Notes from Friday Night at Spiece

Dylan Burkhardt

immersive[1]The Spiece Run ‘n Slam Classic is one of the premiere midwestern spring AAU events and this year’s tournament is no exception. There are plenty U-M recruiting targets participating in the event and we’ll have coverage throughout the weekend and beyond.

I spent Friday night watching the Eric Gordon All-Stars 16U team, featuring 2013 wings Zak Irvin and VJ Beachem, as well as the Illinois Wolves 16U team with 2013 point guard Jalen James. Here are a few notes from the first night of action:

  • It took Zak Irvin a while to get started on Friday night but the long wing guard scored 10 second half points as the Eric Gordon All-Stars knocked off St. Louis Team Swish, 69-54. Irvin told me that he’s developed a very strong relationship with Michigan assistant coach Lavall Jordan and that he fully expects an offer from the Wolverines on June 15th. Michigan appears to be in a very strong position in Irvin’s recruitment at this juncture.
  • Irvin’s teammate, V.J. Beachem, added nine points and also played very well. He’s a smooth athlete, and might have an even longer wingspan than Irvin, with the ability to knock down the three point shot.
  • Jalen James has gone from unknown prospect to the talk of the Big Ten. James is a strong point guard with a great frame that plays the game under control. He plays high school ball at a very small high school in Chicago and simply hasn’t had the exposure that he’s getting this spring. Jalen’s AAU coach, Mike Mullins, has coached some terrific point guards and raved about Jalen’s game. Mullins added that James is hearing from “almost all of the Big Ten” and is working on getting a visit scheduled to Ann Arbor this June.
  • Michigan is also inquiring about James’s teammate, big man Andrew Zelis. Zelis has optimal size but is still growing into his body, improving his mobility and coordination and learning to play the game efficiently.
  • Austin Hatch won’t be playing this weekend as he’s recovering from torn ligaments in his ankle and will be sidelined for a few weeks. Hatch’s father reported that Austin is up to 6-foot-6 and 214lbs and he’s yet another 2013 wing prospect to keep an eye on.

We’ll have much more from the Spiece Run ‘n Slam Classic over the coming days.

  • Paul

    Excellent thanks

  • Brian W

    How was Jalen James in person? From the video below, it looks like he has some good passing skills.

    50 vehicle purchases by Ohio State football players and relatives are now under investigation…

  • wayman britt

    I hope LaVall is all over Zak Irvin to convince him to join the Wolverines. Mr. Irvin looks very good and seems to be very interested in UM. Go get him LaVall.

    • Tweeter

      Hope so too. He reminds me of a more skilled Manny Harris at that age.

      It is going to be very interesting to see what Beilein does with the few scholarships left. As of right now we have two available for 2013, but you kinda expect on of those to be used prior to that. Either Heckmann for next year or a 2012 player. Obviously there is a good chance that the team will have some sort of attrition prior to then, because of early entries to the NBA, transfers, or a player not getting a fifth year. But if nothing changes it really seems like the team has to use those two spots on a pg and a big. I think Stauskas gives us some flexibility there as he can play point, but going into 2014 those will be big positions of need. Thats why I would guess Heckmann probably does not receive an offer.

  • AG2

    Assistants who can recruit are worth their weight in gold. Coach Beilein did an excellent job luring LaVall Jordan and Bacari Alexander to Ann Arbor. Sorry Western, lol.

    in other news, Terrence Jones is returning to UK. Next season its going to be UNC/Kentucky 1/2 with OSU and Duke a distant 3rd and 4th.

  • Steve A

    Is there a deadline of when Heckmann has to make a decision by?

  • Bluebufoon

    Don’t know if there’s room for both Zak Irvin and Austin Hatch ? If not which one does U-M take for 2013 ? One of the websites indicates Michigan is in great shape for Hatch, plus we need a big man in 2013 — presumably Donnal and a PG either Derrick Walton or the sophomore out of South Bend D. Jackson. Does U-M have room for a four scholarship in 2013 ? Do we presume Hardaway will be leaving early ?

    Technically, Heckmann can wait till school starts in the fall but I wouldn’t think he’ll need much time after his visit to Ann Arbor to make his mind-up.

    • Tweeter

      RE: do we have room for four – Even if THJr leaves early we wouldnt have room for four. Right now there is one spot open for the next two classes and two spots open for 2013. If Heckmann was to commit that would leave us one spot open in 2013 only. As I said in an earlier comment, I think you can safely assume that there will be some sort of attrition prior to 2013. But you would need two guys to leave and Heckmann or any other player not to commit over the next two years, for there to be four spots in 2013.

      It is quite a scholarship crunch. I do assume that something will happen to free up at least one more scholarship, but I also think that because the team will have huge needs at pg and center by 2013, that the coaches will pass on Heckmann.

      In terms of Irvin or Hatch – personally I take Irvin first since adding another athletic wing seems like a bigger need. But I like em both.

      • Kenny

        If McLimans and Morgan do not return for their 5th year, we will have 5.

        • georgeesq.

          I would expect Morgan to get and accept a 5th year. It is possible that McLimans would not be given a 5th year.

  • Brian W

    The Wolverine has an article that says that Mark Donnal is planning to visit Ann Arbor.

    The Butler Fans web site tweeted about 4 hours ago that Butler and Michigan are Donnal’s leaders at the moment. Donnal had 14 points for Indiana Elite vs KC 76ers, and then followed it up with 8 points in the next game.

  • Quick Darshan

    It’s probably less confusing to talk about the open scholarships with respect to players

    Right now, for the 2011 season, there’s a “Darius Morris” slot open. For the 2013, there’s a “Matt Vogrich” slot open. There’s also a probable “Tim Hardaway Jr.” slot open if he goes pro early.

    If the “Darius Morris” slot goes to a wing like Heckmann, I would think the “Matt Vogrich” slot would go to a PG, especially since that 2013 class is apparently PG-heavy. If a “Tim Hardaway Jr.” slot opens up, I’m guessing that goes to a big man.

  • Steve A

    Any chance we’d still be interested in Larry Nance Jr. with an open slot?, I’d rather have Heckmann.

    • Kenny

      Nance committed to Wyoming.

  • Brian W

    Report on day two of Spiece from Scout. Mentions a few prospects that Michigan is watching.

    According to Rivals, Ray Lee is headed to Huntington (WV) Prep.