Basketbullets: Carton's Final Three, PWO Hello, Summer League Action Comment Count

Ace July 9th, 2018 at 1:32 PM

NJAS [Photo: Marc-Gregor Campredon]

THE RINGMASTER. There are more prominent Wolverines in this year's NBA Summer League but if you think I'm not starting with Defensive Stopper Duncan Robinson then, well, you probably thought there was breaking news on Jordan Poole or something. This is for my %#*&ing city.

Robinson has averaged double-digit points on nearly 60% shooting while playing alongside his former point guard, Derrick Walton. In what has to be considered a remarkable testament to Robinson, John Beilein, and Luke Yaklich alike, those on the Heat beat are openly wondering if a two-way contract—the same way Walton got onto Miami's roster last year—will be enough to prevent other NBA teams from poaching The Ringmaster:

Remember, Earl Barron once stood as the all-time scoring leader of the Orlando Pro Summer League. But considering how much shooting range means in today's NBA, even if Robinson is the second coming of Steve Novak, that still could be enough to get him a contract somewhere, if not here. At this point, I'm not sure that a two-way contract is enough to keep him. It may instead take a standard deal, with a potential six-figure guarantee.

Who will play minutes in a real NBA game first: Former Division III Player Duncan Robinson or Former Kentucky Transfer Charles Matthews? That is a real question with a very uncertain answer at the moment. The "john beilein says there's gold in them thar hills" tag has been deployed.

[Hit THE JUMP for DJ Carton's final three, Laker Moe, freshman numbers, and more.]

That's my DJ? Five-star IA PG DJ Carton, one of the very top targets on Michigan's board, trimmed his list from six to three.

Home-state Iowa is a notable absence; they were considered an early contender. Michigan and Indiana are generally considered to be out in front, perhaps with the good guys ahead by a nose. With a potential visit to OSU on tap, however, Rivals' Eric Bossi believes this will be a tight race:

Michigan and Indiana have been considered strong for a while and after those most talk had centered around either the Buckeyes or nearby Iowa. Now that the Buckeyes are in, they should be getting an official visit as soon as Carton can take one.

At least for the past few weeks, Michigan has been getting the most buzz on this one while Indiana had been just behind them. If you are Ohio State, that he made it through both of those visits without committing and still wants to see you before deciding is a positive. Can the Buckeyes pull this one off? We'll see but Carton's recruitment is looking more and more like a dead heat between the Buckeyes, Hoosiers and Wolverines. 

FWIW, Michigan holds all but one outdated Wisconsin pick on Carton's Crystal Ball, including projections from national analysts Brian Snow and Jerry Meyer.

UPDATE: It appears we'll find out soon. This seems like very good news for either Michigan or Indiana unless OSU blows him away on his upcoming official visit:

He said he will take an official visit to Ohio State  on Wednesday and Thursday and hopes to make a decision “within two weeks.”

“The reason I cut it to three, going into it, I had a feeling of who my three were. I just wanted to be respectful of the coaches going into the July evaluations. I know that’s a big time for them to evaluate players. I wanted to be respectful of their time so they can move on and find other players,” Carton said.

I'm feeling cautiously optimistic unless Indiana predictions start clouding the Crystal Ball.

Preferred Walk-On Hello: Jaron Faulds. This got lost in the latest wave of football commits, but Michigan added an interesting piece to the roster recently without using a scholarship. Holt native Jaron Faulds, the #322 player in the 2017 class, is transferring from Columbia as a preferred walk-on. A 6'10" big man, Faulds is coming to Ann Arbor despite playing over 14 minutes per game as a freshman with a clear opportunity for more time this year if he'd stuck in the Ivy League. (He was the highest-ranked recruit in Columbia history!)

Faulds will sit out this season, and he eventually hopes to earn a scholarship. That would most likely come in a scenario when the program finds itself with a spot left over after more attrition than expected, so we'll see if it ever comes to pass. At the very least, however, Faulds gives the team an interesting developmental prospect who'll provide a tougher test for the scholarship bigs than your average walk-on. 247's Josh Henschke got a quick rundown of Faulds' game from a source familiar with him from high school:

He posted up well on the block and passed the ball well from the post. He was strong, defended on the block well and set hard screens on the perimeter and was a decent roll man. He walked up on the block on defense and defended the rim well when he did that. Strong so he didn’t budge much. He showed he could step out to mid-range comfortably and shoot and even occasionally from 3. I’m sure that’s developed some since he was at Columbia. Was a little stiff mobility wise and the people who were as strong as him in high school could bully him and knock him off balance. He had a good IQ and ability to move around the rim

The source called him a "hell of a walk-on acquisition," and I'm inclined to agree. He has the potential to develop into a rotation player down the line. He posted solid offensive rebounding and block rates in his freshman year and hit 59% of his twos; there are some uglier numbers in there (10/23 on FTs, for instance) but young bigs take time.

A future The Journey feature will make you cry. Faulds isn't the only new walk-on who'll be on the team this year. Run, don't walk, to this remarkable feature on Ethan Ancick by Yahoo's Eric Adelson:

A 6-foot-6 17-year-old walks through the hallway of K-12 Manton Consolidated Schools with the brimming confidence that so many high school seniors have. He is tall and poised, with a muscular build and an easy smile. One younger boy peeks out of a door at the local hero, nodding and smiling sheepishly. Everyone in town knows Ethan Ancick as the star center for the Rangers, as the standout student who is headed to the University of Michigan, as the handsome young man with a kind word for everyone.

What most don’t know about Ethan is the long road he took to get to this town, and that along the way he was one of hundreds of thousands of American students classified by their school as homeless.

Welcome, Ethan.

Summer of Moe. Yeah, Moe Wagner is also playing well this summer, and going about it in extremely Moe Wagner fashion.

While his shot has been off, Wagner is still putting up regular double-doubles and, like Robinson, flashing some surprising defensive chops—he has four blocks in five summer league games thus far.


Freshmen have numbers. While the official roster hasn't been updated yet, it appears the incoming class has chosen their uniforms, as spotted by OwenGoBlue.

From left to right: PG David DeJulius (#0), F Brandon Johns (#25, I think?), F Iggy Brazdeikis (#13), G Adrien Nunez (#5), C Colin Castleton (#11).



July 9th, 2018 at 2:11 PM ^

It's definitely 23 based on the picture. You can see that the second number curls to the left at the top and bottom with clear indication of no continuation on that left side (so can't be a 0 and 8 isn't eligible as a second number). Now compare what you're seeing on Johns's jersey to the "5" on Nunez's (looks completely different) and the "3" on Iggy's (looks exactly the same). Has to be 23.

(Obviously your link says it's 23 but I like using the picture as proof!)


July 9th, 2018 at 1:58 PM ^

I think Duncan and Moe are both going to have problems with D in the league.   Moe will still be a valuable role player that fans will love, while Duncan will toe the line between NBA, G League and Europe. 

Following bball recruiting is even worse than following football,  so many less names to follow means agonizing over each recruit that much more.

Real Tackles Wear 77

July 9th, 2018 at 2:20 PM ^

If Duncan Robinson makes an NBA roster, will the NESCAC fans finally admit he made the right decision by transferring?

Seems like despite 2 BTT titles, reaching the national title game and getting a degree from Michigan, many of them thought he would still have been better off at the D3 level.


July 9th, 2018 at 2:44 PM ^

Knowledgeable Laker fans - and I'll be the first to admit that this isn't necessarily a high percentage of us - have been very pleased so far with what Mo Wagner and fellow Final Four alum and Jayhawk Svi Mykhailiuk have flashed (hur hur, phrasing!) in Summer League.  One particularly clever Redditor has suggested "Dank Moritzki" as Mo's new nickname.

They're not going to be defensive stoppers, especially as rookies but they provide energy and shooting.  The thought process is that the veterans we signed will provide the defensive versatility and playmaking; if Wagner and Mykhailiuk can provide enough outside shooting that could make us a dangerous out next May.


July 9th, 2018 at 3:11 PM ^

The vets you signed are 1 year expiring contracts until LeBron can assemble a death star from next year's free agent class, which is much better than this year's. Sucks to do, but you should write this season off record wise. Or at least have as much fun as possible knowing next year you'll be much better.


July 9th, 2018 at 4:26 PM ^

I'm no Laker fan, but as an LA inhabitant, the thing I'm most excited for (after Mo Wagner) seeing is their new 2-headed point guard, Lonjon Baldo.

They somehow won 35 games minus LeBron and a fair chunk of Lonzo's rookie year. I'd put their floor at 45 wins. 50+/-5 wins is my expectation for them next year. In '19-'20, they should be competing with the Warriors IF the warriors can keep their core together.


July 9th, 2018 at 6:25 PM ^

oh, yeah - the vets this year are absolutely 1-year stopgaps to faciliate the kids getting better by pushing them in practice.  Magic and Pelinka have said loudly and often that they're not going to try and rebuild the Lakers in one year and they're doing exactly what they said they'd be doing.  LeBron knows this and is buying in, for now.  There's no guarantee that this will result in a championship squad but you could've even said that about the Warriors getting Durant.

True Blue Grit

July 9th, 2018 at 3:01 PM ^

Sam Webb's comments on Carton a few days ago was pretty optimistic sounding.  His take was basically that he feels very good about this one unless the recruitment were to be drawn out longer.  However, if he is planning on announcing within 2 weeks, that is definitely in Michigan's favor.    


July 9th, 2018 at 3:32 PM ^

Today, Sam Webb talked about some Indiana insiders being really confident about him and I've also noticed IU fans are very confident in getting him, but most others still think we're in the driving seat. IU are some of the most obnoxious B1G basketball fans though so I don't take what they say seriously usually


July 9th, 2018 at 6:20 PM ^

Honestly, IU fans are some of the most annoying in CBB. Even when they're team is below average, they're always cocky and arrogant. They're absolutely the worst on the CBB Reddit. There was 2 week stretch where they would not stop talking about Romeo Langford and they'd downvote people into oblivion for saying he still wouldn't make them a top 3 team in the B1G

The Man Down T…

July 9th, 2018 at 4:34 PM ^

If Duncan Robinson makes a team, that will be one of the most incredible "climb the ladder" stories ever.  And it should be one of the first things potential recruits are told about when Michigan tries to recruit.  "Do you want to go pro? We have the best talent development coach in the country at Michigan".  

Thread Jack

July 9th, 2018 at 4:49 PM ^

Ace!! You left off the central figure's name!  The handsome fella with the winning smile and bowtie T-shirt is none other than Jude Stamper, "Michigan's Secret Weapon!"

<<Turns off virtue signal>>