Recruiting Roundup: Transfers, Esa Ahmad, Jamal Murray and other notes

Dylan Burkhardt

Nolan Cressler Cornell v Notre Dame hq3tNSZkkFkl[1]April means transfer season in college basketball and Michigan could have an open scholarship depending on attrition this spring. The Wolverines have already been mentioned with a couple potential targets including West Virginia sophomore Eron Harris and Cornell sophomore Noah Cressler.

Harris won’t be released from West Virginia until the semester is over, so he’s not permitted to be in contact with other schools yet, but expect Michigan to show some interest. Harris was named the top transfer in the country by ESPN and will have almost every school in the Midwest chasing him when he gets his release after averaging 17.2 points per game last season.

Cressler is another interesting candidate. He scored 16.8 points per game for a Cornell team that went 2-26 and the 6-foot-4 guard has offers from Dayton, Rutgers and Vanderbilt with interest from Pitt, Michigan, Notre Dame, Davidson, Butler and Creighton, according to ESPN ranked him the 9th best transfer in the country

He put up 16.8 points per game this past season for Bill Courtney in the Ivy League and will sit and have two seasons left to play. Cressler is a big, strong guard who is attracting attention from the likes of Vanderbilt, Northwestern and Pittsburgh.

Cressler plans to visit Vanderbilt on April 11th. He fits the mold of a shooter off the bench with some size, but doesn’t have the same impact potential as Harris.

The intrigue of adding an off-guard is obvious for John Beilein and his staff. Even if a transfer has to sit out next season, they could hit the ground running in 2015-16 and provide an insurance policy if Caris LeVert emerges as the NBA Draft prospect many expect.

Here’s some footage of Cressler in action last season with Cornell.

Esa Ahmad rising quickly

Esa Ahmad is one of the fastest rising prospects in the Midwest. The 6-foot-7 junior for All-Ohio Red had a big high school season and carried that momentum into the NY2LA Swish-n-Dish in Milwaukee.

Ahmad is hearing from a host of major-conference schools and Michigan is making a push for the 6-foot-7 combo forward. He is eyeing spring visits to Michigan, Michigan State, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

ESPN called him one of the most dominant players in Milwaukee.

Ahmad was probably the most dominant player throughout the tournament. He averaged over 20 points per game for the weekend. He is much improved over last season. He is a mismatch because he is either too quick and skilled or too strong and powerful for whoever is guarding him. He is a big-time player who is on his way to having a stellar summer.

NY2LA Sports was also impressed with his performance.

Ahmad started off the day with a strong performance against Chicago Lockdown then he backed it up with a great game against a very talented Wisconsin Playground Elite team in the evening. Ahmad does just about everything on the floor well. He handles the ball like a guard. He does a great job of getting to the basket when bigger guys try to guard him. Then he finishes well when he gets to the rim.  He had 24 points in the All Ohio Red victory over Playground Elite.

Jalen Brunson continues steady play

Jalen Brunson rarely disappoints and that’s exactly what you want from a point guard. Brunson went down swinging in the Illinois State Championship game, but he’s back to the grind on the AAU circuit. ESPN writes he could be the best point guard in the country:

Brunson has a chance at being the best PG in the country. The lefty is strong and aggressive. He is great at creating space to get off his shot and is a streaky scorer. He is effective finding open teammates and running a team but looks for his own shots when the offense breaks down. He might have been the best PG in attendance.

Brunson’s offer list continues to expand Ohio State, SMU, Creighton, DePaul, Illinois, UConn, Kansas, Virginia, Michigan, Michigan State, Oklahoma State and Xavier. NY2LA Sports raved about his game as well:

Brunson is the leader for a talented Mac Irvin Fire team. The lefty is always patient with the ball. He had a fantastic in-out dribble move to beat a defender in transition. Brunson finished the play and was fouled doing it. He finished with 22 points on the night.

Jamal Murray shines at Nike Hoop Summit

Canadian guard Jamal Murray visited Michigan this spring and is one of many top 2016 prospects looking at the Wolverines.

Murray is playing with the international group at the Nike Hoop Summit and he impressed scouts during the first day of practice.

Perhaps the most impressive player was 17 year-old Jamal Murray, not necessarily for how he impacted the competitive action, but for just how well he shot the ball throughout the day. Throughout the course of the shooting drills, shell drills, and full court games, Murray shot the ball exceptionally well from the perimeter both off the catch and off the dribble to the point that it became surprising when he missed. Standing 6’4.5”, Murray handled the ball at times in the competitive action, and while he struggled against the pressure applied on him by the explosive Emmanuel Mudiay, he made a strong first impression to the scouts in attendance seeing him for the first time with his shot making ability.

Murray measured in at 6-foot-4.5 and 196 pounds at the event and Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, Syracuse and Georgetown are some of the top teams in pursuit.

Evan Boudreaux still on the radar

Class of 2015 forward Evan Boudreaux was named First-Team All-State in Illinois and his offer list has continued to grow. Boston College, Iowa, DePaul, Iowa State, Northwestern, Penn State and St. Louis are among some of the bigger schools to extend offers, but Michigan has continued to be in steady contact.

Beilein was in to watch Boudreaux this winter to see him go head-to-head with Jalen Brunson and the Wolverines should continue to evaluate him throughout the spring and summer. He opened spring AAU play with what’s been expected of him:

The versatile forward was a big reason that Team NLP had a chance to beat the Wisconsin Playground Warriors. Boudreaux really battled in the second half. It wasn’t the most efficient game for Boudreaux, but he played well. He finished with 23 points.

Jalen Coleman solid at Dick’s Sporting Goods

Jalen Coleman had a very good junior season after transferring to La Lumiere. He capped off his year at the Dick’s Sporting Goods National Tournament over the weekend.

Coleman didn’t have his customary shooting performance, especially in the first half, but his response to that slow start was most impressive. Even when his shots weren’t falling, he was still scoring, in large part because he was able to mix up his attack, get into the paint and get himself easy points at the free-throw line. Later on, he made a pair of huge 3-point shots with the game on the line, the last of which would have been the game-winner had it not been for Lyle’s shot.

  • Fab 5 Legends

    i would be surprised if Eron Harris came to Michigan…seems like Beilein-recent Michigan rarely takes on transfers…rather recruit & develop into the system…he wouldn’t see as much playing time with a develop Walton, spike, levert, Irvin,

    • AC1997

      Fab 5 Legends – While I agree with you on the likelihood of any transfers, I really disagree about playing time. Walton/Spike are very specific point guards and unlikely to share the court at the same time much at all. Levert and Irvin are going to both start at the wing position. Who backs them up? Right now we’re hoping it is Chatman, but he doesn’t seem like a ball-handling guy who would initiate the offense. Per my other comment, I think a 2-guard would fit great on this roster. We’re stocked at PG and will be as tall as any Michigan team in a long time.

      • kam

        Actually Chatman is very good at ball handling. Hes one of the few players invited to both wing and PG camps. Hes like a point forward. Also caris will probably be gone after next year so he’d get playing time relatively soon. Also even if the transfer is able to play this year he’d still get playing time as a back up

  • Fab 5 Legends

    interesting to see Michigan at the moment would be #1 in Joe Lunardi 2015 Bracketology – im assuming his thinking every1 comes back or at least 2 out of the 3

  • AC1997

    Dylan – What about any grad-year transfers? I think the biggest hole on the roster next year (assuming Stauskas and Robinson leave for the NBA) is at the guard spot. We could use someone that can play a few minutes at the 2 who can handle the ball and shoot open jumpers. Austin Hatch would have filled this role prior to his accident. Right now we have Levert, Irvin, and maybe Chatman as a wing player.

    • Tyrell

      That is why I think Spike is the 6th man of the year in the B1G. I see him playing alongside Walton like he did with Burke.

  • kam

    I would really like to get Eron. I grew up in WV so I’m also a fan of them. 6’4 kid who shot 42% from 3, 85% FT and can defend. It may be tough but that would be a huge get. Instant offense off the bench.

  • Cats

    All basketball’s Jalens are belong to us.

    • guestavo

      I suspect it is one or the other.

      • Northern blue

        As long as we get one! At this point that is my hope for this class. If we don’t get Coleman would like to see staff go after grandstaff

    • Chezaroo

      Undoubtedly Brunson’s list of suitors will soon include all of the powers that be.

  • guestavo

    Cole Huff or Elijah Stewart > Eron Harris

    • kam

      Really? id rather have eron.

      • kam

        Im not saying you’re wrong haha I’m just wondering why ud rather have them.. I haven’t seen them much

      • Chezaroo

        Proven scorer, liability on D. Sounds like he’d fit right in?

        • kam

          yeah haha but When i watched eron he for sure wasn’t a liability. he was no where near great but he was an alright defender. maybe i missed something

          • Chezaroo

            Any perimeter player that can stay in front of their man would be an upgrade! Seems doubtful that he would come here IMO.

          • kam

            i agree. it would be a nice pick up but id give us less than a 15% chance of getting him. I doubt JB even goes after him extremely hard

      • guestavo

        I’d take a 6’8” combo forward who shoots 40 % from 3 and can run the floor and defend.

        I’d also take a top 100 wing with 4 years of eligibility over a diminutive chucker.

        • kam

          42% from 3 isn’t a chucker…especially when that woulda been second best on our team. also 6’4 with long arms isn’t really diminutive. But cole sounds intriguing

          • guestavo

            110 DRTG.. worse than Stauskas.

  • Chezaroo

    Wondering about the sincerity of interest in Boudreaux at this time? He had a monster game against Brunsons squad earlier and seems like a consummate JB recruit. Word an Ahmad is that he would be very interested in us if offered?

  • salama

    It would be wonderful if Stauskas`success here leads to us being a top 3 recruiter (along with Kentucky and Kansas) in Canada, where there are lots of good, emerging prospects. Mostly skill players who would look good in Beilein system`s too, when you look at the ones who`ve made the NBA. Only Tristan Thompson and Robert Sacre are really less than above-average in skill level, and guys like Anthony Bennett, Andrew Nicholson and Andy Rautins would be fantastic Beilein players.

    • Northern Blue

      You have to think with Stauskas recent success and Michigan’s as a whole developing players, and the proximity to Toronto, that AA would be very attractive option for these players. Also, Michigan is possibly the biggest brand in Ontario of all NCAA colleges, mostly because its proximity and tradition in football.

  • salama

    3. Trevor Thompson, 7-0, C, Fr., Virginia Tech Hokies

    He’s a big man who can run the court extremely well. He showed flashes last season for the Hokies and is attracting attention from many big boys. Ohio State, Indiana, Purdue and Butler have all met with him in the past few days. He’s a Midwest native and could try to apply for a waiver to play next season.

    This dude sounds intriguing. If McGary stays this coming year only, with him and Horford leaving, our 5 options will be Doyle, Donnal (maybe a 4), Beilfeldt and and any true freshman we get. A 7 footer who can run the floor had 5-5-1 in 16 minutes could be a nice, and is from the midwest. If he can’t get a waiver, he could practice with the team for a year and be a nice option in 2015-16. It’s good value to get 3 years of a big guy from age 20-23, when he’s stronger.

    That said, any Midwest big man who wants to play 30 a game should be looking hard at Indiana, who have absolutely no size, and you’d get to play with a nice PG in Yogi Ferrell.

    • guestavo

      Going to Ohio St most likely

  • 72blue

    I saw on the ESPN blog to which you linked a list of potential transfers, and there was a lot of talk about seeking a “waiver” to be immediately eligible. Is there anything more to this than claiming one needed to be near family? What else can get you a waiver like this? Thanks.

  • guestavo

    Tyus Battle and Jamal Murray would be a heck of a tandem