Hoops Hello: Adrien Nunez

Submitted by Ace on October 2nd, 2017 at 7:59 PM

Taylor Currie may have just exited the 2018 class, but is it really a John Beilein recruiting class without an under-the-radar pickup? We won't have to answer that question following this evening's commitment of 6'5" Brooklyn wing Adrien Nunez, who wasted little time announcing his pledge after picking up an offer during last weekend's official visit.

Nunez is the fourth commit in the class, joining Ignas Brazdekis, Brandon Johns, and David DeJulius. With Michigan looking likely to add four-star big man Colin Castleton this week, the 2018 haul could go down as one of the best in recent memory.

GURU RATINGS

Scout Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
NR SG 3* SF NR 3*, 87, #65 SG,
#287 Ovr
3*, #62 SG,
#268 Ovr

Nunez wasn't on anybody's radar until this summer, so it isn't a surprise that the recruiting services are still largely in the evaluation process; only 247 has given him a numerical ranking. ESPN doesn't even have him in their database.

The three sites with profiles for Nunez all list him at 6'5" and either 175 (Scout, 247) or 195 (Rivals) pounds. He'll be able to play either the two or the three in John Beilein's system. This is likely why Michigan is taking Nunez instead of waiting on Noah Locke, a 6'2" guard who'd play a similar role—perimeter gunner—but would give the team less lineup flexibility.

[Hit THE JUMP for scouting, video, and the rest.]

SCOUTING

Nunez took about as long as possible to catch the proverbial eye of major college basketball. He played out four years of high school ball at the loaded Brooklyn program Bishop Laughlin. Nunez only averaged 4.8 points per game as a senior on a team featuring four-star 2018 Cincinnati signee Keith Williams, three-star 2018 PG Markquis Nowell, and productive senior Tyrese Gaffey. As a 2017 prospect with no Division I offers, Nunez chose to reclassify to 2018 and take a post-grad year at St. Thomas More School in Connecticut.

That decision has paid off, as Nunez's sharp outside shooting finally attracted some attention this summer. After entering July's Hoop Group Elite Camp with no offers, he left with a handful when he got the opportunity to show off his full repertoire:

On Saturday afternoon in an opening-round win over Team Final Red, Nunez showed just why he’s caught the attention of coaches and media alike over the last 10 days. A 6-6 guard with range, Nunez has the requisite length and athleticism to be a non-doubt Division I athlete -- and then he starts dropping 3-pointers like they’re nothing, hitting three while scoring 14 points in a 24-point win.

He also created off the bounce, finding his teammates while driving the lane and finishing a few flushes. Big guards who can dribble, pass and shoot with consistency are a popular commodity, indeed.

“At Loughlin I was always shooting, I wasn’t getting the ball much but i was always a shooter,” he said. “Now I’m showing my ball-handling, my ability to bring the ball up the court and dunk a little bit, so yeah. That’s pretty much what (changed).”

While Nunez has been able to handle the ball more this summer, his main draw is still his outside shooting. Endless Motor sees him as primarily a spot-up threat:

Adrien Nunez (NR) – have never seen him play live, but I do like the limited film I’ve seen. Appears to be a very good shooter with a quick release. Has great size at a legit 6’5 with a college ready frame. Plus athlete with strength that can absorb contact and maintain balance and shows decent elevation. Appears to be able to create his own shot from the perimeter but handle does not appear good enough to consistently create separation on quicker defenders in order to get in the paint. Projects as a 2/3 at the next level that is mostly a catch and shoot type that can finish in transition while being a decent rebounder as a wing.

Rivals's Corey Evans adds some welcome context to Nunez's shooting ability:

Brooklyn St. Thomas More shooting guard Adrien Nunez’ recruitment blew up this summer when he proved he was one of the top five shooters in the senior class, according to Rivals.com’s Corey Evans, and U-M head coach John Beilein noticed.

Beilein can work with that.

Finally, UMHoops broke down film from Nunez's high school season and camp appearances. Unfortunately, limited minutes and competition level prevent a full evaluation of his rebounding and defense, but Dylan likes his size, frame, and ability to shoot the ball in a variety of ways, including off the bounce:

The trend here is that Nunez is not just a guy who is going to sit in the corner and shoot off the catch. He’s a ‘shooter’ but he can get (and make) jump shots of different types from different spots on the floor. The more recent the Nunez film, the more aggressive he is searching for his shot off the dribble. He gets great elevation on his pull-up jumper and hits consistently from the mid-range and out to three.

As Dylan notes, Nunez could be a very dangerous transition player; much like Duncan Robinson, he can be lethal when he trails the play and spots up before the defense is set.

Nunez's late development and overall skill set suggest he'll be best utilized as a complementary player barring a remarkable late breakout. Given his apparent shooting ability, that absolutely works for Michigan, which already has a ball-dominant scoring wing in the class in Iggy Brazdeikis. Beilein wanted a sharpshooter with some size to stick on the wing; he landed a player who could be among the best shooters in the country if you believe Rivals. For a prospect who'll likely be the fifth-ranked guy in a five-man class, Nunez has a pretty good shot at carving out a role for himself, especially when we take Beilein's track record with late under-the-radar pickups into account.

OFFERS

After not holding a single offer entering July, Nunez was offered scholarships by Boston College, Bowling Green, Brown, Dartmouth, Fordham, La Salle, UMass, Penn, Penn State, Robert Morris, St. Joseph's, Texas A&M, VCU, Wagner, and Yale. Given the number of Ivy League programs involved, it's safe to say academics aren't a concern here.

STATS

MaxPreps has full stats for Nunez's final season at Bishop Loughlin. In 24 games, he averaged 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 0.5 assists. He went 18/36 (50.0%) on twos, 21/72 (29.2%) on threes, and 16/21 (76.2%) from the line. Nunez obviously shot much better from beyond the arc this summer; his post-grad stats at St. Thomas More will be interesting to see as he acclimates to a larger role.

VIDEO

Camp highlights:

High school highlights:

Rapid-fire shooting highlights uploaded today:

PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE

While I'm not sure anyone has seen enough of Nunez to be confident in a prediction, his outside shooting should eventually provide him with a role in this program, whether as instant offense off the bench or as the third or fourth option in the starting lineup. Nunez probably isn't going to develop into a great ball screen creator or isolation scorer, but if he can sink threes, rebound his position, and play some defense, he could be a very valuable player—especially with guys like Brazdeikis and Johns hopefully shouldering the scoring load and giving him room to operate on the perimeter.

Depending on the development of Ibi Watson, Nunez could have a spot in the rotation as early as year one, when he could be called upon to back up Jordan Poole at the two. Charles Matthews, Brazdeikis, and Poole will make it hard for Nunez to crack the starting lineup until he's an upperclassman, which gives him time to round out his game before he's asked to play major minutes.

UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS

Nunez's commitment all but eliminates Michigan for Noah Locke, who would've filled the same role while being three inches shorter.

Four-star FL big Colin Castleton is done with visits following last weekend's Michigan official and is probably announcing this week. If, as expected, he chooses M over Illinois, it'll close out the 2018 class. Michigan would technically be one over the scholarship limit with Castleton in the fold but he's essentially being recruited as a Moe Wagner replacement, plus you can safety bet on attrition coming from somewhere if Wagner decides to stay for his senior year. 

Here's the class as it currently stands:

Comments

Wolverheel

October 2nd, 2017 at 8:12 PM ^

As you mentioned, if he can shoot at a high percentage then his defensive versatility alone will make him more valuable than Locke, who is too slow to guard good PG's and too small to guard most 3's. 

victors2000

October 2nd, 2017 at 8:14 PM ^

He seems destined to rise in the star rankings. Smooth stroke, got some hops, can create his own shot, and pass too; he seems to be a good get. Well come aboard Adrien!

FanNamedOzzy

October 2nd, 2017 at 8:19 PM ^

I'm no basketball guy, but I like the high arc on his shots. Given his height, and what seems like a relatively quick and high release, he does seem like a dangerous guy to have on the perimeter.

Michigan4Life

October 2nd, 2017 at 10:29 PM ^

Colin Castleton is announcing this week and everything points to Michigan's direction. If he commits to Michigan, the class is over and JB can concentrate on '19 class.

He already offerred Romeo Weems and Rocket Watts (and Taylor Currie if he wants to reclassify back to '19 class). There are several targets that JB is keeping an eye on but it's still early for '19 class.

Low Key Recidivist

October 3rd, 2017 at 7:40 PM ^

because he can flat out shoot the rock. He has a nearly flawless stroke (great lift, high/quick release, consistent follow-through and mechanics).  As Ace mentioned, he also looks like a pretty good athlete.  In addition, he moves very well without the ball and understands spacing on the floor - all things which have high appeal to our beloved coach.

I think his floor is probably Sophomore Duncan Robinson, but he has a lot more upside as he's  a much better athlete.  The comparisons to high school THJ aren't just recruiting hyperbole; there's some similarity in their game.

May not be a difference-maker, but I think he'll be a solid contributor over the course of his career.  

Gucci Mane

October 2nd, 2017 at 9:42 PM ^

first of all Trey Burke was no where near as low ranked as this kid. Second, citing an exception to a rule is not a good arguement. 

A shooter who shot 29% ? WTH. I'm sure he will out perform his ranking, but I wish Michigan was capable of recruiting more top talent.

It is cool to have a hispanic on the team though ! Who was the last one ? Am I forgetting someone obvious ?

Mr Miggle

October 3rd, 2017 at 7:49 AM ^

Tim Hardaway was a generic 3*. Glenn Robinson when he committed was a  3* whose only other offer was Valparaiso. Levert was a low 3*. Nik Stauskas was a 3* when he committed. So were Trey Burke and Wilson. 

Of all the players Beilein has sent to the NBA from Michigan, Mitch McGary is the only one since Darius Morris to have as much as a single 4* ranking from any of the services at the time they committed. Let that sink in. 

Several of those players saw their rankings rise. Hardaway and Levert remained low/middling 3*s. Burke and Stauskas both ended up just inside the top 100. Wilson moved into the top 150.

Maize and Blue…

October 3rd, 2017 at 9:54 AM ^

Rankings for an early verbal aren't relevant. Nunez finished his senior year averaging less then 5 points a game while shooting 29% from 3. Those are HS bench warmer stats not a D1 commits stats. There is a reason he doesn't have a recruiting profile on half the sites.
Hopefully he works, but if not at least he will get a great education.

Mr Miggle

October 3rd, 2017 at 3:00 PM ^

among the players I listed. He only had a Valpo offer going into his junior year. The board would be howling if we picked up a 2019 commit with that recruiting profile. Why isn't that ranking relevant, but the final one is? And for Nunez, his previous lack of a ranking is somehow important? If we're giving Beilein credit for recognizing previous recruits were way underrated, why not do it now too?

I'm not making any claim about what Nunez will do, but his final ranking isn't out so it's hard to discuss that. Nunez did just pick up a bunch of offers, so he's obviously shown a lot of improvement from last season.

ypsituckyboy

October 2nd, 2017 at 8:28 PM ^

I really like players with the high, quick release and good form. Just a very valuable thing to have as you begin to play higher level athletes.

Limited film caveats apply, but it looks like he actually applies himself on defense too. 

Coldwater

October 2nd, 2017 at 8:29 PM ^

Can he defend? Can he scrap and claw for rebounds? Michigan needs some guys with the "dog" mentality in them. That's always a Beilein team issue. Too soft. I hope this kids brings some badassery to the court.

HarbaughsLeftElbow

October 2nd, 2017 at 10:36 PM ^

Too soft? Novak was possibly the grittiest guy in program history. Walton was the grittiest PG in NCAAB last year. Even Zak Irvin became pretty gritty compared to what he came in as. Spike was gritty, Morgan was gritty, overall I'd say Beilein's teams are pretty gritty. 

Where they are lacking is in athleticism and (prior to Donlan) defensive coaching. 

707oxford

October 2nd, 2017 at 8:32 PM ^

In this offense, a good shooter is always useful. That said he'll need to work on getting his shot off quicker for the college game. Watch the spot up threes - he catches at chest level and then brings the ball down below his waist to start his shooting motion. Tough habit to break, and could have something to do with his lower rating. Hopefully he can trim this motion down and become the next lethal outside threat for M.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad

m1817

October 2nd, 2017 at 8:45 PM ^

John Beilein's contract runs through 2020-21 when he will be 67 years old.  The 2018 class will be in its third year then.  Wonder if Beilein will sign an extension?  

coolcool

October 2nd, 2017 at 8:52 PM ^

does not have the highest ceiling but I can see why the coaches offered him. He should at least be a streaky scorer of the bench with potential to be a very serviceable 3 and D starter as an upperclassman. I like Locke but Nunez offers more versatility, especially if he can bring a hard-nosed mentailty on defense.

Castleton really impresses me and would be the cherry on top for a stellar class.

Bb011

October 2nd, 2017 at 9:43 PM ^

His shot looks really good. A lot of HS players (including a lot of people we recruit) have a glaring issue with their shot, whether it is to low, slow, a hitch, or any other one of the various issues. That doesn't mean these players won't go on to be a good player or even be a good shooter, but it just means that they have some possible issues going forward with their shot. Nunez's shot is really damn nice, and was not something I was expecting out of a guy that isn't even ranked on some of the sites, and isn't all that highly ranked on the sites that he is ranked on. I sometimes get a little too invested in the stars (like a lot of people that follow all of this closely) but I really like this pickup. From what I see I think he will be a really damn good player that Beilein (once again) found.

Bertello NC

October 2nd, 2017 at 10:03 PM ^

Probably lacking in the athleticism in this comparison but he looks like, and shoots like Lonzo Ball. Lonzo’s shot mechanics are a little unorthodox while Adrien’s looks smoother. In the clips when he does the step back I have to do a double take. There’s a lot you can do with his skill set. You’ll probably have a lot of hard closeouts and if he has the quickness and handle to beat defenders off the dribble to pass, pull up, or take it all the way could be a nice addition.

HarbaughsLeftElbow

October 2nd, 2017 at 11:12 PM ^

Can anyone provide any context/explanation for his high school stats? That is a terrible statline for a Michigan-type basketball recruit (especially for one without outrageous athleticism).