Basketbullets: Walton, Irvin Ink Pro Deals Comment Count

Ace July 25th, 2017 at 11:48 AM

Walton Signs Two-Way Deal With Miami

A strong summer league performance and the NBA's new contract structure got Derrick Walton a gig with the Miami Heat, which signed him to a two-way deal yesterday. That means Walton will play for Miami's G-League (formerly D-League) affiliate, the Sioux Falls (SD) Skyforce, and could spend up to 45 days with the NBA squad if he earns a callup.

Walton landing a contract wasn't a surprise given his summer league performance, which had plenty of Orlando fans hoping the Magic would hold onto him.

Walton has a place in a pick-and-roll league, and it's great to see him get a shot straight out of college, even if he'll have to work his way from South Dakota to Miami.

Zak Irvin had a tougher go in summer league. While he didn't land an NBA deal, he'll still play professional basketball. VL Pesaro of Italy's Serie A (the top Italian league) signed him yesterday. He'll play with a few other Americans, including former BYU standout Eric Mika.

[Hit THE JUMP for Wagner at the FIBA Euro Championships, some 'crootin happy trails, and more.]

Wagner Leads Germany At FIBA Euros

After a rocky start to the FIBA U20 European Championships, Moe Wagner rounded into form to help Germany to a seventh-place finish. While he couldn't get into rhythm with his outside shot, he managed to put up some solid numbers, per UMHoops:

The rising junior averaged 16.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.6 steals in 20.3 minutes per game. Wagner shot 56.5% on twos and just 16.7% on threes (2-of-12) for a 57.9 eFG%. The 6-foot-10 forward also did a good job of getting to the free throw line, making 29-of-36 free throws and posting a 44% free throw rate (FTA/FGA).

His top performance came in the tournament finale against Iceland as he notched 32 points on 12-of-19 shooting and he reached double figures in Germany’s last 5 games after a slow start.

That post features an extensive breakdown of Wagner's tourney with film cutups if you're a subscriber. The short version: Wagner scored well in isolation and looked like an improved rebounder and more willing passer, though that latter bit came with some turnovers, as you might expect at this stage. He also had 18 steals in seven games; he may not be a strong defender, but he's turning into quite a pest.

Happy Trails Apparently Lead To Bloomington

Since the last recruiting update, three 2018 recruits with Michigan offers have gone off the board—all to Indiana. New head coach Archie Miller reeled in the trio of Jerome Hunter, Damezi Anderson, and Race Thompson in a two-day span. Hunter is the biggest loss; he and Iggy Brazdeikis are the top targets on the wing. With Anderson, who seemed to be behind those two in the wing pecking order, also off the board, Michigan's landing Brazdeikis becomes that much more important. Thompson is a solid prospect but his spot was likely gone when M picked up Brandon Johns.

Another top target, sharpshooting two-guard Noah Locke, added a Kansas offer that could change the outlook of his recruitment, though he still mentions Michigan among his top schools, per Rivals's Corey Evans:

Locke spoke on his Kansas offer as well as a few other programs that are heavily in the mix.

Kansas: “It means a lot. That is just something that every kid would dream of. Everything just feels so unreal now. I have been dreaming of this all of my life and for it to really happen, it is just great. Kansas, it just speaks for itself. It made me just want to work even harder.”

Michigan: “I really like coach (John) Beilein. He is really good to interact with and he interacted with my parents really well. He took us around on a visit, just him, and that meant a lot. He took me all around campus and showed me everything. I liked the facilities and the team seemed like it was family. It was just a great atmosphere.”

Xavier, Providence, Virginia, and Florida also earned mentions.

Lanky Dude Fits Lanky Team

The late Vice Sports published a good read on DJ Wilson's fit with Milwaukee before (sigh) yet another good sports outlet laid off its entire staff.

"At 6'10", he's an elite athlete," [Saddi] Washington said. "In time he may get to be a player who can masquerade at the three in the NBA. The league is just emerging into positionless basketball, so there would be times where we had D.J. playing the five for us.… For him to go 17 was a bit of a shock, but for him to go to the Bucks was a blessing in disguise."

It makes sense to be as long and tall as you possibly can, with gifted offensive players who can pass, dribble, shoot, cut, rebound, and generally not look like they're trudging through wet cement trying to defend a wing 25 feet from the hoop. The Bucks may be able to deploy units that can do that across all five positions, with Antetokounmpo, Middleton, Maker, Wilson, and Tony Snell essentially lining the court with reams of yellow tape. This is scary stuff.

Wilson still has plenty to work on—as the piece notes, his assist rate surpassed his rebounding rate and he struggled from beyond the arc in summer league—but he could hardly have asked for a better situation with the Bucks.

Assistant Coach Search Update: There Is No Update

Michigan still has to replace departed assistant coaches Jeff Meyer and Billy Donlon, but on a conference call last week John Beilein said there's not much to report on that front, per MLive's Nick Baumgardner:

"I wish I could give you an update, that would mean I'd have it done," Beilein said Tuesday during a Maui Invitational conference call. "I'm still in the process of doing it."

With the July recruiting period in full swing, Beilein is -- of course -- able to go out and recruit for his team. A year ago, with vacancies on his staff, he was allowed to send out director of player personnel Chris Hunter to recruit on the program's behalf. That's also happening this year. Current video analyst Bryan Smothers has also been approved to recruit for the staff as the search continues. 

Duquesne assistant Charles Thomas and Creighton assistant Preston Murphy were reportedly brought in for interviews a few weeks ago but nothing came of those; Hunter remains a candidate for a promotion and Patrick Beilein is also a possibility.

New Phonebook: Roster Updated

The revamped has an updated hoops roster. 247's Zach Shaw helpfully compiled the weight—and in one case, height—changes:

Here are the returning players' listed heights and weights, along with any changes in parentheses:

0 — Brent Hibbitts, 6-foot-8, 220 (added 10 pounds)

1 — Charles Matthews, 6-foot-6, 200 (added 10 pounds)

3 — Xavier Simpson, 6-foot, 185 (added five pounds)

12 — Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, 6-foot-4, 190

13 — Moe Wagner, 6-foot-11, 245 (added five pounds)

14 — Fred Wright-Jones, 5-foot-11, 180 pounds (added 10 pounds)

15 — Jon Teske, 7-foot-1, 255 (added one inch and 10 pounds)

22 — Duncan Robinson, 6-foot-8, 215 pounds

51 — Austin Davis, 6-foot-10, 245 pounds (added five pounds)

Jon Teske is large. I have no other #takes except it would've been nice to see Duncan Robinson bulk up a bit given how much he'll have to play the four this year. There's still time, of course.

As for the newcomers, they're listed thusly:

  • #2 Jordan Poole — 6'4", 190
  • #4 Isaiah Livers — 6'7", 230
  • #5 Jaaron Simmons — 6'1", 185
  • #55 Eli Brooks — 6'0", 170

I'm choosing to believe Brooks's number is a White Chocolate tribute until told otherwise.


Dylan takes a Synergy-driven dive into how Michigan will replace their lost offensive production.

Beilein gets an assistant coach spot on ESPN's "perfect" college hoops squad. You may want to skip past the starting five.

Please follow suit, NCAA.



July 25th, 2017 at 1:13 PM ^

..I noticed the same thing right away. And the only reason is because I write right-handed but shoot a basketball left-handed (the only thing I do "lefty"). Makes me wonder if I'd never signed up for middle school basketball, if I would've ever figured that out.


July 25th, 2017 at 12:42 PM ^

I'm having a hard time thinking of two cities that are more different than Miami and Sioux Falls. Congrats to Derrick, and welcome back Ace.


July 25th, 2017 at 12:48 PM ^

I watched Walton's highlight reel with a smile on my face.  He looked like he did last year while playing a lower-tier mid-major.  He looked to be in total control.  He again is a fantastic rebounder for a point guard and it looks like his teammates have figured out that being open in the corner will earn you a pass damn near every time.


July 25th, 2017 at 12:55 PM ^

Miami is a great situation for undrafted guys/2nd rounders/guys who have been given up on. They are great at development and reward their own guys after building them up. Whiteside, Johnson, and Waiters are good examples. If Walton develops well, they are likely to reward him with a nice second contract. 


July 25th, 2017 at 1:14 PM ^

Former Michigan players with NBA contracts (including former-former Edke Udoh)

Hardaway Jr. 16.5M Knicks
Stauskas 3.8M Sixers
Robinson III 1.5M Pacers
Wilson 2.1M Bucks
Burke 4.2M Wizards
Crawford 4.3M TWolves
LeVert 1.6M Nets
Udoh 3.2M Jazz

Dropped from the list: Mitch McGary, Darius Morris, Manny Harris

The Man Down T…

July 25th, 2017 at 9:01 PM ^

He's a great player and he earned and deserves a shot.  Here's hoping for a great career for him.  Same for Irvin. Irvin has a chance too and here's hoping we see him on an NBA team as well.