What Now? Recruiting After Lubick

Dylan Burkhardt
Nate LubickThere were positive vibes on Nate Lubick’s recruitment since Elite Camp this summer, there were articles about Nate recruiting other kids to Michigan, yet he never pulled the trigger. Something must have happened during his recent visit that didn’t make it into the reports of how much he enjoyed his time. But for whatever reason he decided he wasn’t a good fit. Lubick is going to be a big time player, and he could have been a statement recruiting for Beilein’s 2010 class.

Of course losing one recruit isn’t going to ruin the future of the program but acting like it is insignificant is not the right way either. This hurts and there is no way to slice it that will make it any better, it’s time to move on. This is why you take a guy like Robin Benzing when you can (even though it didn’t work out) even when there may be bigger possibilities on the horizon.

In 2009, Angus Brandt goes from a luxury to the number one priority. We need big men and we need them as soon as possible. Brandt’s recruitment is no gimmie and Beilein needs to put the full court press on. Luckily Brandt’s recruitment is just getting underway and Michigan should have a chance at least. There is playing time available in Ann Arbor for Angus and Beilein needs to let him know that. In regards to Will Barrett, I don’t know where his recruitment is at right now. Barrett would have been a good backup for Lubick, but he’s not really a replacement. I think the priority has to be Brandt over Barrett for the last spot in 2009 after losing Lubick even if that means risking going 0 for 2.

I just got an e-mail about one other name to watch: Blake McLimans, 6’9″ class of 09 big man from Worcester Academy (MA) who Beilein was reportedly taking a look at last weekend (his school is about 30minutes from Lubick’s).  McLimans has a similar style of play to Lubick and also is a baseball prospect (mid-upper 90s fastball). As far as his recruitment, he hasn’t played AAU ball (because of baseball) so he is under the radar. Siena has offered, while schools like Providence, PSU and BC are showing interest. Don’t know much more, but worth keeping an eye on.

In regards to the class of 2010, there is still time to cast a wider net and get in on some more kids. Alex Gauna is one possibility but the word on him is that he is Michigan State’s to lose.  Most of the highly regarded targets in the 2010 class have been guards and wings like Trey Zeigler (SG) and Russell Byrd (Wing). Byrd is closing in on a decision and Zeigler has a ways to go in his recruitment. These kids would be statement recruits but wouldn’t mask the fact that after Gibson there are two big men on the roster both 3 stars and one of whom is hobbled with hip problems. (A commenter (bluebufoon) points out Evan Smotrycz is another one to watch)

The best news I can think of at this point is that Beilein has been working his tail off on the recruiting trail and casting a wide net. There is plenty of talent out there in 2010 and I would expect to see a lot of new names popping up on the radar over the next few weeks and months as Beilein turns up the heat.

What a week it has been though Matt Vogrich goes from a long shot to a commitment and Lubick goes from a Michigan lean to a Georgetown verbal. Honestly, I’m ready to see this year’s team just play basketball.

Extra: Sam Webb podcast on Lubick and other hoops recruiting.

  • Bluebufoon

    A guy to keep an eye on, already visited Michigan this fall for a football game :

    Every time out, Evan Smotrcyz (6’9″ Jr. SF-PF, Reading (MA) New Hampton Prep) looks better. He’s much better when he lets the game come to him, and he’s been doing just that. Doing so allows his skills to shine, and here he knocked down some nice mid-range shots and handled the ball while never looking out of his element.

  • Thanks blue.

    I added this link to the post.

  • Bluebufoon

    Calm down FF (BTW Steve Fisher was a fraud)

    Beilein is the best coach Michigan has had in my lifetime and the guy knows what he is doing. Personally I think he’s more comfortable combing the back roads trying to find second and third-tier type players for the diamonds in the rough. I guarentee John Beilein didn’t get up this morning saying, “Oh woe is me …”, There is a reason this man has won at every stop along the way and you don’t succeed in this game if you can’t recruit– Coach Beilein’s just ordering off of a different menu and frequenting different establishments than U-M has in the past.

    Down the road Michigan will get their Nate Lubick’s, Russell Byrd’s
    and Trey Ziegler’s but today and in the immediate future U-M will have to rely on hard-nosed gritty four-year guys who may-not be as athletically gifted or publicized as some of the early phenoms.

  • Bluebufoon

    Two things about Blake McLimans, one he is originally from Buffalo New York which is an area that Coach Beilien is very familar with, plus the kid is a high school Sr., who plans to play an additional
    year in prep school to get bigger and stronger. So it will be interesting to see how McLimans responds to this caliber of competition, which if I’m understanding correctly, is fairly respectable.

  • Good comments Bluebufoon.

    Fisher Forever, building up a program takes time. You need to get your head out of the rafters (You know…like Fisher’s banners) and realize that this is a gradual process.

    From the previous post you said, “… 3 or 4 years from now, I won’t come around to say “I told you so.””. You won’t have to because in 3 to 4 years will be better competitors and have a better opportunity to land bigger name players.

    Do you recall last season? We won 10 games. Have you been to Crisler? Have you been to the practice facili…oh wait, no one has.

    These are obstacles that we have to overcome before we can get big name guys.

    Deal with it. Also, as Blue pointed out, Fisher was a fraud and he is a big part of why we are in this mess.

  • MooN2323

    It’s funny that besides FF, this board seems to have more level headed responses than the premium boards. I find that somewhat ironic. FF comments don’t even deserve a reply. I’ll let JB prove my point on the court. And don’t be surprise when this team ends up much better than thought. And next year looks even better with Vogrich, Morris, and Morgan coming in. I love how people try and judge a coach before he’s coached a single game with any of his players. It seems to me as if people are harder on JB than they are on RR. You would expect the opposite, not indicating I have a problem with RR.

  • MooN2323

    PS Wolverine3, BB, and Dylan having been doing a great job keeping us updated on things. Thanks guys!

  • Saying now is lower than the Ellerbe years is a bit ludicrous. We have talent, good coaching, and recruits in our next class that look to be legit ballplayers. It isn’t great, but it isn’t apocalyptic.

    My question for Dylan, or any of the other people who know so much about recruiting on here is do we keep recruiting Lubick despite the verbal? We have a while before signing day, perhaps whatever it was that made Lubick abruptly jump at what GTown had to offer can be countered or rectified by then. If not, then it is time to jump all over Zeigler, Gauna and Byrd.

  • MooN2323

    I have a funny feeling that the reason Lubick committed to G’Town has something to do with the fact that Zeigler isn’t coming either. I began having a bad feeling after TZ stayed a CMU instead of making it in for the Wisky game. If you read Lubick’s interview on scout after the weekend, he did speak well of U-M, but did not sound like he was blown away or ready to commit. My guess is that TZ isn’t coming either.
    However, maybe Lubick just wasn’t feeling U-M. I can understand the choosing of G’Town. Similar type schools, but G’Town has a much better team, arguably better tradition, and is closer to home for him. It is possible the TZ still commits remember this all really started with TZ and Kearney wanting to play together. We shall see, but I don’t think it looks all that great.
    Byrd appears to be down to U-M and State, but he does have an upcoming visit (this weekend?) with UK. Probably State’s to lose, but I having a feeling JB has the best relationship with him of the coaches recruiting him. Will that be enough to overcome the fact that State and UK to a lesser extent are powerhouse? Sounds like we will know in the next couple weeks.
    I think this leaves us in a good position however. These kids deciding early allows JB to re prioritize his options. This might end up working in our favor on some levels. Brandt is supposedly going ot decide in spring and if we had Lubick I doubt we would stay on him for this long. We can also make him our main priority or one of them rather than have him on the back burner. Brandt sounds like a legit four star type guy not quite on Lubikc’s level, but close.
    In summary, things will be fine. The sky isn’t falling. Losing Lubick hurts, but honestly he was a four star #53 rated recruit. He wasn’t a top 10 five star guy. He wouldn’t have turned the program around himself. We heard if he dropped others would have been more likely too, but that wasn’t a sure thing either. We also heard the same thing when Morris committed and that didn’t come to fruition (ie Lubick) This is how recruiting goes. I think that we still have a chance on some of these kids. JB is a tireless worker both in teaching and recruiting. It will pay off. We just have to give it some time.

  • MooN23

    It sounds like Barrett is off the board. Seems to be by U-m’s choosing but one never knows.

  • Adam

    Good post Moon!

  • Adam

    You are annoyingly pessimistic. Why don’t you root for a different team if you are going to hate on JB and Michigan so much? If you don’t like Michigan or what they value root for MSU or someone else. Just shut your mouth and leave your feelings to yourself. Nobody wants to hear your whining and complaining about Michigan basketball. You are acting like it’s the end of the world. Step away from the ledge because you are acting like an immature, annoying fairweather fan. It’s one thing to voice your opinion. It’s another to sound like the whiny 5th grader who disagrees with anything anybody says and takes the worst view possible on everything. Grow up and realize there are more important things in life than worrying about whether the coach is wasting his time recruiting 5 star players to come play for a mediocre program. Either grow up or shut up.

  • Voice of Reason

    Lubick is obviously a great kid with outstanding skills. However, it appears according to Sam Webb, that Lubick was not willing to be the one to start the ball rolling at Michigan for his class. He wanted to see who else would come in first, and then follow them. Nothing morally wrong with that, it just shows you who is the leader and who is the follower. It takes a very strong and mature young man who has confidence in their own skills to be the one who takes the lead. A person who is so confident in their ability that they believe they can carry a program. High risk, high reward. It’s the same mentality for those players who are willing to be the one who wants to shoot the ball when the game is on the line. Obviously Lubick is not that guy unfortunately. However, we hope we can bring someone like that to Michigan, and we wish Lubick well.

  • Bluebufoon

    Agree with Voice of Reason on best wishes to Lubick.

    Some folks are saying U-M fans are in store for more bad news regarding the recruitment of Russell Byrd ? Although that maybe the case I wouldn’t give up the ship in regards to the Indiana marksman just yet.

    I want to offer some cheap pscyho-analysis on the recruitment of
    Mr. Byrd and lets just see how his recruitment plays out.

    This is how I see Byrd’s recruitment– I may be dead wrong but I’m going to offer an opinion. To me Russell Byrd is from small-town America. He goes to a religious-based school. He plays for a religious-based travelling team. He brought his whole family with him to Ann Arbor this past weekend. Byrd comes from a conservative
    upbringing– this young man is Opie Taylor with a jump-shot.

    So who appeals to this guy ? John Beilein who brings the whole team over to his house for dinner with the recruits and their families ? Or Tom Izzo, who is a super aggressive recruiter(which isn’t neccessarily bad) but a type A personality, who tries to micro-manage things ?

    Beielin’s teaching style is also drastically different from Tom Izzo’s. Beilein teaches through positive reinforcement. Izzo is a screamer and is loud an abrasive at times–again which style appeals better to young Mr Byrd ?

    I’m sure on his visit to Ann Arbor, Byrd probably went to a party or two, might have even seen one or two pretty girls on the trip but if he takes a weekend visit to East Lansing there’s no telling what kind of debauchery may pass before his very eyes ? Personally, I may
    be partial to the debauchery but Mr Byrd’s wholesome image, may imply he and his family are in favor something a little more whole-some than what goes on in East Lansing on a typical-football weekend ?

    I realize a few basketball recruiting sources in the state are implying MSU has Byrd rapped up, its a done deal, U-M doesn’t have a
    chance. Keep this in mind, MSU plays the propaganda war as well as anyone, they feed the media stories and in turn they get favorable coverage– again nothing wrong with that, it’s aggressive recruiting
    and like in Nascar if you’re not caught its not cheating but is the info totally accurate and unbias ?

    Beilein’s the direct opposite, that guy comes off as almost as straight laced as they come, he doesn’t share a lot of info wth the so-called recruiting guru’s, so U-M may not get the same type of quality PR from these fine, objective journalists.

    I’m telling you John Beilein his coaching style, personality, family, the academics of the institution and the personalities and backgrounds of Michigan’s players may appeal more to young Mr Byrd than some folks think.

    Just an un-educated guess.

  • Brick

    I get the same feeling as Moon that Lubick wasn’t feeling like Zeigler was going to pick UM anytime soon. The funny thing is, if he waits for a while to decide, I don’t think MSU or UCLA will have a spot for him. I think MSU is going to get Wilson and if they get Byrd also, they will not take Zeigler. UCLA has one spot left through ’10 and Zeigler isn’t their priority. Zeigler will not go to CMU, he’s too good. I think we will end up with a pretty good shot as long as we stay on him while the other schools fill up.

  • Fisher, we have to realize that much like the hiring of Rich Rodriguez, the hiring of John Beilein was one of long term not short term. Beilein’s teams don’t run on talent alone, but scheme and then talent. Last year we looked at a team that had little talent and hadn’t yet learned the schemes. This year’s team will have a little more talent, and much more thorough knowledge of the system.

    Granted, I’m not saying this is going to result in an NCAA berth this year. We are kidding ourselves if we think we are dance-worthy. However, an NIT berth isn’t out of the question, and that would be a great step forward for a team that needs all the positives it can get. Throw in Morris, Vogrich and Morgan in 09 and the talent level will be greatly increased. No, we aren’t bringing in the ridiculous recruits that OSU is bringing in, but it is a start. I for one am willing to wait a few years and let Beilein do it his way.

    Also, Adam, your rhetoric is so close to the “If you don’t like America you can get out!” talk you’d see on Fox News. Fisher is annoyingly pessimistic, but anyone who watched this team last year could come away with that opinion. I’m glad that most of us are hopeful for both this season and the future, but Fisher has logical arguments and his voice, like the rest of ours, are good to have on this board.

  • The Oracle

    It’s not Fisher’s opinion regarding last year that is annoying, it’s his misguided opinion saying Beilein is a failure already without ONE of JB’s recruits seeing the floor yet. Especially when JB has a 30 year history that says give him time. It’s annoyingly idiotic.

  • MRG

    It’s seems pretty simple that Beilein is going to have to win a good amount of games this season to “prove” to recruits that his system is working. Unfortunately, it’s already too late for that with Lubick and probably Byrd. All you can hope is that there’s improvement this year (NIT would be a start) and Beilein can show that upward trajectory to Brandt and the remaining 2010 guys.

    Also, I don’t buy the idea that U-M and Beilein are going to be buried underneath the superior coaching and talent of the Big Ten. Against GTown, UCLA, UConn, Cuse, Pitt, UCLA, Nova, ND and Marq (all teams with supposedly superior coaching/talent) Beilein went 14-15 over his last three years at WVU. Not exactly setting the world on fire, but more than holding his own.

    This is not a guarantee that Beilein will battle toe-to-toe with Wiscy, MSU, OSU, etc. It’s just far too premature to say he can’t.

  • Did Beilein ever land two top 100 kids in one class at WVU?

  • MRG

    I sense that was a rhetorical question, but his closest was two top 150s. Beilein’s 09 class has exceeded my expectations, especially given the mess on the court last year. Brandt would be icing on the cake.

    2010 has gotten off to a tough start, but as Frank Stallone would say, it’s far from over.

  • What class was that MRG? I was actually curious, wasn’t sure of the answer but pretty sure he never did.

  • MRG

    2006 – Dasean Butler (#146) and Wellington Smith (#147) according to Rivals. Butler’s a gamer. I don’t know anything about Smith.

  • Adam

    I don’t have a problem with people disagreeing with me. But Fisher isn’t even a glass half full/half empty kinda person. He is a the glass is empty, and can never be full again as long as Beilein is the coach (even though he has only been here for 1 year). The problem is Fisher is acting like Lubick was Carmelo Anthony and by him simply coming here Michigan would’ve been incredible, and by him not suddenly Michigan is a joke and the likes of Northwestern. West Virginia has performed outstanding without even as good of recruits as JB is getting at Michigan. And as soon as Michigan makes a tourney or two suddenly he’ll be able to get even better recruits. The future is so bright but Fisher cannot open up his eyes and look past his man-crush on Lubick to realize that. Lubick is a fantastic player but I do not see him as more than a guy who would average 12 points, 8 rebounds over his career. He would have been awesome to have, but he’s not a game changer like a Carmelo, an OJ Mayo, a Beasley or any of the other top 10, 5 star players. The general rule on recruiting sites is that there is a list of 5 star guys (20-30 that are above and beyond the rest), and then guys ranked 40-200 are fairly similar. 5 star guys are the only types who their freshman year can put a team on their back and carry them. Anybody else needs some help around them. The sky is not falling. If anything, it’s better that Lubick and maybe Byrd are committing elsewhere so early because it gives JB time to refocus his recruiting attention.

    If Lubick and Byrd waited until signing day only to spurn Michigan we would be screwed. JB now has time to turn to some other names and recruit the heck out of them, and hopefully if all goes well Brandt will be a wolverine. I’d take Brandt over Lubick simply for the fact that Brandt would be here in ’09 to go with that great class and Manny being a junior, Deshawn being a senior and that would be the year to really make a splash back onto the national scene. If Michigan made some noise that season then big recruits might come calling and Michigan can once again be a player in NCAA basketball.

  • masshoops

    Having seen his high school play many, many times Lubick is good but not good enough to stress over losing. He plays on an amazing team with one of the best big men in high school basketball, Erik Murphy (Florida). I think Georgetown is a big strech for him and although it is two years out I just can’t see him getting big minutes there.

  • Adam

    Exactly Fisher. So you think JB should be able to easily land these 4 and 5 star top 50 recruits? If they have a chance to play for Michigan or Georgetown, Kentucky, MSU, etc. why do you think they would pick Michigan? It’s a HUGE leap of faith for them to pick big blue so its not JB’s fault if he can’t get these players. He is doing everything he possibly can by attending as many games as possible and writing these kids letters daily. You can’t say he isn’t working hard to get these guys onto campus. Michigan is just going to need to start winning before they are able to get the kids.

  • gw73

    Bluebufoon, you said “To me Russell Byrd is from small-town America. He goes to a religious-based school. He plays for a religious-based travelling team. He brought his whole family with him to Ann Arbor this past weekend. Byrd comes from a conservative
    upbringing– this young man is Opie Taylor with a jump-shot.

    So who appeals to this guy ? John Beilein who brings the whole team over to his house for dinner with the recruits and their families”

    Izzo has always recruited the whole family and is considered a deeply religious person, he appeals to players like Byrd.

    Also, Izoo has the players over for movies and gatherings all the time. He encourages team events like 5k runs for charity. He may be type A when coaching but he also is loved by his players, tough love because he encourages. Look at all the players hugging Izzo on the sidelines and ignore the camera showing only his passion.


    I think Byrd will decide between Izzo and Beilein. Gillespie is a little too “used-car salesman”, and I hope that Byrd sees that.

    Izzo and Beilein are great, honest, and hard working people. I hope that Russell realizes his opportunity for immediate playing time is at UM. Kid could really go places if he gets some major minutes. He might end up as the next Isaiah Dahlman at MSU.

  • ScoutM


    You have no idea what you are talking about.