2014 wing Josh Cunningham becomes late Michigan target

Michigan spent plenty of time tracking it’s priorities in the class of 2014 and 2015, including Devin Booker, Kameron Chatman and Trevon Bluiett, throughout July. But the Wolverines also spent time evaluating new combo forward prospects as as Kevon Looney and other prospects slip off the radar.

Class of 2014 3-star wing forward Josh Cunningham is one of those targets. Cunningham is a 6-foot-7 wing player from the Mac Irvin Fire. Cunningham averaged 12 points and five rebounds per game with the Fire, playing alongside Michigan offer Jalen Brunson and dynamic big men Cliff Alexander and Jahlil Okafor.

“I can rebound pretty good, I can shoot pretty well, and I’m good on defense,” Cunningham said during an interview on Thursday. “I’ve been working on my shooting and my ballhandling, because I need to get better at that.”

Playing alongside Brunson, a player the Wolverines tracked heavily throughout the summer, Michigan’s coaching staff had a chance to get a good look at Cunningham’s game, and they like what they’ve seen. The Chicago native said he speaks with Michigan’s coaching staff “every week.” He also mentioned their presence at an AAU tournament in Las Vegas recently.

Michigan is jumping into a recruitment that is already well underway for most schools tracking Cunningham. The talented wing holds offers from Northwestern, Dayton, Bradley, DePaul, Missouri, St. Johns, Oklahoma, Iowa, Iowa State, Nebraska and Creighton.

As his prep career winds down, Cunningham will look to make a decision at the end of this winter’s high school basketball season.

The Wolverines may have started late, but Cunningham is very familiar with the program — mostly because, like most recruits, he watched Michigan’s NCAA tournament run in March.

“Their style of play,” Cunningham replied when asked what stood out about Michigan to him. “The way their coach played them it seemed like he let them do what they needed to do to win.”

The Mac Irvin Fire standout mentioned that he thought his game resembled that of Tim Hardaway Jr.’s the most, because of the now-departed guard’s ability to shoot the ball as well as attack the rim.

As Cunningham whittles down his list, he’ll be looking at one aspect of each program very closely: the coaching staff.

“A coaching staff that I can really trust and I can go to at any time,” Cunningham said when asked what he’s looking for in a school.  “And a coaching staff that can get me ready for the next level.”

In that regard, Michigan appears to be in good position. Cunningham said the Wolverine coaches were one of the things he liked most about Michigan as a program.

“I like the coaching staff and I also like their style of play,” Cunningham said. “It fits my game, the way I run and play defense.”

While Cunningham has no immediate plans to visit, he said he thought Michigan would ask him to at some point. Cunningham plans to take official visits this fall, though he has yet to set any dates.

Chatman has top five

Kameron Chatman announced a top five of Michigan, Oregon, USC, Arizona and UConn. He visited USC unofficially on Thursday and is planning official visits to Michigan (September 6th), Oregon (September 13th) and Arizona (September 27th).

  • section13row15

    I like him. He has that bounce in his step that Hardaway has. It may also help us land Brunson the following year.

  • A2JD

    What’s the story with Jaylen Johnson & Justin Tillman? It seems like both of those guys are rated above Josh Cunningham and are Michigan products.

    Cunningham does look like he has some bounce, though.

    • http://www.umhoops.com/ Dylan Burkhardt

      I like Jaylen Johnson’s game a lot. Think he’ll be a guy to watch closely.

      Tillman is a good prospect but I don’t see where he fits. Not enough perimeter skill to play the four at UM IMO and more of a MM+.

    • geoffclarke

      Granted, I haven’t seen much video, so this is close to speculation, but even in the “highlights”, I haven’t seen any ball skills or shooting from Jaylen Johnson. So what position does he play? Probably would be closest to a Michigan center a la Jordan Morgan, and we already have Doyle in the class. I’m not saying Johnson isn’t good, but we need more a 4 that can play out on the perimeter.

  • mattD

    Seems hard to believe Cunningham is only a 3 star with that type of length and athleticism in addition to having a decent jumpshot. Vastly underrated if only a 3 star in my opinion.

  • mattD
  • gpsimms

    smooth stroke. wish i could see him dribble some more, but he’s obviously athletic and i like the way he shoots it.

  • Northern Blue

    Looks like a guy that could be a really good role player. It does kind of remind you of Hardaway jr because of it being same AAU team and both springs shooters. Would be great to get him, Chatman, and Booker… not sure they take that many though.

    • BlueBasketeer

      Well, at the moment we have only one more slot for the class of 2014. Booker would be my first choice for that. More will very likely open up, but we may not know how many until after the season when people start declaring for the draft. Hopefully at least one other promising target will still be available then, but there’s no way to be sure.

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