What to watch for: July evaluation period

Dylan Burkhardt

imageThe July evaluation period tips off this afternoon and will run for the next three long weekends (July 10-14th, 17-21st, 24-28th) throughout July. College coaches will be on the road (or in the air) traveling between major AAU tournaments in Indianapolis, Augusta, Las Vegas, Orlando and in a host of other gyms throughout the country.

The period starts today with the Nike Peach Jam in Augusta, the Adidas Invitational in Indianapolis and the Reebok Breakout Challenge in Philadelphia.

For class of 2014 prospects, it’s the last chance to impress college coaches on the AAU circuit before your senior year. For underclassmen it’s a chance to emerge as a big time target. One strong tournament could be enough to propel a prospect into the top-50 and at the top of high-major coaches’ recruiting wish lists for the next year.

Here are six things to watch as Michigan’s coaches hit the road in July.

1. Life without Beilein

John Beilein is still away in Russia for the World University Games so Jeff Meyer, Bacari Alexander and LaVall Jordan will be Michigan’s only three coaches on the road at the Adidas Invitational, Nike Peach Jam and Reebok Breakout Classic this weekend.

Not having the man in charge available for recruiting could dampen some of Michigan’s gusto on the circuit but it’s safe to assume that his absence has been well communicated to Wolverine prospects. The Wolverines should still have a heavy presence at the Nike Peach Jam, where offered prospects like Trevon Bluiett, Luke Kennard and Vince Edwards will be playing, as well as the Adidas Invitational where they’ll watch the likes of Kevon Looney, Jalen Coleman, Stephen Zimmerman, Sedrick Barefield and many others.

2. Point guards play for offers

It feels like Michigan is on the verge of becoming the next “Point Guard U” but the Wolverines haven’t been able to strike point guard gold since Trey Burke’s emergence as national player of the year quite yet. That’s partially due to John Beilein’s offer policies.

Jalen Brunson is the highest rated point guard prospect on Michigan’s recruiting board and, depending on who you ask, the country. He visited and got his offer but he’s in no hurry to make a decision.

Sedrick Barefield appears to be the primary candidate for the next point guard offer and he will put his talent on display in the Midwest this weekend at the Adidas Invitational. Barefield will need to visit in August or in the fall before receiving an offer and has had a solid spring. His July performance could alter the course of Michigan’s point guard evaluation.

Selfishly, we are excited to finally see Barefield in person at the Adidas Invitational where he could hypothetically match up against other Wolverine guard targets including Jalen Coleman and Hyron Edwards in bracket play.

Edwards didn’t have the best summer but remains a viable option. He’s passed the visit criteria but the Michigan staff doesn’t appear ready to extend an offer. Florida guard Corey Sanders is yet another option. He’s in the same boat as Barefield, needing to visit before any scholarship talk is relevant, but he’s hoping to visit Ann Arbor with his teammate Dwayne Bacon this fall. The key for Sanders this July will be to prove he’s a point guard. He has the handle and the athleticism but we want to see if he’s a true point guard.


3. Can Jordan Barnett or Jaylen Johnson earn an offer?

Devin Booker, Kameron Chatman, Trevon Bluiett and Vince Edwards have been Michigan priorities for quite some time. All seem content on taking official visits this fall before advancing toward a decision. Michigan will spend a significant amount of time showing attention to all four players (and Kevon Looney) throughout July but will also be evaluating other options.

Jordan Barnett was impressed by his Michigan visit in early June but was told that he wouldn’t earn an offer until John Beilein watches him play. That opportunity will come this July but perhaps not at Peach Jam due to Beilein’s absence. Barnett will be in Orlando for the AAU Super Showcase in Orlando from July 24th through 27th and that could be his opportunity.

Barnett is a super athletic combo forward ranked in the top-100 nationally and appears to be a viable option to compete with Kameron Chatman and Vince Edwards for Michigan’s combo forward spot.

Jaylen%20Johnson[1]Another name to watch is Jaylen Johnson. The Ypsilanti post player has played well all spring, earning an invitation to the LeBron James Skills Academy. He’s a hard working, athletic four man that doesn’t quite fit the mold of a traditional Beilein-stretch four but is too talented to ignore. The Wolverines have been tracking Johnson for quite some time but haven’t offered, he has a chance to impress this July.

4. Ricky Doyle’s redemption

Ricky Doyle isn’t at national tournaments and camps every weekend throughout the spring and summer. The Michigan commitment doesn’t play AAU ball so his chances for national exposure are limited. He was injured at the City of Palms Classic in December and had a quiet weekend at the NBPA Top 100 Camp in June.

The camp environment isn’t always the most conducive to strong post play and the good news is that Doyle will have another opportunity to impress national scouts at the Super Showcase in Orlando. Doyle will be playing with his high school team rather than a hodge podge group of highly rated players looking to impress scouts and that familiarity could be key for a better showing in July.

5. Something to prove

The top targets on Michigan’s ‘15 recruiting board are clear with offers Luke Kennard, Jalen Coleman and Jalen Brunson and heavy interest in Stephen Zimmerman, Diamond Stone, Dwayne Bacon and Sedrick Barefield but there’s another group that we’ll be watching for improvement. July isn’t just about watching the top names, it’s about tracking the development of the next tier of players. For Michigan in the class of 2015 that group includes players Noah Dickerson, Nate Fowler, Evan Boudreaux, Eric Davis, Bakari Evelyn, AJ Harris and a host of other prospects that could come to light this July.

6. Honing in on the class of 2016

Some big names on Michigan’s class of 2016 recruiting board are already well known. Cassius Winston and Josh Jackson are top-25 national prospects that play their high school ball right down I-94. The Wolverines are tracking west coast point guards Derryck Thornton Jr. and Devearl Ramsey. Michigan has paid close attention to the Midwest as well. Eron Gordon has been a priority and Northland wing Seth Towns starred at the Wolverines’ Team Camp.

Those names are well known but one who hasn’t gotten as much play is Tyus Battle. Battle is a top-10 player in the class and a Michigan priority. Battle is hearing from Michigan, Indiana, Syracuse, Ohio State, UConn, Villanova and a host of others. He wrote in his blog that he “plans on visiting Villanova, Michigan, Syracuse, at some point in 2013”. Battle is playing at The Peach Jam 16U tournament this weekend in Augusta.

Michigan has almost a year to go until class of 2016 offers are extended but the priorities in this group should start to become clearer by the end of July.

  • jblair52

    I’m becoming more and more a Barnett fan for 2014. I think him and Doyle would be great additions to the front court. Then hoping for a good wing or two out of Booker, Chatman, and Bluiett.

  • jv1004

    Why does Jaylen Johnson not fit the role of a typical Beilein stretch four? Is it because he doesn’t shoot the ball very well?

    • He’s more of a 15-foot and in player. Has a nice jump shot but is very different than some of the other combo forwards that Michigan has targeted like Chatman, Edwards, previously Bates-Diop, etc.

      • Steve2081

        Jaylen Johnson has become the new James Young.

  • bpsgoblue

    Was just walking behind McGary and Levert. Levert has to be at least 6’7″, he was not anymore 3″ shorter than mcgary.

    • Northern Blue

      Bacari said 6’6″ and change… sounds like 6’6.5″ or 6’7″… they dont seem to be super generous with the listings as i remember they would put burke down at 5’11” and he measured out at 6’1″ or something at the combine. He also has long arms… he may have to play some time at the 4 next year if a guy like Donnal or whatever freshmen arrives isnt ready to play minutes there yet.

      Everyone wants to get big, but personally I like the idea of playing a guy like Chatman (6’7″ish) with long arms and has proven so far to be a good rebounder amongst his peers at the 4 with the 2 and 3 man being 6’6″ or 6’7″ as well… Allows you to the flexibility to switch very successfully when need be and be more flexible with substitutions, and we know Coach B’s offence always looks much smoother with 4 perimeter guys. Hell, it almost won UM a national championship. As long as the two forwards and centres can rebound I like the strategy. Spacing, and transition offence. Love the way the team played last year. Would love to see the 4 man work the baseline like GR3 but also be adept at hitting the corner 3 and rebounding.

  • jv1004

    Would Michigan want to take both Kameron Chatman and Kevon Looney if possible or is it one or the other?

    • Steve2081

      Definitely. Looney is a probable one and done so you could bring him in as the starter at the 4 and Cameron could either back him up or play the 3 with his improving jumper. Then Chatman could slide into the starters role at the 4 as a Sophomore.

      And you’d still have room for Booker or Bluiett.

      • jv1004

        Sam Webb said that Michigan would take both Booker and Bluiett. Would Michigan take Booker, Bluiett, Chatman, Looney, & Doyle considering that Looney would likely be a one & done? Michigan has two open spots and is losing Morgan and likely McGary and Robinson will leave. Also, Horford might not get a 5th year.

        • You start to run into a problem where all of those guys aren’t going to want to play on the same roster..

          • Steve2081

            Local kid everyone keeps asking why we haven’t offered/shown more interest in,

            I’ve been seeing the question pop up a lot lately.

        • Steve2081

          You can take Booker and Bluiett or you can take Looney and Chatman. You can’t do both. Absolute best case scenario is 3 of the 4.

          You are excluding Hatch. Whether he plays a game or not he’s going to be a part of this class first.

          And why wouldn’t Horford get a 5th year if we have a lack of depth?

  • Jay Z

    There’s no way Barnett made that dunk! I crunched the numbers, and it’s not possible.

  • Pnickel

    What’s the deal with Barfield?

  • Some notes from the first day of the evaluation period over in the forum http://forum.umhoops.com/discussion/161/some-notes-from-joe-in-indianapolis-looney-tyler-williams

  • larry vanhaitsma

    I do not understand why Michigan is not watching the Davis kid from Muskegon. Everyone else is starting to offer him. He is 6ft 9 and only going to be a junior.

  • larry vanhaitsma

    Can not wait to see Cliff Alexander and Davis play each other in Muskegon