Playing Catch Up

Dylan Burkhardt

It has been a busy couple weeks for me but here is a little bit of catch-up information for the weekend. There is a little bit of everything thrown together in this post but it mostly focuses on recruiting.

AAU Heating Up

AAU season is finally upon us. The Boo Williams tourney tipped off last weekend and there is plenty of AAU ball on tap for this weekend. Here is a basic list of where relevant AAU teams and players will be playing this weekend. AAU teams are still pretty much in flux so some of these “rosters” may be a little off,  if you have a correction or addition shoot me an email at

Pitt Jam Fest (17 U Schedule – pdf)

  • Team Detroit – Trey Zeigler, Brandan Kearney, Percy Gibson, Corey Petros
  • REACH – Maurice Jones, Keith Appling
  • Mass Rivals – Evan Smotrycz

Real Deal in the Rock (Team List – pdf)

  • Nashville Celtics – Casey Prather
  • Florida Rams – Tim Hardaway Jr.

Grand Rapids Storm Classic (Schedule)

  • Team Pride – Devin Oliver
  • Michigan Mustangs – John Horford, Alex Gauna, LaDante Henton, Juwan Howard Jr.
  • Michigan Hurricanes – Isaiah Sykes

The X-Factor is where Ray McCallum ends up, he could head to the Family with Amir Williams, Michael Talley, and Carlton Brundidge or play with Team Detroit and Trey Zeigler.  I’ll also be keeping a keen eye toward Indiana AAU programs because Beilein has already raided the state once.

The Double Pump Spring Classic (information here), Las Vegas Spring Explosion, and Arizona Preps Spring Classic (info pdf) will feature most of the talented West Coast prospects this weekend as well.

Last year I was pretty surprised to find out that you can stream AAU games live online and now the process has become even more ridiculous. You can still stream video from Grass Roots TV but now it appears that it might cost $25 per tournament (although there is an ad on the page that claims streaming video is free).

Moses Morgan

Moses MorganMorgan’s play was reportedly underwhelming last weekend at the Full Court Press Easter Classic:

One of the bigger disappointments of the event was the play of 6-5 junior Moses Morgan (Las Vegas/ Palo Verde). He can knock down shots from anywhere, but his ball skills need polishing and he needs to play with more urgency at both ends.

Richard Solomon

Solomon is a guy that I haven’t talked about that much. The 6-foot-9 California wing started picking up Michigan interest this winter. Here is a February scouting report that breaks down his game pretty well:

Very long body (his torso hints that he might yet reach 6’10” or 6’11”) with ability to the run the floor like a wing, Solomon is athletic around the rim at both ends and has real ability to knock down mid-range jump shots as well as displaying a soft jump hook.  Solomon also has good blood-lines as his father (Richard II) played hoops at Michigan for Johnny Orr while older sister Am’ra just finished her college career playing volleyball at Cal (helping the Golden Bears reach the NCAA Elite 8 last fall).   Solomon’s play as of late is starting to attract high-major attention with the likes of Oregon State and Michigan focusing their attention on this top West Coast 2010 sleeper.  The “sky is the limit” for Solomon who might just be a major surprise by the end of the July recruiting period

ESPN echoes those thoughts in this April 2009 report (Darius Morris’ teammate, Wesley Saunders, also impressed ESPN at the same tournament) Solomon is definitely intriguing. When a prospect “blows up” out west it can mean offers from some big fish like UCLA, USC, Arizona, and whoever else but he has the Michigan ties.

Rankings Redux

Rivals released their final 2009 individual rankings this week. Darius Morris finishes at #77 (4-star) and Matt Vogrich at #137 (3-star). What’s this mean? Not much in my book. Darius led his team to the state championship and Matt led his to one of their best seasons in recent history while putting up solid numbers. Both of those kids had great years and probably couldn’t have done much more. Morgan and McLimans (who is playing baseball this spring) appear to be wild cards at this point.

The rankings process is flawed in many ways and seeing DaShonte Riley and Donovan Kirk at the bottom of the list shows just how questionable those sophomore rankings can be. Beyond the top 25 or so prospects it gets very hard to accurately differentiate between players. Because scouting companies only have so many scouts, AAU play is naturally emphasized. A huge AAU tournament can land you a spot in the top 50 but tearing up high school competition doesn’t do you much good if Jerry Meyer or another Rivals/Scout scout isn’t in the house.

It’s worth mentioning that Indiana (10), Illinois (12), Minnesota (22) all made Rivals’ top 25 team rankings for the class of 2009.

Club Trillion

CJ Lee wrote his own blog on MGoBlue this year and it was a great feature that shared some insight into CJ’s life on the team. However, it wasn’t quite this entertaining. You’ve probably heard of Club Trillion by now but if you haven’t, it’s a blog run by Ohio State walk-on/manager Mark Titus. The name stems from the box score stat line that appears to look like one trillion.

The blog is amusing, even if it is run by a Buckeye, and it recently passed one millions hits which prompted a guest post by Evan Turner. Turner, the target of a lot of Club Trillion hate, makes the case that he is not the whitest player on the team in his rant.


  • Brick

    Now that you have mentioned Solomon, he will probably be our next commit. It seems like we hear about recruits for a while and the reason we hear about them is that they have an offer and don’t commit. Next thing you know, we offer a kid that we haven’t been talking about and he commits. Vogrich, McLimans and Smotrycz all seemed to commit out of nowhere so I’m going to bet Solomon is next.

    I still hope we land Regan and Zeigler but I love how JB seems to have a bunch of kids he likes that he can move on to if his top priorities go elsewhere. I think Amaker got caught without a good backup plan a few too many times.

  • Kenny

    The Solomon case is very intriguing, he grows 3 inches in the past year (and has not stopped yet). Now ESPN gives him a score of 93 and ranks him #10 PF! comparing to 86 given to Smotrycz, and 84 given to Regan. Well, I will not be surprised at all if he will be our next commit. If you read the scouting report on ESPN below, you can smell John Beilein all over his game.

    “April, 2009: Solomon is a diamond in the rough that is beginning to get polished. His frame is long and lean and he has the potential to be a high-level face-up 4-man someday. He is terrific in transition and can get to the rim easily due to his outstanding quickness. In addition, he can knock down the 3-point jump shot, although his shot is much better in the mid-range area. Despite his slight frame he can rebound in traffic and he has good hands. His post game is non-existent and it would be nice to see him develop a go-to move (jump hook?). However, he has shown the ability to utilize the pump fake to get around opponents in the half-court set. Overall, Solomon needs to bulk up and get stronger for the interior battles ahead, but his upside is quite good.”

  • ToBlav


    You’re point about Coach Amacker not having a good enough backup rings very true. Good point. Also, getting recruits seemingly out of nowhere is indeed starting to look like a pattern. I don’t always agree with everything, but you are three for three here, Ziegler and Regan are the perfect finish to the 2010 class.

  • Tom Too

    Regan is from Buffalo, as is Beilein. I am positive there are a ton of JB fans whispering in the kid’s ear.

  • JDS

    If we land Solomon, any need for Regan? There would already be Cronin, Smotrycz, Mclimans, & Morgan as our bigs…

  • There is no way we take Smotrycz, Solomon and Regan. I could see two of the three but all three would just make no sense.

  • raiderfan

    Sounds like Solomon is in the mold of Devin Ebanks from West Virginia. Dylan, is his game similar, meaning he could play anywhere from the 1 to the 5?

  • Eddie

    Does anyone have any info on Juwan Howard, Jr aka Little Nook? What year is the kid in high school? Was he born during the Fab Five 1992-1993 years?

  • Justin C


    I’ve only heard that Jr. isn’t interested in UM because he felt the school did his pops wrong by taking the banners down.

  • Ken in Vegas

    Moses Morgan looking underwhelming. Hmmm…why am I not surprised to hear that.

  • JOhn

    That blog guy is hilarious

  • Jay

    Ken lol your a funny cat. Soloman sounds like a guy to really keep your eye on. His story kind of reminds me of Henson who is going to UNC. He was a G then shot up like 5 inches and is now 6’11 with guard like skills.

  • Tom Too

    We are going to have the dopest team around in two more years.

  • Erock

    I don’t know if this is noteworthy news, but Manny also got caught driving with a suspended license recently. I saw the Legion article I thought it would be worth mentioning. I found this out because we shared a court date and I was able to talk to him briefly.

  • slash76

    Wow, Evan Turner sure is an ass.

    “Plus he’s white which is a big no-no in basketball” It really pisses me off when this racist crap is alright just because a minority is saying it.

  • Dylan

    I’m pretty sure ET is being very sarcastic… If you read the rest of the blog it’s basically a running joke.

  • slash76

    my mistake then

  • gpsimms

    Over the last few days it seems like there has been lots of chatter about Trey;s recruitment getting bigger. I worry our chances for him are slimming. Dylan: if you had to put some mgoblog metrics on these guys (Nefarious Eduardo, Sad Josh, Happy Teeth, Mr. Blue) what would you put?

    I heard Sam Webb say that M leads for Brundridge today on WTKA…thanks!

  • Mitchigan

    Alex Tyus, a 6-8 bigman and Florida’s # 2 scorer this year (only a soph) is transfering. He’s originally from St. Louis but played high school ball in Ohio. I wonder if he has Michigan interest now. He could step in nicely in Sims’ absence and we do have an extra scholarship. Great job with the site and everything Dylan. The site has made Michigan basketball this year that much more enjoyable to follow- and it was a fantasic year.
    Just curious to everyone’s best guess at our 2010 class? I’m going to go a little out of the box and I say we get Hardaway, Smotrycz, Alex Dragicevich, and Solomon. GO BLUE!

  • KJay

    My best guess would be Smotrycz and Hardaway Jr. at a minimum, really up in the air on the rest. Solomon does sound intriguing. I’m hoping McLimans wasn’t a mistake.

    We need to leave a couple ships for the 2011 class. Brundidge, Kearney, Williams, Gibson, etc make it a very strong in state crop.

  • Tom Too

    I am going to go ahead and book my flight for the 2011 FinaL Four in Houston. Anybody have any nice hotel recommendations for me?

  • Avery Queen

    man i get really sick of mgoblog’s basketball posts. very glad this site exists.

  • Tom Too

    Reliant Stadium in Houston Seating Chart for Final Four in 2011

    Sitting in 106 or 107 would be ideal.

  • GregGoBlue

    1) That OSU blog is funny, smart and clever. I wouldn’t have expected anything of that caliber from those barbarians.

    2) In case you were wondering about the Women’s Studies department’s reaction to the Isiah Thomas hiring. I know I was:

  • Jay

    an 2010 class WITHOUT Regan, and with(combination) Ziegler, Hardaway, Prather, Soloman and outside shot Ken’s Favorite Morgan would make me happy. Since McCallum seems to have gotten ignored, I’ll give up on that wish..and prepare myself for when Izzo slides in and puts him on that bus to Lansing.

  • rdlwolverine

    I have been following Michigan basketball since Cazzie’s sophomore year and I have no recollection of a Richard Solomon playing under Johnny Orr, nor does one show up in the men’s basketball statistical archive on Maybe he played on a freshman team? Dylan, do you have any way of verifying that information?

  • FL Wolve

    McCallum hasn’t been ignored by the UM staff. In fact, he is quoted as saying that UM is recruiting him the hardest. He’s just not interested in UM.

  • Bluebufoon

    Do we know which traveling team Richard Solomon is playing for ?

    Also read on a New England website that U-M assistant Mike Jackson showed up to scout Evan Smotroycz traveling team compadre Carson Derosiers, a 6-10 C, who’s also from Massachusetts. A year ago, a long-time New England basketball writer speculated that he thought Derosiers would be perfect for Coach Beilein’s system. Just interesting info to store in the memory bank.

  • Kevin in GR

    I made it over to the GR Storm AAU tourney this afternoon and caught the Mustangs v King James SS 17U game. The Mustangs won by 20 and Appling pretty much dominated. I would guess that he had around 1/2 of their points. He seemed to be able to get to the basket at will. Zach Price (KJ/Class of 2011) was pretty impressive as well. He’s a big guy who’s hearing from OSU/Wisky. Kaminiecki and Gauna didn’t look all that impressive….Kaminiecki missed his first three 3pt attempts in a row from the same spot on the floor. He did seem to play some good D. Juwan Howard Jr played some point in the 2nd half when the game was out of reach and looked ok…He looks to be more of a SG than PG to me though. The finals in 17U was the Mustangs vs GR Storm, but I left before that game started.

  • Scott

    (1) Let’s see Solomon on that 2010 Hotboard. It would be great to see him and Zeigler get signed.

    (2) As for comments about Amaker, he actually did a great job at recruiting talented guys. His teams were packed with talent. But at the same time, his biggest downside as a coach is his inability to develop guys with talent and potential. I always kinda wondered about this while he was at Michigan, and this year in the NBA’s Development League proves it:

    – Courtney Sims (22.8 pts, 11 rebs, blks with Iowa, NBDL MVP, 1st-Team All-NBDL)
    – Chris Hunter (19.3 pts, 9.4 rebs, 1.2 blks with Ft.Wayne, 2nd-Team All-NBDL)
    – Brent Petway (10.2 pts, 4.1 rebs, 2.2 blks with Idaho, NBDL All-Star)

    These guys were all infuriatingly frustrating to watch at UM. I always felt like they could be playing better, producing more, making more of an impact than they ever did. Well, looks like they could have indeed.

    (3) Go Blue!

  • Kenny
  • Bluebufoon

    People are questioning whether U-M has backed off on Mr Regan — does anyone know anything ?

  • Jay

    HOPEFULLY SO @bluebufoon