Recruiting: Where Things Stand

Dylan Burkhardt

Now that Carlton Brundidge is in the fold, Michigan’s recruiting focus has shifted. Here is an attempt to figure out where Michigan goes next on the recruiting trail.

First, the scholarship situation:


Michigan has two more scholarships to give over the next two years. Manny Harris is obviously an NBA prospect and could leave early, this would give Michigan more room to maneuver in the class of 2010 but would not affect the situation in 2011.

Future roster positional breakdown, and a look at the classes of 2010, 2011, and 2012 after the jump.

Future Roster Breakdown


Guards. With Brundidge’s commitment it is clear that Michigan is going to have a very diverse group of guards for at least the next three years. There is a good mix of shooters (Douglass, Vogrich, Lucas-Perry, and Hardaway) and creators (Morris and Brundidge). Hardaway and Vogrich have the size to potentially play the wing position but I think they are natural two guards at this point.

Wings. There is a huge hole on the wing in the post-Manny era. I included Novak in this group because he probably becomes a three after Harris is gone. Optimally a Manny Harris replacement (or two) comes in the class of 2010.

Four. Calling the four man a power forward in this offense doesn’t really do the position justice. This is very much an inside/outside skilled role rather than a “power” position and Evan Smotrycz and Blake McLimans appear to be great fits.

Bigs. This position group is also relatively thin. After Sims and Gibson graduate there will only be two centers on the roster. Both have been plagued by injuries and have yet to play meaningful minutes.  2011 is the class where Michigan needs to land an elite big man.

Class of 2010

Casey Prather and Trey ZeiglerCasey Prather and Trey Zeigler are Michigan’s remaining targets for the Class of 2010

Since the Tim Hardaway Jr. commitment there have been only two targets on Michigan’s radar in the class of 2010: Casey Prather and Trey Zeigler.

Beilein and his staff appear determined to do whatever it takes to land Manny Harris’ replacement in this class. They would gladly take both of Prather and Zeigler but landing one of them would like give Michigan a top 10 class nationally.

Casey Prather. At 6-foot-5, Prather is one of the most explosive athletes in the class of 2010. He’s a lockdown defender who can get it done on the offensive side of the ball.

According to a recent Detroit News article by Sam Webb, Prather will decide on a college within the next couple weeks. Webb’s article details Prather’s recruitment and Michigan’s meticulous recruitment of the Tennessee native. Beilein and his staff have done everything within the rules to make their mark and at this point it’s a waiting game. Prather has his final official visit scheduled for Vanderbilt on October 3rd.

Trey Zeigler. Zeigler is much more refined offensively than Prather but is not quite the same level of athlete. The son of a coach, Zeigler is versatile enough to play on the wing or in the backcourt and routinely puts up impressive scoring tallies.

Zeigler has been to Ann Arbor many times over the last couple years, his most recent trip was an unofficial visit for the Michigan-Notre Dame football game. He is scheduled to make his official visit on October 24th for the Penn State football game. Zeigler is planning a spring decision and Michigan is very much involved along with Central Michigan, Oklahoma, Arizona, Arizona St, Providence, Pittsburgh, UCLA, and many others.

Class of 2011

brundidge-williamsMichigan commitment Carlton Brundidge with AAU teammate Amir Williams

With the Brundidge commitment, Michigan is in a position to focus almost exclusively on big men in the class of 2011. Brandan Kearney, once thought to be on the verge of a Michigan commitment, is likely on the backburner while the class of 2010 plays out. If Michigan swings and misses on both Prather and Zeigler, Kearney becomes a priority on the wing.

Here are a few of the big men (in no real order) on the Michigan radar.

Amir Williams. Williams’ recruitment has moved much slower than his AAU teammate Carlton Brundidge. While Brundidge provided the scoring punch for The Family this summer, Williams was the horse in the paint. The 6-foot-10 big man is considering offers from a number of high major schools including Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Miami-FL, Arizona, Providence, Wake Forest, Notre Dame, and Cincinnati.

Marshall Plumlee. In a recent lengthy ESPN profile, Michigan was not mentioned. Plumlee did make an unofficial visit back in August and the omission may be credited to the author rather than Plumlee himself. That being said, both of Plumlee’s brothers play at Duke and the fact that they have now offered doesn’t bode well for the other schools on Plumlee’s list.

Percy Gibson. Gibson plays for Detroit Southeastern along with Brandan Kearney. Regarded as a top 150 recruit by Rivals, Gibson claims a Michigan State offer but is still waiting for a Michigan one.  Ohio State and Miami are among the other schools recruiting Gibson.

Justin Gant. Gant recently visited Michigan for the Notre Dame game and was impressed with the atmosphere. Gant is a versatile big man from Indiana who is garnering interest from Notre Dame, Purdue, Indiana, Wisconsin, Butler, Virginia, and Stanford.

Trey McDonald. McDonald’s name has started to get some play as one of the better big men in the state of Michigan for the 2011 class. McDonald performed very well at the Michigan Elite Camp and while he is a bit under the radar nationally, he is one to watch.

Cody Zeller. Zeller is another Indiana native with older siblings that play college ball. Zeller picked up offers from Indiana, Purdue, Iowa, Butler and Florida this summer. There hasn’t been a lot of talk about Michigan coming from the Zeller camp but with Brundidge in the fold, you can be sure that Michigan will be ramping up several recruitments.

Class of 2012

Ray LeeRay Lee is a top in-state prospect in the class of 2012

With limited space in the classes of 2010 and 2011, Michigan can start to focus on the class of 2012 as well. These kids are obviously young, they haven’t even played their sophomore seasons, but early attention can be key in a recruitment. The class of 2012 should be a very strong one, especially in Michigan and Indiana. Ray Lee (PG, Robichaud), Kellon McCormick (F, ND Prep), and Yogi Ferrell (PG, Indianapolis) were on campus for the Notre Dame game. DeJuan Marrero, Austin Angel, DJ Balentine, and Kellen Dunham are a couple more kids whose names are floating around.


The path appears to be pretty clear. First, land Casey Prather, Trey Zeigler, or both in the class of 2010. Then attempt to land a big man in the class of 2011. Attrition is an issue on any Division 1 sports team and it obviously could shift the picture, however attempting to predict any sort of attrition is futile.

That’s the recruiting picture in Cliff-Note form at this point. A little over a year ago, Darius Morris committed to Michigan giving Beilein his biggest commitment to date. Since then, Beilein has reeled in four commitments that are listed on at least one major top 100 list (Vogrich, Smotrycz, Hardaway, and Brundidge). It’s becoming awfully hard to critique Beilein’s recruiting.

  • Tom, Too.

    Nice work….

  • Kenny

    Nice presentation on the scholarship counts. But I am pretty sure that one of the 2009 class will red-shirt, and Hardaway also likely redshirt.

  • We’ll see on redshirts. Obviously won’t know for a while. The graphics live here so if someone does redshirt it will obviously be updated.

  • gpsimms

    Just curious, if it’s possible we’d take both wings in ’10, then is it possible that we take Kearney over a big man in ’11 with only one spot left? Or do you just consider Zeigler and Prather “elite, take them no matter what if they want to come,” and Kearney to be something below that?

  • Ryan F

    One question I have…In regards to landing BOTH Zeigler and Prather in this class – while it may not be very likely I think it definitely is possible. Seems like most people feel the only way we free up the space for both is if Manny leaves early, which I agree is the most likely scenario. However, doesn’t the timing of draft-entry decisions mess this up? Don’t early-entries have until like early June to enter or withdraw from the draft? Can’t imagine Zeigler would be willing to wait around that long to see IF a spot opens up.

    On a related note – is it possible that Anthony Wright will not be invited back for a 5th year? Could be another way to free up a spot for 2010.

  • Ken in Vegas

    Ryan F, you bring up good points about the timing of all this, and I think that’s why we are NOT going to get both Prather and Zeigler. We will know very soon whether it’s Prather or whether we have to hit Zeigler’s recruitment as hard as humanely possible. I’m sure many disagree, but I don’t think there’s a chance in hell that we secure both. I even think we will be ok without either, but certainly would be disappointing.

  • gpsimms: I see it more like the 2nd half of your comment. Kearney is not on the same level as Zeigler or Prather. He’s just entering his junior year, so that could change, but right now he’s not on that level.

  • SN

    I’m confused. You say the plan is to try and land one or two wings in this class, then a big man for ’11. But if we get two wings this year, doesn’t that mean we’re done for ’11?

  • SN: Good question, I tried to clean up the second to last paragraph a bit. I think the odds that we land Zeigler and Prather are very low. If you take them both, then yes you are out of scholarships in 2011. One could always open up as well. It would be a good problem for Michigan to have.

  • Ryan F

    OK, this seems to be some good news…or at least reduces the barrier I mentioned earlier regarding timing of early-entry withdrawal decisions:

    Apparently this spring the NCAA decided to set its own decision deadline of May 8, effective in 2010, which is about a month earlier than it previously has been…and not coincidentally, this is also a week or two prior to the 2010 spring signing deadline…so while it might still be an inconvenient wait for Zeigler, at least this deadline makes signing both Zeigler and Prather a possibility if Manny leaves early, even if Manny takes it out to the deadline.

  • AG2

    Is it possible Zeigler is waiting to find out if his dad ends up somewhere other than CMU after the season to decide where to go?

  • I think its more likely that Zeigler is waiting to act as leverage for his dad if he ends up out of work. A coach who comes with a top 50 player is more employable than one who doesn’t.

  • W3

    Thats pretty much all he’s waiting for…UM in the meatime is in great shape with him it appears.

  • JBlair52

    man, I’d like to get 2 of Zeigler, Prather, and Kearney.

    I know we need some bigs but maybe we can go Villanova style!

  • Colby

    The question is do we need a true post player or another Beilein bgi man? I am going with a true post because we are going to need someone to score in the post. Look at how much better we were as a team when Deshawn was scoring in the post. It would be nice to have at least 2 options for scoring in the post. What does everyone else think?

  • Dave

    definitely need a man who is primarily a low post scorer with an ability to step out………..somebody to punish people in the paint

  • Tom, Too.

    It can work the other way with TZ’s Dad: Maybe the AD is waiting to see if Trey goes there…if he chooses elsewhere, then his Dad could get the ax.

  • Kenny

    Colby, just watch what Peedi was able to do last year, a real post threat is definitely needed.

    And this is my argument against taking Zeigler if Prather drops, if a high calibre 2011 big man such as Williams or Plumlee offers a commitment, you don’t turn them away. I found it a bit strange that everyone is worrying about replacing Manny but few worries about a replacement of Peedi.

  • KJay

    The thing about post scoring is that we rely right now on Peedi and Manny, but once you have a guy like Smotrycz or possibly McLimans our view on where scoring needs to come from might change. If 1-4 can all score, then maybe the 5 can be more of a banger/rebounder type. I think JB’s offense has enough flexibility to adjust.

    That’s not to say I wouldn’t want an elite post like Plumlee, Williams or Zeller…

  • JayRich

    I think everyone is talking about replacing manny because we are currently recruiting his predecessor. When we get hitting up the big men more, people will talk about replacing Peedi. As I have posted before. Let’s lock up Prather and Amir Williams. That is who i think we need to focus on. If Zeigler does commit (which i don’t think he will) then figure it out from there but I think focus there.

  • michael

    Lets play this game. You get to choose one option:

    (a) Manny Goes Pro. You get Zeigler and Prather
    (b) Manny Stays. You get Prather.

    Please don’t tell me anyone chooses option a.

  • Paul F.

    Well, I for one chose B. It’s up to Manny to show he’s ready for the big time and if he’s not ready then so be it he stays and gets even better. We all see his flaws and hope he works on them.

  • JRose5

    I’ll take plan B. Why would we not want Manny for his senior year? He might be one of the 5-10 best players in the nation as a senior. I hope whatever happens, it is the best for Manny…he has helped restore UM basketball(his recommitment to Coach B was huge). Let’s just hope we have the “problem” of Prather and Manny/TZ.

  • JayRich

    I will go with A. It is not that we want to lose Manny, but program wise, it is better to have two top recruits for 3 or 4 years than Manny for one more and one tp recruit. Having both Zeigler and Prather would make us national championship contenders (not saying we would win, but we would contend) after their freshman year (I just don’t think they are that elite to be able to carry a team as freshman). None of this matters though unless we get a top big man

  • If Manny leaves, I would much rather have Trey Zeigler than nobody. Whatever happens, the situation will not be Manny getting pushed out. That’s not what anyone is trying to say or wants.

    The situation will works itself out.

  • Kenny

    I strongly disagree with Dylan that it is our best interests to take both Zeigler and Prather, hoping for an attrition to free up an scholarship in 2011. It is always more important to address the need, keep the balance than take whoever the best. If Prather signs in the fall, and in a very hypothetic situation, say Lubick backs out from Georgetown, I would much rather have Lubick than Zeigler, hands down.

    The situation may plays out itself. We will soon see if Cronin is a legitimate big ten center and if his hip continues to bother him. In the worst scenario, look for Beilein adding another big in the 2010 class.

  • Matt

    I’m pretty sure we won’t go back after Lubick. He already burned us once and the players on the current team don’t take too kindly to him.

  • indyhoops

    Thought you might be interested in some IU prospect visit info from yesterday: