Notebook: Devin Booker, James Blackmon Jr., Jalen Brunson, NBA notes, more

Dylan Burkhardt

Devin-Booker-at-Michigan-OSU-Game[1]The top 2014 targets on Michigan’s recruiting board, Devin Booker and James Blackmon Jr., both took official visits over the weekend.

Booker took his fourth and final official visit to Missouri, where his father was a former All-American. Booker told USA Today’s Jason Jordan that his Missouri visit was a 10 out of 10, “”I got SO much love up there man. It was crazy!”

The 6-foot-6 shooting guard’s high school coach had originally reported that an October 31st announcement date was likely, but nothing has been formally announced.

Blackmon took an official visit to Kentucky for Big Blue Madness over the weekend. An October 22nd decision date had been thrown out as a possible decision date for Blackmon but recent reports after Tom Crean’s in-home visit last week state that he plans to visit Indiana before reaching a final decision.

Both Booker and Blackmon are still expected to announce their college decisions by the early signing period which begins November 13th.

Jalen Brunson heads East

While much of Michigan’s recruiting focus has been on the class of 2014 since the summer ended, there are still a handful of high priority 2015 targets on the board. Class of 2015 point guard Jalen Brunson is one of three players with a Michigan offer in the class and the interest is mutual.

Brunson visited Michigan over the summer, when he received an offer, and again for the Notre Dame game this fall. Brunson recently added an offer from Michigan State and set off on a couple visits on the East coast. Brunson visited Villanova and Temple over the weekend. Brunson’s father, Rick, played at Temple in the early nineties. Brunson also visited Syracuse earlier this fall for their Elite Camp.

NBA notes

HARADAWAY-popupIt’s been a chaotic couple of weeks for Tim Hardaway Jr. and Trey Burke in the NBA. Burke had surgery on a broken finger and will be in a splint for three weeks. He’s expected to miss anywhere from 3-12 weeks depending on who you believe. Burke is staying the course, according to a feature on the Jazz blog:

“I’m not an injury prone player,” Burke said.  “I’m staying as positive as possible for myself and for my teammates.” “He has shown that he approaches things of this nature very well,” said head coach Tyrone Corbin. “He can learn in different ways. We’ll have him watching.”

Tim Hardaway Jr.’s highs and lows have taken place on the court. The New York Times profiled Hardaway’s early season play:

He got off to a rollicking start in the Knicks’ preseason opener against the Boston Celtics last week by drilling a game-winning jump shot. Three days later, all that good feeling vaporized like a plume of talcum powder as Hardaway, once again facing the Celtics, clanged his way to a 3-of-16 shooting effort in a blowout loss.

Knicks coach Mike Woodson is more worried with Hardaway’s defense than his inconsistent shooting but loves his potential.

Woodson has spoken highly of Hardaway since the start of camp, saying he has an “old-school, throwback game.” It remains to be seen where Hardaway will fit on a roster heavy with guards. If he wants to build his minutes, Woodson said, there are areas where he can improve. “He’s got to be able to defend, and I’m not seeing a whole lot of that yet in him,” Woodson said.

Player rankings

CBS Sports ranked the top-100 players in college basketball and three Wolverines made the cut: No. 11 Mitch McGary, No. 18 Glenn Robinson III, and No. 68 Nik Stauskas. Too high? Too low? It’s tough to argue with McGary and Robinson’s ranking but Stauskas is the x-factor. He has the ability to out-perform his ranking but there are also questions surrounding his new role.


  • Mattski

    Speaking of a recency effect, you have to wonder whether highly impressionable 17 and 18-year-old kids are more likely to pick a school they just visited when decision time arrives. The fact that we’re so yesterday where both Blackmon Jr. and Booker’s calendars are concerned makes me wonder about our current odds.

    • Cory

      Didn’t McGary visit Duke, Florida and Carolina after he visited Michigan? I know he’s just one example, but I think these guys have a pretty good idea of where they want to go and the campus visits just affirm that. I have a hunch that we’re neck and neck for Blackmon and are all but out of the picture with Booker. I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing Booker go to Missouri, Blackmon go to Michigan and Kentucky end up with nobody!

      • Joe Cool

        Sadly, Kentucky is most-likely getting a great SG this recruiting class no matter what. I doubt they’re missing out on Stanley Johnson, Devin Booker AND Blackmon Jr.

  • Chezaroo

    Still hard for this UM fan to believe that we won’t get one of the two SGs. We obviously have much more time invested in Booker, but IMO Blackmon is the more talented player. Devin knows us better than anybody, and if we are not his DREAM school by now than perhaps it’s not to be. Blackmon seems a long shot to go to IU with Johnson now verbaled. Just can’t see UK getting both of them. Love the mutual interest with Brunson, heady kid who knows how to play. Still wondering about the sincerity of our interest in Eric Davis. Loved watching him play last year, and he is a much more of an attacking PG who can really finish. The State has two gems in him and Winston coming up! Lots of options for JB.

  • Kenny

    I wonder if Bess is still in the picture or if he rescheduled his visit.

    • Bess took an official to MSU over the weekend and just committed to MSU today.

  • guestavo

    Someone on MSU boards is claiming Booker will commit to Missouri within a week. Blackmon Jr and Lyles package deal is gaining steam. On to Bolden?

    • Chezaroo

      Wouldn’t count us out just yet! But I would LOVE us to amp up our recruitment of Bolden. Extremely talented kid who is going to have all the heavyweights after him when they get a good look at him play.

    • Kenny

      That’s their wish of course. I am not going to listen to that. Even in the worst case that we got neither, our backcourt will be fine in 2014.

  • David Remmler

    On paper, Michigan clearly looks like the best option for either one. And if one picks Kentucky, Michigan looks even better. If playing time and coaching is important to a recruit, Michigan has a huge edge over Kentucky. In Blackmon’s case, Indiana might still have appeal but he already decommitted and Beilein would seem to be a better coach to play for than Crean. In Booker’s case, why in the heck would he pick Missouri? Both Kentucky and Michigan are far better basketball schools.

    But I’m becoming less optimistic about landing either Blackmon or Booker. They’ve both had a good look at Michigan and have had plenty of time to mull over their options but still can’t commit. I think it’s a coin flip at best for Michigan picking up even one of these guys.

    But if Michigan doesn’t have more than expected attrition this year, the cupboard will still be full at guard next year (Walton, Albrecht, Levert, Stauskas and Irvin) and they are likely to land top guards in 2015.

    • guestavo

      I don’t buy the “playing time” argument. UK could possibly lose their whole roster to the 1st round and only have Ullis coming back. Uliis vs Irvin,Chatman,Stauskas,Levert,Spike, and Walton? I think our advantage is that we would allow Blackmon Jr to play PG for significant minutes but even that is questionable.

      • David Remmler

        Good point.

        But UK is still recruiting 2 top 10 guards in the class and recent history suggests they will get one or both. If Blackmon or Booker signs with UK as well, the guard spot is getting crowded. Add in uncertainty about the other elite talent leaving or not leaving early and the playing time picture looks extremely cloudy. As for UM, Chatman is a forward. Spike is not a likely starter. That leaves you with 3 shooting guards on the roster, 2 of whom are likely to see time at the 3 spot. Also, 2 of these SG will be juniors when Booker or Blackmon arrive. At Michigan, Blackmon or Booker would definitely be a starter over time. At Kentucky, no such guarantee is possible.

        But you are right. Likely attrition at UK makes playing time less of an issue. Better coaching and integrity at UM are likely more significant issues.

        • guestavo

          Nope. Oubre went to UK. Stanley Johnson is most likely going to Arizona.

          At UM, one thing is sure, UM guards will be here 3-4 years. even if they get a big time 15′ guard, they’ll be gone in a year or two.

          Chatman is a guard. JB even told him he’d play some PG. Not sure why people think he is our future 4 man?

          I do agree we have better coaching and our teams will be consistently good while UK will have years like last year every so often. Missouri makes no sense outside of legacy which makes a lot of sense, actually.

          Bolden is still a sick alternative and imo better than either of the SGs.

          • David Remmler

            Johnson just took an official to UK so he’s anything but a definite commit to Arizona. Tyus Jones, another top 10 guard, still has UK among his finalists. He also took an official to UK in the past 4 weeks.

            Chatman is not a guard. He’s a versatile forward who can play guard. He’s most likely going to spend most of his time at the 3 although he can play at the guard position if called upon. I would want Derrick or Spike playing PG, not Chatman.

            But again, I agree UK’s likely attrition may open up more playing time at the SG spot than at UM.

          • guestavo

            JB said Chatman is a 1/2/3, so that’s what I am going by.

            Tyus Jones is a lock for Kansas or Duke with Okafor.

            Johnson isn’t a lock but Arizona definitely leads.

            The weak UK class hurts us because they’re going after prospects we would usually get.

          • Kenny

            “The weak UK class hurts us because they’re going after prospects we would usually get.”

            Total agree. Doubt Beilein ever imagined going head to head against Cal in recruiting.

          • David Remmler

            That is a good observation. Specifically, most of the top guards appear committed or leaning towards other schools. UK already has their PG in the class and Booker and Blackmon are near or at the top of remaining SG’s. I would still hope that playing time would be a serious consideration for the second to decide if one is already committed to UK.

        • Kenny

          The only uncommitted guard that is ranked higher than Blackmon and Booker is Tyus Jones, who is rumored heading to Kansas. There are actually room for both Booker and Blackmon in Kentucky if Blackmon shares duties at the point. However, I don’t feel that Blackmon and Booker get alone and do not see them at the same school.

  • section13row15

    Did Beilein and crew already do an in-home visit w Booker and Blackmon?

    • Kenny

      do not know about Booker but visited Blackmon two weeks ago.

  • gobluemd16

    See a lot of new faces on here, as it goes with increased success with the program and the website!

    • gobluemd16

      Along those lines, I was really wondering why Michigan hasn’t started doing a Midnight Madness practice again (although brief previously). The interest would almost definitely be there among fans, and almost all other big programs have them as well. Especially with recruits, it would be a great event to bring them to, and its flash is definitely something kids are looking for in today’s age. I know specifically that Glenn tweeted last week that he wished Michigan had a midnight madness event. I think this is something Michigan should seriously consider bringing back next season.