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.
|NR SG||3* SF||NR||
3*, 87, #65 SG,
3*, #62 SG,
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.]
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.
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.
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.
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: