Weekend Rundown (7-13-09)

Dylan Burkhardt

Editors Note: The 2011 hot board has been updated. It is most likely not a complete list and I’m sure that it will continue to change over the next month.

Tim Hardaway Jr. played very well in a Chicago AAU tournament. So well in fact that the Sun Times high school basketball writers think he would be the #3 prospect in Illinois.

Speaking of the Mac Irvin Fire, the Hoops Report continues to be impressed with Tim Hardaway, Jr. The Class of 2010 2-guard out of Miami will be a perfect fit at Michigan. If Hardaway were in the state of Illinois he would certainly be one of the top five prospects in the senior class and probably check in at No. 3 overall behind Richmond and Leonard.

For reference, here is a list of Rivals top 150 players from the state of Illinois:Jereme Richmond (22), Meyers Leonard (61),  Crandall Head (86), Anthony Johnson (88), Brandon Spearman (100), Lavonte Dority (115), Reggie Smith (117), Lenzelle Smith (118), Alex Rossi (129).  Saying that Hardaway would be the #3 prospect in the state is quite impressive with that company.


  • Benjamin

    Hmm…Beilein gets a commitment from Evan “Metrics” Smotrycz…he blows up. Beilein gets a commitment from Hardaway Jr…he begins to blow up…

    I am noticing a trend here- and, I like it.

  • UMDC

    Real nice job on the 2011 hot board!

  • Tom Too

    Makes you wonder what 2012’ers JB is watching right now that nobody else knows about…..yet.

  • Kenny

    1. It is fruitless to recruit Dwaun Anderson whose dream school is “MSU”, especially given the limited number of scholarship available in 2011 and plenty of targets who have higher interest in UM.

    2. On the Olander story, it is interesting to see how many Smotrycz type of players Beilein would like to have in a team. We already have McLimans in 0’9, and Metrics in ’10

  • Ryan F

    Wouldn’t Mills have been the perfect big man for Beilein? A big man that could pass and shoot so well from the outside…plus adding a shot-blocking presence on the other end of the floor.

    Gotta think Beilein could put him to use somehow working with the 4s and 5s.

  • Tweeter

    Tom Too: you have to love what Beilein has done in finding some of these guys that no one else was in on (Metrics, Timmy, Stu, Novak, hopefully McLimans). While I continue to want him to look for diamonds in the rough, I hope, however, that by 2012, UM is looking at top name recruits. The style of play with guys that can shoot and pass is great, and you can do very well playing that way with limited athletic-types, but eventually if you want to win real big, you have to get the top NBA type athletes. Now maybe some of these guys will turn out to be NBA caliber players, but the odds are against that. If UM wants to compete for national titles, you need to get 5* kids. So hopefully by 2012 Beilein wont have to search the hay stacks for the unknown needles, and instead he can land the well known names.

  • Tom Too

    You are 100% correct. It is going to be interesting to see JB coach these upper echlon players in a couple of years because he has never coached 5* guys. He is very used to molding diamonds in the rough…kids that admit they need improving and are willing to listen to everything JB has to say. It will be a different dynamic than he is used to….

  • David


    I get your point. I would just add that I think Beilein has already shown in the 2010 class (Zeigler, Lubick, Prather) and 2011 class (Brundidge, Lucas-Perry, Kearney) that, of course, he’ll recruit higher ranked kids if they show U-M interest.

    One other thing — I don’t think you have to get a team full of 5 stars to compete for natty titles. I would prefer a team of very solid recruits that stay 3-4 years than have a bunch of one-and-dones like OSU. MSU seems to have struck a nice balance. I think their last McDonald’s All-American was Shannon Brown.

  • Tweeter

    David – I agree that he is recruiting some guys that bigger names, but the next step is actually landing a couple. Its great to be in the hunt for them, but that doesnt mean anything if they dont ultimately choose UM. As for your second point, I somewhat agree. You dont have to be loaded with 5*s, but if you look at the teams that annually are in the mix they are filled with NBA type talent. Most of those guys are 5*s coming out of highschool. There are the occassional 2,3, or unranked player that turns out to be NBA level player, but its relatively rare. MSU has not had a lot of great classes recently, but they have gotten Roe, Summers, Lucas, Gray, and others who were all very highly ranked. But State was at their best when they had the NBA guys – Cleaves, Mo Pete, Jason Richardson, ZAch Randolph. Its hard to be competive for national titles year in and year out, when you dont get those NBA guys. Im not saying you go out and get a bunch of one and dones, but I think if the ultimate goal is to be Duke, North Carolina, Kansas type program (which I think it should be), then you do need to get the high ranked guys who are more likely to become NBA players.

  • Benjamin

    Tweeter…If Tom Too agrees with you 100%…I guess I agree with you 20%

    You suggested that Beilein should seek out top talent…and this is exactly what Beilein and the Michigan program is doing.

    As David pointed out, Smotrycz, TZ, Prather, and Lubick (all 2010) are all Top 100 talent. CB and Kearney (2011) are the same.

    Beilein isn’t searching for needles in haystacks. Beilein just may be better at recognizing quality players earlier. Beilein doesn’t need to wait for the Services to tell him that a player is good. When he knows they are worthy when he sees it.

  • Tweeter

    Benjamin – I was really talking about top top talent. TZ and Prather are pretty close. Lubick didnt committ to UM. Brundidge and KEarney we shall see. Metrics has risen a ton and may turn out to be great, but certainly he is not close to being a sure thing. Plus I am not sure that any of those guys with the exception of Zeigler are NBA players. That is the point. Its great to get top fifty, four star players, but like I said eventually you have to get the highest of the high to be consistent. And, UM has not signed any of those guys yet. Its quite possible that none of them choose UM. I love the fact that Beilein has quickly dispelled the myth that he wouldnt go after the better players, but he needs to sign them. Even if he signs Zeigler this year and lets say Kearney and Williams next year, I think that will make a very good team, but maybe not a great one. Certainly there are no sure fire NBA guys in that mix.

    Metrics probably never should have been regarded as a needle in a hay stack type player, but Stu and Novak certainly were and hopefully so are McLimans and Morgan.

  • Beast1530

    Tom Too, JB has coached 5* talents. Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims are 5*. He certainly knows how to utilize them in his system and both are clearly the two best players on the team.

  • Tom Too

    That’s right…I stand corrected.

  • UMDC

    It’s always an ugly argument when we start talking about the type of player UM needs to have in order to compete for championships. This is because there are never any definitions and it’s always so wishy-washy. What does success mean? Winning a championship? getting to the final four? The elite eight? just one year or multiple years? What about big ten championships? Do they matter?

    Does the team need 5 star guys or NBA talent? Arizona, ASU, USC, and Davidson all had guys taken in the top of the NBA draft this year, but were not competing any more than we were for a national title. Louisville has 5 star guys all over the place and NBA talent but no championships. Are they a success or a failure? Ohio State has the same thing, are they a success or failure?

    How many 5 star guys and NBA talent guys do we need to compete? 1? 6? 15? over how many years? Is Michigan State’s level of talent a lot? a little? or just about right? What about Duke? The only success they have had in the Tourney lately, is do to getting high seeds and thus virtual auto bids to the second weekend, which they never make it out of. Is that success or failure?

    My point is that I don’t know how to have this debate when I don’t even know what it means to have success. If success is simply championships, then there are a lot of teams that have accomplished exactly zilch with all their 5 star NBA talent! Or, put another way, there are a lot of teams that have accomplished exactly as much as Coach B has in his time at WVU and UM, with all their 5 star NBA talent.

  • Tweeter

    I agree UMDC, it does depend on how you define success. I would say that the goal for the program should be to be like the best programs. That means year in and year out putting a team out there that has a good chance to win the championship. In order to do that, you have to have some NBA level players. Just looking at the last decade of championship teams, they all had at least two quality NBA players, most had several more.

    Look, Beilein is a great coach, and he can overachieve like crazy with less talent, but I dont think he can have a good chance at winning an NCAA title with the current level of players and recruits. Is it possible? Sure it is. Guys like Metrics, or Morris or Vogrich could turn out to be a NBA level talent. But that it is a small chance.

    Im not saying you throw everything that you have ever done or believe in, in terms of recruiting and coaching out the window. Im just saying that in order to come into every season and have a good chance at winning titles, you have to have NBA talent. That usually means getting high 5* players.

  • Brick

    I think one of the issues that everyone is missing in this argument is the relative value of a senior 4 star vs. a freshman 5 star. This top talent that people are referring to, does it include B.J. Mullins and Jrue Holiday? I would argue that the players in the 40-100 range that stay all 4 years are more valuable than most one, or even two and done players. There are exceptions of course but most of the top 10 rent an 18 year old players can go to another school as far as I’m concerned. There is a certain type of player we are going to recruit and I can guarantee you they are the type that will go to class. Many of the top players have NO interest in school and we probably aren’t going to ever be at the top of that players list.

  • Tweeter

    Well its certainly fun to talk about having quality student-athletes that go to class, graduate on time and are 40-100 range recruits. But I dont think you can also talk about wanting to be elite, if those are your ultimate goals. Im not saying you couldnt get it done and win a lot with those types of players, because you can. But your margin for error is a lot smaller in terms of identifying the high caliber player. I dont want Beilein to change what he does, but I hope at some point he is able to bring in a couple of real high rated players even if it means that they may leave after a year or two. You never know, maybe you get some of those guys and they decide to stay like the UNC players.

  • I’m with Brick–I don’t need the one and dones at all. I want players that can out-think and out-gut the Dukes and the UNCs, not be a top five but a top 20-team, often the underdog but winning with the coach’s smarts/players with character. And I’m emphatically NOT saying that guys like LeBron or Oden are w.o. character or brains–obviously, they’ve got that in spades. (I don’t think you find many dumb guys in hoop like you occasionally still might in football.) I’m saying I don’t want the taint that goes with it.

    Course, if they start winning like crazy me and my purity may be put to the test. I’m sure Beilein would love to struggle with those questions, too.

  • Tweeter

    As you can tell by my excessive posting tonight, I find this subject intriguing (or I just have nothing better to do on a Monday night). Not every top recruit will be a one and done. You may lose a couple here and there, but you may retain a couple for several years. You may be able to out-think or out-gut a Duke or UNC for one game, but you are not going to do it consistently and you are not going to win titles without the talent. It will be interesting to see where the current players end up (besides Manny/Sims). Maybe we have some NBA talent right now, who knows. My original point, and my current point, is just about what it takes to win titles. Which is what I want. I dont care where the players come from in terms of stars, as long as they turn out to NBA level players, but the lower you go in the rankings, the slimmer the chances of that.

  • Paul

    Did everyone forget about Darius Morris?! JB has already proven he can bring in top, to close to the top level talent. We have to remember that winning breeds success. This past season has proven that, at least on the recruiting trail. If (and it’s a highly likely if) UM has a better season than last, I’m sure we’ll see an even larger upswing in recruiting. The name alone gets UM in a lot of doors already, regardless of record. We make an elite eight or even a sweet sixteen and I think a lot of ears are going to be perking up.

  • Tweeter

    Darius looks like he will be a very good player, but its not like the guy has NBA scouts abuzz right now. Those are the types of players I am talking about – the buzz players. Maybe down the road DMo will get there, but its no sure thing.

  • Dave

    darius will have a huge season his freshman year………….hes a playmaker and a creater, known for getting his teammates involved and creating opportunities for them to score…….he will have a dramatic impact on the game this upcoming season………having him with manny and deshawn not to mention that at least one more player from last year will undoubtedly step up and improve dramatically …….lots of heads will being turning

  • Dave

    people underestimate the natural ability to create and be a playmaker……..let morris play around with manny and deshawn and see what happens

  • Brick

    The thing I find tiring about this whole debate is that it completely ignores the importance of regional recruiting. There are very few programs that just send a letter to the other side of the country and get on someone’s visit list. Many kids like to play close to home and are fans of the schools in the area. Even the mighty MSU program has pulled in pretty much zero recruits beyond the midwest for as long as I can remember. Making a blanket statement that UM should recruit more top 20 NBA bound kids completely ignores who these kids are, where they are from and what schools are their favorites growing up. Yeah, we should go after the type of recruits that Ohio State goes after. Wait, pretty much every one of their five stars has been from either Ohio or such far off places as Ft. Wayne or Indianapolis.

    I am amazed that we pulled in Morris from California, that was a great grab and seemed to happen because a relative spoke highly of JB. We are currently working Michigan and the rest of the midwest hard and also a few East Coast areas because of the coaches ties back there. If a top talent emerges from these areas we will be all over them. It’s impossible to blanket the entire country as a basketball recruiter and I think the coaches are doing a great job of targeting regions and making contacts that will lead to landing great players that will make us a top program again.

    This debate never leads to a name of a specific top player that we didn’t recruit and should have.

  • Tweeter

    Brick – I am not down on anything that the staff is doing currently. My point was about the future. Ofcourse, UM has no chance to go out right now and land the best of the best. But hopefully with several more years of successful play, they might be able to target the top level player. The whole thing was really just a response to Tom about who Beilein is targetting down the road that nobody knows about. When I would hope, and maybe I am too optimistic about this, that he wouldnt have to target unknowns and instead target the well knowns. I love that they are able to go and find guys like Stu and Metrics, but eventually I want to see the next step. Not right now, but eventually.

  • Tom Too

    This all boils down to one question: Are we going to have a program like Gonzaga or Duke? Both are top 25 teams, but one has lower-tiered players that always seems to be the underdog and will probably never win an NCAA Championship, and the other contends each year and puts people in the NBA. Both seem to recruit good students who stay for over one year.

  • Brick–great last post. Nothing like bringing a fact or two to bear on the debate. There is the school reputation, and Michigan’s carries cache. And Beilein–among other things–is helping M get out from under the weight of the penalties, to move on. But there is also the long, long investment in developing those ties to h.s. coaches, right down to neighborhoods that go into making Duke and UNC the perennial winners that they are. Those ties are insitutional, built over decades, and many must be regional. I think Beilein has it in him to be in a class with the Woodens, Coach Ks, and Dean Smiths, one of the grand old men of hoop.

    Morris, meanwhile, could prove an amazing grab. Success begets success, and expands M’s recruiting reach. Beilein’s insight about player potential helps in that regard, too. I was delighted with his hire from the get-go, and he’s surpassing expectations. It wasn’t long ago–mid season last year–that many of us were still lamenting the cloud Michigan was under. I think it has lifted.

    P.S. Two unselfish NBA-caliber players really learning to create, one good play-making guard, several sharp-shooting role-players, should be enough to take you some way at the dance. I don’t think people have fully absorbed that we have two superlative players in Manny and Deshawn Sims. M is a much better, more confident team going in, and a lot depends on how quickly Morris adjusts, whether he stays within his developing capabilities. But M is in the thick of the B10 race this year.

  • Ryan

    I have always been a die hard Michigan fan. I have always followed the basketball team and would always watch them on TV. But NEVER have I ever looked forward to it more than a football season. I was born in 1989, so I didn’t really know what was going on during hte fab 5 era.
    Sure, I am excited about the football season, but reading this site daily (and reading all the comments,) I am getting more and more ready by the day. November couldn’t come soon enough.

  • Benjamin

    LOL @ Ryan. Same here, man…I follow both the football and basketball programs very closely. But, this year is the first year that I am more excited about the upcoming basketball season.