Michigan watches late-rising combo guard Javon Bess


1212578Michigan continues to widen its recruiting net in recent weeks as the Wolverines look for options in the class of 2014. Michigan has already extended additional offers to James Blackmon Jr. and Donte Grantham and has increased interest in Jonah Bolden, DJ Wilson and others.

Michigan is waiting on decisions from some of its top targets, including Kameron Chatman, Devin Booker, James Blackmon Jr. and Donte Grantham. Until they receive a commitment from one or more of those players, the coaching staff is making the rounds and letting other 2014 targets know they are still valued.

The latest player to receive Michigan interest is Javon Bess, a talented swingman from Columbus. During an interview on Thursday, Bess said Michigan assistant coach Bacari Alexander was at his open gym earlier that afternoon.

Bess said his first contact from Michigan occurred just a few days ago.

“First they talked to my coach and then they talked to my dad two days ago,” Bess said. “He just let us know that they still got a couple recruits who they’re trying to get, but they’re still interested. That’s basically what he was saying.”

While Michigan may be just now re-familiarizing itself with Bess, the 6-foot-5 guard is already very comfortable with the program. Bess has already been to games in Ann Arbor twice, one as a freshman and once as a sophomore. And two years ago, he was at Michigan’s College Practice Camp.

Needless to say, Bess is already familiar with Michigan’s program and coaches.

“I like the coaching staff,” Bess said. “When I was younger, I came up a couple times my freshman year and my sophomore year. My sophomore year I came up for when they played Wisconsin. And I like the coaching staff. I’m real cool with coach Jordan, I’ve talked to him a lot, and coach Bacari.”

But his familiarity with the Wolverines goes even deeper than that — Bess is also boys with current Michigan sophomore Caris LeVert. Bess said he sees LeVert “whenever he comes back (home).”

Bess said his friendship with LeVert has allowed him to get an idea for how LeVert feels about Michigan, valuable information for a player fielding recent offers from other high-major programs.

“I went to high school with Caris. I’m cool with him,” Bess said. “I’ve worked out with Trey. So I’m really cool with a lot of people from Michigan. I talk to Caris a lot and he says he loves it there. He loves it — there’s nowhere else he’d want to be.”

Michigan has also seen its fair share of Bess as the Wolverine staff has followed his AAU teammate, Vince Edwards, for much of the past two summers.

Many other schools have joined in on Bess’s late recruitment. After July, his recruitment really picked up — the rising senior received offers from Texas Tech, Kansas State, Xavier and Richmond.

But at the moment, Bess said he is receiving the most attention from Kansas State, Dayton, who has also offered, and Iowa. In fact, Iowa joined Michigan at Bess’s open gym on Thursday. According to Bess, the Hawkeyes want to get him to Iowa City for an official visit.

Bess said he’s just trying to enjoy the recent jump in attention from big-time schools.

“I’m just trying to soak it all in, because a lot of people don’t get to experience this,” Bess said. “So I’m just blessed to have this happen to me.”

As he parses out the programs he wants to take a closer look at, there is one feature he finds especially important: style of play.

In this regard, Michigan may have a leg up. Bess wants to play an uptempo style with lots of screens so he can “come off and make plays.” Does that sound like any school you know?

“I watched a lot of Michigan last year. A lot of people watched Trey last year, but they like to play fast,” Bess said. “It seemed like they liked to play fast. A lot of pick-and-rolls, and that’s the way I like to play.”

As of now, Bess doesn’t have plans in place to visit Ann Arbor, but that could change. The only visit he has scheduled so far is an official to Kansas State on October 12th. Bess has already visited Ball State, Xavier and Butler.

  • Mattski

    Taking a little time for the pieces to fall into place, it seems, but that doesn’t mean they won’t. So many of the great recent players have been relatively unheralded, or landed in Ann Arbor via interesting routes–turning out to be such great fits. If this or that five-star ends up being lured by the bright lights elsewhere. . . we wish them well.

  • Zach Fleer

    One of my favorite players in the state. Severely underrated. Has been in the shadow of LeVert, Jae’Sean Tate and now Akron freshman Aaron Jackson. Javon is finally getting his chance to shine and he is making full use of it. Would be a tremendous addition for Michigan

  • Tyrell

    I am glad to finally hear that Michigan, “has increased interest in Jonah Bolden.” He has to be the guy to get for Michigan, I just see DJ Wilson being another flop like Colten Christian.

    • sane1

      Wilson is top 150 who has been injured and will end up being rated much higher. Christian was a two star who’s best offer was Tulane and was a last minute pick-up to fill out the roster. There is NO comparison.

      • Tyrell

        I hope your correct. But with that said, who would you rather have Wilson or Bolden?

        • jblair52


      • Fresh

        somebody said wilson is very comparable to devin robinson who is a top 25 kid…….as stated below he has had some injuries, the kid has received some good press when he has played

  • truebluekuws

    Jeff Goodman includes Michigan, Michigan St, Indiana, and Minnesota as four teams that are “in trouble for the 2014 class” on ESPN insider.

    To me, this is surprising considering how many top commits MSU was in the hunt for and IU’s early success with decommits Blackmon and Lyles. It hurts Minnesota that there is an unproven regime for the Class of 2014 (though I think Richard Pitino will soon prove to be superb on the recruiting trail), as the state of Minnesota has 3 top 50 prospects, including the top PG and top SG, per ESPN’s top 100.

    As for Blue, let’s hope we can finish strong. I have total confidence that we will, even if the prospects the staff land are not exclusively made up of current offers.

    Go Blue!

  • Tyrell

    Is anyone else having a difficult time getting registered for the forum? Everytime I click on the register button it takes me to a blank page and when I try to register through Facebook, Twitter, or Google I keep getting the message that my humanity is suspect and to keep trying (it never changes)! I need a place to talk about these recruits!

    • DingoBlue

      I’m already registered so I can’t say. Maybe contacting Dylan about it directly will help? I presume you’re using a modern browser? (e.g. new version of IE, Firefox, or Chrome)

      • Tyrell

        Thanks for responding, I have sent Dylan an email and tried tweeting him, but never heard anything back. And I am using Firefox.

  • Wayman Britt

    With the widening of recruiting and going after second tier talent, looks like the coaching staff is not sold we will get more than one from Booker, Chatman and Blackmon. Maybe we just take a small 2014 class and work on 2015.

    • BlueBasketeer

      Agreed..it seems like the coaches expect to get shut out on top-tier recruits this year and are expanding their options. A shame…if you’re going to compete at a high level on a regular basis, you really need at least one elite recruit every year. Too many teams get at least that and more.

      • DingoBlue

        Even one of the three of Booker, Chatman, and Blackmon would be a decent class along with Doyle and a stretch 4 (Grantham). Bolden would make the class stellar in that case. I tend to agree that I think the potential for the 2015 class to be the bigger focus and potentially better is true. In the interest of that, I’d rather close up 2014 recruiting so the coaches can focus on 2015.