News & Notes: Demetrius Jackson, Luke Hancock and Scheduling Tidbits

Dylan Burkhardt
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155837_1600212258474_1631075049_1357717_66708_nDemetrius Jackson Blowing Up

Demetrius Jackson was one of the most impressive guards at Spiece, and buzz around him is growing. College coaches aren’t allowed on the road to evaluate prospects but there’s no question that they have their ears to the ground, listening to scouts across the country.

One midwestern scout raved about the 2013 guard’s game, claiming that he had the potential to be a star at the next level and was the high major guard in Indiana that nobody is talking about. Michigan and Xavier prioritized Jackson early, and will almost assuredly extend a scholarship on June 15th, but now others are taking serious notice. Illinois and Notre Dame remain involved while Michigan State, Purdue and Indiana are also entering the picture.

The IndyStar profiled Jackson’s recruitment and his AAU coach explains that Michigan has prioritized the explosive guard:

“Michigan has said he’s their No. 1 recruit in that class,” Creech said. “He really tore it up at the Run ‘n’ Slam (in Fort Wayne last weekend) and a lot of coaches found out.”

If you missed it, we posted video of Jackson at the Spiece Run ‘n Slam on Monday.

hancock shoulder[1]

Thoughts on Luke Hancock

There are plenty of angles to analyze in regards to the latest Darius Morris contingency plan to surface. The first question is obviously what sort of player is Luke Hancock.

I e-mailed Ryan, of GMU Hoops, to get some information on Hancock’s and this was the report he sent back:

Mason fans would hate to see this guy go, he’s a fan favorite.  Commentators often refer to him as having “sneaky athleticism” or being “deceptively athletic”. [Ed: You’ll never guess why]. Here’s a good example of it.  He matured into more of a guard role during his sophomore season and was labeled a “point-forward” because he brought the ball up the floor on most possessions. Definitely an unorthodox type of player with his long loopy dribbles and slow pump fakes but he gets the job the done and finds different ways to score. He has good range but is a better asset when he’s driving to the basket. He led George Mason in assists last season and as you could see in that Villanova NCAA tournament win that he was one of the most valuable guys on the floor.

Patrick Stevens wrote a nice profile on Hancock back in March and echoes Ryan’s sentiments about Hancock “getting the job done”, noting that he was one of two players in the CAA to average at least 10 points, four rebounds and four assists per game.

Hancock feels like a good fit. He’d have a year to learn the Michigan system and then step into the fray after Michigan graduates two experienced guards (Novak and Douglass). He’d provide a bit of insurance for Michigan’s young backcourt that season and would be 22 years old when he begins his first year of eligibility after the transfer.

He would also be the seventh player on the Michigan roster that would be scheduled to graduate in 2014. That is awful class balance, but on the other hand the last couple season have taught us that it’s a fruitless business to project the future. I’m not sure anyone would have projected Laval Lucas-Perry and Darius Morris to be off the roster for before the 2011-12 season began. Considering 5th-years, transfers and early draft departures, it’s almost impossible not to expect some form of attrition every couple years.

There’s also the (major) issue of whether Hancok wants to transfer and whether he’d rather play closer to home at Virginia. The official athletic department line is that Hancock was “granted permission to explore his options” but has not decided on transferring. New head coach Paul Hewitt discusses the situation in this interview.

Schedule Notes

imageThe Big Ten-ACC Challenge match-ups were slated to be released yesterday but were suddenly shuffled after one team had a conflict with a date. Now the match-ups are set to be released next week.

We know that Michigan will play on the road and most expect a tough match-up. North Carolina has been rumored but that’s merely speculation. We’ll find out in a week.

We did however make several other updates to the future schedule page, adding Bradley, Oakland and Towson to the “confirmed” listing.

Michigan wants to add a high profile home-and-home series but initial plans to play Texas have reportedly fell through, mostly because of the surprising road game that Michigan will play in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge. With seven non-conference games pieced together, there is still room for a high profile game but any details remain under wraps.

It was also reported that Michigan will host Bradley in December in the first leg of a home-and-home series. Bradley has been a relatively strong Missouri Valley team over the past decade but has fallen on a bit harder times of late.

There are a surprising number of connections between the Michigan and Bradley programs. Bradley recently hired Beilein’s son, Patrick, to a coaching position and Michigan also signed Max Bielfeldt, who grew up minutes from Bradley’s campus in Peoria. Finally, John Beilein shared a first-second round NCAA Tournament site with Bradley in 2006, when both teams advanced to the Sweet 16.

The Washington Times also quoted Towson’s athletic director on a trip to Ann Arbor, that game should serve as Michigan’s “mainland game” for the Maui Invitational.

Finally, Mike Rothstein confirmed the Oakland game at the Palace with John Beilein himself. The date has not been announced but Mark Snyder tweets that game is expected to be played on Dec. 12th.

The Morris Effect

Pre-season polls are generally worthless, but it’s worth noting where Michigan stands in the latest batch of polls that national columnists and bloggers have released after the NBA early-entry deadline. Andy Katz has Michigan at No. 23, noting that the Wolverines will “Wisconsin behind Ohio State in the Big Ten”.  Gary Parrish bumped Michigan down to No. 20 on CBS Sports’ poll while our friend Mike Miller has Michigan at No. 17 on NBC Sports.

As for Darius Morris’s draft stock, it continues to move upward. Chad Ford has Morris at No. 26 on his big board but going 21st in his latest mock draft. NBADraft.net wrote a long profile/scouting piece on Morris and has him at No. 23 in their latest mock. NBA Draft Insider has Morris all the way up at No. 17 while DraftExpress is a bit more cautious with Morris going in the first pick of the second round.

Team workouts will obviously be extremely important for Morris, who selected Dan Fegan as his agent, over the next several weeks

Recruiting Nuggets

  • Nathan Taphorn, who we mentioned is receiving Michigan, Illinois and Northwestern interest after a stellar performance at Spiece, visited Bradley on Tuesday and received a scholarship offer – per tweets from his AAU coach.
  • As mentioned in the post after his video, Jalen James will visit Michigan on Sunday.
  • Austin Hatch is also planning another Michigan visit, he’ll be in Ann Arbor on June 5th.
  • FL Wolve

    Demetrius Jackson or Derrick Walton – anybody have a preference based on film?

    • Tweeter

      Between those two, I would say Jackson. They are very similar players, but Jackson appears to play more under control, be a better perimeter shooter and a slightly better ball handler. Walton might be a better overall playmaker though. There is also Monte Morris. I dont know where Michigan stands with him.

    • MAS

      Walton he plays better comp and I’ve watched him enough to know he would look great in a UofM uniform.

      Tweeter just curious where you get Jackson is more under control than Walton considering every scout that watches says he is the perfect floor general?

      Some people really get read to much into watching 2 minutes of tape.

  • Kenny

    If heckmann or Hancock comes, there is only one scholarship available for 2013 right now. So it is very interesting to see who will be offered and who is the first one to commit. I feel that a 2013 commitment will come soon once offered. In terms of priority of 2013, we definitely need a big but as bigs have slower developing curve, we can always wait until a 2013 scholarship opens up late.

  • *JD*

    DYLAN-

    I’m just wondering if there’s any possibility that Kelvin Grady could join the team as a walk-on for the 2nd half of the season? He could provide a little more depth at the PG position. I know he still practiced with the team in the 2nd half of the ’09-’10 season so I’m guessing that he didn’t burn any bridges when he decided to join the football team.

    • Dylan Burkhardt

      I would be shocked.

      • *JD*

        Would you expand on that?

        • http://www.offtackleempire.com GregGoBlue

          He didn’t leave because of lack of PT, why do you think he’d come back for it?

          • *JD*

            I figured that since he was willing to come back to just be a practice player, having an opportunity to play after football is over for him might be appealing.

          • Dylan Burkhardt

            So he’s going to come back on the team after he finishes his football career, and hasn’t played basketball for three years, and then play basketball?

  • Colby

    Would the staff take some heat for going with Jackson and not taking the instate Walton? Also does Hatch get an offer on June 15?

    • georgeesq.

      Jackson and Walton will probably both get offers. Beilein can’t be faulted for taking the first to commit.

      • Ben

        I would be happy with either one and lets not forget about Monte Morris even if everyone thinks he is a spartan lock.

  • Ben

    Dylan,

    Have you seen Hatch play yet?? Just wondering what your opinion of him his. How would you rank Hatch against Irvin, beacham and Haney? Hatch seems like he would jump at a michigan offer….. Just curious because I have never seen him play.

    • Dylan Burkhardt

      Nope. Wanted to see him play this weekend but he’s out with an ankle injury. I’ve only seen video clips.

      • Ben

        Do you know if the elite Camp is open to the public? It sounds like alot of these guys were arguing about are going to be there. It would be nice to catch a glimpse of them in action against each other.

        • Slacks

          They were open to the public last year. I would recommend going because John Beilein does offer recruits that has great elite camp performances. Denzel Valentine had a great camp and his recruitment picked up as a result. Also it is a great place to compare recruits because you see them do some skill work and in games situations. What stood out for me last year was how Denzel Valentine could do some drills with ease while Marcus Crider struggled.

          • Ben

            Thanks, I’m going to try and make it out for sure. This year will interesting to see how all the PG and wings stack up against each other. Jackson and Walton are both scheduled to come.

  • Sam

    Apparently Tractor Traylor was recently found dead in his apartment. It is a sad day for Michigan basketball. R.I.P.

  • JBlair52

    My high school plays against Jackson’s HS team.

    I’m kind of surprised he’s exploding to this level but he did avg. 24ppg as a sophomore.

    He’s more athletic than what you can even see on film. I scouted him and saw him steal the ball on a full-court press while standing under the hoop. Once he got the ball he didnt even take a step and jumped up and dunked it. And he’s only 5’11”.
    He’s real quick too and has a nice crossover.

    I wasn’t too impressed with his 3pt shooting, he was lazy on defense, and complained a bit too much about fouls but again – only a sophomore and those things can work their way out. I also didn’t really view him as a “point” guard – more of an undersized athletic wing but the kid is real fast, real athletic, can jump out of the gym, and can get into the lane and create. All things that would be a real positive from the point position.

  • ScottGoBlue

    On preseason poll position: no way we should be ranked at all. Losing Darius Morris will be a big drag on our performance, especially early in the season. We could mount something by late in the season, but I can’t believe this team is one of the 25 best after losing a PG who contributed to 50% of our offense last year (between points and assists, IIRC) and replacing him with a SG or a true-frosh PG.

  • Bluebufoon

    Not to be argumentative but I am convinced U-M will sign at least three scholarship players in the class of 2013 and that has nothing to do if Michigan brings in additional player for the 2011 signing class. I would bet on Hatch, Donnal and a PG, my preference would be Derrick Walton but either way/ or Demetrious Jackson will be in the class of 2013. Additionally, if U-M doesn’t add a player this spring, that gives enough room for Zak Irvin in 2013 but either way Michigan is prepared to sign three or four players in the class of 2013.

    Not definite where the additional scholarships may come from, probably McLimans nt getting a fifth year and Hardaway nt coming back for his Sr season, would be obvious places to start.

  • Colby

    Bluebuffon, I agree with you that we will have at least 3 probably 4 ships. Hoping we can capitalize on the early recruitment of the players starting with a PG or Irvin. Seems likely if Hatch gets an offer he will commit, would like to hear some reports on his game

    Also the link below has us listed with Dejuan Marrero and Javontae Hawkins says he is feeling local pressure to attend Michigan. Interesting

    http://www.nbebasketball.com/w3/2011-0512/spiece-run-n-slam-scouting-reports-recruiting-notes/

    • Dylan Burkhardt

      Hawk played pretty well in Fort Wayne in the game I saw but I didn’t get a chance to talk to him. He can either dunk on you or shoot the three. Needs to work on that in between game. Not sure how much the local pressure will effect his recruitment considering he’s almost assuredly transferring to a prep school next year.

  • Colby

    Would they take Hawkins with 2 other wings in the same class?

  • Bluebufoon

    Sorry for getting to the gate a little late on Demetrius Jackson but I’m not sure he’s a true PG ? My early impressions on Jackson versus Derrick Walton.

    Jackson’s more of a scorer than Walton but Jackson’s vision and ability to find the second and third options doesn’t appear to be as advanced as Walton’s. I believe a PG’s top priority has to be “Quarterbacking” the offense and getting his teammates involved first and foremost, Jackson looks to be looking to shoot first, pass second– I think that should be reversed. Ideally, I see Jackson as an undersized 2G or combo guard at best, with Walton being classified a true PG with scoring ability. On the defensive end Jackson looks quite formidable with his athleticism and long arms.

    I’d be happy wth either player at U-M but if I had to choose today, which player I think would make a better PG at U-M ? Give me Walton, for his vision, better left-hand which is the key for a PG, the ability to go to his off-hand. Plus Walton is an in-state kid and you have to Bacari a bone for his efforts on the recruiting circuit, if not Coach Meyer is going the whole Michigan roster with his recruits. Is Coach Meyer a recruiting machine or what ?