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.
The shooting is obviously his calling card but its plays like this that will likely catch eyes for Duncan Robinson. pic.twitter.com/lGYFz3MKl0
— Couper Moorhead (@CoupNBA) July 7, 2018
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.]
— Movement Hoops (@MovementHoops) March 31, 2018
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.
Final 3‼️ pic.twitter.com/VwrRhkKgl1
— DJ Carton (@DJCarton) July 8, 2018
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.
Summer of Moe. Yeah, Moe Wagner is also playing well this summer, and going about it in extremely Moe Wagner fashion.
Lakers gonna love him. pic.twitter.com/se7gBNXfdB
— Michigan Moments (@GoBlueMoments) July 8, 2018
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).