Hello: Colton Christian

Submitted by Brian on May 11th, 2010 at 1:12 PM

colton-christian colton-christian1

We won't replicate Dylan's googlestalk of Colton Christian, Michigan's latest basketball recruit, but a guy did just sign with Michigan's basketball program. This is news. The high-level view: Christian is a 6'7" SF/PF who decommitted from Tulane after their coach was fired, visited and was offered by Penn State (meh) and Cal (hey maybe), and committed to Michigan after an official visit this weekend. He's a two star or unranked to Scout and Rivals and an 85—whatever that means—to ESPN.

So… yeah. Scouting reports make him sound like a less extreme version of Brent Petway:

Christian was super involved in most of his team’s plays, showing an extremely high motor on both ends of the floor. At 6′7, Christian is an undersized 4 who unfortunately doesn’t appear to have much length or strength to compensate. That said, he’s a solid athlete with a good second bounce around the basket, and he constantly puts all his physical tools to work with his relentless style of play.

Christian does the majority of his damage on the defensive end, attacking the glass, hustling back in transition, attacking passing lanes, and playing strong, fundamentally sound post defense.

IE, he can't actually jump over the backboard but has dribbled a basketball at least once in his life. That scouting report goes on to criticize Christian's limited offensive game; ESPN's evaluation, on the other hand, praises a "capable scorer on the block" with "range out to 18 feet." Dave Telep notes the last relative who-dat Beilein signed out of Hargrave was Joe Alexander, so there's that.

Christian's quite a comedown from Trey Zeigler or Casey Prather and Michigan has now put all their eggs in the Beilein Sleeper Evaluation basket, but at least he's another chunk of size added to the roster and a guy who can contribute in multiple ways even if his offensive game is relatively limited, which it might not be. Christian's coach at Hargrave says he's got an impressive skill package that no one got to see($) because they started three guards. Offhand comparison: former Iowa and future USC SF/PF Aaron Fuller? Beilein was after Fuller for a while.

This likely ends Michigan's pursuit of Isaiah Sykes—a kid who transferred to four different high schools has sketchy handlers, who knew—and probably finishes the class of 2010 unless Beilein stumbles across a 6'10" German who could go in the first round of the NBA draft in a few years. /dramatic sigh.

Dylan has video and further details at UMHoops.

BONUS BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE: Before a post-grad year at Hargrave, you can see above that Christian was a Bellevue Wolverine. That's Steve Schilling's alma mater.

Ha Fooled You Here's Tim's Post On Christian

Definitely not a miscommunication at this here blog. Definitely an elaborate and incredibly early April Fool's joke that will go down as the greatest of all time.


Scout Rivals ESPN
2*, NR PF 3*, NR PF (2009) 85

This kid is under-the-radar enough that Rivals has his name wrong ("Christian Colton" they say, but his profile from pre-postgrad is a little more updated), though he was previously committed to Tulane. ESPN scouted him last November:

Christian plays a very efficient, and college ready, brand of basketball. He isn’t going to dominate the game with his scoring but has some inside-out skills and impacts the game in a variety of ways. He’s a capable scorer on the block with a little jump hook and can also step out to 18 feet and shoot. He’s strong and very athletic off of two feet, bodies up well defending the post, and rebounds out of his area.

From his original Tulane commitment article on Scout, Hargrave coach Kevin Keatts give a bit of praise:

“What makes him really good is that his motor runs all the time. He plays above the rim and he competes. I’ve had a few guys like him and they’ve always been successful.”

Draft Express seems somewhat down on his potential (HT UMHoops):

At 6′7, Christian is an undersized 4 who unfortunately doesn’t appear to have much length or strength to compensate. That said, he’s a solid athlete with a good second bounce around the basket, and he constantly puts all his physical tools to work with his relentless style of play...

Offensively, he appears a bit limited, not showing much prowess on his perimeter shot, and relying mostly on a turnaround jumper in the post, which he has limited success with. He is good on the offensive glass and finishing around the basket on cuts, but he clearly has a ways to go here.

Keatts also says he's clueless as to why Christian hadn't gotten more interest at the time. He squared off against Darius Morris in high school:

2010 Bellevue prospect Aaron Bright scored 18 points as did Michigan signee Darius Morris of Windward. The key to the win for Bellevue was the support Bright got from forward Colton Christian, who scored a game high 20 points. Strong and athletic, Christian played like a low to mid-major prospect in this game.

"Low to mid-major" isn't the most encouraging sign in the world, but he picked up a little more BCS-conference attention later in the process as we'll see from the...


Christian had been committed to Tulane, so obviously he held an offer from the Green Wave. Rivals lists his only other offer as coming from Appalachian State. Scout's listing is a little less panic-inducing, saying he held offers from the likes of Penn State and Cal.

This kid wasn't exactly being courted by the powerhouse teams of NCAA basketball, and it's not because of lack of exposure: Hargrave Academy routinely puts out D-1 talent. With Beilein's track record, I don't think that's too worrisome.


In his postgrad year at Hargrave Military Academy, UMHoops reports that Christian averaged 14 points and 14 rebounds per game. That's fairly impressive, considering he was playing alongside a number of 3- and 4-star recruits.


Zip ahead to #4, at 1:28 in.

There are also a couple game highlight videos out there, including when he played against Darius Morris.


Michigan is in need of size, and Christian provides it away from the center position. He'll probably be ready to play right away, though his upside and athleticism are more enticing than his ability as a true freshman.

He'll get some court time this year, probably in the 7-minute range on average, but as he is able to get into the weight room and practice gym to work on his body and his offensive game, he can become a significant contributor as an upperclassman.



May 11th, 2010 at 1:30 PM ^

...of a talented and mature for his eligibility (given his prep year at Hargrave Military Academy) big man.  I expect this helps to seal the deal for a Horford redshirt (thus permitting him some time to fill out his frame).

BTW, Alex Schrempf -- Christian's Bellevue teammate featured in the video posted at UMHoops.com -- is indeed, Detlef Schrempf's son.  Schrempf was a preferred walk on at UCLA last year.  He doesn't show up in their 2009-10 stats, so I assume he retains freshman eligibility.


May 11th, 2010 at 1:41 PM ^

His size reminds me of Deshawn Sims when he first came in.  Obviously he isn't as sought after but Sims had a limited offensive game with a high motor when he first came in as well.  We can hope!


May 11th, 2010 at 1:42 PM ^

Seven minutes a game?  Whoa, easy there.  If that turns out to be the case, then this is the recruiting steal of the year as far as M athletics goes. 

Zack Gibson averaged a whopping 10 mpg this year.  Yes, he was behind Peedi, but when a team desperately in need of size can only get a 6'10" RS senior on the court for 10 mpg, I think that says something.

If Christian plays in games on a semi-regular basis during is first year I'll be happy.


May 11th, 2010 at 3:27 PM ^

Gibson was Sims' backup so there weren't a lot of minutes available since we wanted Sims on the floor a good 30 minutes a game.  Christian will be a PF and that position is pretty much up for grabs.  I doubt Smotrycz locks down 30 minutes a game his Freshman year so there will be minutes there to spread around.  I could see Christian getting 10 minutes a game just for defense and rebounding purposes at the 4 spot.


May 11th, 2010 at 1:51 PM ^

This is a really interesting recruiting class. Seems like we are moving towards a more rangy, athletic team with the guys we have coming in. 6'9" thin PF, 6'5" SG, and now a 6'7" Forward. Can't forget about Horford either. These types of players are more similar to Beilein's West Virginia teams (along with Huggins current WV teams). West Virginia ran a much fiercer 1-3-1 than Michigan did last year. Hopefully these guys work out. Definitely getting some raw talent for the program


May 11th, 2010 at 2:22 PM ^

However many minutes Christian might play in games next year, the addition of another big man should provide one immediate benefit--increased competition at practices.


May 11th, 2010 at 2:39 PM ^

Yeah, despite losing Sims and Gibson (and Cronin) we have 4 bigs who can all compete to play/start this fall, assuming Horford redshirts.  None have any college PT, but 2 are coming off redshirts, one is the same age but essentially played his redshirt season in prep school, and the other is a true frosh but is our most highly rated recruit in a while.  Not ideal but not a bad situation, considering our back court is pretty deep and experienced.


May 11th, 2010 at 3:48 PM ^

I'm not sure if I should read "high motor" as great energy or offensively challenged...probably a little bit of both. Nevertheless...for a team that is losing nearly all of its rebounding (save Novak) this looks like an excellent addition. Based on the brew-ha-ha surrounding Sykes, it's probably better he plays elsewhere, despite another missed opportunity on a psl player. Hooray Hoops


May 11th, 2010 at 4:30 PM ^

Mike Valenti is already hating on the kid.  Making fun of his other offers (while omitting Cal).

I know, it's my fault for listening...and I try not to...


May 11th, 2010 at 5:35 PM ^

Can't blame him.  We're pulling in 2/3* guys who were recruited by Tulane or not at all, while MSU pulls in studs.

I trust Beilein and think Metrics and Morris and Brudridge are all great pickups.  But at some point I think we all hope that those types of recruits are the average recruits, not the gems, of any class.


May 11th, 2010 at 8:55 PM ^

I'm disappointed that we didn't get Zeigler.  The staff is disappointed and was fairly confident they'd get him...but it turns out to be very difficult to recruit over someone's father.

Morris was the #10 PG in the country.  That's not average.  Brundidge is also not average.  Smotrycz is #50ish in the nation regardless of position.  That's certainly not average and your use of a nickname for him (without having even stepped foot in A2) seems to show you don't think he's average either. 

I'd agree on some other guys we have, but 4* kids aren't average.  Hopefully, we land the "big names" in the future, but you'll notice that we now get attention from the top players where we had previously fallen completely off the radar.  Christian is expected to play his freshman year, and if he can board and defend, he'll be of use.


May 11th, 2010 at 4:31 PM ^

The evaluations from the recruiting sites isn't very positive but he did go to Hargrave so that has to count for something. I hope later in his career he turns into a soild player that does all the little things for the team. Also lastly, it will be nice to finally have a team with length and some size.


May 11th, 2010 at 4:40 PM ^

Undersized but very athletic power forward with minimal guru approvals and few high-level D1 offers?  Maybe he'll grow 3 inches in the next year, surprise us on the court and threaten team blocked shots records, then transfer at the behest of his AAU coach, have a great year at his new school, and be an NBA first-round pick.



May 11th, 2010 at 4:41 PM ^

Looks like a Graham Brown-type recruit to me(junk yard dog).  Hopefully he can develop to become a similar(if shorter) player.

The absence of an apparent elite player in this class creates both an unprecedented opportunity and unfair responsibility/expectation for Mr. Hardaway and Mr. Smotrycz. 

Looking at the recruiting class as a whole along with the returning players Beilein has brought in one thing becomes obvious.  Beilein has got to do better.


May 12th, 2010 at 12:39 PM ^

Looking at the recruiting class as a whole along with the returning players Beilein has brought in one thing becomes obvious.  Beilein has got to do better.

We will always want to do better in recruiting, but don't be too quick to judge this team.  Give them a year or two to develope and gain experience and you may be surprised with the results.  Last year we had a Junior and Senior 4 star combo and we ended up sub-500.  Next year's team should be taller and more athletic which will benefit rebounding, defending, transition and interior offense.  They will likely have better attitudes and team chemistry.  I for one can't wait to see this team play and develope.


May 11th, 2010 at 5:29 PM ^

I know this seems unlikely, since LLP already had to sit out some as a transfer, but I think there's a chance LLP doesn't get another year. In that case, there would be two schollies available for next year, plus Brundidge already in the fold. It would just really surprise me if Beilein only left himself one scholarship for next year. There's something else going on here, and that seems to be the logical answer.


May 11th, 2010 at 6:50 PM ^

The photo on the right kinda looks staged (i.e. the ball resting on the ground while Colton strikes a pose), but I'm digging the interpretive dance from the guy behind him!