Evan Smotrycz To Michigan

Dylan Burkhardt

evan-smotrycz1New Hampton junior forward Evan Smotrycz gave Beilein his verbal commitment today.

The 6-foot-9 big man transferred from Reading, MA to New Hampton and reclassified to the class of 2010. His first year at New Hampton reportedly went quite well despite hitting a couple bumps in the road:

“I can’t say enough about Evan as a player and as a young man and college coaches are really high on him,” said New Hampton coach Pete Hutchins. “He was one of two players on the team this year who weren’t PG’s, but when he was healthy he was our second leading scorer.”

The multi-versatile 6-9 wing player averaged 14 points and 8 rebounds for a team that just missed out on making the playoffs with a 14-16 record, although Smotrcyz missed some time early in the season due to a bout of mono and an injured ankle.

“It was tough at the beginning of the year because I was actually playing through mono and didn’t know it,” Smotrcyz admitted. “Then after the mono I had an ankle injury so I guess there was some turmoil to start the year, but I got through it and found my groove a little. I got into a pretty good flow and was definitely happy with my first year.”

The first place most people like to look when evaluating a recruit is his school list. Evan has offers from Northwestern, Oregon State, and South Florida but is also garnering interest from a number of high majors:

Northwestern, Oregon State, Rice and South Florida have all offered while ones who are close and/or have expressed serious interest in the local talent are Notre Dame, Stanford, Michigan, Boston College and Florida.

evan-smotAt the NPSI this Winter, Smotrycz showed why coaches love him:

While Smotrycz finished with 18 points & 10 rebounds, how he got those numbers were even more impressive.  He knocked down a one-dribble step-back three-pointer, went to the low block and showed a polished jump hook, got to the rim off the dribble a few times, and even rebounded in traffic.

He was also mentioned in a recent update from the New England Recruiting Report as someone whose stock is rising:

One of the most accurate sayings we have ever heard about prep school basketball is this, “there is a fine line between exposure and exposed”.  So many players transfer to the NESCAC only to find their level of success reduced by the higher level of competition.  It was just the opposite for Smotrycz who raised his game to a new level in his first season at New Hampton.

It is pretty clear that Smotrycz is not a back to the basket player, he appears to be much more of a “Beilein four” who can shoot it and put it on the floor. In a recent profile, his coach breaks down his game like this:

“College coaches see Evan as a small forward or even a power forward, but he’s not a back-to-the-basket type of player,” said Hutchins. “He can do so many things on the floor and at 6-9 he can be as good as he wants to be.
“I’ll be looking forward to next season where he’ll be the leader of our team.”

evan-sssLooking at the scouting sites we are left with a bit of a mixed bag in terms of reviews. ESPN loves his game, as you can see by this glowing report from Feburary 2009, and gives him an 86 rating. Rivals has not evaluated Smotrycz and Scout lists him as a 2-star prospect.

There is a lot to like here — just about everyone that has posted a first hand account of Smotrycz’ game seems to have come away impressed. Reading the various scouting reports it’s tough to come away saying anything but “that’s a Beilein guy”.  As previously mentioned the NESPAC class A is a very tough league and Evan went up against quality competition night in and night out despite being 17 years old.

The immediate question is what does this mean for the rest of the class of 2010? There are obviously limited scholarships and Michigan had appeared to be in very good shape for New York big man Will Regan and a number of wing forwards.

Luckily Smotrycz’  and Regan’s games appear to be very different — Regan appears to be more of an inside guy while Smotrycz likes to play on the wing. Michigan clearly needs at least one wing in this class but they have two more scholarships available. Would Michigan take Regan and Smotrycz? I think that they are different enough players that offering both would make perfect sense.

I am excited to bring Smotrycz into the fold and it’s a great start to the class of 2010. He is an intriguing prospect that has “Beilein” written all over him and he has the potential to have a huge spring and summer on the AAU circuit.

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  • UMDC


    How does one pronounce Smotrycz?

  • dj

    On what this means for the future, I find it hard to believe that this offer means anything more than just providing confirmation that Beilein is planning to give 4 schollies in 2010. IE, that Ant Wright won’t be given a fifth year or Manny leaves or something random happens.

  • Lunchbox

    I’ve heard it pronounced Sma-trich.

  • Benjamin

    Woohoo, great news. Welcome, Evan Smotrycz!

  • jmblue

    Does he play for the same school that Bernard Robinson Jr. attended?

  • Brick

    Great pick up. I will guarantee that he will not be a “2 star” at the end of his senior year. Beilein has an eye for talent and he liked what he saw enough to grab the kid as the first commit in this class. This was not a desperation move by any means.

    When Beilein started recruiting Klay Thompson, he was an unranked player similar to Smotrycz. He ended his senior year a top 50 player and later won Pac 10 player of the year. I trust in Beilein’s ability to spot talent and know who is a good fit for the team. Look for a big year from Evan.

  • I think so jmblue.

    The thing I really like about him is that there really isn’t very much negative press out there. Most of the reports of the people who have seen him seem to think highly of him — or at least recognize some very good skills.

  • ToBlav

    Even though I am small and tend to root for the little guy and know that Coach Beilein isn’t going to recruit any short players, it can’t be a bad thing that talented tall players all over the country are attacked to Michigan. Besides small guys I also root for the players in Michigan uniforms without holding being big against them.

  • Placentasaurus

    is being smotryczed kind of like being pittsnoggled?

  • Dave

    i suspect that this kid has a rather impressive summer on the aau circuit and will be shooting up the rankings in no time…….like you said dylan there is a decent amount of press on the kid and there isnt to much negativity that is seen…….this could be a key pick up……..hopefully others start to follow suit……….good start and i am very excited about this commitment

  • Tom Too

    That’s right…people will get Smotryczed!!! Nice get JB!!!

  • Alex G

    Woo Hoo! Let’s build some recruiting momentum!

    If you like the little guys check out Ray Taylor on youtube (Committed to Florida Atlantic). I’ve been watching him the last couple of years at the City of Palms Classic down in Florida and he is ridiculous but b/c he is probably 5’5 or so he hasn’t garnered a whole lot of attention, plus he plays alongside Kenny Boynton (top 10 recruit this year) who gets most of the press. Regardless, Taylor’s game is wicked.

  • Colby

    Dylan, any clue what JB will do with the remaining scholarships? At this point I have no clue but hope he jumps on some of the higher rated big man who could take Deshawn’s spot. Do you think he takes 4 in 2010? I would be very disappointed if he did not have 3 ships for 2011 since the instate class is so strong and he has more time to recruit those kids. Thoughts?

    Also do you feel that Richard Solomom from Cali is a serious target in the 2010 class? ESPN really likes this kid. Thanks

  • Kenny

    I agree with Coby that Beilein needs to hold at least 2 scholarships for 2011, fills only three scholarships for 2010 even Manny is very likely to leave early.

  • Tom, Also

    At first I was a little worried when news broke that we offered. However, reading all this has gotten me pretty excited. In Beilein We Trust.

    So that leaves 2 scholarships for sure open. Then you have two “possibilities” with Manny leaving a year early and an offer for a 5th year not extended for Ant.

    I highly, highly doubt Ant doesn’t receive an offer for a 5th year. I just think that Beilein will find a productive role for him if he’s willing to work hard. Plus, Ant is a great locker room guy so I feel that he’ll still be around.

    Manny – who knows. If Vegas had odds on this right now it would probably be 2:1 (or 1:2? I don’t know odds) that he’ll leave. But it also seems that he loves Coach B. And if any of these new recruits turn out to be decent and Manny thinks there’s the possibility to make a run at the Big 10 (and further) in his senior season, I can see him sticking around.

    So let’s assume we stay at two scholarships. Is it unanimous that Will Regan is still a guy that could come in, despite the addition of Smotrycz? IMO, yes. Like Dylan pointed out they seem to be different enough players and more size never, ever hurt anyone.

    That also means it is extremely important to find that athletic wing. How awesome of a class would Prather, Regan, and Smotrycz be?! Unlikely, but still, exciting to consider. All and all, I just think this really puts an importance on wrapping up that W as early as possible. Come on Casey! Come on Trey! You know you want to be here when we’re atop the B10!


    Id like to see JB keep a spot for Amir. Or someone who can really impact the game athletically at the 5. Once again balance is key, and wishing for things might be premature. Evan will be a version of Joey Alexander, you watch! In JB we trust.

  • Adam

    Amir is in the class of 2011. They will have a spot for him.

  • bentley

    I like the pick-up. I will love the pick-up if Ziegler and Regan compliment the class. I know this might be a stretch, but Evan reminds me of a young Joe Alexander. He needs to grow into his body a little but has great skills and size, just like Alexander.

  • This is a nice pick up, but to go beyond the sweet 16 you need the one player who is good enough to go to the NBA. Games against the top teams come down to the last few minutes and one player carrying the team and creating their own offense. Once Manny’s gone who is that player for UM? Beilein needs to get that player in the class of 2010.

  • Paul

    This is good news. A big guy with shooting touch. Right up Beileins alley. Is there a player that can come in and take over where Manny leaves off?

  • steve

    More than anything I think it’s settling to know we have SOMEONE who committed. But I think Evan’s a big pick up, incomparable to any of the guys we have on the team currently though. Like Dylan said I wouldn’t be surprised to see him up to a 3 star possibly a 4 by the time everything is said and done. But I don’t see him breaking out to being a huge contributor at UM til probably his junior year, much like Joe Alexander.

    If we can land Trey and Will this class will all of the sudden be looking VERY, VERY good. At least get Will. And then from there you gotta be able to get Moses if you can’t land Trey.

    I know I’ve said it on here before but this class isn’t nearly as big as the 2011 one. This is where you’ll find the guys with enough talent to make it to the league. (Amir Williams, Carlton Brundidge, Brendan Kearney, LaDontae Henton, Tommie McCune) We MUST round up two of those guys.


    Definitely agree with you Steve. 2011 is going to be a huge year. I honestly wouldnt mind even passing on Regan and holding out for the 2011 class. I mean by next year we will have sufficient bigs in the line up. My feeling is that we need to now add a more athletic 4 or 5, along with a possible pg, and wing. I dont really envision Regan bringing anything to the table that McLimans, or Evan wont bring, or eventually bring. I just feel like landing a guy like Amir will really help balance the roster out, where as getting a guy like Regan would be to much of one ingredient so to speak. It goes back to my analogy of having at least three out of five on the floor with an elevated level of athletic ability, then the other 2 can be more one dimensional(shooters)

  • Tom Too

    Please remember that Joe Alexander played about 5 minutes his freshman year…I am exaggerating a tad, but he played so little that he was almost a Sophomore, experience-wise, when he turned pro. Most actually though JB should have handled him differently by redshirting him….

  • ToBlav


    Thanks for the tip, I’ll have a look.

  • Ichiro

    @Tom Too: How would redshirting Joe Alexander have been better? He got a little experience his frosh year and left before his senior year. The only time it makes sense to criticize a coach for not redshirting a kid is when the kid wastes his frosh year AND would have been a big contributor in his 5th year. By his 4th year Joe was in the NBA already.

  • Tom Too

    Ichiro…he played 45 minutes, I think, his freshman year. Who would have known he was NBA-bound? I think that if a Freshman is going to average 1.5 minutes a game, he obviously needs some time to work on some things…..

  • Tom Too: It’s true that he didn’t really play but so much goes into a redshirt decision. The kid could have said he didn’t want to redshirt and most times the coaches will respect that decision. You can always look and say “oh I wish DeShawn would have red-shirted” but with Alexander it wouldn’t have helped anything because he left early anyways.

  • Tom Too

    This is a good point….

  • Jay

    WE DO NOT WANT REAGAN NOW! or should say I DONT WANT REAGAN! We have Cronin, Morgan, Mclimans, Smotrycz, and alot of spot up guys. We now need to address the athleticism needed to take this team to the next level, especially with the realistic depature of Manny. The attention should be turned to Prather, Ziegler, Hardaway, Morgan, McCallum. The full court press needs to be put on for these players. The only other big man that should even be possibly thought about is if a athletic 5 pops up out of nowhere. We have shooters, we have spot up 4’s, now we need someone who can do something going towards the rack PLEASE


    I hear you Jay. It has to be priority if we want to take another step on the ladder to elite status.

  • Tom, Also

    “We have Cronin, Morgan, Mclimans, Smotrycz, and alot of spot up guys.”

    Not one of those guys is a Big Ten quality big man. We NEED Regan. Luckily, this class will likely feature three recruits, with one of which being the ever so coveted athletic wing.

  • Jay

    “BIG TEN QUALITY” big man? So your telling me Regan is? and if so please send me the video of this 215 lb destroyer/ glass eater from Buffalo that you believe Regan is. Morgan and Cronin will be high quality big 10 big men for us, Mclimans/Smotrycz will be more of the hybrid like Robbie Hummel in my opinion. The only guy that was a so called “big 10 quality” is Lubick, and hes not coming. When i mention those guys, im saying we have a decent # of 4/5 types now we need some legit 3’s…not more big men who want to shoot jumpers rather then bang.

  • Bluebufoon

    Jay– why are you tripping ? Cronin, Morgan and Regan (if he comes) give U-M (us) three players who can play with their respective backs to the basket. Seems the position can be handled competently by those three. BTW Regan is 235-pounds in the latest write-ups I’ve read.

    Regarding Beilein and his recruiting. Not only does he prioritize
    basketball ability but both academics and character are important traits JB looks for in the players he recruits. Relax on the recruiting, just as the team didn’t morph into a Final 4 team overnight, the player acquisitions will also grow in steps, as the team becomes more and more successful will open the hearts and minds of the (perceived) higher ranked players.

    Here is a Will Barrett update I stumbled across.


  • Jay

    Bafoon nobdoy is tripping if u read my post, im simply saying that I wouldnt burn another schollie on the same type of post player and would use on someone more versatile. If thats trippin than so be it

  • DCBigBlue

    I hate to rain on the parade, but is Beilein ever going to recruit any athletic big men? Can this guy actually have the lateral quickness to be a good defender? We are going to be in a world of hurt up front when Sims graduates.

    Oh BTW Brick, Klay Thompson wasn’t anywhere near being PAC 10 Player or Freshman of the Year… the FOY was Isiah Thomas of Washington.

  • weplayinbball

    I went to high school with Evan at Reading. He was really good. Made varsity as a freshman and really turned it on sophmore year. As a Junior he led us to the Boston Garden to play for the state championship but we lost. He is 6’8.5 and 180-190.. ( Dont believe anything over 200 lbs). He is a more of a wing player than he is a post player. He will settle for the outside shot rather than go down low in the paint. He has great handles for a big guy, nice shot, crafty (not quick) and not that strong but he works on it. He is just an average athlete and at the D1 level will be an average rebounder. It is kind of wierd because hes not flashy at all but he can clearly take over the game and get the job done. Overall its a good pick up for the Big 10 because its just a bunch of slow white guys anyways. P.s. Its pronounced Smah-Trich.. And his dad looks just like Larry Bird

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