computer science class as a junior. He knew it'd be a challenge, but figured he'd be able to hang. And then things got started.

"It turned out to be a class that was basically for kids who did Java coding at home for fun," Weaver chuckles. "So, yeah, it was tough."

Mr. Weaver, this is my advice to you: if you ever see "LISP" on a course description, run like hell. This is my advice to all people. Emeril! Run like hell if you ever see this:


Now there will be a computer science hipster in the comments talking about how LISP is really elegant because of closures. I apologize in advance.

Anyway, you probably don't come here so I can dump on obscure programming languages. A little more on Weaver:

he appeared at Michigan's satellite camp stop in south Florida with some hope and not much else. At best, Weaver figured he could catch the attention of a Big Ten school. At worst, he knew he'd leave the event a better football player.

It was a win-win, he figured.

And, as is often the case in the classroom, he was right.

"The main reason I went to the camp was because I saw Michigan coaches would be there. I saw it as an opportunity, figured I'd do my best to put my best foot forward and do everything I could to get noticed," Weaver says. "I figured at least it'd be something where I could get better. I was going to go out there and do my best. If I showed well, then they'd notice me. If not, then maybe it wasn't meant to be.

"But I went knowing I'd get better one way or another. And it all worked out."

At 6'5", 245, Weaver is one of the infinite DE/TE prospects Michigan will bring in as long as Harbaugh's around. We probably won't know where he sticks until he's a junior.

Next year will not be the year. Northwestern's never been to the NCAA tournament. This is their nonconference schedule:


A tourney, road games against VT and DePaul, and then garbage.

They do get two of UNC/KState/Mizzou in their tourney. If that even helps much:

Brutal. And this is a team that returns everyone except oft-injured senior JerShon Cobb and little-used Dave Sobolewski; they've got a senior version of Alex Olah and Tre Demps. This is the kind of Northwestern team that could possibly maybe put themselves on the bubble. But if they are, they're going to be crushed by their own schedule.

Etc.: The Puff Daddy thing is the weirdest. Zach Werenski profiled for the draft. A4 camp report. O'Bannon "one of the most significant antitrust cases of this era," says judge. Carr speaks at a Big Brothers, Big Sisters event.Take a picture: this UV has no mention of a weird thing Harbaugh did.


Unverified Voracity Says Goodbye Toks

Unverified Voracity Says Goodbye Toks Comment Count

Brian June 22nd, 2015 at 2:24 PM

Harbaugh of the day.

The man knows his rappists.

Also, Harbaugh interviewed during the 1992 Northwestern game:

Battle stuff. Tyus Battle has not committed to Syracuse as of this instant. There's been no news from his visit as the Battles go radio silent:

"Ty and I are not making any comments until we figure things out," Gary Battle wrote in a text message.

Insider chatter holds that Battle will also visit UConn and that distance is apparently a problem. Publicly stated reasons are rarely the actual reasons, so take that with a grain of salt.

Michigan is not sitting on its hands. Four-star OH SG Jarron Cumberland, #62 on the 247 composite, is on campus right now. He will likely get an offer, and may drop immediately. Steve Lorenz put in a Crystal Ball for Cumberland at 8 AM today. (Josh Langford is off the board after he committed to—sigh—Michigan State.) Michigan clearly does not think this Battle decommit is a momentary dalliance.

At least he's still in the vaguely-affiliated other Big Ten conference. Potential name of the year running back Toks Akinribade has committed to Iowa. Michigan wasn't in the market for another tailback after taking Kingston Davis and Matt Falcon (and athletes Chris Evans and Kiante Enis), I know, but shades of LEVITICUS PAYNE here and it still hurts.

There is another, though.

More Steve Patterson stuff. Texas blog Barking Carnival is terrific, so I wanted to check in on what they were saying about the Chip Brown article on Longhorn AD Steve Patterson. Sound familiar?

Aloof and petty aren't a good combination.

The I’m smarter than everyone in the room vibe only works when you demonstrably are.

His decision-making is being driven by considerations that appear to be more about self-elevation (my running joke is that he badly wants to land a TED Talk) rather than balancing the considerations (or illusions) that make college fans unique from pro fans. I have zero interest in attending a Texas football game in person any time soon and it has little to do with the product. I sat patiently through some real dogshit in the 80s and 90s.

The current game day environment demonstrably sucks. At least for anyone with my disposition. It’s counterfeit. It’s false. And the season ticket holders we’re losing are some of the very best fans who are just tired of seeing their love of their school being exploited at every turn. Patterson wants to replace them with corporates and local transplants. Good luck with that, buddy.

Bottom line: he’s creating a situation where he will sink or swim entirely on his hires. He doesn’t have any good will banked.

That's a comment from Scipio Tex, one of the main authors at BC and one of the most incisive writers on the college football internet.

It is both sad and reassuring that Michigan isn't the only school having these problems as the old guard of school-oriented athletic directors gets invaded by a wave of spreadsheet people. (FWIW, Hackett doesn't fall in that category for me: a guy who is CEO at the same place for 20 years is not just looking to make a spreadsheet look nice and cash out.) If and when Hackett decides to go back into retirement, it's imperative that Michigan actually taps the network of high-profile athletic department employees they've seeded across the country.

Not so much, Boilers. 1985 Purdue-Michigan was a slaughter:

Apparel contract decision soon. Hackett:

"We're on our target to make our decision this summer and look for an answer soon," Hackett told gathered media after Thursday's regularly scheduled Regents meeting, adding, "We're still in the middle of that discussion."

Most rumblings indicate that Adidas is in a bad spot and is unlikely to retain the contract. Sam Webb has plenty of details($) at Scout; the upshot is that it's likely to be Nike. I had a mild preference for Under Armour, but it seems like most of the athletes have a strong one for the swoosh so whatever. The gap between the offers—reported to be significant—has apparently come down somewhat, so may as well "spend" some of the oodles of cash you bring in on making people happy.

My main reservation with going back to Nike is their tendency towards uniformz. They've been at least as demanding in that department as Adidas, and they also run the play where a bunch of their schools all have the same dubious design element at the same time. I do think a strong AD can push back against those kind of things—see Indiana basketball, Penn State, Alabama, Texas, etc.—and hopefully we've got one of those now.

A potential replacement. I haven't seen anything about this officially, but Chris Dilks is pretty plugged in and he notes that Michigan hockey does have an option to fill the holes in the roster created by early NHL departures:

[Cooper] Marody was on the edge between returning to Sioux Falls for another season of junior hockey and enrolling at the University of Michigan, but with Dylan Larkin deciding to sign with the Detroit Red Wings and opening up a spot on Michigan's roster, it looks like Marody will be playing for the Wolverines next season.

Marody had a 22-36-58 line in 52 games and should go off the board in the third or fourth round of the draft. He won't be Larkin; he should be a solid player as a freshman.

Etc.: Gasaway on shot clock overreactions. Maize and Blue Nation on how nice it is that Harbaugh is around. More budget stuff. Hyman to Toronto after forcing a trade away from the Panthers. Toronto's doing a lot of smart stuff lately. Tickets are moving like hotcakes. Mitch McGary is SNAKE GOD. Daily alum Ryan Kartje on satellite camps.


Unverified Voracity Brings Out The Joe Tiller In You

Unverified Voracity Brings Out The Joe Tiller In You Comment Count

Brian June 19th, 2015 at 3:59 PM

downloadHTTV on Kindle! We have a Kindle edition of the book. We had to drop a lot of the pictures and formatting because of Kindle restrictions and we don't have to print it, so it's a bit cheaper than the book itself at $9.

If you are a Kickstarter backer who would like the Kindle version in addition to the DRM-free digital copy provided to all backers, please give us a little time to figure out how to give it to you. We'll send out an update when we've figured it out.

Books themselves are being lovingly folded right now and should start shipping soon. Because of the way this works there will be a sizeable spread in delivery times (they get mailed out in batches as they're finished), but we are going to hit our mid-July goal.

More Battle. Apparently this is serious:

It is difficult to imagine that Syracuse is suddenly the choice since they have a coach who's already announced he's retiring and are stung by NCAA sanctions, but that's basketball recruiting for you. If Battle does indeed defect and this head-fake costs Michigan Josh Langford I'm going to be pretty pretty annoyed.

Sounds like work. Kirk Ferentz is the first—only?—Big Ten coach to come out against satellite camps.

“What it really gets down to is just how you want to use your time. Me personally, I’m hopeful — and the NCAA will probably react — my personal preference is I’d like to see camps probably be limited to campus. On top of that, I would support not allowing any outsiders coming to work your camp.”

Iowa has actually done two or three of them already, but…

"We did three this year, and I don’t think we made the news for any of them. We don’t really broadcast it."

The noise you are hearing is an Iowa fan snapping a pencil with his mind.

Cost of attendance calculations. The NCAA's "Power 5" conferences adopted legislation to extend scholarship benefits to cover the full cost of attendance. What does that mean? There is a number that schools maintain called "cost of attendance" that has nothing to do with sports. It's for calculating financial aid, that sort of thing. Now that it's been dragged into a realm it doesn't really belong, people are noticing that the numbers vary a lot—and not very sensibly. Massive rent areas like Palo Alto or Ann Arbor often have nearby universities with low COA numbers; meanwhile Auburn has one of the highest numbers in the country.

How did they come to that conclusion? A lengthy Montgomery Advertiser article explains why. It has essentially been indexed to inflation from a large number determined a long time ago:

Reynolds, who has worked for Auburn for 16 years, said he inherited a cost of attendance figure when he began working for the university and has routinely increased the tuition, board, and personal figures in accordance with the Consumer Price Index, as calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with transportation being increased in accordance with the CPI inflation rate, and room being the average cost of all available on-campus housing, currently 4,539 beds.

"This is a financial aid budget," he said. "This isn't an athletic scholarship budget."

The $5,586 in Auburn's cost of attendance is divided into $2,728 for personal expenses and $2,858 for transportation, according to the budget Reynolds provided to theAdvertiser, and remains unchanged from a year ago.

At some point the Power 5 is going to have to come together and figure this out, because there's no way they're going to let a four-year gap of up to ten thousand dollars stand.

A nation of Joe Tillers. Back in the day, (probably) Joe Tiller used to bomb his colleagues behind their backs in entertainingly catty anonymous Athlon articles. It hasn't been the same since he retired to wherever walruses fade away, but the re-emergence of Jim Harbaugh in college has revitalized the genre. ESPN's Travis Haney interviewed a dozen or so  coaches, offering anonymity in exchange for salt($). He got some. Bret Bielema asked to be identified and said Harbaugh was rad:

“I have had great respect for Coach Harbaugh for what he built at Stanford and as a man who isn’t afraid to speak his mind,” said Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, who specifically asked to be identified on the record. “Too many people in today’s world love to voice opinions and beliefs when convenient. Few represent who they are and what they believe daily.”

And… I developed respect for Bret Bielema? Odd day.

Others did not think Harbaugh was rad:

“I think he’s nuts. He loves to stir the pot. He’ll have a very short shelf life – but he’s a very good football guy. I will be interested to see how he does there,” a Pac-12 coach said. “[Former 49ers and current Bills offensive coordinator] Greg Roman has always been the brains behind the operation. [Harbaugh] has been at private schools before so I’m interested to see how he does at a public school. There’s a huge difference in how things are handled.”

Greg Roman, Brains Behind The Operation. No offense to Greg Roman but all you have to do to dispel that is look at Harbaugh's coaching tree, which is already more impressive than most.

Others refer to Harbaugh as "Rain Man-ish," which… okay, accurate. Whole thing is insider but worth it.

Speaking of Rain Man-ish. Former 49ers tight end Delanie Walker:

"He dressed up in full gear and practiced the whole practice – pads, helmets, everything on. He had the whole uniform on,'' Walker said of Harbaugh. "We came out and said, "Who is that dude out there? And it was Jim Harbaugh. He had some old high top cleats on.

"He did pretty good. He just couldn't throw the deep, deep pass."

Walker thinks Greg Roman is not the brains behind the operation:

"I think he is going to be great (at Michigan),'' Walker said. "People buy into his philosophy. Every team he has ever been on has been good, right? So you tell me what he is going to do. Young kids love to have a coach who is crazy."

Also fans.

Just like Domino's clap clap clapclapclap. The Michigan athletic department's annual budget shows a shortfall for the first time since Tom Goss was athletic director:

Michigan's athletic department had a deficit of nearly $8 million this year, marking the first time in about a decade it operated with a loss, according to interim athletic director Jim Hackett, but he assured the budget for 2016 will be balanced.

Since Goss was working without PSLs or the Big Ten Network, that is truly impressive. Hackett explained why there was such a big shortfall:

"The result of football ticket sales being down (and) added compensation for settlements this past year caused us to have a deficit of about $7.9 million. We covered that with operating reserves, but we've got a balanced budget proposed for next year."

Michigan had to give away almost 20,000 tickets for the Maryland game, then pay Brady Hoke after they fired him, then continue paying Brandon his 100% guaranteed contract, then gather up every nickel in a five-state radius to present to Jim Harbaugh. The first three are Dave Brandon's fault. The last is a pretty good idea:

"We can tell you today, season ticket sales, which are just a portion of the stadium, will probably hit an eight-year high. We just started selling our packets, with combined games (Wednesday) online, (and) we've had almost 18,000 tickets that were sold for some of the single games. We're very optimistic about our fall and what promises there."

Michigan should get out of paying much or all of what it owed Brandon, as well. That dude somehow scoring a CEO job that should pay him more than he was getting as AD means that Michigan won't have to compensate him unless he gets fired from that gig too.

Which… well…

He's worse! /checks coaching hires… He's not good! Chip Brown lays the wood to Texas athletic director Steve Patterson in a 5,000 word piece with startling revelations like:

Steve Hank, chief revenue officer of Texas athletics, told HornsDigest.com the 6 percent average increase (actually 5.7 percent, he said, but it was rounded up) was based on a formula that involved the value of each seat “spread across” the entire, 100,119-seat capacity of Royal-Memorial Stadium.

But when comparing exactly what football season ticket holders paid in 2014, including their contribution to the Longhorn Foundation to retain those tickets, to what they are paying in 2015, season tickets were increased an average of 21.5 percent.


Sources said football coach Charlie Strong, who saw his and his coaching staff’s personal ticket allotment cut from eight to four last year, fought to increase the salaries of his eight quality control coaches from $24,000 to $50,000 after last season.

Texas has the lowest salaries in the Big 12 for its quality control coaches – even behind last-place football finisher Kansas ($45,000).

Strong’s request was denied by Patterson, and six of Texas’ eight quality control coaches who had built relationships with the rest of the staff, left to find better paying jobs, the sources said.

But he did hire Charlie Strong and Shaka Smart. Despite being quite evidently an idiot. People in charge of things are just in charge of them.

Etc.: Nick Boka draft preview. Hiring Les Miles was never a good idea. Denard After Dentist game at 8 tonight on BTN. The Mack Brown-Matthew McConaughey connection.


Tyus Battle Decommits

Tyus Battle Decommits Comment Count

Brian June 19th, 2015 at 11:36 AM

ALAMEDA, CA - JUNE, 30: 2014 Stephen Curry Select Camp at St. Joseph Notre Dame High School in Alameda California.(Photo by Kelly Kline/Under Armour)

Get your welp on:

There had been rumbles the last couple days to the effect that Battle would take a visit to Syracuse, who had been one of his presumed leaders along with Duke before his commitment to Michigan.

It's unclear at this point how open his recruitment is, but in general schools that suffer a decommit do not get the kid back. How Syracuse remains appealing after Jim Boeheim got blasted by the NCAA remains a bit of a mystery.

Michigan was very strong with AL SF Josh Langford before Battle committed on his official visit and will probably look to re-open serious contact with him immediately.


Hoops Hello(!): Tyus Battle

Hoops Hello(!): Tyus Battle Comment Count

Brian May 11th, 2015 at 3:28 PM


2016 five-star wing Tyus Battle just committed to Michigan:

This should help you salve your Jaylen Brown wounds even if he is using the split M. Informative update coming.


Scout Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
5*, #10 overall
#4 SG
5*, #14 overall 5*, #14 overall
#4 SG
5*, #11 overall
#4 SG
5*, #12 overall
#4 SG

The 247 composite didn't have to work too hard to average those rankings: the world has Battle just outside the top ten in the 2016 rankings, the #4 shooting guard in the country behind (former?) Michigan target Josh Langford, Malik Monk, and Terrance Ferguson.


Battle is high on everyone's wish list because he brings NBA size and athleticism. Then there's a lot of conflicting information. ESPN says Battle may be "most gifted on the defensive end of the floor," praises his maturity, and says he's got "good size, long arms, speed, quickness, and leaping ability." They then say his three point shooting is the "most glaring weakness he has." With ESPN evaluations it's always tough to know when and how they saw the kid, and that'll play a role as we hit a bunch of scouting reports that say he's a great shooter.

There isn't a lot of recent scouting since Battle missed about five months with an ankle injury likely sustained as he helped the USA U17s to a gold medal in Dubai. Before that he was in a bit of a funk but recovered from it

The No. 11 player in the class of 2016, Battle has struggled a bit for much of the spring. He's grown to 6-foot-5, gotten much stronger and has been in the process of adjusting his game. Sunday, he mixed jump shots, transition finishes and drives to the hoop nicely and as a result he played the best he has this spring. Battle said that he feels like he's started to get things going in the right direction and he's excited for the summer ahead now that he has his confidence going.

…to re-establish himself one of the top prospects in the 2016 class:

Tyus Battle, 6-foot-5 SG (No. 25 2016): It was not a great spring for the wing from New Jersey. It was, however, a great summer. Starting around Memorial Day, Battle broke out of a funk he had been in through the early stages of Nike's Elite Youth Basketball League. Battle looks to be much more comfortable with the size that he added in the last year, and he was shooting very well during July. He looks like he will be moving up to five-star status.

His early stats on the AAU circuit weren't great, largely because he took a ton of three pointers and not much else. I can't figure out why, but it seems like his team wasn't particularly well organized.

As for the upside:

Obviously, he’s an effective perimeter shooter, but he also possesses lean athleticism and a frame that should enable him to become legitimately strong as he progresses.

I also like his defensive potential at 6-6, with the spidery athleticism to defend wing forwards and many shooting guards as well.

As mentioned above, there’s a very high likelihood that Battle will become a successful high-major performer. The things he does well, at 6-6 and athletic, typically enjoy a very high translation level to college and beyond. There aren’t enough shooters and scorers in college basketball — but don’t take my word for it, just ask your nearest college coach — and Battle will supply that as early as his freshman season.

Scout's Brian Snow caught him when he was playing with Team USA:

He attacked the rim well with the dribble and was excellent finishing in the mid-range. Battle was shooting it well from deep, though at times he was a bit streaky mostly due to his footwork being inconsistent. Still he is one of the best shot makers and athletes on the wing in the class and showed his impressive scoring ability all day long.

He hit a few deep jumpers, and then began really turning it up. Battle got on the glass and converted a few offensive rebounds for buckets, slashed to the rim, and then scored in the mid-range. It was a good finish to a strong day for Battle.

And Sam Webb had a take from Michigan's camp:

Sam’s Take: If there was a better shooter in attendance I didn’t see him.  In one of the shooting drills Battle didn’t have a single miss.  In another he only missed one. He can drill jumpers coming off screens with the ball or without, and he can also knock them down pulling up off the dribble.  It game action he was streakier from distance, but his stroke is undeniable. When it came to getting to the rim he did so with relative ease thanks to his quick first step and strong handle.  One of his best moves was a blow-by off a hesitation, but in that move he also put on display the next stage of development. 

Battle sounds a lot like LeVert: a lanky 6'6" guy who's an excellent shooter with long arms and passing ability. He may or may not be able to get to explosive dunkland on the regular, a la Jaylen Brown. Battle:

“I think knocking down jump shots and creating my own shot, I’m pretty good at,” Battle told Scout.com.

“I’m probably better from mid-range,” he added. “That’s more of my game. When they go to man-to-man I like to get the mid-range jump shot.”

Battle is already as big as rising senior LeVert, which helps explain the disparity in their rankings. (Also, LeVert was criminally underrated even after winning the Ohio POY award that has been a ticket to the NBA for a decade.) The hope you have is that Battle can add the posterizations as he gets older—the ranking implies he's got the athleticism for it.


A who's who as you might expect. His final seven schools were Michigan, UConn, Duke, Syracuse, OSU, Louisville, and Notre Dame. Arizona, Kentucky, Indiana, and Villanova also offered.


I couldn't find anything that seemed reliable.


From last summer's Peach Jam, when he was a rising junior:

And at another tourney:

An SNY profile:


Take your pick between a meatier Caris LeVert or a quicker Zak Irvin. Battle seems to split the difference between Michigan's two wing stars. If that three point shot is currently erratic, it's close enough to where it needs to be for Beilein to put him in the 40%+ range, and then you've got a six-foot-six guy with long arms and at least B+ athleticism.

So more of the same, maybe with a little more oomph.


Michigan has at least three spots for next year's class: Caris LeVert and Spike Albrecht graduate and they currently have an open slot. Those slots would appear to be full with Battle, Jon Teske, and Austin Davis, but 1) Michigan would very much like a point guard with Spike's departure and 2) it appears that Michigan offered Davis with the idea that he might prep and arrive in 2017 depending on how the 2016 roster develops.

That would leave them with room for a point guard. Michigan is pushing hard for in-stater Cassius Winston and has opened up their horizons after Derryck Thornton accelerated and committed to Duke. Currently rising 6'6" NY PG Kevin Huerter is currently the name with the most juice if they can't get Winston, but after plan A things are fuzzy.

Michigan will likely wait and see what kind of unexpected attrition they have, if any, after the year before looking for additional players. Irvin reaching NBA range and a playing time transfer from someone frozen out this year are possibilities; I'd guess they grab a point guard as soon as they can and continue recruiting wing types with the expectation they will have a slot.


Unverified Voracity Calls Nine Times

Unverified Voracity Calls Nine Times Comment Count

Brian April 23rd, 2015 at 12:52 PM

Support this cause. A bunch of alumni are getting together to help raise money:

On December 26, 2014 Evelyn Grace Spytek - daughter of former Wolverine John Spytek - passed away due to complications following a CMV (Cytomegalovirus) related surgery. In her memory and in support of the National CMV Foundation, a team of eleven former Michigan Football student athletes - John Spytek, Dave Pearson, John Navarre, Grant Bowman, Andy Mignery, Tony Pape, Phil Brackins, Brent Cummings, Jeff Rich, Steve Baker and Eric Rosel - will be running the Columbus, Ohio Capital City Half Marathon on May 2, 2015 to raise money for the cause.

As causes go this is one of the best. Hit it up here to help out.

Har-bonus. Additional items that didn't make the cut for the Real Sports thing:

And khakis:

As for the piece itself, I thought it was fine. Alex Boone's statements were self-contradictory, which made me feel like maybe the full conversation would help reconcile that into something where context makes the first bits less harsh.

Harbaugh himself came off as a guy who is aware that his personality is to the best of his ability but had no plans on changing it; the moment where Visser asks him about the "wear out his welcome" thing and he just says "that must be true" given the evidence was charmingly without artifice or defensiveness. There was some regret in there, but nothing to the point where Harbaugh would consider changing. Even if it meant he spent his childhood playing baseball with himself in the strip mall nearest to my home.

(Does he still do this? Can I buy tickets if that is the case?)

Gumbel's bit at the end was predictably smug, but whatever.

Hilarious aside. Remember when NFL reporters were swearing up and down that Harbaugh would never leave the NFL because he hates recruiting? Nobody asked his wife.

THE LAST BASTION OF zzzz. Don't care, is football coach, must have mandatory football coach opinions unless he's Lloyd Carr. The position is self-selecting gentlemen who value toughness above just about everything else and can't find that value elsewhere.

oh good it's on Limbaugh

no I don't want to talk about it

the problem with politics from the perspective of a sports fan is that there is no difference between the two activities

The Houston Nutt of satellite camps. Michigan's camp schedule in June, via Sam Webb:

June 4th - Midwest stop
June 5th - Prattville, Alabama
June 6th - Tampa, Fla.
June 7th - Pennsylvania
June 8th - Houston, Tex
June 9th - Dallas, Tex
June 10th - California
June 11th -12th - Sound Mind / Sound Body (Michigan)

This is the satellite camp equivalent of Houston Nutt signing 37 guys one year at Arkansas: the thing that gets people up in arms enough to bring down the NCAA hammer. SEC coaches are complaining, the commissioner is bringing it up to the rules committee, even Urban Meyer's against it, another avenue in the arms race threatens to open up, and soon there will be a bylaw saying NOPE. Because when it comes down to it, NCAA laws are for the coaches, not the players.

False alarm? ESPN's Paul Biancardi momentarily had hearts a-flutter yesterday when he asserted, citing sources "close to his family," that national #1 player Jaylen Brown had a top two of Cal and Michigan. That's Cal the school, not Cal the coach who thinks shot clock violations are the way to go in the late stages of a Final Four game.

No offense to Cal the school, but competing against them versus the blue-bloods of college basketball seems like a highly tractable position—no doubt Cal was thinking the same thing.

Alas, Brown shot that down:

Jaylen Brown has not cut his list, he told SNY.tv by text on Wednesday.

“No,” he said when asked if he was down to Cal and Michigan.

Now, that is not quite a response to what Biancardi said. He made no assertion that Brown had dropped anyone—they in fact also mention Kansas and Kentucky in the segment—just that those two schools were the names they were hearing. Biancardi can be correct and Brown can answer that question like he did. And that would be very nice.

Cal, now the home of bizarrely-deposed former Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin, does have a commit from top-ten Ivan Rabb. Despite going 7-9 in the Pac-12 last year they will have some surrounding pieces to entice with.

Brown's recruitment is currently very mysterious, but as we were talking about this on the WTKA roundtable today Sam re-iterated that he was confident that Michigan was in Brown's top two and that the other school seems to keep changing—always a good sign for the constant. I'm still in believe-it-when-I-see-it mode when Michigan goes head to head for the big dogs, but they did get Mitch.

In other big boy news. 2016 SF Tyus Battle is coming off a visit to Louisville that his father rather gushed over($) to Louisville's Scout site…

The elder Battle said all of the pre-visit information with the day and a half spent with the staff on the official visit made for an "awesome" time in Louisville.

"We got a lot out of it," he said. "A whole lot."

The father said the campus tour and atmosphere around the program led him to believe he would be turning his son over to "someone who really cared about him," if Tyus Battle were to pick Louisville down the road.

…and is winding down his recruitment. A lot of people are talking about Duke, which is natural. Though he and Derryck Thornton are not a package since Thornton reclassified to 2015, they are friends. Unless Thornton's going to become the equivalent of a none-and-done, that could be a factor.

But Michigan does have another shot:

"He's probably just going to go through the process and just pick a school," the father said. "It's not that we don't like the recruiting process, but there are some other things that he needs to get along with.

"He will visit Michigan on May 8 and after that we will see."

Michigan will have openings after the departures of LeVert and DEFINITELY JAYLEN BROWN*.

*[Unless Brown sticks to his statements he might stay two years.]

This is not your job. FSU's trustees are complaining that Florida State, which was bombed by Oregon in the CoFoPoff, was disrespected so thoroughly as to be placed third in the final rankings:

"I think the perceived bias of the ACC in general, [with] Florida State falling to No. 4 in the rankings and still being undefeated and being [No.] 3 at the end of the season … a one-loss ACC team or two-loss ACC team is going to have a hard time breaking that top four," Gruters said. "I think the top ACC team over the next four or five years, we're going to be in that [No.] 5 to 8 category. And we're going to be on the outside looking in."

You are. And it will be justified. Florida State's season was a series of high-wire escapes indicating that it was nowhere near the team that steamrolled to a national title the previous year. Voters and the committee reacted appropriately. In a sport like college football there is not enough data to just exclaim "just win baby"; FSU drop was not about bias but performance.

I did not know that #talkinboutthenoles extended to the trustee level. In retrospect I'm not surprised, though.

All right. Michigan gets a home game with Xavier in the new Gavitt Tipoff, which is basically a Big East/Big Ten challenge with less overall oomph since the Big East is short on teams. Unfortunately, the Stain Train is out of eligibility. Michigan does get to match up against Trevon Bluiett, who was quite good as a freshman.

Xavier was a six-seed this year, reaching the Sweet 16 before losing to Arizona in a tight game. They lose two starters but return a large group of experienced players; they appear to have an excellent replacement for Stainbrook in junior-to-be Jalen Reynolds, who had a virtually identical shooting percentage (62%) on a similar number of shots.

Hope you like night games. Minnesota joins Maryland and Utah as night games on the road—though Utah was always going to be at night since it is on Thursday. Add in rumors that PSU could be at night and Michigan searching for one at home and noon kicks are dead, man.


As per usual. Michigan is again murdering the field in the EDSBS charity challenge. You can go here to increase the damage.

Etc.: Don't get your hopes up that Bielfeldt might stick around.  The Daily profiles LaVall Jordan. Cassius Winston has a top five with M and MSU in it.


Hoops Recruitin' Sets Official

Hoops Recruitin' Sets Official Comment Count

Ace 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.]


Hoops Recruitin' Is Both Cool

Hoops Recruitin' Is Both Cool Comment Count

Ace November 13th, 2014 at 1:41 PM

We're in a brief dead period for basketball recruiting, which seems like an ideal time to check in on the latest developments. I'm keeping the focus on the 2015 and 2016 classes for now; Michigan is still in the early stages of reaching out to 2017 recruits, and there's plenty to cover in the '15 and '16 classes, anyway.

2015: Dozier to SC, M Interested In German Prospect

After Michigan took transfer Duncan Robinson, it appeared they were all but done with the 2015 class, but the coaching staff is still pursuing a few talented prospects, including a couple players who've only emerged on M's radar in recent weeks. Michigan won't land anyone during the early signing period, which began yesterday and runs through the 19th, but they're in on a few players that could sign in the second period (April 15-May 20).

First, let's take one target off the board: PG PJ Dozier ended up surprising many with his decision yesterday, but it wasn't the surprise Michigan fans hoped for—instead of choosing Louisville, as expected, Dozier decided to stay in his home state and play for South Carolina. Happy trails to the young man.

Even operating under the unlikely assumption that no underclassman leaves the program after this season, Michigan has an open scholarship to work with for 2015-16, and they're focusing on a handful of top targets.

One of them just the radar: Berlin (GER) forward Moritz Wagner, whose highlights grace the top of this post—the 6'9" forward very much has the look of a classic Beilein big. Beilein flew to Germany recently to personally invite Wagner to campus; if he visited, he'd presumably get an offer. Duke and UConn have also reportedly shown interest, and Wagner also will have the option of going the professional route, per UMHoops:

“To study has always been my goal and that is parallel to the sport in the United States at the best,” Wagner recently told Berliner-Zeitung (translated). “On the other hand, it was always my dream to become a professional. Because the temptation is great, tackling issues. This is both cool.”

Wagner was born April 26th, 1997 and would be a member of the 2015 class. He recently told BZ-Berlin that he will make a decision on his future, signing professionally in Germany or attending college in the United States, after the season. He has reportedly been offered a four-year contract by Alba Berlin.

Obviously, this is a wait-and-see situation.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the recruiting outlook, including Michigan getting into the mix for the nation's #2 overall prospect.]