Hello: Zak Irvin Comment Count

Brian July 31st, 2011 at 1:51 PM

Hi. Remember me?


A day after narrowing his list to Michigan and Butler, 2013 Indiana wing Zak Irvin has committed to John Beilein's Alliance of Six Six Shooters. Michigan has pursued Irvin heavily since his name first popped up on recruiting radars and ended up picking M over the Bulldogs, Indiana, Illinois, and Purdue*.

At the moment Irvin is ranked in the 60-100 range that's becoming usual for Beilein recruits. He's #97 at Rivals and presumably just outside of ESPN's 2013 top 60—he has the same grade as #s 42 through 60. Scout's more pessimistic. He's outside their top 100.

Also like many of Beilein's recent catches, Irvin seems to be on the rise. But first BALLING ALERT:

also the balling.

Irvin's recent AAU performances have caused some to proclaim him a five-star-ish guy. ESPN says he's "almost unguardable" at the high school level because of his range and size, with a "great Division I basketball body" and a "skill level that separates him." Here's ESPN's Joel Francisco:

Irvin is a prototypical 3-man for the high-major level. He has a terrific frame and he’s very athletic, but it’s his ball skills that really caught our eye. He has a knack to score in a variety of ways from the 3-point line as well as off the dribble. He had a couple of notable drives to the basket and he converted a few legitimate pull-up jump shots with a defender right on him. Irvin is a top-30 prospect for his class with continued improvement.

Dylan of UMHoops, who scouted Irvin at Michgian's elite camp, thinks that's a bit generous. They've got more over there, including sufficient video to overwhelm your stick-shaking capacity.

Program Upshot

Hypothetically, Irvin closes out recruiting for 2013 unless there is an early departure. Without attrition, Irvin's scholarship will be cleared out by giving Blake McLimans a firm handshake instead of a fifth year. However, Tim Hardaway doesn't seem like a four-year player at this point and it's unknown whether Austin Hatch will be able to continue his basketball career after the diverse and sundry tragedies he has suffered. Even if Hatch is able to play again, he may have to reclassify as a 2014 player. Michigan should probably go forward under the assumption he will not be available in 2013.

In the near future Michigan will try to land big fish Mitch McGary for 2012 and one of three or four point guard targets for 2013. If McGary wriggles free—which is likely—and Hatch does not recover miraculously, they'll have room for the PG and a flexible 2/3/4 sort.

*[At least that's what Rivals says. How heavily those Big Ten schools were actually in pursuit is unknown. For one, Purdue has already locked down 2013 wing and NOTY candidate Basil Smotherman.]



July 31st, 2011 at 3:08 PM ^

Here are a couple of interesting tweets on Irvin’s decision from Kyle Neddenreip of the Indianapolis Star:

Zak Irvin said he watched clips of Tim Hardaway Jr. Michigan coaches told him they plan to use him offensively much the same way.

In the end, Irvin liked the feel of a bigger campus and chance to play in Big Ten. Said he felt pretty strongly about Michigan for a while.

He also got a quote from Irvin's coach:

HSE coach Brian Satterfield on Zak Irvin: "He's a guy with a diverse offensive game and can lock people down on defense."

FTR, Irvin also had offers from Tennessee and Baylor.


July 31st, 2011 at 8:25 PM ^

There have been scouting reports saying he has range out to 3-point distance, but I'll grant he's touted more for his midrange game. I guess what I really don't get is your "slasher, jumper in progress" summary. That's the exact opposite of what pretty much everyone else has been saying about him. He's long been known as a shooter; it's his "slashing" ability that he's developed only recently or that's "in progress."


July 31st, 2011 at 9:48 PM ^

FYI, a scouting report that was just posted at Indy HS Hoops (part of which is shown below) illustrates what I was getting at in terms of Irvin being known as a shooter while the other areas of his game (including his skills as a defender) have been on the upswing:

The 6’6 Irvin is known as a reliable perimeter shooter, but his game consists of more than just 3-point shooting. Shooting the mid-range jump shot, often referred to as a lost art, is something that Irvin does very well. He possesses the ability to create his own shot off the bounce, but is also a major shooting threat coming off screens in the half court and pulling up for the jump shot in transition scenarios.

One area of Irvin’s game that has improved over the last year is his ball handling, transforming his game off the bounce into a reliable facet of his repertoire on the court. He is able to get to the rim consistently, and has good vision as a passer and distributor on the run.


July 31st, 2011 at 6:31 PM ^

Irvin puts his shot in motion quickly, hands and arms synced with jumping ability to put ball at its highest point, and quick release. I will enjoy seeing that jumper raining all over our foes. Nice game, and welcome!

Mr. Yost

July 31st, 2011 at 8:09 PM ^

"Hypothetically, Irvin closes out recruiting for 2013 unless there is an early departure."


And then we go on to talk about adding to the 2012 and 2013 classes. I'm going to just go under the assumption that Irvin takes Hatch's spot. But if that closes out recruiting...how do we still have room for 2 more potential players?


July 31st, 2011 at 8:15 PM ^

1. The assumption that Hardaway leaves prior to his senior year.
2. McLimans not getting a 5th year
3. Hatch cannot play, or cannot graduate with his class due to missed time, pushing his scholarship back one year.

2 of these three things happen, we have 2 scholarships.

Or, you know, exactly what Brian said if you read the post.


July 31st, 2011 at 9:21 PM ^

There's also no. 4, which is that 2013 is a long way off, and any number of other things could happen to open up a scholarship. For example—and I realize this site may have little credibility—but I found a 2013 NBA mock draft that has Jon Horford going at #14 (in addition to Hardaway Jr. at #9 and McGary at #22).

So right now I'm not concerned about where any 2013 scholarships are coming from. 2012, though, is a different case. There's only one 2012 opening right now, and there are other 2012 prospects that Beilein is pursuing besides McGary. Sherron Dorsey-Walker, for example, is supposedly deciding in the next week or so, and if he selects Michigan, there wouldn't be a scholarship available for McGary, who has said he'll be deciding this fall. There's always a chance that another scholarship will open up for 2012, but that would probably happen—if it does happen—well after McGary makes his choice.

EDIT: (in clarification of what chitown said--) Brian actually talks about Michigan possibly signing 2 more 2012/2013 players in addition to Irvin. That means 3 more scholarships need to open up, not 2. One scholarship is already needed just to fit Irvin in.


August 1st, 2011 at 8:38 AM ^

On WTKA this morning, Sam Webb provided an interesting addendum to Irvin's commitment. He said Izzo came in at the last minute expressing interest in Irvin, but Irvin said he was too late.

Unfortunately, Sam also said MSU is now going hard after Derrick Walton Jr. I hope this ends the same way, with Walton telling Izzo he's too late, and with Walton committing to Michigan. Sam points out that a number of Beilein's recent recruiting coups (Robinson III, Mark Donnal, and Irvin) were of prospects that Beilein got in on early, which turned out to be a key factor in their commitment to Michigan.