Grad transfer Grant Mullins visits this week. [Photo: Columbia Spectator]
After the departure of Aubrey Dawkins, Michigan has an open spot to fill, and this week has brought some clarity about how John Beilein plans to do so. First, here's a quick look at the scholarship situation:
|1||M. Donnal||MAAR||M. Wagner||A. Davis|
|2||Z. Irvin||K. Chatman||D.J. Wilson||X. Simpson|
|3||D. Walton||D. Robinson||A. Davis||J. Teske|
|4||MAAR||M. Wagner||X. Simpson||I. Watson|
|5||K. Chatman||D.J. Wilson||J. Teske||J. Poole|
|6||D. Robinson||A. Davis||I. Watson|
|7||M. Wagner||X. Simpson||J. Poole|
|8||D.J. Wilson||J. Teske|
|9||A. Davis||I. Watson|
|10||X. Simpson||J. Poole|
There's the one spot to fill for 2016-17; Michigan could take a grad transfer and still have three open scholarships (plus 2017 commit Jordan Poole) to work with for the 2017 class, or they could take a late-rising 2016 recruit to round out what would be a five-person class. Both options are still on the table.
The Grad Transfer Route
As first reported by Sam Webb and confirmed by Brendan Quinn, Columbia grad transfer Grant Mullins will visit campus on Wednesday. Mullins is a 6'4" combo guard who knocked down 44% of his three-pointers last season, and he's Not Just A Shooter™; he made 49% of his twos, got to the line at the fourth-highest rate in the Ivy League, and even posted respectable defensive rebound and steal rates. Dylan has further statistical nuggets that are quite intriguing from Michigan's standpoint:
Mullins graded out in the 94th percentile nationally in pick-and-roll efficiency (including passes) according to Synergy Sports. He also graded out in the top ten percent of college basketball players in catch-and-shoot ability and shooting off the dribble.
Without Caris LeVert, M struggled to replicate their past success with the pick-and-roll. Ideally the team would have a player capable of reliably finishing at the rim who's also a willing distributor; last year, it was one (MAAR) or the other (Irvin/Walton). In addition to providing excellent outside shooting, Mullins could bring that dimension back to the offense.
Mullins took visits to Cal and Syracuse, and those two schools appear to be M's chief competition.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
The Freaky 2016 Route
If you're an NBA fan, you're probably familiar with the exploits of Milwaukee's 6'11" point forward, Giannis "The Greek Freak" Antetokounmpo, an athletic anomaly who's just beginning to realize his prodigious potential. His younger brother, Kostas Antetokounmpo, is a four-star 2016 forward with offers from Iowa State and Marquette along with heavy St. John's interest, and Sam Webb reports Michigan is showing interest.
Like his older brother, Kostas is 6'11" with raw skills that could see him become a matchup nightmare at any level, and I'd personally love to see Beilein add a player with his combination of size, athleticism, and upside. The downside here is Antetokounmpo might not be able to contribute right away; he's just 185 pounds and his shot is a work-in-progress.
I still think he's worth the risk, especially if M strikes out on Mullins. A player with his length and leaping ability could immediately help out Michigan's defense even if he's not great positionally, and he's got serious NBA potential down the road.
2017 Updates: Cain Blowing Up
In addition to commit Jordan Poole, Michigan has offered only two prospects so far in the 2017 class: four-star OH G/F Kyle Young and four-star IN F Jaren Jackson. That list should grow soon. Three-star Detroit Cornerstone Academy SF Jamal Cain has seen his stock rise considerably of late, and he'll visit Michigan for the full academic tour—a Beilein prerequisite for picking up an offer—on April 27th. Cain told Sam Webb he currently has Xavier, Washington State, and Georgia as his top three, but if a Michigan offer came it seems likely that would change:
“I’m looking at academics and (for a place) where I’m not just coming to sit on the bench," said Cain. “I would love to be somewhere close to my family so they can see more games, but if my best choice is a distance I would probably go."
"Right now I think (a decision will come) probably in November."
Michigan is currently in closer contact with Cain than Michigan State, so they should have the edge among in-state programs.
Speaking of 2017 in-state prospects, Beilein and Tom Izzo both visited five-star Saginaw SF Brian Bowen yesterday, per Scout's Evan Daniels. The Spartans are the early favorite in what will be a high-level national recruitment.
Poole, meanwhile, had a great opening to AAU season with an outstanding performance at the NY2LA Swish n' Dish. His shooting ability is on full display in his recently released junior year mixtape.
Excellent feature from Quinn on Xavier Simpson:
"Do you see any Trey Burke in him?" the Michigan coached was asked.
Beilein could have ducked and dodged. He could have taken the question, scrubbed it clean and handed it back, without comparing a high school senior to the greatest point guard in Michigan basketball history.
"I do," Beilein said. "I see the dog in him, and I mean that as a positive."
As for Spike Albrecht, he's looking at several programs, including the possibilty of teaming back up with LaVall Jordan in Milwaukee:
Michigan grad transfer Spike Albrecht told ESPN that he's looking at Purdue, Wichita State, Indiana, Texas A&M, Syracuse, USC & Milwaukee.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) April 19, 2016
For the sake of Michigan fans, it's nice to see several non-B1G options on the table.