Hello: Jon Horford Comment Count

Tim March 26th, 2010 at 1:27 PM

Michigan has gained a basketball commitment from MI PF Jon Horford. He's a 2010 prospect, and the younger brother of erstwhile Michigan commit, former Florida Gator, and current Atlanta Hawk Al Horford.




Scout Rivals ESPN
3*, #42 PF 3*, NR PF 88, #76 PF

ESPN has two evaluations of him, just over two years apart:

December, 2007: He's a good low post scorer that really works the glass. He has great hands and keeps working hard to improve. He's a good, but not great athlete that seems to grow an inch every 4-5 months. He has a long wing span which helps him be a very good shot blocker. His range extends to 15 feet at this point, but he has a thin frame and he must add strength. His brother Al was solid at the same stage and with hard work, ended up a two-time National Champ and NBA Lottery pick. Jon is on the same path.

The note that Al Horford was similarly limited in high school is very encouraging. And...

February, 2010: Jon is a multi dimensional power forward. He can operate in the paint or score from the high post. That is probably one of his best attributes, his versatility. Inside Jon is solid on the block. He has decent post moves and is a good rebounder inside due to his solid basketball IQ. He understands blocking out and using his body inside. He scores mostly off garbage inside (dump offs and put backs) he is best facing the basket. He can shoot with range out to 16 or 17 feet. He is a solid defender inside though not an avid shot blocker. He is not quite the athlete that his brother was at the same stage. He will be a very solid player at the collegiate level.

The more recent evaluation is significantly less "OMG HE RULZ" than the first, but it is still highly positive. That doesn't jibe with various reports that Horford's something of a project. Another recurring theme in Horford evaluations: he's thin:

Jon Horford. He definitely looked like a player -- and the Gators were all over him. He's about 6-9, but thinner than his older brother.

Dylan checked him out in person:horfordUMhoops.jpg

He moves well for a big man and looks very comfortable in the post. Despite being double teamed he had a couple nice spin moves when he got the ball cleanly on the box. He also showed very nice touch finishing around the hoop. He also did a very good job passing out of double teams and finding open shooters (even if they weren’t making shots)...

But at the end of the day he just doesn’t “wow” you like you would expect a high-major big man to. He got ripped of several rebounds and doesn’t appear to be a tremendous shot blocker, despite being the tallest player on the court. He is very slender from the mid-section down and had to pull up his shorts after about every play. Horford’s shooting form is also screwy and will certainly get some attention once he is playing for a division 1 coach.

So did Calvin, also of UMHoops:

The first thing you have to say about Horford, and something Dylan mentioned, is that there isn’t much of a “wow” factor. He’s extremely skinny (think a taller Manny Harris, but with slimmer shoulders), which means there aren’t any points in the game when he can just move somebody out of his way. Every offensive move is a finesse move–which isn’t to say they’re bad moves, that’s just the kind of player he is. He has a nice quick drop step and he knows how to use his pivot foot in that way that seems like it should be traveling but definitely isn’t and it’s just a good move. He has great touch around the basket and is an exceptional finisher given his frame. He is also a very, very good passer. Horford was double-teamed almost every time he touched the ball, and he almost always found the open man. Very good instincts on offense.

Rivals evaluated him:

Horford is long (a legit 6-8 plus) but skinny, and will need some hours in the weight room before he moves on to the next level. He's got great hands, however, a nice touch around the basket and outstanding work ethic on both ends of the floor. Henton took advantage of Horford's lack of strength to bully his way to the rim a few times, getting Horford into early foul trouble (two fouls in the first half).

He went to his right hand on all three occasions - twice he'd have had it easier if he could have used his left, and probably would have finished despite being fouled.

Where he was most impressive was passing out of the post... He runs the floor well... Horford's young supporting cast isn't all that talented, making him the obvious focus of defenses, but he's supportive and doesn't try to force it...

I've heard his height is a little overstated, and he might be closer to 6-7 than 6-9. He's just a high schooler though, so he might still be growing (especially with his NBA bloodlines). The positives: he's skilled, an exceptional passer, and assuming he can put on some weight, a legit post prospect.


As recently as last summer, he wasn't really on Michigan's radar, but he got an offer around December ($), and named Michigan his leader shortly thereafter. But then, like, actually got offered at the beginning of this month (made official when he visited this week). At that time, it was "almost sure" he would pick the Wolverines ($, info in header). He picked the Wolverines over Cal and Providence. Alabama showed some interest, but no word on if they offered. Michigan State showed some interest, especially late, but I'm not sure if they ever offered.

So what do the offers mean? He's certainly not a top-top prospect (which the recruiting rankings show as well), nor is he an instant-impact type. The Kentuckys of the world were coming a-callin'.


As mentioned above, Horford was by far the best player on Grand Ledge, which meant that he got the ball a lot, but also drew the attention of opposing defenses.

He averaged about 21 points and 13 rebounds per game, according to umgoblog.com.


Full game film. Rothstein has video of the performance as well, in the most-documented game of a three-star recruit of all time.


Though he's not an instant-impact player, Horford may be forced into a bit of action as a true freshman, since he, Jordan Morgan, Blake McLimans, and fellow freshman Evan "Metrics" Smotrycz will be the only Wolverines taller than 6-4. With Morgan coming off yet another injury and surgery, Horford might have to be ready to go. With his noted lack of strength, that doesn't bode well for a big freshman season. He'll likely get spot minutes to give a rest to Michigan's other options in the post (of which Blake McLimans might be the only healthy bigman - and eve he is more of a power forward), if he plays at all.

Assuming he's able to put his body together in the weight room, he'll be able to contribute in subsequent years. If he grows a little more (his dad, Tito, is 7-1, and brother Al is 6-10), that goes double. He's a skilled big man who just needs to develop a bit before he can be a major contributor to a Big Ten squad. Unless he makes huge strides, he probably is a 4-5 year player.


Scholarship breakdown time:

2010-11 Michigan Roster
Name Position(s)
Manny Harris 3
Laval Lucas-Perry* 2
Stu Douglass 1-2
Zack Novak 2-3-4
Ben Cronin** 5
Darius Morris 1-2
Matt Vogrich 2-3
Jordan Morgan* 5
Blake McLimans* 4-5
Tim Hardaway Jr. 1-2
Evan Smotrycz 3-4-5
Jon Horford 4-5

* Redshirt
** Cronin's basketball career is likely over. I've included him on the chart in the event of a miracle recovery.

That's 12 guys, which means if Cronin gets healthy and Manny stays, Michigan has room for one more prospect, and would have one scholarship to give out for the 2011 recruiting class. That scholarship would go to Trey Zeigler, or if Michigan can't reel him in, Isaiah Sykes.

More likely, Cronin is no longer a factor, opening up an additional scholarship, and pushing the number to two. Would Michigan take both Zeigler and Sykes, or bank on of the spots for next year's class? I wouldn't be surprised if Michigan took both, assuming they could land them.

Manny is on the fence about his senior year, and most reports have him likely leaving. The Wolverines probably don't have three more prospects on the table that they'd want to take in this class, so they would bank Manny's scholarship for the 2011 class. If they filled all three hypothetical slots in this scenario, they would have a grand total of zero scholarships for 2011.

Most likely scenario: Cronin and Manny are both gone, Michigan takes however many of Zeigler and Sykes they can land, and has two scholarships available for 2011. For next season, those scholarships will go to a couple walkons.



March 26th, 2010 at 1:47 PM ^

So after reading the upshot for the rest of the class I was wondering about Zeigler and if anything has changed recently, whats the current scoop on him?


March 26th, 2010 at 1:47 PM ^

This is good news. I look forward to a future lineup with Metrics and Horford as the forwards.

Despite his frame, I think he might be able to play 10 minutes a game next year. Maybe a couple baskets and rebounds a game.

This class is shaping up as one of the better ones Michigan will have had in the last decade. I know theres a contigent on here who find anything but 5-stars to be unacceptable, but JB is putting together a second straight good recruiting class......with a nice start to 2011, to boot, with the Brundidge verbal.


March 26th, 2010 at 1:47 PM ^

Great to hear about the commitment, great bloodlines and with some work and more size he could add some much needed size for the team.

Sucks to hear that Manny is likely leaving, last I'd read he was likely not getting picked in the first two rounds. I hope that he does what is best for him, and I surely understand how hard it is to say no to money now, but I think he would do himself some good long-term by coming back... but then again I know nothing.


March 26th, 2010 at 2:05 PM ^

One major difference that I think is that Horford seems to be a bit more solid between the ears. I think most can agree that Sims' biggest issue is that he has a knack of disappearing for stretches of a game. From the small sample size of a video and a few write-ups he seems to stay in the game mentally and have good court awareness. I think that is sometimes overlooked.


March 26th, 2010 at 1:52 PM ^

Coach did some nice work getting a big man. Watching West Virgina run the 1-3-1 defense last night was a great example of what we are missing as a team. Not necessarily one big man to dominate, but a tall athletic team. That WVU team really moves the ball and their defense is all over the place. This is the same thing Calipari always has on his teams. Guys with a lot of length, that's what she said, and good speed. A lot of these top teams have focused on speed and athleticism to give them a lot of fast break points. Ty Lawson at UNC, Jon Wall at Kentucky. Kentucky ran the floor on Cornell all game and they couldn't stop it. Kansas had some good athleticism, as well. That's what I would like to see Michigan work towards, and I'm sure Beilein wouldn't mind that.


March 26th, 2010 at 1:52 PM ^

Tim, where have you been hearing that Manny is leaving? I don't have an account anywhere, so I'm not in the know, but the last I had heard Manny wasn't really leaning either direction (if he was, it was the "65-35 staying" from Sam Webb). Have there been recent insider reports that he is out? Or is this a vibe you're getting? Just curious, thanks


March 26th, 2010 at 1:56 PM ^

Just one more commit to go before Beilein (that guy who everyone says can't recruit) lands a top 10-15 class. C'mon Trey...it's your turn to become a Wolverine.

That being said, what gives with the shitty hip hop on all these videos? When did hip hop get so bad?


March 26th, 2010 at 2:05 PM ^

If anyone wanted to take a shot at minute distribution next year if Manny stays. Seems like someone is going to be unhappy

PG Morris 30 Stu 10
SG Stu 20 Vogrich 10 LLP 10
SF Manny 35 Vogrich 5
PF Novak 30 Smotryz 10
C Mclimans 20 Morgan 15 Smotryz 5


If these 3 pass some guys seems like it might be an unhappy bench with so many young guys not getting much pt.


March 26th, 2010 at 2:13 PM ^

I'm thinking that one of the Centers like Morgan or Mclimans could be replaced by Horford if he doesn't redshirt. Zeigler is a guy that I think needs to play immediately and Hardaway could potentially get some playing time, as well. I think guys like LLP or Stu Douglas could get benched if they don't step up their game. Manny leaving would allow another guy to play, but I think he's important to the teams success.


March 27th, 2010 at 12:01 AM ^

I think you're being a little hard on Stu. He was very effective in his time at PG this season and developed a good ability to get to the rim as the season progressed (though he had trouble finishing). I personally haven't seen anything to make me think that Stu won't continue to be a main guy in the rotation at PG/SG his Junior year and then strictly a SG his Senior year with the arrival of Brundidge to back up Morris at PG.


March 26th, 2010 at 5:09 PM ^

lein is building. I really hope Manny stays, because they are going to need some leadership, and just a few wins to ease the hurt. I don't want to see these young guys get their donkey soul-dongs crushed completely, never to get well no more, no more. . . hey, I am writing a bad blues jingle!


March 26th, 2010 at 8:32 PM ^

Tarpley was one of 5 commits in the same year, and he was a skinny kid who didn't get nearly the attention as the other recruits. Nearly an afterthought. Turned into one hell of a player. Here's hoping Horford does the same.


March 27th, 2010 at 12:34 AM ^

"...since he, Jordan Morgan, Blake McLimans, and fellow freshman Evan "Metrics" Smotrycz will be the only Wolverines taller than 6-4."

This is one of the most frightening things I've read in a long time. If this happens next year say 'hello' to another year of being pushed around the Big 10.


March 27th, 2010 at 4:17 AM ^

That was the least inspiring "highlight" video I've ever seen. Did they really edit IN a line-drive half hook that clanked off the front of the rim? (co-sign on the awful hip hop music, too)

Either way, I do like the potential.


March 28th, 2010 at 5:38 PM ^

Brewer at Florida was a skinny athelete. Who is to say what kind of player Horford will be. JB saw something worthy of a scholarship offer in him. I think he is another piece to the puzzle for Beilein.