Class of 2014 Recruiting: The Latest

Dylan Burkhardt
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Nik Stauskas, Kameron Chatman, Caris LeVert, Glenn Robinson III, Donte Grantham and Mitch McGary

With the early signing period less than two months away and a handful of official visits already in the book, we took the time to recap Michigan’s class of 2014 recruiting board. Here’s a look at the primary targets on Michigan’s recruiting board, their decision time frame, recent video, past and future visits and where they might be leaning.

Offers

Donte Grantham (6-foot-8, Combo Forward)
Official Visits: Clemson, Michigan, Cincinnati
Remaining Visits: N/A
Time Frame: Imminent

Skinny: Grantham is nearing a decision after taking three official visits – to Clemson, Michigan and Cincinnati – and almost all signs point toward Grantham pledging to Michigan. He was back home in West Virginia over the weekend with his family and a decision is expected shortly.  Grantham, a top-100 prospect, would be a solid start to the class for the Wolverines and provide momentum headed into the final two months of the early recruiting period.

Kameron Chatman (6-foot-7, Wing)
Official Visits: Michigan, Oregon, USC
Remaining Visits: Arizona (September 28th)
Time Frame: Early signing period

Skinny: Chatman is nearing the end of his fall visit tour and the presumed next step is a decision before the early signing period. His Michigan visit for the Notre Dame game went swimmingly per all accounts but the West coast native has plenty of connections to his other suitors. Oregon is the local school, his high school teammate Roschon Prince hosted him at USC, and his father has a strong relationship with Arizona assistant coach Damon Stoudemire. Chatman’s interest in Michigan is sincere, he wouldn’t have traveled across the country twice this summer if it wasn’t, but the Wolverines have plenty of competition.

Devin Booker (6-foot-5, Wing)
Official Visits: Michigan State, Kentucky
Remaining Visits: Michigan (October 5th), Missouri (October 18th)
Time Frame: Early signing period

Skinny: Booker is the only prospect remaining on Michigan’s recruiting board that the Wolverines offered last summer. Michigan has been recruiting Booker as long as anyone but the Kentucky Wildcats are widely presumed to be in the driver’s seat headed toward the home stretch. Michigan and Missouri, the two schools with the emotional pulls (Missouri where his father played and Michigan where his mother lives), will have their final opportunity to impress Booker before he makes his decision.

James Blackmon Jr. (6-foot-3, Wing)
Official Visits: N/A
Remaining Visits: Michigan (September 28th), Kentucky, Indiana, Kansas?
Time Frame: Early Signing Period

Skinny: Blackmon is another player who is expected to choose Kentucky by most recruiting analysts. But he’s also another prospect that Michigan will get a chance to pitch with an official visit.  One of the more intriguing elements of Blackmon’s visit is that it takes place during the football team’s bye week. Blackmon has visited Michigan for a football game (Central Michigan) and a basketball game (Indiana) so the Wolverines can focus on other areas but given Michigan’s football environment that’s usually the focus of any official visit.

Potential Visitors

DJ Wilson (6-foot-8, Combo Forward)
Official Visits: Columbia
Remaining Visits: Gonzaga (9/28), Michigan (10/5)
Time Frame:

Skinny: Wilson took his first official visit over the weekend to Columbia and will travel to Gonzaga before heading to Ann Arbor. Michigan looks to be in a great position in his recruitment and his game seems like one that would complement Donte Grantham’s effectively. Wilson is a tall, lanky offensive player with a smooth jump shot while Grantham is an athletic and aggressive slasher and rebounder.

Jonah Bolden (6-foot-9, Combo Forward)
Official Visits: N/A
Remaining Visits: TBD
Time Frame: Late Signing Period

Skinny: Bolden hasn’t been shy in sharing his early affinity for the Wolverines and his father has already stopped by campus. However, one has to wonder if the timing of his recruitment will jive with Michigan’s plans. Bolden hasn’t taken the ACT or SAT yet, meaning he can’t take official visits, and seems set on making his college decision before the late signing period. Michigan likely won’t be able to pass on so many other targets on their board to wait for Bolden in the spring. Bolden’s list currently sits at 10 schools with Michigan and Louisville two of the schools in strongest pursuit.

Javon Bess (6-foot-5, Wing)
Official Visits: N/A
Remaining Visits: Kansas State (10/11)
Time Frame: Early Signing Period

Skinny: Bess has emerged as a late target for a host of Big Ten schools, not just the Wolverines. The jack-of-all-trades wing guard has heard from Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and Michigan State of late. Bacari Alexander and John Beilein have both watched him work out and a visit could be in the works in the coming weeks. Bess only has one official visit scheduled right now, but has been sure to reiterate that late interest from Big Ten schools won’t be discounted. Should Bess visit Michigan and receive a scholarship offer, it would be surprising if he ended up anywhere other than Ann Arbor.

Ryan Luther (6-foot-8, Combo Forward)
Official Visits: Duquesne, Dayton
Remaining Visits: Kansas State (10/11)
Time Frame: Early Signing Period
Skinny: Luther is a late emerging back-up option at the stretch four position. John Beilein and Bacari Alexander have both been in to watch him play and he recently added an offer from the local high-major, Pittsburgh.  Luther appears to still be a back-up option for now but he’s a prospect that could visit Michigan in the next month depending on how things fall.

  • jlustig22

    Great recap. I know you said the analysts favor Kentucky to land both Booker and Blackmon, Jr., but would they both go to the same school? I would guess Bess would get a serious push from Michigan if we miss out on Booker, Blackmon, Jr. and Chatman, which is clearly a distinct possibility. That could be a timing issue though if we wait too long to prioritize him.

    I love Bolden’s game but like you said if he isn’t deciding until the spring, I don’t see Michigan having a spot for him especially if we can land both Grantham and Wilson.

    What would people think of a recruiting class of Grantham, Wilson and Bess? Pretty solid and a good mix of players, but missing out on all of the elite targets.

    • Indiana_Matt

      I would feel just fine about it. Would be solid. Hoping to grab one of those big time dudes but I wouldn’t be too disappointed with the group you mention. Our coaches can develop guys, that is beyond dispute.

    • CraigP

      Don’t forget about Doyle. Might just be the best of the 4. Have to admit that after successive home run classes (McGary, Stauskas, Robinson, LeVert, Albrecht & Donnal, Walton, Irvin), a class of Doyle, Grantham, Wilson and Bess would be kind of a disappointing. We went toe to toe for better recruits with schools we expect to compete with and lost..

    • geoffclarke

      “…Kentucky to land both Booker and Blackmon, Jr., but would they both go to the same school?” – I think Kentucky would accept commitments from all of Blackmon, Booker, Rashad Vaughn, Stanley Johnson, Justise Winslow, and Kelly Oubre, if they all wanted to go there. Would Booker and Blackmon want to play together? I don’t know why not.

      “What would people think of a recruiting class of Grantham, Wilson and Bess?” – I like what UMHoopsFan says above.

      • Tyrell

        I am still not sold on Wilson, he seems to be a taller/forward version of LeVert, in two aspects: 1) he is/was an unnoticed recruit and 2) they both have a slender frame. However, a slender frame is going to be very difficult for Wilson to be too productive as a B1G forward.

        However, the good thing about getting these 2/3 tier players is that they will be here for 4 years, some might stay for 5 (redshirt). And we have seen what the coaches can do with players who stay for a while – ie Novak and Stu!

        • Fresh

          levert was ridiculously skinny, wilson is not that bad. Also everybody says this kid is way underrated, and he still is in the rivals 150. He has had injury problems which is why he doesn’t have as many offers. Size will come, If this kid can rebound he will be an excellent player…..lots of potential, more than levert

          • kamov

            levert is no scrum.. he will be a good player. hes 6’7 and gained weight. this is taller and will gain weight also plus hes taller

          • Tyrell

            Easy guys, I am not saying he is or was a scrum/scrub. I am just saying I see some similarities between them in that they were both a little undervalued in their recruitment (Wilson being recruited by Columbia and LeVert was recruited by Ohio) and that they are and were slender coming out of high school.

          • kamov

            Levert is no Scrub, hes a solid player. He came in small and has grown to 6’7 and gained weight, this kid is also skinny and can gain weight

    • Tyrell

      Does anyone else think it would be a mistake to NOT go after Bolden, even if we landed Grantham and Wilson.

      We could play small with three forwards and two guards in 2014 with a strong bench.

      F: Donnal, Bolden, Irvin (BENCH: Doyle, Grantham, Wilson, “Moose”, and Horford)
      G: Stauskas, Walton (BENCH: LeVert, Spike, Hatch, and player x – 2014 recruit)

  • Mattski

    Good stuff. I was getting the vibe that Grantham was headed our way and wondered if I was reading correctly. I like his game and demeanor and apparent work ethic, think he’s precisely the kind of just-below-radar recruit that Beilein can make shine. But I am a little preoccupied with the (apparent) inability to pull in the topmost recruits. Maybe that’s just the way it is, and that kind of kid has already been dazzled by the bright lights, lure of money, promise of a starting spot, etc. But this year has been a bit of testing ground, and may show more clearly exactly the conditions Beilein faces.

    • geoffclarke

      Most of college basketball recruiting operates, at the very least, in the grey areas, if not worse. Beilein stays clear from that, does everything on the up and up, and recruits from a smaller pool of players. It makes it hard. I think he’s doing exceptional under the circumstances.

  • UMHoopsFan

    People tend to forget about Doyle, who is already in the class, is ranked 4 stars by ESPN, and reportedly had offers from Miami (Fla.), Notre Dame, Ohio State and Purdue. (I didn’t remember his offer sheet being quite so good but that’s what the ESPN article says.) He’s probably a little underrated because he stays away from AAU. If Grantham commits soon, he and Doyle make a solid, flexible start at the 3-5 positions. The class will then go from outstanding (with, say, Booker and Chatman) to merely good (with, say, Wilson and Bess).

    It’s also important to put years into context. A two-year haul of Walton, Irvin, Bess, Wilson, Grantham, Donnal, and Doyle is a versatile, well-balanced team. This coaching staff is going to get really good players every year but they’re also looking at multi-year tracks, even if it’s just a couple of years.
    I’m not as pessimistic as most seem to be on Booker. I still think we have an excellent shot, just reading the tea leaves.

    • geoffclarke

      Wish I could vote this up a couple times…some good points and agree with everything. Booker’s recruitment is really interesting…Dylan says Kentucky is in the driver’s seat, but I think most objective observers (and that probably doesn’t include most of us who post here) would agree that Michigan is the best fit all around. Devin is being tugged in 3 different directions.

      • UMHoopsFan

        Thanks, and you and Sane1 raise a good point — we’re not just battling Kentucky for Booker, it’s Mizzou and MSU too (although my guess is that Ulis spurning MSU hurt them more than it helped KY). I’m not saying Booker is in the bag or anything, and it wouldn’t shock me at all if he went to Mizzou or KY. I just don’t get the sense he’s a KY lock at this point. And you’re right, UM coaching staff has the longest, probably closest relationships with him, a proven track record in getting players like Booker to the league (he’s kind of a souped up THJr coming out of high school), and excellent complementary pieces to help him shine.

        • Tyrell

          Also we have to remember that his mom lives in Michigan and it would be easier for her to come to the games in Ann Arbor than it would to travel to Kentucky or Missouri. Even though we live in a time when all the games are on TV, I still hope being close to his mom in Michigan means something to him and therefore a positive for us as well.

    • sane1

      Don’t count out Mizzou fro Booker.

  • DingoBlue

    Others have commented on this, but it is worth repeating. While I would be stoked about Grantham, it’s important to remember we already have Hatch and Doyle in the 2014 class. Grantham wouldn’t be “a solid start” but would be “a solid addition”. Honestly at this point getting any combination of the prospects on this board in addition to the current commits would I think exceed my initial expectations for the 2014 class.

  • PeteM

    I can tell that most people don’t agree, but with McGary/GRIII then Walton/Irvin/Donnal I feel like if the 2014 class doesn’t include a couple of top 100 players it will be disappointing following last year’s run. I understand that when you are competing with schools like Kentucky it’s tough, but I really hope we get either Booker or Chatman.

    • geoffclarke

      I hope we get one of Booker or Chatman, too, assuming Blackmon goes to Kentucky. It would definitely be nice and I’d probably be *a little* disappointed if we didn’t. But if we didn’t, it’s still very possible, when it’s all said and done, that we do have a couple top 100 players.

  • Wayman Britt

    Dylan and other posters – do you think both Booker and Blackmon will both go to Kentucky? Seems if one commits to UK the other will look else where.