Recruiting Roundup: John Beilein on the road, rankings, other notes

Dylan Burkhardt

New York: 2013 Elite 24 slam dunk contest at the Tobacco Warehouse in Brooklyn New York.John Beilein and Bacari Alexander were both in attendance for Devin Booker’s open gym on Wednesday evening but they weren’t the only ones. John Calipari and a “full house” of coaches from Kentucky were also in attendance.

Booker is considered a Kentucky lean by most but still plans to take his Michigan and Missouri visits in October. Recent Wildcat pledge Tyler Ulis is continuing to pressure Booker to join him in Lexington.

“We actually talk about it a lot,” Ulis said. “He’s still going to take some visits though, because he wants to see what he wants to do. He’s not really sure yet. But we’ve actually talked a lot. We talk almost every day now.

“I’m trying to get him to come with me. He just said, ‘I don’t know yet.’”

Michigan will have its shot to win Booker back with an official visit in two weeks but the Wolverines defintiely appear to be playing catch up at this point in time after once being the out-and-out leaders for Booker’s services..

Beilein watches Luke Kennard

John Beilein was in to watch Luke Kennard earlier this week. While Kennard has been written off my many as a Kentucky lean, Michigan and other schools continue to put their best effort forward.

Luke Kennard has been visited by Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, North Carolina’s Roy Williams, Michigan’s John Beilein and Ohio State’s Thad Matta in recent days, his father told the Herald-Leader on Tuesday.

Other schools that have offered Kennard a scholarship include UK, Michigan State, Indiana and Louisville.

Coaches were allowed to begin off-campus visits with recruits on Sept 9. Kennard was in Rupp Arena that night to see the UK Alumni Charity Game — his third visit to Lexington since receiving a scholarship offer in July.

There’s been talk of a return trip to Ann Arbor for Kennard but no dates have been thrown around at this point.

Latest on James Blackmon Jr.

James Blackmon Jr. will visit Michigan next weekend, his first official visit. He updated his recruitment with the Indy Star and noted that he probably won’t take all of his visits.

“I probably won’t take all five official visits because I’ll probably decide before that happens,” he said. “I’m looking for a coach that I can really trust and a team that has a chance to compete for a national championship and has good players to play around. A coach who will help me get to the next level.”

Michigan gets the first visit to Kentucky, Indiana and possibly Kansas are all in play for official trips as well. It would be a shock if Blackmon makes a decision before at least visiting Indiana and Kentucky but the Wolverines will have their opportunity to take their best shot with their second visit in a month’s time.

More 2016 rankings updated

Rivals unveiled its Class of 2016 Top 35 on Wednesday and a number of Wolverine targets are in the mix.

Detroit wing forward Josh Jackson is regarded as a the No. 1 prospect in the country. Justin Jackson (7), Tyus Battle (11), Miles Bridges (18), Derryck Thornton Jr. (22), TJ Leaf (27), Caleb Swanigan (31), Eron Gordon (32), and Cassius Winston (35) also made the top-35.

Our class of 2016 recruiting board and recruiting profiles have both been updated with the latest Rivals rankings and 247 Consensus Rankings.

Other notes

  • Class of 2015 point guard Corey Sanders is off the board, he committed to Central Florida on Wednesday.
  • Michigan also stopped by to watch class of 2015 forward Carlton Bragg.
  • 2016 big man Barret Benson will visit Indiana for Hoosier Hysteria and Marquette on October 11th. He visited Michigan earlier this fall.
  • Michigan had stopped recruiting him, but Vince Edwards committed to Purdue last weekend on his official visit.
  • Fab 5 Legends

    I don’t see Booker coming to Ann Arbor, even though I would love to see him wear the Maize & Blue..
    Im getting the feeling – we need another big run this year – to officially boost our recruiting…as of now we are still seen as a lower level tier 1 team EVEN though we have an amazing program, coach, facility, and future…maybe recruits still consider not top tier…then again we prove the critics wrong over and over…and im sure will still get steals

    • Don

      Nah, I just think our roster is too loaded at the wing in combination with the fact that the 2014 cycle was too close for our FF run to have full impact. I’m still betting that we sign an elite class in 2015 so long as we live up to expectations during this coming season. Also, we recruit at a meaningful, ahem, disadvantage compared to some other “tier 1” programs.

    • Bigrange

      If by big run you mean Final Four, I’d say no. We do need to play deep into the tourney and show that Michigan is now a solid program. Also getting 3-4 more players drafted into the NBA will help recruits see that they can come and play as a team and still get to the league.
      Maybe this is the year we just end up with some good quality players to add depth to the roster.

  • jkuofm27

    I am no guru, but I think that JB’s ability to get the maximum effort/improvement etc. out of his players is unmatched in the current NC2A. If the 5 soph’s have the kind of growth that we all expect, that will go along way to solidifying JB and the rest of the staff as the kind of talent developers that we already know they are. I don’t see that same kind of development taking place from Calipari, Williams, etc. Izzo, Coach K and JB (not in any particular order) seem to be the best at that right now. As seen by players repeatedly staying at those coaches universities and repeatedly leaving the earlier ones. From the players perspective it appears they think they can improve more under the Izzo/K/JB staff than off the bench or thrown into the fire in the NBA. UNC/UK players seem to repeatedly leave, because they see themselves as already reaching their ceilings in those programs. Just an observation.

    • jblair52

      I agree but it’s so hard to recruit against a slimy coach that can toss around names like DRose, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, and Anthony Davis.

      • jkuofm27

        None of them even unpacked their bags. They only picked up their *cough* paychecks. But I know what you are saying.

        • Wayman Britt

          Right on

    • Don

      Izzo?? No way…look at the relative talent levels of the guys they’ve had over the last several years and where they end up getting drafted (IF they get drafted), and that’s after staying in college longer than most of their peers. I think the shine has really come off the rose for Izzo from a development standpoint. No question he is still seeing success on the court, but he is not achieving a great track record for guys that want to be pros lately. And I think that has started to creep into recruiting, but we’ll see how their next two classes end up.

      • jkuofm27

        I somewhat agree. But I think his choices/lands in recruiting have
        been more disappointing than his development of them. Nix was abissmel when he got to State and was a legit threat last year. Payne has also gotten better. Valentine was being compared to Magic, but I didn’t see any magic from him last year. We will see with Harris, Payne and Appling this year if he can still dev talent. All the so called experts are picking MSU, because they assume Izzo will help them take that next step. I hope they don’t, but I think it would be wrong to under value what Izzo brings to the table.

        • JVS

          Izzo has been picking a fight with the wrong programs, trying to secure guys like Jabari Parker, Okafor, etc. 1 and done players, where he doesn’t really have a showcase/platform type program the way that Duke/UK/KU do (not that he shouldn’t but he’s probably missed a lot of mid-level guys for these efforts) His successes with guys like Payne (mentioned above and probably the best example), Ager, Shannon Brown, etc is where he probably needs to spend more time b/c the high 4 and 5 star guys probably won’t be as intrigued with the bruiser-ball his team has been playing as much as either McD All American teams at KU, or at least faster paced offenses which is probably a more direct translation to the NBA

          • jkuofm27

            I completely agree.

  • Dford

    I would like to know what changed in regards to Michigan being the out right leader compared to Kentucky. Kentucky is pretty loaded at the wing position as well, especially with their addition of James Young. What gives?

  • Webbdog

    Booker is a Michigan Lock. Only way Booker wont choose Michigan is if Beilein excepts a commitment from Blackmon Jr.

    • Tyrell

      I think you mean accepts instead of excepts.

  • Mtung

    The evolution of the 2014 recruits has become intriguing. UM, MSU and IU are all struggling to land their top tier recruits for next season. One reason may be because (for IU and UM), their last two classes have been large and/or top tiered. MSU’s 2013 class was a disaster, but Izzo’s players tend to stay the full 4 years. (Gary Harris being the likely exception.)

    It was explainable when Blueitt went to UCLA (following his HS coach). Chatman seems like a great fit, but it will be tough to pry him away from Oregon or AZ. If Booker goes to KY as now expected (following Ulis), then where does Blackmon wind up? It would be shocking if he goes back to IU. Bridges burned.

    Vince Edwards was a good pass. Looney was a pipe dream. Still can’t figure out why Keita Bates-Diop wound up @ OSU (seemed like a perfect fit @ UM). Top players demand to come in and start playing. If Booker or Blackmon were to struggle to be able to come in and take minutes from Irvin, Stauskas, or LeVert, how will they find the court @ KY?

    Belein may have difficult decisions to make for 2014 to take 2nd tier recruits or bank scholarships for 2015. Tough calls ahead with monster 2015 recruits on the horizon, but with the same sets of problems: Kennard (KY lean), Zimmerman, Stone, etc… Somewhat surprised to see Corey Sanders pull the trigger on UCF already. What does that mean for his running mate, Bacon?

    The terrific work from the UM Hoops wizards (and ITH) makes for extremely enjoyable summer and fall reading. Keep up the great work. The Concordia exhibition game is 40 days away.

    ⬇ Drag and drop your images here to upload them.


    • jkuofm27

      I posted a few stories back that Booker is not a UK guy. He will be completely overshadowed there. It is not that his talent is less than the other guys, but that his style does not match what they do and the other athletes on that team fit the UK style. I also agree that if people aren’t coming to UM because of our depth what are they doing going to UK? Even if 5 or 6 guys leave this year a whole new crop of 5 or 6 guys will come in the next year looking to unseat you. I love Levert, Stauskus and Albrecht, but if they are scaring people off then those players have no business talking to Duke/UK/UNC, etc. It is just young guys trying to ride the gravy train. But they don’t understand that they will grow so much more as a player going to a program that values them and uses them as opposed to the UK puppy mill. I am glad for a kid like Eric Bledsoe that has always had real talent, but it is just now showing, because he went to UK and got overshadowed and under developed.

      • Kenny

        If Booker does not fit into KY well, Kennard would be a total misfit, yet the latter still shows strong interested in KY once they start calling.

        • jkuofm27

          I agree that both Booker and Kennard are a mismatch for the current UK system and perfect matches for JB’s current UM system. Just as much as Manny Harris was a little bit of a misfit in JB’s system.

          • Dave Pratt

            I got one guy who Kennard needs to think about before committing to UK Wiltjer(Sp) No they are not the same height but both guys were/are excellent 3pt shooters lacking somewhat in athleticism(Kennard being the better athlete of the two) my prediction if he goes there he will transfer out the same way.

    • Chazer

      Well stated to all on the board….good to be among a few hoop junkies. Very few arguments here but I will add that the young recruits are paying attention to alot of feedback and data.
      UK is for 1 and d’s and if you’re a top 10 really polished with few fundamental flaws maybe a great fit at UK. If you want to be in the league for a long time go with JB….he teaches fundamentals and a work ethic that the players will carry with them for life. Watch the NBA workout tapes with Trey and THJ…all fundamental diciplines coached at UM….also note the maturity of both young players and the quotes by the GM’s in NY and Utah. They are ready willing and able to self teach into long term contracts…maybe not great players but one hell of a living. In NY they like Tim because its a mature team of men….no time to babysit kids with dicipline issues on the road….plus he can ball!

      If I’m a recruit at UM you will be surrounded by winners and high IQ players….low turnover ratio is all about coaching and behavior modification….the JB stamp! Also more opportunities to win and score….

      My guess is Booker has experienced the culture, he is torn. How did UM get to the big dance with 3 and 4 stars……how did they get so good so fast?

  • Snorting Beileins

    I think Michigan is basically set in the backcourt for the next 2 years with Walton/Albrecht at the point and Stauskas/Levert at the 2. Hard to see any going pro before.

    Irvin is a nice prospect at the 3, but if he leaves early for the pros or gets hurt it would be Levert sliding over. So, a top wing prospect would be great to add for 2014, be it Booker, Blackmon Jr or a more left-field option that Beilein likes.

    I expect McGary and Robinson to go pro,barring injuries, and Morgan will be gone, so I do think we need another big. Donnal looks a nice prospect at the 4 and Horford should be a solid veteran C as a Senior. Doyle could back him up as a freshman then hopefully compete with a top 2015 big as a sophomore.

    So, yeah, still hopefully something like Booker/Blackmon and a 4 of some kind and we’re still on track to have good depth and talent for the next 2 years, then hopefully another awesome class in 2015.