Scouting: Michigan Targets at Spiece Run ‘n Slam

Dylan Burkhardt

XdUpgWMd[1]Numerous Michigan recruiting targets played at the Spiece Fieldhouse on Saturday and we were able to get a long look at quite a few. In this report we take a look at Zak Irvin, VJ Beachem, Demetrius Jackson, Sherron Dorsey-Walker, EC Matthews, Mark Donnal, Jalen James, Derrick Walton, and Steve Haney. Stay tuned over the coming days for extensive video and more notes and quotes.

Demetrius Jackson – 2013 Guard – MBA Select There’s a lot to like about Demetrius Jackson. Jackson is one of the more explosive U-M point guard targets that we’ve seen this spring. He has a great first step and gets into the lane easily where he can finish or, more impressively, dish to the open man. He had tremendous vision and consistently created for others off the bounce. He shot the ball extremely well against the Mac Irvin Fire in bracket play, making four or five triples, and nearly helped his team to the upset win . Jackson has the rep of a streaky shooter, but if he shoots like he did tonight he’s hard to stop.

Zak Irvin – 2013 Wing – Eric Gordon All-Stars Irvin got off to a slow start on Friday night but played very well on Saturday. He scored the ball consistently and is extremely smooth with the basketball. When Zak catches the ball with the mindset that he’s going to make something happen, he usually does. He has a consistent three point shot and was very comfortable moving without the basketball and shooting the ball off the catch. As he develops more strength, he will be able to take the ball stronger to the hoop.

VJ Beachem – 2013 Wing – Eric Gordon All Stars Beachem is another talented wing guard on the Eric Gordon All-Stars. He has a similar build to Irvin (maybe a bit taller and a bit skinnier) and he also loves the perimeter jumpshot. He’s probably a better athlete and finisher around the hoop than Irvin, as he’s more athletic, but I would have liked to see him a lot more assertive offensively. The EG team has four guys all around 6-foot-5 to 6-foot-6 (Colin Hartman (IU), Devin Davis (IU), Irvin and Beachem) and sometimes it feels like none of them want to step up and be “the guy”.

Sherron Dorsey-Walker – 2012 REACH Legends Dorsey-Walker was instrumental in the REACH Legends’ upset over the Mac Irvin Fire. Sherron notched 34 points and was lights out from three point range. What I liked most about his performance on Saturday morning was that he didn’t begin the day just firing away. He attacked the basket a bit, made a few nice passes and then started heating up from three point range. Dorsey-Walker also hit a three to ice the game that brought back memories of Ali Faroukmanesh, catching the ball a long pass a couple steps inside the three point arc, taking two dribbles back and burying a three.

E.C. Matthews – 2013 Wing – Team Detroit It was a little under a year ago that Matthews put together a very strong performance at Michigan’s team camp. Matthews is a well-built wing prospect that lives to attack the basket. He’s probably around 6-foot-3 but has the athleticism to finish around the basket. His perimeter dribbling ability is solid but he needs to prove that he can knock down perimeter shots, something I didn’t see much of in the Family’s game versus the Michigan Warriors.

Drake Harris – 2014 Wing – Mean Streets Harris is an extremely talented 6-foot-4 guard from Grand Rapids. He has all of the tools – length, athleticism, dribbling ability, etc. – but he’s also productive, a great thing to see from a young prospect. He attacked the basket with ease and was able to finish around the hoop against an overmatched REACH Legends 15U squad. He also showed off a consistent jumpshot from the midrange.

Derrick Walton – 2013 Point Guard – Michigan Mustangs Quick with the ball and always looking to distribute, Walton is the straw that stirs the drink for the 2013 Mustangs. He can pretty much get wherever he wants on the court and has terrific court vision. We’ve focused on him quite a bit, and also posted video from King James, but it was more of the same from Derrick in Fort Wayne. There’s a lot to like about Walton, especially when he has the ball in his hands with a full head of steam pushing it in transition.

Jalen James – 2013 Point Guard – Illinois Wolves I saw James play in two games, one was an easy blowout win and the other was narrow upset over the Eric Gordon All-Stars. James barely played in the first game, simply because his squad didn’t need his services, and never seemed to get into a rhythm in the second. He certainly passes the look test, with a great 6-foot-3 frame, and does a good job getting his teammates involved. I’d like to see him be more aggressive in creating for himself but he does do a good job of distributing the basketball.

Mark Donnal – 2013 Center – Indiana Elite South Sophomore big men are extremely difficult to evaluate unless they are truly elite. Prospects like Donnal, who move well, have a great frame and skill, could end up blowing up or never read their potential. Donnal has a good motor and seems to have pretty good touch around the basket. He certainly needs to add strength, as he was often times pushed out of the lane despite having pretty good footwork. When he did hold position and his teammates got him the ball, he did a good job of finishing through contact. He’s not a great shotblocker, usually swiping down on the ball and being called for a foul, but is certainly an intriguing prospect to watch as he continues to develop.

Steven Haney Jr – 2013 Wing – Michigan Mustangs Haney is still recovering from an ankle injury that he suffered in Akron but he fought threw it and played at Spiece. He reportedly had 34 points on Friday night but didn’t get it going to that level when I saw him on Saturday. The strength of Haney’s game is obviously his shooting, but he’s not one dimensional either. Haney used his length to drive and get to the hoop (and the charity stripe) and is also a good passer as well.

Denzel Valentine – 2012 Guard – Michigan Mustangs – MSU Commit I had to include Valentine in this report just because of how much I enjoy watching him play. He’s not the best athlete, even on his own team, but he just has a tremendous feel for the game. He makes plays and makes his teammates better. There are questions as to where he’ll play at the next level – doesn’t score like a three and isn’t quick like a one – but as he continues to develop I see him playing on the ball in college.

  • Beast1530

    PG is a must get position for Michigan considering that Burke and Brundidge will be a Jr by the time they enroll. There are a lot of good, athlete PG that JB can potentially land for the future. I like Walton because of his vision, athleticism and willingness to pass.

    • poiuytrewq23

      All I have to say is Edmond Sumner class 2014 is a 6 ft pg out of Detroit country day and plays for the Family 15u n have interest from UD Titans and Indiana university. Hie nick name is Lil Manny (Manny Harris)

  • KRN

    Dylan, did James Young play at Spiece for the Family? If so, did you get to see how he played?

    • Dylan Burkhardt

      Nope. He didn’t play, I believe he’s injured.

  • Dylan Burkhardt

    Just as an FYI. Darius Morris chose Dan Fegan as his agent. He’s also John Wall’s agent.

  • Kenny

    Good to see Darius’s stock rise. The higher he goes in the upcoming draft, the better position Beilein is in to land another PG of his calibre. It will be interesting to see who are the first group of 2013 to receive an offer from JB.

  • Brian W

    Nice recap of report on how things went.

    U-M women’s team is in the running for Nicole Elmblad, who backed out of her commitment to Wisconsin and was granted her release. She was the Class C player of the year and runner-up for Miss Basketball in Michigan this year.

    • georgeesq.

      Borseth could use and deserves a break.

      • Brian W

        You’re right… Incoming freshman Aquashia Anderson blew her knee out in a Mississippi all-star game and was supposed to have surgery this month. They won’t know her status for a few months. The team could use an impact guard since Veronica Hicks graduated, so if they could get Elmblad, that would help next season.

  • Brian W has a nice Q&A with Coach Beilein…

    If you haven’t driven past Crisler Arena lately, the Player Development Center is coming along pretty well. They were working on the roof for Crisler last week.

  • Kenny

    OSU basketball program might be dragged into trouble as well. Buford bought a car from the same dealer who sold to more than 50 football players.

  • Brian W

    Jon Diebler’s parents also bought a car from the same dealer, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

  • Gary

    Not surprised – I have a very hard time believing that Matta runs a clean program.

  • Colby

    Great coverage Dylan, how would you rank the 13 PGs that were are recruiting. Also when is the Elite Camp? Just wondering if the staff will get to see the 13 recruits before the June 15th. Thanks

  • Tom_McC

    I really like Jackson. He has a very mature game for a Soph. Even though he is 5’11 he has long arms and looks like he may still grow some. Of course, that is not to say Derrick Walton is chopped liver either…nor are the other ’13 PG’s on the UM radar. I guess it’s a great problem to have to be in on some many good players. Hopefully, JB can get one to pop at some point in the next couple of months.

  • *JD*

    I really like Coach Beilein and like the direction we are headed but should I just accept that we are more likely to be recruiting guards and wings than top bigs? I keep hoping we target (and land) some Top 50 big man (as I think that’s all that’s missing) but it seems like that’s either not our focus or we just aren’t on their radar.

    Is that the case or are there still some other players we aren’t hearing about?

    • Dylan Burkhardt

      It’s a tricky situation because Michigan has so many freshmen bigs, turning to sophomores, that will be around for a while. It’s also a tough situation to offer big men so early because you don’t know how they will develop. Donnal is an interesting option that could turn out to be very good once he adds some muscle to his frame.

  • Section13Row15

    I would’ve been surprised if the OSU basketball program wasn’t somehow involved with that free car scandal. All of a sudden he just starts landing 5 star athletes out of the blue.

  • pdean192

    Here is a quote from Beachem from the Fort Wayne New Sentinel today on what he was looking for in a college. “It needs to have great academics,” he said. “It needs a great coaching staff. Hopefully it will be close to home; that way my parents could see me play. I’d also like a place where I could play immediately.”