Recruiting Notebook: Latest on Booker, Bluiett, early AAU play

Dylan Burkhardt
on

rn_devinbooker_ms_40011[1]Michigan’s season ended on Monday night but recruiting season is already set to get underway. Coaches are allowed at open gyms and workouts beginning today and there are certified live AAU weekends coming up this month; April 19th-21st and April 26th-28th. The late signing period for Class of 2013 prospects also begins on April 17th.

John Beilein and his staff are in a precarious situation of recruiting for the future while trying to figure out exactly who will be on their roster next season with NBA decisions looming. Jumping head first into AAU season, we rounded up some updates and nuggets from the first weekend of AAU play regarding some notable Michigan targets.

Devin Booker is now hearing from Kentucky according to his latest blog at USA Today.

The latest school to reach out is Kentucky.

First, Coach O (Orlando Antigua) hit me up on Twitter and then Coach (Kenny) Payne gave me a call. He told me they were interested and they wanted to get down and see me. He said that they heard that I was an elite scorer in the 2014 class and that was just what they needed.

It was cool because Kentucky is obviously a powerhouse. I love that Coach (John) Calipari pushes his players really hard. That’s what I want in a coach. I’m definitely interested in them.

Coach K is supposed to be coming down here Friday for my open gym so I’m looking forward to that. I never get used to stuff like that. I’m really blessed to be in this position.

Other than that, all of the schools are still coming pretty hard. Of course Missouri is coming hard and Michigan, Florida, North Carolina and Stanford, they’re all coming hard too.

Trevon Bluiett’s high school coach, Ed Schilling, took an assistant coaching job at UCLA. Bluiett reported to the Indy Star that he would now consider the Bruins.

“I could really go anywhere, I just have to have that type of family feel there at the school,” said Bluiett, who averaged 27 points a game this season. “If I go to (California), I need a close relationship and a second family. So with coach Schilling being there and me and him being really close, I wouldn’t mind going that far.”

Thursday was the first day college coaches were allowed out on the road for the April recruiting period. Butler coach Brad Stevens and assistant coach Michael Lewis attended Park Tudor’s open gym, along with assistants from Cincinnati and Northwestern.

It didn’t escape Bluiett’s notice that two of the teams that offered him, Louisville and Michigan, played for the national title on Monday.

“It was a good feeling to know those two high-major programs are coming after me,” he said. “I never really thought I’d be in this position or, to be honest, think either of those teams would make it that far. That’s not what I had on my bracket.”

Vince Edwards, Michigan’s third outstanding offer, had a quiet weekend in his AAU debut. Edwards made the switch from the King James Shooting Stars to All-Ohio Red this summer and will be playing on the Nike EYBL circuit. It continues to be a Purdue-Michigan race at the top for Edwards’s services. Scout.com reported that Edwards needed to “crank up his motor” and had a bit of a slow weekend to open AAU play.

A new target on the radar, class of 2014 guard Kurt Hall, also listed Michigan last weekend.

Hall had a breakout performance in NLP’s win over SYF Players. Hall scored a game-high 20 points, relentlessly attacking the basket off the dribble.

Kurt Hall is getting interest from Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana, Kansas, Texas, and Wichita State among others.

Here’s footage of the Chicago native in action:

Class of 2015 combo forward Evan Boudreaux, Hall’s AAU teammate, visited Michigan for the Indiana game and should be a hot target this summer. Boudreaux started out AAU season strong at the Swish ‘n Dish.

Boudreaux came out and dominated right from the opening tip. The sophomore scored 16 points in the first half alone, getting most of his buckets in transition and on hustle plays. Boudreaux finished with 20 points in a blowout win over the Wisconsin Starz.

Evan Boudreaux has offers from Boston College and Northwestern. Butler, DePaul, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Oregon State, Stanford, Tennessee, UCLA, Virginia, Wake Forest, Wisconsin and others have expressed interest.

The 6-foot-8 forward continued his solid play:

Boudreaux has been Mr. Consistency in the tournament thus far. The sophomore put together two more high scoring and high rebounding games, including an 18-point performance in NLP’s win over SYF Players Saturday night. Boudreaux also had two key blocks late and the game-winning basket.

A couple other class of 2015 Illinois point guards that Michigan has been watching played well last weekend as well. First, Glynn Watson

Watson was shifty, yet under control for the 16U Wolves. With 15 points on the night, he was able to score from multiple levels, finishing in transition, driving with ease to the hoop or knocking down the mid-range floater when required.

2015 guard Prentiss Nixon also had a solld tournament.

The versatile guard played his best basketball Sunday, scoring 17 points in different fashions. He showed a great looking perimeter jump shot, used his frame well to attack the lane against defenders and score from the mid-range or at the rim and displayed hibounce with two nice dunks in transition.

Michigan also continues to recruit Jalen Brunson, a talented Illinois guard with offers from Illinois, DePaul, SMU and Xavier. Brunson blew up over the weekend and was named one of the best shooting point guards by ESPN:

Brunson is a lefty lead guard who is smart and crafty. He can push the ball and run the offense, but what makes Brunson truly a special point guard is his ability to shoot. Brunson can knock down the open 3 if the defense falls asleep. Brunson has good basketball bloodlines as he is the son of Temple great and former NBA player Rick Brunson.

NY2LA Sports was also impressed with his performance while Slam Online profiled his recruitment

The young highly-touted guard out of Illinois was astounding vs. the St. Louis Eagles. Brunson was absolutely “cold” offensively utilizing his shake to get the defenders off balance before draining three’s – five – in their faces. He also attacked the cup really well and finished in traffic. He finished with 31 points officially.

  • Indiana_Matt

    Not feeling Booker.

    • Brad S

      k

      • jayz

        He also seems like the type of kid that would read this blog, so shut the hell up.

        • Brad S

          Hope that wouldn’t factor into any decision, but for safe measures its gone

      • JimmyZ5

        Based on what? Being intrigued by interest from Kentucky? If a top employer in my field called me and said they want my resume, I’d listen too.

        • Indiana_Matt

          What I meant is that it really feels like an uphill battle. Not getting the feel that he’s as intrigued with us. Better vibe early on. Seems like an outstanding player, hope I’m wrong.

          • JimmyZ5

            That’s fair. IIRC I was actually responding specifically to a different comment (deleted?). I think it’s natural for a kid to be intrigued by the most recent interest, especially from a school like Kentucky. Booker seems like he’s still in his information gathering phase. I feel pretty comfortable betting that we’ll be in his top 5 and receive an official visit. As for where he’s going to commit, I have no idea.

  • Mark Worthley

    Booker’s comments on Kentucky are unfortunate. John Calipari has a real knack for impressing young men.

    • A2JD

      $$$$?

      • Billiam

        really?

        • A2JD

          It is the $EC, so you never know. Obviously, KU has a lot going for it but I’ve never seen a stampede of talent to one school like they’ve had since Calipari got there. Plus, Coach Cal has left two programs in bad shape. Whether he had an active part in that, just turned his head or had no clue doesn’t speak that well for him. There just seems to be some smoke there, so maybe there’s some fire.

    • JimmyZ5

      This is true. Recruiting against UK or Duke is gonna be a fight. He’s listing Michigan in the same conversations though, and we’re not a fresh offer so it seems like we’re doing enough to stick in his mind.

    • Wayman Britt

      Mark you don’t really think Kentucky gets all those top recruits because of just John Calipari as a coach do you? $$$$$, If so I have some great swamp land in the Upper Peninsula for a song.

  • I personally want kids who WANT to come play for Michigan! Kids who will continue to help build this program and make it elite. I think our coaches have done a great job getting players that fit the system and want to play team oriented ball. Our national championship appearance this year will only continue to make Michigan more appealing to recruits.

    • A2JD

      I would think so. Michigan Basketball is back on the map (in a big way) and should continue to be there with the coaching staff and facilities that are there now. Obviously, the University itself has always been among the best.

      While Kentucky seems to have a leg up on every other program in recruiting right now (maybe because of World Wide Wes?) there are only so many minutes available and being a good fit is important too. We saw that talent alone only landed the Cats in the NIT this year whereas Michigan had a team that gelled and made it within inches of winning the title.

    • JimmyZ5

      He’s currently deciding if he “WANTS” to come to Michigan. We’re in consideration. It’s April. Don’t worry.

      • Jimmy, I am in no way worried about his decision. If he decides to come great but if not I wish him the best of luck. I was referring to any recruit out there not just Devin Booker. I’d be more than happy to continuously recruit the type of classes we have pulled in 2012 and 2013. Zak Irvin, Derrick Walton, and Mark Donnal are solid, especially Booker and Irvin! Give me Mr. Basketball from the state of Indiana every year and I’d be happy. Look at the list of past winners, they are all legit.

        • JimmyZ5

          Gotcha. Sort of ran with my my rant on the Booker criticism. I agree with you though. Hope the best players want to run through the doors to play for us. We’ve got academics, facilities, a rabid fan base, program stability, an A+ coaching staff, and a renewed ability to develop future pros.

  • A2JD

    Kurt Hall looks a little earth-bound but he also looks strong. Maybe a James Harden-type of player.

  • MGoTweeter

    That quote from Kentucky assistants is hilarious to me. They heard Booker was an elite scorer? Are they not sure? Have they ever seen him play or are they just using rivals.com scouting reports?

    Hard to know which way either of Booker and Bluiett are leaning. It would be great to get one of them but would not be shocked to get neither.

    Kurt Hall looks like a bit of a project. He reminds me of a less athletic Manny Harris.

    • gpsimms

      I feel like it looks bad for both. I’m starting to feel uneasy about the 2014 class.

      • Kenny

        I agree with u on booker and bluiett. I am not exactly a fan of booker after watching some of the scout videos. However, for the class, we already have a big with a lot of post game, and I do expect Edward will join him. The class may not be as good as 2012 and 2013, but there might be a couple more hidden gems Beilein can dig out.

    • Wayman Britt

      I wouldn’t be shocked either, with Bluiett’s H.S. coach going to UCLA, it looks like he will follow. Booker wants a coach who pushes players, I read that to mean someone who yells, is animated and is intense, not exactly Beilein.

      • ForeverBlue

        Calipari sure got a lot of this season’s team.

  • JimmyZ5

    Are you guys serious? He’s finishing up his Junior year of high school and has tons of quality college options, a direct result of his hard work. “I never get used to stuff like that. I’m really blessed to be in this position.” <— doesn't sound like a kid who's arrogant or attention seeking. He's trying to evaluate all of his options and is a little bit awestruck that he's getting attention from Coach K and Coach Cal. Can I reiterate that he's a Junior in high school? He's not dragging out the process for attention. The kid hasn't even taken an official visit yet. Geez, people. Let the kid be recruited. Not every player is Spike with one scholarship offer. Most others have tons on their mind and are being pulled in a dozen different directions.

    It's April of 2013. He doesn't step on a campus until late 2014. If you think he's being a little bit selfish, it's because he IS! It's HIS decision and one that will affect him for the rest of his life. Same goes with our NBA draft decisions this week. I suggest you guys stop jumping to conclusions about a 17 year old kid based on what recruiting articles say. It's a recruiting article for a reason, he's allowing himself to be recruited.

    Michigan will be in this one until the very end. He's mentioned Michigan in every list, visited plenty, and has been quoted as appreciating that Michigan was on him first. We're having success and no Duke or Kentucky dwarfs our program these days. If he doesn't make his decision soon, it's not a Devin Booker character flaw. If he's asked a question about Kentucky he's going to answer a question about Kentucky. If he is asked a question about Duke he's going to answer a question about Duke. Stop acting like it's "attention seeking." A kid posting trillions of Twitter updates saying "follow me!" or posting YouTube videos where he updates his recruitment unprovoked would be attention seeking. This is absolutely not the same.

    Some of you guys suck.

    /end rant. Go Blue

  • section13row15

    What a joke that Kentucky is just now getting involved with Booker.

  • AADave

    To maintain the talent at a championship level, we probably need two commits from the trio of Booker, Bluiett and Edwards. Or maybe at least one of them and a couple other better than advertised under the radar recruits.

    If your goal is to play early and improve enough for a pro career, I would think that Michigan looks the most enticing for any top recruit in 2014. Beilein has 4 players who are projected as first round picks (THJ is borderline) this year. Only 1 of these players (GR III) seemed to be a likely first rounder when they stepped on campus. And DMo went from an unlikely NBA prospect to a second round pick after two years. So he’s shown an impressive ability to develop talent. Moreover, it looks like there will be an exodus of current players by 2014 and plenty of minutes to go around. On top of that, Beilein is known for running a clean program and treats his players well.

    If a recruit picks another program likely Kentucky, who knows how many McDonald All Americans will be in front of them? And who knows when they will be hit with sanctions?

  • Colby

    Sounds like Kameron Chatman is getting recruited hard by us. Maybe Beilein will stop in to see him while out in LA with Trey.

    http://ny2lasports.com/article_one.aspx?articleid=1287

    Have also read Zylan Cheatam from AZ is a target of ours, sounds like a high sceiling kid and I would love to see us get.

    Have to think a few new 14 targets emerge.

    • DingoBlue

      I checked that link. It was refreshing to hear a recruit talk about Michigan liking to run the floor a lot. I think this year’s team has definitely helped recruiting efforts.

  • ForeverBlue

    Kentucky and its 1-and-done approach to recruiting seems to be the antithesis of what Beilein is about. I am not saying this about any specific recruit and I can sure understand how it would feel to be recruited by Kentucky but I don’t see how a kid could get torn between Kentucky and Michigan. They are just appear to be entirely different appeals.

  • ajerome33

    Anybody that gets on here and criticizes Booker or any other kid we are recruiting – I just don’t get it. These kids should listen to all offers, evaluate, and make the best decision on what the best fit is for them. If it is Michigan, that is great. If its somewhere else, it wasn’t meant to be. Some of you guys trying to get in the head of a 16 or 17 year old you don’t know personally, it’s just pathetic. I wish Devin and the other kids we are recruiting the best of luck in their decisions.

  • Steve2081

    Saw Brunson play in the state finals. Kid is legit. He has a killer step back jumper.

  • fresh

    dylan, is there any word on if michigan is looking at darrell davis? i really like his highlights and seems like an intriguing prospect