Recruiting: Where Things Stand

Dylan Burkhardt

The last week was the biggest flurry of recruiting activity that we’ve seen since Nick Stauskas and Max Bielfeldt committed during the same weekend. Michigan hosted its Elite Camp over the weekend and landed a pair of commitments on Wednesday. With two more future slots filled, the recruiting picture became more defined, but the commitments also add an additional layer of complication to the overall recruiting equation.

Austin Hatch and Mark Donnal fill immediate needs on the projected roster. Hatch is a wing shooter with good size and strength that will set foot on campus after most of the current shooters on the roster (Novak, Douglass, Vogrich and possibly Hardaway) have moved on. Donnal is a big man that will provide size and skill in the middle, with a perfect offensive skill set for the five position in John Beilein’s offense.

Right now the Michigan staff is playing hardball. Taking Hatch and Donnal at this juncture means a couple things, first Michigan really liked both kids – a lot. This is the earliest that John Beilein has even taken a commitment, going off of data from the past decade at Michigan and West Virginia, and the U-M staff clearly wanted to secure both kids before they potentially shot onto the recruiting radar in July.

It’s also necessary to point out John Beilein’s track record when evaluating prospects that have attended his Elite Camp. Glenn Robinson III was considered a second-tier prospect in the state of Indiana but impressed Beilein at Elite Camp and picked up a scholarship offer, since then he’s exploded into to a top-75 player. Tim Hardaway Jr. impressed at Elite Camp and committed shortly after, two years later he was one of the top freshmen in the Big Ten. Hatch and Donnal aren’t likely to explode into the top-50 but it’s a reassuring feeling to know that Beilein has had an opportunity to evaluate and interact with them at camp. Now that’s not to say that Beilein uses the six hours at his camp as the only evaluation tool, he’s been down to watch Hatch and Donnal play with their high school squads on many occasions over the last year.

The early commitments also mean that the staff wants to lock up a third commitment sooner than later. Donnal and Hatch create a scholarship crunch and you can bet that the Michigan coaches have informed other targets what that means. If Morris, Walton or soon Jackson want to come to Michigan, they’ll have to seize the opportunity sooner than later. Michigan State executed this strategy to perfection last August when the Spartans landed three commitments in under two weeks. This inevitably leads us to the point guard position, and yes Michigan will take a point guard in this class. John Beilein offered two point guards a scholarship on Wednesday, Monte Morris and Derrick Walton, and a third offer to Demetrius Jackson could be on the way shortly.

Both in-state prospects, Morris and Walton, have impressed this spring, played well at Michigan’s Elite Camp and have Michigan at or near the top of their lists. Will one of them jump on the scholarship? Right now they are holding steady and Michigan State has jumped into the mix by contacting both players. More importantly, Walton reports that the Spartans are on the verge of offering him a scholarship, a move that will undoubtedly further complicate his recruitment.

The x-factor is Demetrius Jackson. The explosive guard is more of a combo and lacks some of the pure point guard skills of Walton and Morris, but he might have the best long term potential of the trio. Beilein told Jackson that he wanted to get him down on campus before taking the next step — offering a scholarship. Jackson is working on scheduling that unofficial visit, likely in the next couple weeks, and an offer should be extended at that time.


As for the other outstanding offer, to wing guard Zak Irvin, we expect that situation to drag out much longer. Irvin is very interested in Michigan, but appears to be in no hurry to make a decision. He doesn’t have any visits set at this juncture and will continue to take his time while going through the process. Expect Michigan to be very involved in his recruitment until the end.

There’s also the option of adding to the class of 2012… We talked to Stefan Jankovic (pictured) a couple weeks ago, a face-up four man that’s interested in Michigan and considering a visit. Gary Harris is more of a long shot option, who recently stated that the five schools recruiting him the hardest were: Indiana, Michigan State, Louisville, Purdue and Michigan. Michigan coaches continue to pursue Mitch McGary in attempts to get him on campus for a visit, but almost every other high-major program is pursuing McGary as well. Jankovic is the most likely option here, as he plans to take an official visit this fall, while Harris and McGary remain long shots.

  • Paul

    Are there any others on the radar for Michigan – particularly in other states – in the SE, West, etc?  Also I heard a kid from WI was contacted by MI. 

  • South Florida Maize Rage

    If UM does sign one of the PG’s and another (potentially Irvin) in 2013, that would be too many ‘ships. Obviously we have to trust Coach B to sort that situation out but it would seem that McLimans not getting a fifth year and Hardaway going pro would factor into that situation. Also, Michigan may cut a player (ex. Colton Christian) . Awesome to see so many players so interested. 

    • These kids won’t sign their LOIs for a year and a half. There’s a lot that can happen roster-wise in that time. Michigan has added kids late in recent classes b/c they didn’t recruit well enough early on. It’s honestly not worth the worry at this point.

  • Anonymous

    I agree that hatch fills in an immediate need, essentially replace Vogrich only stronger, but Donnal will have four 4th and 5th year senior ahead of him in 4-5 position, i don’t see him passing Morgan and Horford for playing time. He needs to wait a year.  

    • That’s true but with no true bigs in the 11 or 12 classes, Michigan needs to get someone on campus in this class to be ready when Horford and Morgan graduate.

      • The big man

        McLimans not getting a 5th is guaranteed.  As far as counting on Hardaway leaving I sure hope not.  He certainly is an NBA prospect but it is much more difficult to be a first round pick as a wing compared to a big man or a point guard.  That being said we get THJ till his senior year he’ll be in the discussion for top scoreers in UM history

        • JOlson1530

          I doubt that Hardaway will stay in his senior year if he wants to have a NBA career.  Your best bet is Junior year.  If Hardaway gets better as a sophomore, there’s a real possibility that he can bolt for NBA after junior year because NBA stock most likely will plummet if they stay for their senior year.  Why is it harmful for a player to stay for his senior year? They will never improve their stock from Jr to Sr year(which is why Manny Harris decided to bolt for NBA). NBA does not like older player because they pretty much reached their ceiling as a player.

          I think that Hardaway will leave for NBA after his Jr year.

          • Anonymous

            Plenty of players have improved their draft stock (like Jimmer this year) by staying for their Senior year.

      • Anonymous

        absolutely agree the need of a big in 2013 class. Given we need a backup PG after 2012, it will be interesting to see if Beilein would let THJr to run point in some situations with the alternative being Brundidge and Stauskas, both underclassmen. If he can prove that he can also play PG, his stock in NBA draft will shoot up like Jamal Crawford once did. 

        • gpsimms

          THJr has a lot of work to do on his ball skills if he’s going to do any point.  His handle is as bad as Manny’s right now.

          • I suspect that it will be Stauskas or Brundidge that cameos at the point guard. Stauskas might actually be a better fit because he’s more of a passer.

          • Anonymous

            I expect him to also be one of our top outside shooters right off the bat.

        • sane1

          Did you watch THJ last season. He will never have PG level ball handling ability. He can and will improve to become a slasher. He showed a bit of that last season. I’ve heard that Beilein envisions Brundidge playing some PG.

          • Dgray11

            That is what I have heard also. Brundidge is working hard on his passing and dribbling skills.  Of course he is putting in the work on his shooting and defensive skills

  • Do you think they like that Jankovic kid enough to take him and a 2013 PG?  They’d have to like him more than the 2013 wings like Irvin in order to do that, I suspect.  And if that happens then I agree that McLimans won’t get a 5th and Colton could be the odd man out unless THjr goes pro early, which I just don’t think we can assume. 

  • delete

  • Mattski

    Thanks, Dylan.

  • maxwell’s demon

    So is it fair to assume that if we get Morris or Walton then we tell the other, “sorry too late”?

    • Paul

      I think so.  Hoke has had to do this in Michigan football

  • Enocamino619

    I have been wondering something about our recruiting numbers. I understand that we are working with the idea that we can probably go up to a class of 4 for 2013. If we take another 2012 player, such as Jankovic, would we then be limited to 3 for 2013?

    • gpsimms

      in short, yes.  look at the scholarship chart on this site, but if we bring in a 2012, then he will still be using a schollie in 2013.

  • Wayman Britt

    All great comments.  This will be interesting to watch.   Myself I just wish Monte would commit next week and call it a done class and begin working on 2014.

    Monte’s quickness would be invaluable to the rest of the team.

  • Steve A

    This is really exciting, I love what Coach B is doing!, new facilities, new feel, THIS is what I always wished for at U M, its great to bleed maze & blue right now!

    • Bluebufoon

       My guess is Mr Morris will get pressured to commit next week during the U-M team camp  but if the remaining scholarship is still available after next weekend, then we turn to Demetrius Jackson as Michigan’s PG of the future, who happens to be a Coach Meyer recruit. For those that unaware each of U-M’s new recruits from the past year Trey Burke, Max Bielfeldt, G-III, Stauskas, Hatch and Donnal have all been recruited by Michigan assistant coach Jeff Meyer. Go Blue !!!

  • Colby

    Where does Hatch play when he gets here, curious if he has enough handles to play the 3 spot like Manny and Tim or are they hoping he grows into a 4?

    If they do get a PG soon they will have 1 ship to chase some big timers to fill the last spot and have a huge head start on 2014 class which we will need some kids to come in and play right away especially in the post.

    • Paul

      I think the 2 and 3

    • Anonymous

      Among three wings of 2012-2013, most expect the little dog to grow stronger and be able to play some 4 in a small lineup, and Stauskas has the handle and passing ability to play some point. Fitting nicely into this picture, Hatch has the skills and size to be a 2/3, the same role as Vogrich, who will graduate in 2013.

    • Flwolve

      I think Hatch is going to settle into the 3 or 4 spot for UM.  I don’t think he has the handles to play the 2G (although the same could be said for Novak and he plays there occasionally).

      • Colby

        Flwolve, thats what I thought too. Even if he plays the 3 there has to be someone at the 2 that can generate opportunities.

        Also, what are the chances the 4th ship goes to a big man instead of a wing? We could use another that way at least Max, Donnal and the 3rd recruit have experience and we are not relying on freshman


  • Chris B.

    Per Jerry Meyer on Rivals, Mitch McGary’s father Tim McGary says visits to Michigan and Marquette are next.

    • gpsimms

      wow.  that was not expected, and would be awesome.

  • Colby

    So with Irvin not jumping on the offer right away does the staff extend other offers to Malcolm Hill, VJ Beachum and/or James Young? Hoping we can get a big time finisher with a high ceiling.

    Looks like the staff will have 1 ship in their pockets to hold onto to.

    • KurtD

      I don’t see them offering any other wings until the 2012 recruiting is finished.  Then they can re-evaluate and see where Irvin is at.

    • Anonymous

      I think that this is the same ship Beilein also offered McGary and Jankovic, and there is no hurry to push Irvin. 

  • Anonymous

    Interview with Nick Stauskas (part 1):

    Not exactly the humblest of kids, but he sounds confident in his ability. 

    • Anonymous

      Sounds that David Lubick, Nate Lubick’s father, was selling Michigan hard to Stauskas. 

  • SBell

    Wow, no wonder Ausin seems so mature in interviews, had to grow up quick.

    • Mattski

      Painful. See his mom was born in Ann Arbor. Hope Michigan makes a great new home for him. 

    • Anonymous

      Wow, nice find. That is a sad, sad story. I wonder if he wants to keep this under the radar and kind of put it in the past. Either way that is tragic.

      • SBell

        I remember when the plane crashed, they were coming from up North, and saw someone from Petoskey at “Izzo Shootout” who put 2 and 2 together.

        • Bluebufoon

          Just watched a few videos of Monte Morris– WOW,WOW, WOW !!!
          The kid can handle the ball with either hand. He penterates to score, solid outside- shot, nails free throws, excellent quicks which helps on defensive side of the ball, excellent vision, kids got grit. He’s bigger than Walton and handles the ball better than Jackson. Michigan would be lucky to land Morris.

    • Guest

      “Inaccurate preflight planning, resulting in the plane not having enough fuel, contributed to the September 2003 plane crash north of Uniondale, according to a federal report issued this spring. The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the utility pole that airplane contacted during the forced landing, a low ceiling and dark night also contributed to the crash.  Stephen Hatch, who was piloting the plane, radioed Fort Wayne International Airport on Sept. 1, 2003, just before the crash.

      Killed in the crash were his wife Julie L. Hatch, 38, and their children, Lindsay K. Hatch, 11, and Ian M. Hatch, 5, all of Fort Wayne.  Stephen Hatch and his son Austin, who was 8 at the time, survived.

      The family was on a trip from Boyne City, Mich., to Fort Wayne, about 290 miles away, when their single-prop 1990 Beechcraft-Bonanza went down, police said. The plane hit a power line during the crash, cutting electricity to several nearby homes in Wells County.”

  • This is getting very very interesting with recruiting.  I am loving what Coach is doing with shaping the team of the near future.  I love the kids that who have been offered and accepted with a verbal commitment.  We have at least 1 more to give away, maybe 2 depending on how Tim Jr. and others play next season that might move on to bigger and better things or transfers.  I’d love to see who’s next.  If I could pick the last recruits, I’d go with Stefan and Monte to finish the next 2 years of recruiting.  You can always have a current player go on an academic full-ride so it frees up an athletic scholarship if they would like to continue being a Wolverine. 

    • Anonymous

      If you could do that don’t you think there would be a lot of teams that just give their players academic scholarship so they can carry a ton of players? I’m pretty sure you are not allowed to just switch them over like that and open up a scholarship.

  • Mac

    THJR made the first cut for U19 USA basketball.

  • Professional Athletes David

    This process, hiring or recruiting new members for a team of basketball players is, I think fun even though this would be tedious for the committee in charge of the process. Because, sometimes this saying applies, expect the unexpected to these future professional athletes.