With football season done, and signing day a week away, I figured this would be the appropriate time to get a basketball recruiting roundup out for the 2017-2019 classes with basektball season in full swing.
Isaiah Livers (commit) - will be combo forward at Michigan. Legit 6'7-6'8 with a good shot, above average athleticism and some ballhandling ability. Jury is still out as to whether he has the ability to be an on-ball playmaker at the collegiate level. Has looked really fluid handling the ball against lesser defenders and not willing against really good defenders. His shooting ability is good regardless of comp level, and has been consistent from both distance and midrange. Average/slightly below average rebounder given his size, frame and atheltic ability. Overall, think this is the best combination Beilein has signed at the PF spot since GR3 when considering size, raw talent and athleticism. Definitely think Livers is a reasonable upgrade in the recruiting profile at that position.
Jordan Poole (commit) - will be a shooting guard at Michigan to start out, and likely evolve into more of an on-ball playmaker as he develops after his freshman season. Legit 6'4 with a nice shot and range out to 26feet. Average/above average handle, but loose with the ball when pressure defense is applied by good defenders. Really nice vision, but his passing is high-risk/high reward, and a lot of turnovers come with that when he has to play with the ball in his hands often. Not a great athlete by any means, but appears to have made marginal improvements in that regard over the past year. I think Poole will likely start out in a Zak Irvin role, as a designated gunner from deep off the bench, and is likely to struggle on defense. His minutes as a freshman will largely depend on how good/bad MAAR is next year. Overall I think Poole is a reasonable upgrade over what we've seen the last few cycles in terms of skill. I think he has the tools to be a really good second option for a good offensive team. Think he will be good for Michigan.
Eli Brooks (commit) - will be a combo-guard at Michigan, and more of a shooter to start out his career. Around 6', but can shoot the ball well off the dribble from midrange, and very good shooter off the catch from three. Doesn't move particularly well laterally, but has an above average vertical that will catch some by surprise. Much like Poole, Brooks' playing time as a freshman will be dictated by how good/bad Xavier Simpson is. With Simpson struggling on offense, Brooks should have every opportunity to compete for early playing time. I think Brooks will likely struggle on defense, but if he can be a competent ballhandler for brief stretches and knock down perimeter shots on offense, he should earn some minutes next year. Appears to be a nice compliement to the much more defensive oriented Xavier Simpson.
Mo Bamba (Top Target) - 6'11 center that is a top 5 player in the country. Bamba has a 7'8 wingspan and would instantly improve Michigan's defense with his shotblocking and rebounding ability. Very raw on offense, but his athletic ability at that size is absolutely elite and would be a game changer for a Michigan team that is athletically challenged. I don't think there's any chance Bamba comes to Michigan, but if he does that changes next year's projection a good deal. Staff going all in on Bamba, and any other potential targets are being put on the backburner until Mo gives a definitive yes/no to Michigan.
David DeJulius (commit) - will be a point guard at Michigan. Small at 5'11-6, but really strong build and frame at that size. Excellent shooter off the dribble or the catch from both midrange and three. Not a great athlete that will be able to finish in the paint at the college level, but has a really nice floater from 8-12 feet that will compensate. This is the weapon we all hoped Derrick Walton would develop in light of his struggles inisde the arc over the years. Great at getting to his spots on the floor using an above average handle and superior strength. Once Dave gets you on his hip, he's getting to his spot period. Very aggressive going to the rim and makes a living at the FT line. I think he'll struggle on defense early on, as he isn't the quickest and is on the small side. Dave is going to be a scoring lead guard that I think will be a nice 4 year player. 2018 rankings are in the infant statges right now, but DeJulius is an 80-100 type in my opinion and I think the rankings will reflect that when all said and done.
Cormac Ryan (offer) - probably the top target on the board at the wing spot. Listed at 6'5 but only a legit 6'3. Very good shooter off the catch and the dribble from distance and midrange. Has above average ballhandling ability, but is loose with the ball when pressure defense is applied in the half court. Good passer with nice vision as well. While not thought of as an athlete, Ryan has good verticality and will surprise people that way. Cormac is extremely skinny at this point, and adding 10-15 pounds of muscle mass would definitely help as he is off balance a lot. While Cormac has a lot of upside based on his skill, size and verticality, I don't think he'd be the best of our wing targets in his freshman year, as I think it would take him a while to get adjusted to the speed and physicality of the college game. Cormac is ranked as high as 54 on ESPN to as low as a 3 star on some sites. I think Cormac is a 70ish type prospect, as he has a lot of tools and upside, but needs some more dog in him for sure. I haven't spoken with Cormac personally, but he doesn't appear to be in a rush to make a decision any time soon. I view Ryan as a more athletic Jordan Poole.
Robby Carmody (offer) - a legit 6'4 with a strong frame.........and he uses it to his advantage. Carmody is a really good shooter off the dribble and catch from both midrange and three. An average/slightly below average ballhandler but able to get to the rim using superior strength/size combination and has surprisingly good vision and makes nice passes to teammates for easy buckets. Takes tremendous pride on the defensive end of the court and is a really nice rebounder for a guard. Above average athlete with nice vertcality, great strength, and moves pretty well laterally for a kid that size. His motor is just non-stop, he's not soft by any means............Robby is a true competitor in every sense of the word, plays hard on every single play. While I think Ryan has a bit more upside long term, there is no doubt in my mind that Carmody would be better early on, as I don't think he would need much time, if any, to adjust to the speed and physicality of the college game. Robby plays the game fast and hard right now. Carmody's ranking falls between 60-90 on all sites. I talk with Carmody rather frequently, and I'd say that Michigan is likely in his top 5, but not the leader. My comparison for Carmody is Rex Chapman (formerly of UK. Charlotte Hornets)
Jamal Bieniemy (interest) - a name that many will not know about. Jamal is a 6'4 lead guard with nice length out of the Houston area. Has a nice handle and change of direction, but needs to tighten up the handle a bit with the left, and can be right hand dominant at times. Bieniemy has a really nice jumper off the dribble from midrange and an above average shot from 3 off the catch. He has tons of upside, as he still has tons of filling out to do with his frame. He's an above average athlete with good straigt line speed and above average verticality. Jamal is only ranked by 1 site, as Rivals ranks him #132. I think he's going to be a summer stockriser for sure, as he's running with Houston Hoops (EYBL) this year instead of Texas Boys Athletic Club (non shoe-sponsored club), so he's going to get tons of exposure. I think Jamal has all the tools to be a top 70-80 player in the country, and his ranking is going to increase for sure. I spoke with Jamal yesterday, and while Michigan is just showing preliminary interest right now, he has legit interest in Michigan and knows our offensive style of play fits his skillset well. He's definitely one to keep an eye out for moving forward. My comparison for Jamal is Caris Levert.
Jerome Hunter (offer) - 6'7-6'8 forward out of Columbus is the #1 target for the staff at the forward spot. Has a really versatile game. Can stretch the floor from the perimeter, crash the glass, put the ball on the floor a bit, and even play with his back to the basket at times. Above average athlete with good straight line speed, above average lateral agility and verticality. I think he's Michigan's best bet for 18 forward targets and would love to have him, and I think he's going to be a nice two-way player in college. I spoke with Jerome last week, and unfortunately I don't think Michigan is in Hunter's top group at this point. Jerome's rankings vary from 70ish to 3 star. I view Hunter as a 75-100 type prospect. My comparison for Hunter is DeShawn Sims and CJ Fair.
Brandon Johns (offer) - started off as a top 20 type in the country and was the #1 target at the forward spot until last summer, when his play in EYBL left a lot to be desired. A legit 6'8 and 210-215 with really nice shooting form. Johns has the ability to put the ball on the floor at times, but just hasn't shown the ability to be a playmaker off the dribble against legit competition. During EYBL he was a catch and shoot guy almost exlusively, and did little else. If I recall correctly, he only shot 27% from 3 during EYBL play. While Johns shot a low percentage from distance in EYBL, I think he'll be a 35-36% shooter from deep in college, which is a really nice percentage for a 4man. His form is really nice and consistent. He just needs to bring more motor and intensity to the game, as he's a sub-par rebounder at that size and doesn't move well laterally. Does have above average verticality, but not explosive. I speak with Brandon from time to time, and I'd say that his parents want him in-state, but he's not necessarily sold on that. While Brandon started off as a 5star/top 20 type, his rankings have fallen universally, as he's now ranging from 37-97. I view Brandon as an 80-120 type player. My comparison for Johns is Anthony Tolliver stylistically.
Kevin Easley (Interest) - would've probably committed to Michigan by now if he had been offered, as he was EXTREMELY high on Michigan over the spring/summer. Listed at 6'6, but only a legit 6'5, and a bit of a tweener. Doesn't have the ballhandling skills to be play on the wing, and lacks the size to be a true post. That said, he has an above average shot off the catch from distance and a good shoot off the dribble from midrange. Versatile player that has the ability to play with his back to the basket as well. Not a good athlete by any means, but has a really strong frame and uses that to bully people on the glass. Kevin ranges from 100-150 in the rankings. I view Kevin as an 80-100 type. He has limited upside based on lack of size and athleticism, but he has a good motor on the glass, and can knock down shots at all 3 levels. I speak with Kevin frequently, and while Michigan is not in his top group, I get the feeling they could enter the mix if they really ramped up the interest. My comparison for Kevin is sort of a David West/Adrian Dantley type.
If you have any questions, feel free to shoot.