Weekend Roundup (6-15-09)

Dylan Burkhardt

Evan Smotrycz Heads to the Bronx


Evan Smotrycz can play. Every time that Evan Smotrycz ends up at a premiere AAU event, he performs. Smotrycz took his talents to the Rumble in the Bronx over the weekend and NYCHoops.net was on hand:

The 6’9 point forward shoots the ball surprisingly well from long range for his size. He also displayed solid defense, an ability to attack the hoop and good passing skills. His size and versatility make him a threat at all times.

NYC Hoops calls him a point forward and even describes him as a back court player in the article. Smotrycz clearly isn’t going to be playing the guard spot in Beilein’s offense but his combination of size, skill, and shooting ability continues to paint him as a perfect fit in John Beilein’s offense.

This summer’s Smotrycz exhibition will continue over the next month when Evan heads to the NBA PA camp (June 17-21) as well as the Vince Carter Skills Academy in Orlando featuring the top 20 wing players in the country (June 23-26) and the LeBron James Skills Academy featuring the top 80 prospects in the country (July 5-7).

Summer Camps

We are quickly approaching camp week in Ann Arbor. Beilein’s camps have been a huge success and welcome change from the previous regime but a recent article about Minnesota’s lack of an “elite camp” raises some issues regarding hosting an “elite camp”.

The article mentions that there are no rules against inviting prospects to camp, but it is prohibited to host invitation only events. Michigan, Wisconsin, and Penn State are the only schools in the Big Ten that are hosting elite camps this year.

As chairman of the NCAA ethics committee, it is only natural that Beilein weighs in on the issue:

“We want to clear up what is the right way to deal with those issues,” Beilein said in a NCAA news article. “People can see how to exactly conduct their camps. They can develop the game in youth basketball without getting into the shadowy areas of recruiting.”

The article also sheds light on several other issues including staffing, paying high school or AAU coaches to speak at camps, as well as recent rule changes regarding middle school prospects.

The value of these elite camps cannot be understated and it will be interesting to see what, if any, changes are made to the rules governing summer camps.

Dorian Dawkins

The news out of East Lansing this weekend can be described as nothing less than tragic and heart breaking. 14-year-old Dorian Dawkins, son of Saginaw HS head coach Lou Dawkins, died after collapsing during a basketball game at the Izzo Shootout.

It is safe to say that the entire state of Michigan basketball community will have Dorian and the entire Dawkins family in their thoughts and prayers. I think Izzo hits the nail on the head with his comments:

“As a coach, and even more so, as a parent, I grieve, pray, and suffer with the Dawkins family and the many people in Saginaw and beyond who mourn the passing of a wonderful young man, Dorian Dawkins,” Izzo said in the release. “This tragedy calls us to come together to support Lou, Tish, and their family, and to celebrate the life of a beloved son, brother, and teammate.

“Athletic competition can sometimes divide people, and we in the arena of top-level athletics face constant challenges to focusing on the right priorities in life. The hours I spent last night with the Dawkins family have reminded me in a dramatic way that, like in coaching, the ‘basics’ are ultimately what it’s all about.”

David Merritt After Basketball

David Merritt has been busy this summer while attempting to get his own apparel company off the ground. Merritt hasn’t released many details yet (not even the name) but he has released a YouTube video.

If you want to keep up with the project, I suggest following Dave on twitter.

Other Notes

  • Trey Zeigler and his dad made the trip to East Lansing on Friday for an unofficial visit.
  • Brandan Kearney and Team USA arrived in Argentina today, they open play on Wednesday at 5 PM ET.
  • Patrick Lucas-Perry ($) and Devin Oliver ($) both went head-to-head with Keith Appling at the Izzo Shootout.
  • Jim Calhoun was hospitalized when he c0llapsed after a 50 mile bike race. He finished the race despite falling 12 miles into the race and breaking 5 ribs. You can say what you want about Calhoun’s recruiting or attitude but he certainly has resolve.
  • USC’s basketball program continues to fall apart. Lamont Jones, Derrick Williams, and Noel Johnson have all been released from their LOIs. Solomon Hill and Renardo Sidney both reneged on their verbal commitments and DeMar DeRozan, Daniel Hackett, Taj Gibson, and Marcus Johnson all put their names in the NBA draft. My question is, with NCAA sanctions looming, what sane person will take the job at USC?
  • Tom Too

    I am VERY excited about Evan coming to play at UM. He is going to be a flat-out stud. I you add 2″ in two years, I am seriously thinking Dirk N. here….

  • Kenny

    Does anyone know if Smote will make Beilein’s Elite camp next week?

  • jim

    He’ll be there. Book it!!

  • There is some overlap but I would assume he gets up to Ann Arbor next week.

    Elite camp June 25-26, Team Camp June 27-28
    Vince Carter runs the 23-26.

  • Crazy Eyes

    Actually, riding a bike with broken ribs can actually be done because the forward position of a person riding a bike doesn’t strain the ribcage as much thus you don’t feel as much pain.

  • Crazy Eyes: It still doesn’t sound too pleasant to me.

  • Ichiro

    Hopefully the success of more versatile guys like Rashard Lewis playing the 4 in the NBA will help with recruiting, by showing that Beilein’s emphasis on shooting can only help big guys get to the next level.

    Condolences to the Dawkins family–that’s just tragic.

  • ToBlav

    Does anyone know how Coach Beilein finds these guys. Zach Novak wasn’t wanted by anyone at this level but comes in a does a job playing as a freshmen and out of position. Evan Smotrycz was unheard of, Beilein get a commitment and the guy looks to be headed off the charts. So, if anyone has insights about how he finds them I’d like to hear them. Thanks.

    I do have one idea. Maybe he is the best talent evaluator out there.

  • ZRL

    I was able to talk to Beilein a month ago I asked him how he found Smotrycz and his answer kind of suprised me. He said he saw a couple on tapes on him and he looked pretty good, plus he likes big men that can shoot so he decided to offer. He seemed pretty nonchalant about it and even said “i think he’s pretty good, we’ll see”. I always imagined Beilein breaking down a ton of him and finding something no one else saw, but it sounded to me like even HB was suprised on how much ES was blowing up, not a case of JB salivating and thinking he found a top 50 player before anyone else realized.

  • ToBlav

    – Thanks, not the response I expected. That makes it all the more interesting.

  • michael

    To understand Beilein’s ability to assess talent, reference Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink:

    “It’s a book about rapid cognition, about the kind of thinking that happens in a blink of an eye. When you meet someone for the first time, or walk into a house you are thinking of buying, or read the first few sentences of a book, your mind takes about two seconds to jump to a series of conclusions. Well, “Blink” is a book about those two seconds, because I think those instant conclusions that we reach are really powerful and really important and, occasionally, really good.

    You could also say that it’s a book about intuition, except that I don’t like that word. In fact it never appears in “Blink.” Intuition strikes me as a concept we use to describe emotional reactions, gut feelings–thoughts and impressions that don’t seem entirely rational. But I think that what goes on in that first two seconds is perfectly rational. It’s thinking–its just thinking that moves a little faster and operates a little more mysteriously than the kind of deliberate, conscious decision-making that we usually associate with “thinking.” In “Blink” I’m trying to understand those two seconds. What is going on inside our heads when we engage in rapid cognition? When are snap judgments good and when are they not? What kinds of things can we do to make our powers of rapid cognition better?”

  • Ken in Vegas

    That’s kind of funny to hear, ZRL. I guess I just always pictured JB as having a crystal ball to find out which players are predestined by the bball gods to succeed. Perhaps running a potential’s data through a complicated computer simulator to find hidden gems. Instead he’s just like “Uh, I don’t know. He looked pretty good on film. Figured I’d email him a quick offer.”

    I’m sure he actually falls somewhere in between. I’m just happy we got Smot. It sounds like he could be better than Lubick and Regan when it’s all said and done.

  • Mitchigan

    Smotrycz definitely visited back in the fall of last year. I’m sure the process is a little more thorough than we all think. Either way sounds like quite a grab.

  • ZRL

    To expand on before:

    Yes, Beilein did also say that Evan took an unofficial to AA and he met him before he committed. I asked JB about Evan while he was in the process of blowing up, and I think JB was just a little suprised at how quickly Evan went from being a no-name to a big recruit. He was talking about Evan with the type of smile on his face people have when they get really lucky and realize that they have gotten really lucky.

    Also, Jb said he’s being recruited for the 3-4 position. He said he liked what Novak brought to the team as a 4 last year, but because of his size he got bullied on defense, so he’s hoping Evan will be like a taller version of Zach.

  • Good stuff ZRL. Evan appears to be the perfect Beilein four. There really seems to be little doubt about that.

    People that are exceptionally good at what they do often times tend to attribute their successes to luck rather than their own abilities as well…

  • Bluebufoon

    This is Paul Biancardi’s write-up on ESPN.com on the son of a former Michigan Alum Barry Larkin, who played for the Cincinnati Reds. Class of 2011

    • Shane Larkin (Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips) is a scoring point guard who can make jumper on stationary and off the bounce. His range extends to the 3-point line. Larkin is son of former baseball great Barry Larkin.

  • Kevin in GR

    Larkin’s HS – Same one as UM football commit Ricardo Miller……Hmmmm……I’ve read that Ricardo has been quite the recruiter himself on the football side.

  • jmblue

    I like that the LeBron camp invite implies that Smotroycz is now a top 80 national player. I wonder how high his ranking can get.

  • Frank

    To answer your question, it wouldn’t surprise me if Billy Gillispie was interested in the USC job.

  • ToBlav

    Micheal, ZRL, Ken in Vegas, Dylan –

    Those are good contribution and help to paint a nicely balanced veiw, as well as more to think about. People with a knack for something special, to expand on Dylan’s comment, can’t always explain it. Having experienced the frustration of games that are luck dependent, I think there is definitely more than luck going on with Beilein’s recruiting. So anyways, thanks for plenty of food for thought.