John Beilein pursuing 2014 Florida big man Ricky Doyle


RickyDoyle[1]John Beilein has never been one to avoid an under the radar post prospect and he might have found another in the class of 2014.

Michigan’s head coach was in Fort Myers this week watching 2014 big man Ricky Doyle. Doyle turned 16 in May and already measures in at 6-foot-9, 235 pounds, with a reported 7-foot-2 wingspan and size 18 feet. His father, Danny, stands at 6-foot-11 and played briefly for the Detroit Pistons before an 11 year pro career in France.

Doyle didn’t play AAU basketball this summer, opting instead to workout with his high school team and individually. That didn’t prevent college coaches from catching a glimpse of the talented big man, Doyle’s high school team played in two AAU tournaments in July and that was enough for coaches to take notice.

Doyle’s high school coach at Bishop Verot, Matt Herting, wasn’t ashamed to say that he feels “[Doyle] will end up being one of the best post players in the country by his senior year, if he isn’t already”.

Doyle has legitimate size, but most importantly to Herting is his offensive ability.

“He’s a very good back-to-the-basket player. He’s got good hands, he’s very skilled. He’s put in a ton of work and he has a huge upside,” Herting reported. “It’s hard to tell if he’s right-handed or left-handed. Actually, on the block, while he’s a lock with anything, his left hand is probably a little better than his right – and he’s right-handed. He’s very, very skilled with either hand.”

Herting reported that beyond Michigan, Doyle is drawing heavy interest from across the country and while “nearly every school in the country has shown interest”, Ricky and his family are only looking for schools that are a great fit in both style of play and academics. Beyond Michigan, that group includes Boston College, Miami, Purdue, Stanford and Kansas State. It has been previously reported that Doyle holds offers from Boston College, Miami, Penn State and Creighton.

Michigan head man John Beilein and Kansas State head coach Bruce Weber were both in the stands watching his workout on this week. Herting confirmed that Michigan has been steady in its pursuit of the 6-foot-9 big man.

“Michigan, of course, is very, very actively recruiting him,” Herting said. “I know he has that contact with John Beilein. I’ll leave it at that. Michigan has been very, very actively recruiting him.”

Doyle’s coach also feels that his junior big man would be a great fit for the Wolverine offense.

“We run a full-out motion down here, as well. We run it a little different, in some different spots, up much higher than they do. He understands playing with nine other guys on the court. He’s not a guy who only knows how to get it and go, or get it and score. I think he’d be really good in their offense because he knows how to play — he can make reads, he can pass, he’s aggressive but not selfish. I think in a motion-type situation he’d be really good.”

Despite the heavy recruiting interest, Herting reports that the Doyle family has made the decision not to take unofficial visits. That decision was made to avoid recruiting pressure, save costs and avoid missing time in school. Class of 2014 prospects are allowed to begin taking official visits on January 1st, 2013.

“It’s going to cost them for three days about three grand per trip [for an unofficial visit]. Once you visit one, you’re kind of obligated to visit the others that you’re interested in,” Herting explained. “Ricky’s a great kid and a normal kid. He’s a good student, he’s got a girlfriend, he supports other sports on campus, he wants to go to the homecoming dance.”

Doyle averaged 15 points and nine rebounds as a sophomore, helping the Vikings to a 25-5 record and a trip to the regional finals in Florida. Here’s footage of Doyle in action throughout the last year:

Herting has coached 20 Division I players and is confident that Doyle is going to be a star.

“Everyone looks at the scouting service list, and he didn’t play any AAU because he’s working on his game. He has a chance to be one of the best players in the country, one of the best post players, but he’s not going to do it playing a bunch of pickup games in Las Vegas. It’s going to take work on developing his post game. He is very, very good, and people are just seeing the very beginning of it. We’ve got him on an improvement plan and we sat down with his dad, who played 11 years in Europe, and myself and coach Miller (our post coach) and we have him on a plan for post improvement with weights and plyometrics and he’s progressing through it nicely. After two more years of going through it, he’s going to be really, really good.”

Michigan has yet to offer a true big man in the class of 2014 and Doyle could be an early leading candidate once he visits campus. The Wolverines have also been paying attention to Jabari Craig, a Canadian native playing his prep basketball at New Birth Christian Academy in Georgia.

Joe Stapleton and Dylan Burkhardt contributed to this report. Stay tuned to UM Hoops in the hours and days to come for more on Doyle and Michigan basketball recruiting.

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  • Kevin in GR

    Hey, he “has a girlfriend and wants to go to the homecoming dance”…this guy is a must get! :)

  • Northern Blue

    Seems like a perfect fit, and he does look damn good. Gotta love those long arms on big men. If blue can land any two of Booker, KBD, Bluiett, or Tate and then this guy, thats a real nice class again in 2014. Hopefully, Hatch can fully recover as well.

  • sane1

    I’d offer him today. He looks great to me, and he’s a worker who is looking to improve his skill level. Perfect fit.

  • Mattski

    This story reminds me of an observation I’ve sometimes wanted to make when posters lament the fact that some former M player is not in the NBA, heading to some European capital to play: you could do worse than to live and play in France for 11 years!

    • Mattski

      P.S. Guy has quite a polite, precision manner of rejecting other players’ shots, no? Looks extremely gifted.

  • A2JD

    He looks pretty darn good.

  • Steve2081

    He has a great array of post moves. Especially for someone who still has two years left to develop.

  • Retiredat23

    Kid is good, uses headfakes, and when he feels pressure on one side he fakes and moves to the other side. Intelligent in his game, looks like a good pickup for Beilein. Bring him here for a visit! Show him good old A2, he’ll love it.

  • Webbdog

    Ok!! Where do I sign?? I’m in, Ha Ha…. In 2 years this kid should be a Monster.

  • Bluebufoon

    The obvious question to me is if this kid camped at Florida, why isn’t Billy Donovan and the Gators all over him ? Florida has a nice history of developing Big Men, and it seems very odd Florida hasn’t prioritized this youngster– I’m glad they haven’t.

    • jblair52

      Good question – I would guess it’s cause the Gators are in on some STUDS in the 2014 class whereas Doyle is sort of just coming into his own. Doyle’s offer sheet is starting to build so maybe they’ll take a look at him this season. Bigs can be late bloomers.

  • SamGoBlue

    Not to be the party pooper again, but the competition he’s playing against looks downright awful. I don’t think I saw a single kid on another team within six inches of him.
    This is not to say that he can’t be a good player…he showcases a pretty nice array of post moves and seems to be a great finisher, but he is clearly a below-average athlete and quite ploddy/mechanical. Could really be good eventually, but I don’t think it’s a kid that gets an instant offer. You can also just kind of tell when a coach is trying to sell a player so hard that the skill set isn’t quite there yet. Sure, he has heard from “nearly every school in the country” but he doesn’t exactly have the most impressive offer list in the world…

    • A2JD

      I agree to a point about the competion, although I think some in the 3rd video look to be in the 6’4″-6’6″ range but I disagree with the athleticism. He looks more mobile than Donnal and easily has a higher vertical. Good footwork too. There’s a very nice dropstep move about 1:25 into the 2nd video.

      • DoubES

        Yeah, that dropstep caught my eye. Very quick move. It’s nice to see that he has an array of moves already. Some nice spins and hooks scattered in there.

      • SamGoBlue

        I would argue that Donnal is actually probably a slightly better athlete, appears to be stronger, and obviously is leaps and bounds better as a shooter. I don’t think this kid is in the same league as Donnal, but just my opinion.

    • Retiredat23

      Every big man doesn’t have to be a Stromile Swift or Anthony Davis. Yea super-athletes are good, but all Brent Petway could do was jump for 4 years. Zach Gibson played alright in Beilein’s system…this kid looks x10 better than him.

    • geoffclarke

      Disagree. He is not a below-average athlete nor ploddy/mechanical. Compare him to other 6’9″, 235lb players just entering their junior years.

    • colin

      I think that’s nuts. The competition is beside the point. He’s just flat out athletic for that size.

  • JimmyZ5

    Geez, kid is impressive. I just wish his wingspan was longer.


    • Steve2081

      Yeah total T-Rex. :)

  • geoffclarke

    Any relation to 1926 Michigan All American Richard Doyle?

  • jblair52

    Looks like a great prospect. He’d play well next to Donnal. Can use his size and looks fairly mobile for a big. Finishes around the rim too

  • Jay Z

    I just wish his last name was Bobby…

  • Wayman Britt

    Maybe not the most athletic big man in the class of 2014, but has great foot work and wing span. Seems like a great fit for UM. Might be hard to get him to go to school in Michigan from Florida.

  • FL Wolve

    He goes to the same high school as Reed Baker. Was there some sort of connection with the Bishop Verot coach and UM? I live a few miles from Bishop Verot and know a few kids who go there so I hope he ends up being a UM recruit. I can probably get the inside scoop on this kid.

  • tenz

    I can see him being like Jared Sullinger in like 2 year. Thats a lot of time for him to get more physical around the rim but he already got the finishing part down. The more recruits he gets the harder he will work in the gym