Beilein is fighting for some top-tier 2018 prospects. [Patrick Barron]
With targets flying off the board, including Brandon Johns to Michigan, and a couple major visits going down of late, not to mention the upcoming July evaluation period, it's time for a fresh look at the 2018 basketball recruiting board.
|1||D. Robinson*||M. Wagner||C. Matthews*||A. Davis*|
|2||M-A Abdur-Rahkman||C. Matthews*||X. Simpson||E. Brooks|
|3||J. Simmons||X. Simpson||J. Teske||I. Livers|
|4||M. Wagner||J. Teske||I. Watson||J. Poole|
|5||C. Matthews*||I. Watson||A. Davis*||T. Currie|
|6||X. Simpson||A. Davis*||E. Brooks||D. DeJulius|
|7||J. Teske||E. Brooks||I. Livers||B. Johns|
|8||I. Watson||I. Livers||J. Poole|
|9||A. Davis*||J. Poole||T. Currie|
|10||E. Brooks||T. Currie||D. DeJulius|
|11||I. Livers||D. DeJulius||B. Johns|
|12||J. Poole||B. Johns|
While Michigan currently has one scholarship to work with for the 2018 class, it's expected they'll take two more commits. Between Moe Wagner's potential early departure to the NBA and the generally underwhelming debut season for the 2016 class, it's safe to expect at least one spot to open up.
PG David DeJulius (3*, #33 PG, #201 overall on 247 Composite; #89 overall EM). Despite a relatively low composite ranking—one that might be an error, as it's lower than any of his rankings from the four major sites—DeJulius has had a strong spring. That included a standout performance at Michigan's team camp, per Endless Motor:
We really love the fit between Michigan and DeJulius, he really excels in pick and roll sets off the dribble where he has the option to shoot from the perimeter or draw the defense and find teammates for good looks. He has a college ready body right now, and we expect him to log some minutes as a freshman with his ability to shoot the ball.
Scout's Brian Dohn posted an extensive scouting report at the end of May that was less bullish on DeJulius, noting that he needs to improve his passing and cut down on turnovers, but there's still a lot to work with here:
Currently the best thing DeJulius does is create space for himself off the dribble. DeJulius has an absolutely lethal step back jumper, and he is capable of making it both in the mid-range and from distance. While DeJulius doesn't have the speed to go past a ton of defenders off the bounce, what he does do as well as any prospect in the class is stop on a dime, and create space to make his jumper. This makes him very difficult to guard in isolation situations, and even coming off of ball screens.
Also DeJulius has the look of somebody who will be an excellent catch and shoot guy from three. Though his shooting percentages are modest right now, a lot of that is due to the fact that he is still learning the balance between a good shot and a bad shot, and when to look for his own versus getting others involved. As he gets to college and that becomes more clear, DeJulius has the stroke of a 40 percent three point shooter and someone who can really threaten a defense from beyond the arc.
Pick-and-roll play appears to be a strength for DeJulius, which should put him right in the mix for playing time with Xavier Simpson and Eli Brooks at point guard when he gets to campus. As Derrick Walton so ably displayed last season, having someone who can shoot off the dribble on pick-and-rolls is a game-changer in John Beilein's offense.
PF Brandon Johns (4*, #18 PF, #56 overall 247 Comp; #44 overall EM). Vertically explosive, skilled big wing who could be a day-one starter at the four. Much more in his recent Hello post.
C Taylor Currie (4*, #14 C, #107 overall 247 Comp for 2019). Currie announced that he'll reclassify to the 2018 class last week, which is interesting on a number of fronts. It means Michigan will also certainly take five players in the 2018 class; Beilein has become much more willing to recruit with attrition in mind. It provides insurance for an early departure by Moe Wagner; Beilein prefers always having three centers on the roster. Whether or not Wagner leaves, it gives Currie an early jump on development at the college level; even if he redshirts, which seems likely, he'll progress more by practicing with Michigan than he would playing another season of high school ball at Clarkston. More on Currie in his Hello post.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the board.]
OFF THE BOARD
SG Robby Carmody (4* #18 SG, #81 overall 247 Comp; #82 overall EM). Committed to Notre Dame.
SF Pete Nance (4*, #16 SF, #68 overall 247 Comp; NR on EM). Committed to Northwestern. You can see why some Michigan basketball recruitniks weren't too disappointed to lose out on Nance, even though the coaches were still going to push for him after Johns's commitment: there's plenty of disagreement about where he should be ranked because he's got a long way to go to reach his ceiling—Endless Motor left him off their top 150 entirely, while Rivals has him way up at #39 overall.
SG Cormac Ryan (4*, #14 SG, #62 overall 247 Comp; #43 overall EM). Committed to Stanford.
SF Cole Swider (4*, #17 SF, #69 overall 247 Comp; #65 overall EM). Committed to Villanova.
PF Marcus Bingham (4*, #23 PF, #83 overall 247 Comp; #74 overall EM). Committed to Michigan State. Didn't hold a Michigan offer but was in the running for one.
SF Gabe Brown. (4*, #42 SF, #162 overall 247 Comp; #106 overall EM). Same situation as Bingham. Committed to Michigan State. Didn't hold a Michigan offer but was in the running for one.
OFFERED PROSPECTS: TOP TARGETS
SF Jerome Hunter (4*, #34 SF, #126 overall 247 Comp; #30 overall EM). Hunter is potentially in line for a huge jump up the rankings—Endless Motor nearly has him in five-star range—and it's easy to see why when watching highlights from this spring. Hunter recently cut his list to five schools— Indiana, Michigan, Ohio State, Pitt, and Xavier—with Michigan and Xavier thought to be the two schools out in front.
After Nance cancelled his official visit set for last weekend, Michigan brought in Hunter for a surprise official, as reported by The Wolverine's Chris Balas. While Hunter isn't expected to make a decision until after the July evaluation period, he's seen all of his top schools, so an earlier timeline wouldn't be entirely unexpected. He's one of the two most coveted prospects on the board, along with...
SF Ignas Brazdeikis (4*, #26 SF, #102 overall 247 Comp; #36 overall EM). A similar prospect to Hunter in terms of skill set, ranking, and rankings disparity—the Canadian and friend of Nik Stauskas is another potential riser identified early by Michigan's staff. Brazdeikis is still leaning strongly towards staying in the 2018 class (he'd considered 2017 as well) and he's considering a number of programs:
“Michigan, Florida, UConn, Vanderbilt, Baylor, SMU, Washington, Oklahoma and a few others are on me,” he said. “I took a few unofficial visits to Pitt, Michigan, Cincinnati and Vanderbilt last year.”
Rivals expects a fall commitment and lists Michigan as one of the schools with the bench chance of landing him; Florida and Vanderbilt look like the primary competition, though more schools could get into the running as he gets more exposure.
It's possible Michigan tries to land both Hunter and Brazdeikis if they believe one of them can at least moonlight at shooting guard. Since neither is a lock to Michigan and SG isn't an ideal fit for either player, I'm expecting them to land one and then push for one of the next two guys. No matter what, landing either Hunter or Bradzeikis would be huge for the class—they both can really fill it up.
SF Hunter Tyson (3*, #63 SF, #269 overall 247 Comp; #137 overall EM). Tyson visited Michigan on Friday, landing the offer he was told he'd receive upon his arrival. While he was noncommittal about naming a leader to UMHoops's Orion Sang, it sounds like Michigan gave him a lot to mull over:
Tyson previously mentioned he hoped to make a decision after the July live period, and he said he plans to stick to that timeline.
“I did enjoy the visit, but I’m not ready to make a commitment just yet,” Tyson said. “I’m still thinking it over, talking to my family, and I’ll eventually make a decision.
“I wouldn’t say I have a leader right now, but I’m still thinking it over.”
Hunter and Brazdeikis are 3/4-types, while Tyson is more of a 2/3—he's a shooter first and foremost. Clemson and Tennessee are his best offers after Michigan.
PG Noah Locke (4*, #15 PG, #84 overall 247 Comp; #104 overall EM). Locke has been perhaps the best shooter in the EYBL, making 53/107 (49.5%) of his three-point attempts in 13 games this spring. While he's only 6'2", that shooting ability makes him a viable two-guard. He had a strong visit to Michigan last month, when he added his Wolverine offer. Scout's Brian Snow believes Providence, Xavier, and Virginia are M's primary competition, with a decision expected to come after the July evaluation period.
SF Damezi Anderson (4*, #24 SF, #92 overall 247 Comp; #108 overall EM). There hasn't been much buzz on Anderson since he picked up his offer in May. With Johns in the fold and Michigan very much in the mix for Brazdeikis/Hunter/Tyson, Anderson looks like a backup plan on the wing.
PF Race Thompson (4*, #22 PF, #86 overall 247 Comp; #96 overall EM). Johns likely took Thompson's potential spot in the class; Michigan doesn't need another guy who'd primarily play the four.
This is rounding into one of Beilein's better classes, and could be right up there with some of his best with a strong close. If I had to project the current class, I'd add Jerome Hunter and Hunter Tyson to the trio of commits, and once the former gets his expected bump in the rankings, that'll be a highly regarded haul. Any combination of Hunter/Brazdeikis and Locke/Tyson would be a great finish.