John Beilein watches three-star guard Javon Bess


889566[1]Bacari Alexander watched class of 2014 wing guard Javon Bess in open gym last week and Michigan head coach John Beilein was in attendance on Monday. Bess said he thought he played well in front of Michigan’s coach.

“I think I played well, I think I played pretty well,” Bess said in a brief conversation on Monday. “I shot the ball well, made some plays coming off the pick-and-roll, made a couple good passes. I think I played pretty well.”

Afterward, Bess and his father got a chance to sit down with Beilein and go over some basics about Michigan. Given that Michigan is late to Bess’s recruitment, both school and player are familiarizing themselves with one another.

“He just let us know about everything about visiting. And then he let us know about the school and the educational part of it,” Bess said. “I liked that a lot. It’s tough to go to Michigan. The school is tough. He let us know about that, he let us know about the new facilities, and that was really it.”

Later in the conversation, Beilein got down to brass tacks.

“He said that he’d let us know (about a possible visit), because they’re still recruiting Devin Booker and James Blackmon Jr. They’re going to see them,” Bess said. “He said in a week or so they’re going to call me and we’re going to set up a visit. If it comes to that, where I set up a visit, then I’ll have a scholarship when I get to Michigan. He said he waits for recruits to get to Michigan to offer them.”

For Bess, Michigan is one of the latest in a whirlwind of Big Ten schools suddenly vying for his services. However, he said he doesn’t take anything away from the Wolverines just because of their late arrival to his recruitment — after all, most schools going after him the hardest right now got in on the action later in the game.

“He said he knows that they’re late, but there were just some guys who they were on early, and then they didn’t really get a chance to see me play,” Bess said. “I’m not going to overlook them just because they were late (to recognize me). I’m not docking anybody points if they come late.”

Bess said Wisconsin is the latest to recruit him as he first heard from the Badgers on Sunday. A Wisconsin assistant was also at open gym on Monday. He holds offers from Kansas State, Dayton, Xavier and Texas Tech. He took a visit to Dayton last weekend and is hearing from Duquesne, St. Joe’s, Iowa, Cleveland State and Toledo.

Local recruiting analyst Zach Fleer was in attendance at the open gym and tweeted that Bess played very well in front of John Beilein. He also provided this scouting report:

Becoming more confident with his three-point shot. Shoots very well off screens, uses his floater efficiently well in the lane. Can command an offense when he wants to. Has to work on dominating more and not deferring to his teammates, especially when he is the best player on the floor, which is often. Gets out and defends aggressively. Crafty around the basket. Can rebound and get back up on the offensive end before most players even land from their first jump. Attacks the lane quickly when he finds the slightest bit of daylight. Always productive, great spin move to create separation, relentless.

‘16 forward Matt Moyer another to watch

Class of 2016 forward Matt Moyer, rated the #5 small forward in Ohio’s class of 2016, is another Ohio product to watch. Moyer visited Michigan unofficiailly for the Wolverines season opener and was very impressed.

“Thing is I love Michigan. I love the campus, the people, the coaches, I really love the coaching staff, coach Beilein,” Moyer told Fleer at open gym today. “The facilities are top of the line, the best facilities. I love how they support, they came out in the live period and saw me play, they are coming into our open gyms this autumn. I like Michigan a lot.”

Zach Fleer contributed to this report.

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  • Wayman Britt

    If you don’t get Booker or Blackmon, I would take my time on evaluating Bess. Maybe saving the ship for 2015 might be the way to go.

    • Tyrell

      I agree.

    • rick dunaway

      saving ships is bad for football and basketball

    • That’s easy to say now but you can sometimes get a much better player in November than in April. And once you see your roster in April, you might wish you did.

      Bess could be a great complement to a lot of Michigan’s other pieces. He’s a junkyard dog that gets after it on both ends.

  • I will say that the first time I saw Javon Bess play was last summer in Akron. I was watching Vince Edwards (also for the first time) and was far more impressed with Bess than Edwards.

    Since then I haven’t seen a ton of either player, but conventional wisdom is that Bess has trended upward and Edwards has trended downward.

  • rick dunaway

    there not going to be saving ships, we are going to have alot of them.. 2 guys will be leaving early after the season. you guys all know this. there will be know ship saving

  • Indiana_Matt

    I like this guy. We’ve had some very good fortune with 3 star recruits.

  • mattD

    I’d take a pass if I were the coaching staff. His skill set fits the PF position, but his size dictates that he plays the 2 or 3. His game is based on overpowering people at this point, and he may very well be effective doing that in high school, but I highly doubt Bess can do that in the Big Ten at his size (or lack of). Ballhandling ability is average at best, a below average Big 10 athlete in terms of jumping ability and lateral movement. Decent passer and shooter, but needs much more skill to play the wing at a high major school.

    • Indiana_Matt

      I haven’t seen him other than the few video clips. Looks like a good frame and he gets up and dunks pretty easy. Also looks like he gets after it on defense. It sounds like you have seen much more than these videos. In my opinion (a guess to be sure) it isn’t hard to envision him being a starter on a big ten club during his junior and senior years. Could you see him developing?

      • mattD

        I can see anyone ‘developing’, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he has enough upside to warrant a scholarship at this point. When we as fans become aware of any interest in a new name, it tends to garner excitement and the all too common “I like his game, he can do X, Y, Z'” well type of commentary. Generally speaking, once fans have an opportunity to see more than just 1 clip/highlight film, they are able to better critique a prospect’s game in light of the fact that they have more exposure and the novelty has diminished as well (ie Vince Edwards – people were so high on him initially, and eventually people could see he couldn’t really handle the ball, nor could he be a true post threat, and shooting was average). With respect to Bess, we have to examine not only how he looks on film, but will those positive attributes translate to a high major setting? My opinion is no – I simply can not see Bess as a major contributor to a high major program at either the 2 or 3. Examine the film, and ask yourself how many people was Bess able to drive by based on ball-handling or lateral quickness vs. size/strength, how many screens did he come off to hit jumpshots? It seems to me that he simplies bullies the opponent do to superior size/strength, and he simply can’t do that at a high major level – to small. Best case scenrio for Bess in my opinion is poor man’s version of Wesley Matthews.

        • Matt

          And your credentials are?

          • mattD

            I never claimed to have credentials, just an opinion. Taking that into account, no individual needs ‘credentials’ to analyze basketball, it is very subjective at minimum, and there are few, if any, people on this earth that can accurately predict how any one player will pan out at a particular level. Micheal Jordan would seemingly have more ‘credentials’ than any other human known to mankind, yet to characterize MJ as a basketball mind would be foolish in light of his horrible draft history, free agent signings, and general inability to produce a competitive team.

            I guess my point is, you have no point – and I say that with all due respect.

  • Zach Fleer

    Watching JB this entire summer, he has improved leaps and bounds from the end of his junior season. Gahanna started a relatively small lineup a year ago, so JB, being the second tallest player, played a lot in the post. On All-Ohio Red, they used him on the wing, and he excelled in that role. I think he has what it takes to play at Michigan, he is getting better every day, and has a much improved perimeter game heading into this season. If you get Javon Bess, you’re getting a hard working kid that will stay out of trouble and give you 120% every night.

    • mattD

      I have no doubts that he has improved, and I have no doubts that he will stay out of trouble nor do I doubt that Bess will give 120% each and every night. That being said, sometimes staying out of trouble and 120% effort simply isn’t good enough to be productive at a high major level. In my opinion, Bess simply doesn’t have the skill set as it stands right now to be a wing player at a high major college, and doesn’t have the size to utilize his best attributes in a way that benefits a high major college team. I wish the young man all the best in the future, but as a Michigan basketball fan, I would rather not allocate a scholarship at this time.