The basketball program apparently wanted in on Commitmas, too. Michigan picked up their first hoops commit for 2018 yesterday when three-star Detroit East English Village Prep point guard David DeJulius chose the Wolverines mere days after getting the offer, which came on the heels of DeJulius pouring in 46 points in front of John Beilein.
While a Michigan offer didn't materialize until this week, Beilein had his eye on DeJulius for a long time, per TMI's Brice Marich:
“They have always been recruiting me, but just offered me a week ago,” DeJulius told The Michigan Insider. “I always grew up wanting to go to Michigan and I wanted to commit then when they offered, but I wanted to think and make sure it wasn’t just from my emotions. I wanted to think it through and make sure I was making the right decision. There is no better decision than this because it is such a great environment, great education and great program.
DeJulius said Beilein has watched him play "like 20 times" dating back to his freshman year, and assistant coach Saddi Washington was recruiting him back when Washington was at Oakland.
DeJulius is the first commit in the 2018 class. There's room for two more as the scholarship count currently stands; it's near-inevitable that one or two more spots will open up. He's the third point guard Michigan has taken in three classes, following freshman Xavier Simpson and 2017 commit Eli Brooks.
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3*, 89, #22 PG,
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Rankings for the 2018 class are all over the place as the various services catch up on scouting prospects. ESPN is the highest on DeJulius but has nothing in the way of a scouting report; Scout gave him a cursory two stars; Rivals and 247 split the difference.
DeJulius is listed between 6'0" (Scout, 247) and 6'2" (ESPN) and 188-190 pounds. While he's probably a point guard, at least primarily, he could slide over to the two in Beilein's system as well.
[Hit THE JUMP for scouting, video, and more.]
DeJulius transferred to East English Village from Detroit Edison PSA, which represented a significant step up in competition going from Class C to Class A. PrepHoops.com still named him a preseason all-state first-teamer a couple weeks ago:
A transfer from Class C DEPSA, DeJulius is one of the fastest and toughest PGs you will find. He can get to the rim whenever he wants and uses either hand and a very strong frame to finish inside. He has great top end speed that allows him to get shots off before opponents can reacts. DeJulius is also an underrated playmaker who will find teammates when driving to the hoop as well. He is a regular 20 point scorer who can go for 10 assists on any given night as well. DeJulius is one of the best PGs in the state and could help make East English a legitimate State title contender.
Many of the state's best players participated in the Horatio Williams Tip-Off Classic at Cass Tech, and MichiganPreps's Branden Hunter ranked DeJulius as the third-best performer:
There was a lot of hype around Dejulius pairing with Greg Elliott at EEVP, and they showed us why. The two combined for 76 points, with 31 of those coming from Dejulius. Always known as a driver, Dejulius did that well. He's 6-1 now, and built like a tank. You won't stop him from getting anywhere on the court that he wants. His jump-shot as also improved. For a stretch against Flint Beecher, when Elliott wasn't scoring, Dejulius took over, hitting several long-range shots, keeping the defense honest. The 'Splash Bros.' have made their way to Detroit. DePaul is Dejulius' lone offer.
Dylan Burkhardt provided his own evaluation in his commitment writeup yesterday:
DeJulius is a scoring point guard. His jump shot has been improving consistently, but the bread and butter of his game is his ability to power his way to the rim. Standing 6-foot, 188 pounds, he’s got a strong frame and is comfortable finishing in different ways around the rim. DeJulius also plays very well in transition and shows the ability to find his teammates in full court and ball screen situations. He’ll also bring an immediate influx of toughness and strength to the Wolverine backcourt given his size, build and style of play.
You can see DeJulius's progress as a shooter in the shot chart Dylan included from Krossover, which includes games from both AAU ball—DeJulius plays for The Family in the Nike EYBL—and EEVP:
As the scouting reports state, he's a good finisher around the rim, and he's got a sizable sweet spot beyond the arc, too.
According to TMI, DeJulius held offers from DePaul, Detroit Mercy, Oakland, and Toledo when he committed.
Per Dylan, DeJulius has been lighting up the scoreboard so far in this young season:
In five games this season at East English, DeJulius has been lighting up the score sheet. Facing Flint Beecher, Cornerstone, Lima and Macomb Dakota, the point guard is averaging 33 points per game. He’s shooting 63% on twos and 39% on threes for a 61 eFG% and averaging five assists per contest in his junior season.
In 12 games on the 16U Nike EYBL circuit this summer, DeJulius averaged 10.5 points, 3 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game. He shot 47% on twos and 4[?]% on threes for a 51 eFG%.
That's some impressive outside shooting for a player regarded foremost as a slasher.
The 46-point game:
Early season highlights, part one:
Nike EYBL highlights:
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
DeJulius still has a lot of development in store before he gets to Michigan, so it's tough to project this far out. That said, he looks like a player who will make an immediate impact. While it's far too early to write off Xavier Simpson, there's no question he's off to a disappointing start, and Eli Brooks (#191 overall in the 2017 composite rankings) isn't a sure thing. Former Wolverine Ant Wright, a contributor to TMI, posted on their board that he expects DeJulius to play right away:
He's Trey Burke 2.0.. except he's much more explosive and more physically developed now as a high school junior than Trey was as a freshman at Michigan.. he'll come in more college ready.. and I'm not knocking Brooks or X, but whether he starts or not, DeJulius is going to play right away, he does too many good things.. strong with the ball, explosive, high IQ.. his only knock was his shooting ability, but it's evident he's been putting in work this offseason, now shooting 50% from long range this season.. he's unguardable right now with his ability to get to the basket, utilize a great floater, and able to shoot from deep.. this roster is shaping up to be special
I really like what I've seen of DeJulius in the highlights, with the caveat that they're highlights. We've seen the past couple years how badly a team needs guards who can reliably create offense off the dribble; DeJulius is one of those guys, and he's developing the level of outside shot that could make him a dangerous weapon in Beilein's system.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
This commitment probably closes the door on recruiting point/combo guards in the 2018 class. Michigan currently has two spots open in 2018; given the nature of college basketball, that number should grow by a spot or two before the class is wrapped up, though it's worth noting there's an open scholarship for next season if Mark Donnal doesn't return.
Michigan has four outstanding offers to 2018 prospects: four-star MA SG Cormac Ryan, four-star MI PF Brandon Johns, four-star PA SG Robby Carmody, and four-star OH SF Jerome Hunter. The commitment of DeJulius shouldn't impact Michigan's pursuit of that group.