Postscript: Takeaways from 2012 College Practice Camp



Taking a look back at Michigan’s College Practice Camp on Saturday, here are some takeaways from what we saw. Keita Bates-Diop established himself as the most talented player in the gym but he was far from the only impressive prospect in attendance. While it wasn’t a loaded camp, there were plenty of players who stood out and some who made it clear they are ones Michigan will have to keep an eye on.

We’ve already scouted the underclassmen and the upperclassmen, but here’s a look at some major talking points from throughout the weekend including the top post prospects, intriguing shooters and an impressive crop of young guards.

Debating the Post Players: 2013 vs. 2014

Sean O’Mara was being closely watched by the Michigan coaches, and clearly established his skill set. O’Mara is a true post-up center in an era when coaches tend to want players they can put anywhere on the court, but that shouldn’t take away from his value. He already has great footwork and with some coaching he can be a consistent threat on the block. In camp, he scored in a variety of ways against anyone who was on him — his drop-step was almost unstoppable and his free-throw line jumper was consistent. He has all the tools to be a great rebounder but didn’t rebound particularly well in camp. His passing out of the post was excellent. If the Michigan coaches are looking for a pure big man for their 2014 class, they may have found him in O’Mara.

On the other hand, one of the most surprising players at camp was 2013 big man Vitto Brown. Brown is a year older than O’Mara and would have to fill a spot in the already crowded class of 2013 – but he came to camp looking to play for a scholarship offer. During scrimmages he was dominant at times in the post, playing with energy. Being a year older than most of the campers definitely helped him, but he used his size and strength to his advantage and didn’t let up one bit. He had trouble with his jumpshot in scrimmages but was knocking it down in drills — it looks like it just needs some more reps. He was strong and relentless on the boards and has excellent athleticism, which makes him a distinctly different player than O’Mara and opens up the question of whether Michigan would take one more big in the class of 2013 instead of going with a big in 2014.

Brown did all he could in camp to make his case. Minnesota and Kansas State are already calling on the 2013 big and it will be interesting to see how involved Michigan becomes in the coming weeks.

Pick Your Shooter: Grant Evans vs. Peyton Allen

Peyton Allen was extremely impressive at camp and may have played his way to a Michigan offer. He drilled well, showing off his jumpshot and ballhandling ability, but he was even better during scrimmages. He already knows how to use his bigger body against smaller guards in a Darius Morris-like way: he may not be quicker than everyone else, but he can still get by his defender consistently using his strength. He was very strong around the basket and played with poise in traffic. He shot the ball without fear and was able to shoot over almost anyone. His vision was great and he was very comfortable in a drive-and-dish role. Allen did a bit of everything and really didn’t show any weaknesses, even holding his own on the glass.

Grant Evans came in with a big reputation as a shooter but he ended up pushing Peyton Allen as one of the top campers. He was all over the court at both ends and grabbed an incredible amount of rebounds. He was aggressive and seemed intent on proving he isn’t just a shooter, though his shot looked extremely smooth. He is strong and played very smart, always in the right spot on the court, always making the right cuts.

Devin Booker and Keita Bates-Diop are the two prospects that appear to be “sure thing” offers but Allen and Evans could be on the edge. Does Beilein make a move for one of the talented shooters? Evans took an unofficial visit to Ann Arbor on Friday – a first step toward an offer – while Allen already holds a pair of major offers from Oklahoma State and Iowa.

Guards Highlight Class of 2015: Prentiss Nixon, Chandler White, Lamonta Stone & Bakari Evelyn

There is a rising crop of talented, skilled guards coming out of the 2015 class, and manyof them were in attendance at Michigan’s camp on Saturday. All of them brought a little something different to the table, but all were impressive. Chandler White showed off his remarkable body control with the ball in his hands — his size combined with his quickness made him almost impossible to stop going to the basket. Prentiss Nixon doesn’t have the size White had, but is just as quick and has a much better jumpshot, perhaps the best jumper in his class at the camp. Lamonta Stone didn’t have great scrimmages, but he isn’t a one-on-one player and his teammates weren’t moving around. He has serious skills and even though he’s small, he’s extremely quick and has probably the best vision in the group. Bakari Evelyn did a bit of everything but was especially impressive during 3-on-3’s. He could shoot midrange as well as consistently find cutting players.

All of these young guards stood out and will be names to remember in the coming months.

Rating the Field

Last year’s camp boasted an incredibly talented group of prospects but the talent level at this year’s camp was down a notch or two. Much of that was for reasons outside of Michigan’s control as there were a pair of high profile events (Nike Elite 100 and Adidas Nations) taking place during the same weekend. It would have been nice to see Devin Booker, Trevon Bluiett and Jae’Sean Tate in attendance and perhaps even more highly touted underclassmen (Hyron Edwards) but the field was still strong and had some top flight talent such as Keita Bates-Diop.

While the field wasn’t nearly as strong as last year, Michigan fans can take solace in the fact that John Beilein has hosted an array of talented youngsters for unofficial visits in recent weeks. Devin Booker, Keita Bates-Diop, Ryan Fazekas and Grant Evans are among the notable recent visitors in Ann Arbor.

  • Kyle

    To anyone who can answer me,
    Re: 2014 Scholarships. Ok so say that Trey leaves after next year and Hatch won’t be able to play. If we take one more 2013 guy, then how many spots will we have for 2014 guys?

    • Giebz

      There is a good chance that 1-2 of Hardaway, Robinson and McGary leave after next year as well.

    • MGoTweeter

      if only there was a handy tab on this site that listed the scholarship breakdown by class in order to make such speculation easy to figure out…oh wait, there is.

      Ok now that I am done being rude, it is still pretty early to worry about scholarship situations two years down the line. Burke’s scholarship, in all likelihood, will not matter by 2014. He would be a senior then and I don’t think anyone can see him still being at Michigan. Hatch’s situation is still unclear, but I do think he will be there in 2014. It is also likely that someone else or multiple someones, who are projected to be on scholarship in 2014, will not be there.

      But taking your assumption that the only guys gone from the roster are Burke and Hatch, Michigan has ten guys currently taking up spots for 2014. Adding one more in 2013 and assuming that guy is still there in 2014, leaves two spots open for 2014.

      Again though, I would bet a lot of money that there will be more than two spots open for 2014. Several guys have potential to leave early for the NBA and there is always unexpected attrition over the course of such a long time period.

  • Bluebufoon

    Where were Sean Sellers. Bryany McIntosh and Luke Kendrick ? Weren’t each of these players scheduled to attend this camp ? Or maybe these fellas will be at the team camp — when does that start ? BTW It sounds like U-M has been zeroing in on O’Mara for awhile– they hardly discovered him at this camp, now O’Mara may have guarenteed his U-M offer with his performance but it sounds like Michigan has been targetting him for months.

    • Sellers and McIntosh were both in HS tournaments with their teams.

      Luke Kennard’s team came to Team Camp last year, not sure if they are coming again weekend of June 22nd.

      I don’t think O’Mara is a new target, but I think it’s been a steady evaluation rather than a full court press by any means. Does the article infer otherwise?

      • SamGoBlue

        Yeah, I don’t see any inference either that we have been “zeoring in” on O’Mara in this article, and I don’t think we have. As Dylan says, I’d say we are continuing to evaluate him while keeping our eye on other potential bigs as well. Don’t think he gets a June 15 offer.

      • Bluebufoon

        No offense intended but I’ve always believed O’Mara’s recruitment with U-M has been further along than most folks on the Michigan message boards have speculated. If this goes as planned I believe U-M staff out-worked Purdue and Wisconsin for this underclassmen. Early commitments or offers from Beilein, for rising Juniors don’t happen on a whim, O’Mara has been a priority for a while.

        • SamGoBlue

          I disagree. I’d be very surprised if he earned an offer right away.

  • SamGoBlue

    Out of the guys there, I really think Vitto Brown proved the most. I hope we give him a fair look if it’s clear that we aren’t getting Cameron.

    • Steve2081

      10 minutes of Vitto Brown highlights….

      • John

        His highlights seem like he’s just taking advantage of his size, which he won’t be able to really do at the college level. His highlights didn’t impress me too much, but I have learned to 100% trust Beilein, so if he offers him then I know he’s the real deal.

        • Steve2081

          The guys guarding him later in the video all seemed to be as big or bigger than he was and he was still doing just fine against them. Plus he seems to have a nice perimeter game. He also rebounds and plays D.

      • SamGoBlue

        That’s pretty impressive highlight video of just a few games. He doesn’t have many plays that really make you say “wow” but he showcases an all-around solid game. Establishes excellent post position, has some good post moves, is a good rebounder (they don’t show any plays where he just gets the rebound here though for the most part), and has a decent mid-range game. Hard worker.

  • Colby

    Dylan, any chance they take a big in 13 and 14? Surprised there aren’t more big man targets arising in both classes. Any chance Wideman gets an offer? Thanks

    • I would be very surprised if Wideman got an offer.

      • Colby

        Thanks Dylan, really interested to see what the staff does in the post. Got to think they have a couple other targets in mind knowing this staff.