Getting to know: Ricky Doyle


Ricky DoyleRicky Doyle is Michigan’s longest-standing commit in the 2014 class (excluding Austin Hatch who reclassified). Doyle committed over a year ago after his first visit to Michigan and his first visit to a school outside of Florida. Toiling in relative obscurity since then due to his abstention from AAU ball, Doyle had an extremely productive season for his Bishop Verot high school team. The 6-foot-10 big man scored 25 points and pulled down 10 rebounds per game in his final year. At Michigan, he will be looking to provide the Wolverines with something that was lacking this past season: a low-post offensive threat. We spoke with Doyle on Sunday for the second installment of  our “Getting to Know” feature for the 2014 recruiting class.

You were very productive this season for Bishop Verot. Where did your game grow this past year?

I think I’ve gotten a lot better at dribbling. With our team, kind of taking over the game, I would say. I’m the one who has to score the last-second shot and being able to play under that kind of pressure. A lot of times, also seeing the floor. A lot of times I’ll be double-teamed, triple-teamed, and able to find that open guy with that vision on the court. And even getting myself open in those situations.

Coach Beilein says you have an “old school” approach to the game. Do you agree?

Yeah. My style of play is, I would say, contact first. Inside first, then out. I look for feeling things out to get me better position closer to the basket. If that doesn’t happen, then come out and ask for the ball. I would say I’m more of a contact seeker. You know, I go for the contact, I go for the foul.

Michigan has had some players jump to the NBA, including Mitch McGary. This opens up for opportunities for you guys coming in. Is that something that excites you?

Of course. I would love to go there my first year and contribute and play. But you know, anything can happen, really. Right now, I’m working as hard as I can. I’ve been doing this three-month program with John Sanderson, the strength coach up there. I’m on a program with him, so I’ve been working out really hard. So right now I’m probably weighing in at about 255.

What sort of stuff does coach Sanderson have you doing?

A lot of Olympic exercises. I’m doing a lot of squats, front squats, power cleans, all that stuff. The same things that the guys are doing now up there. I just want to, you know, walk right in and fit right in.

IMG_5476Have you noticed a difference in your game after being in this program?

Oh, definitely. It’s crazy. Right now, I’m also doing open gym at FGCU, which is the local college here around my house. You know, Dunk City. I go to a lot of open gyms and I play with a lot of the guys up there. These workouts, they’re making me feel like, whoa — I’ve never been able to go to the basket that fast before. I find myself a lot more open, being a lot more athletic on the court now, just from working out as hard as I’ve been. I’ve been doing a lot of line drills, sprints, suicides. I’m working my butt off (laughs).

Is it a relief to be done with high school ball and able to focus completely on preparing for the college game?

Definitely. It’s just a lot more time to concentrate. I can really let go in the weight room, lift hard. After working out, I can go run sprints. And now I have a lot more free time, so I’m running a lot more with the college guys, getting used to that speed, that level of the game. It’s going really well, actually.

Is it exciting for you to see Michigan players jumping to the NBA?

Those guys are going into the draft for a reason. I mean, they worked for it. They worked so hard. I’m going to be trying to do exactly what they did and just work as hard as I can. Then if going to the League or playing in the NBA is an option, then hey, that’s awesome. Nothing else more to say. I’m just going to keep working as hard as I can and see how things go.

What do you talk about with the Michigan coaching staff at this point?

I talk to coach Beilein and coach BA (Bacari Alexander) a lot. I always ask them, hey coach, what should I be working on now to be ready when I’m there. They just keep giving me a whole bunch of stuff and I keep doing it. I talk to coach BA, I even talked to him throughout my season about where my head should be and my mindset. A couple games, I’d come home all frustrated and I’d call coach BA, and he’d give me a little talk, help calm me down and put my head in the right place.

When will you be getting to Ann Arbor?

I’m coming to Ann Arbor, I think I have to sign in by June 22nd. So I think we may be leaving Florida here a little earlier than that, like probably around June 15th or so. So we get up there and there’s no pressure. I’m doing the Bridge program that most of the athletes do. Yeah, I’m really looking forward to it. For my high school right now, the seniors have abut two weeks until we’re done with tests and finals and stuff. I might actually be getting out a little earlier since I have straight A’s. I might not have to take the finals.

When you watched Michigan’s games in the NCAA tournament, were you thinking about what you can bring to the team?

Definitely. I sit down and watch the games, and some areas I’ll play it back and think, what would I do in that situation? I’ll probably watch a game over a second time to just see what I would do in that situation. Recently I’ve been getting very confident with the ball and attacking the basket because I’m trying to get on that foul line. What would help the team, trying to get the team in the double bonus, all this other stuff.

Who are you pulling for in the NBA playoffs?

Man, I don’t know. I have to say that I’m going for the Miami Heat since I’m from Florida. I’m going for the Miami Heat.

What’s something not related to basketball that Michigan fans might not know about you?

I love fishing. A lot of times when I have free time, I’ll go out fishing.

What have you caught?

All kinds of stuff. My buddy has a lake behind his house, and we’ll go bass fishing. Or I have a boat and we have a river, the Caloosahatchee River here, and I’ll go on that and catch some snapper. Maybe if I’m feeling really adventurous I’ll go shark fishing.

What kind of music do you listen to?

I don’t really have a specific genre that I listen to. I just listen to, you know, whatever’s on the radio. I don’t know.

What are some of your favorite movies?

I like the movie Fight Club, 300. I like action movies and stuff.

What are some TV shows you like?

I’ve been on Netflix a lot because I’ve had a lot of free time. Just, I’ve been watching Breaking Bad, Prison Break, Dexter, all that stuff on Netflix. And this other series, Game of Thrones. It’s free on Xfinity on Demand. I’ve been watching that.

What is your best sport besides basketball?

Before basketball, I used to be a competitive swimmer. I did freestyle and butterfly.

Do you see yourself in anyone playing in the NBA right now?

Yeah, I have a lot of role models in the league, and a lot of players I really look at. I watch them play and really try to take what they do on the court and try that stuff. I would say Kevin Love is a good one to watch. His playing style, he’s able to use his body and box out to get rebounds. Offensively, how well he can shoot the three and how he’s able to score inside and stuff. Blake Griffin, he’s a fun one to watch, how he just attacks the basket on everyone. I’d say another one is Dirk Nowitzki and his face-up game.

Who has been an inspiration to you throughout your basketball career?

That’s an easy question. That’s my parents. They’ve had my back all throughout my life. They’ve really helped me to become who I am today.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

I would say the best advice I’ve received is from my father. He told me that if you really love something, go for it. When I was little and younger, I was playing basketball, and I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to play. He was like, hey, if you don’t like the game, you don’t have to play it. I don’t want to push you into playing something. But if you really want to play and you really want to become good, you’re going to have to love the game. Ever since then, I’ve really fallen in love with the game and I try to get better every day.

  • Dr_ZC

    Man, something is wrong with these kids… Doyle is the second Michigan recruit who likes the movie 300… well, at least it is not Scarface (Howards favorite).

    • kam

      both are good movies…

    • Indiana_Matt

      I feel like a couple years back recruits were saying they liked Space Jam, which I found interesting :)

      • Northern Blue

        Definitely. I am 1990 birth year, and for kids my age they will all tell you that Space Jam was the movie of our childhood. Must have watched that movie 100 times in my life.

        • Indiana_Matt

          DJ Wilson answered Space Jam :)

  • Mattski

    Nice piece–kid may surprise!

  • Kenny

    Ricky has very polished game for his age, and is more ready to play than most people think. He and Wilson could be very underrated. I am optimistic about our front court next season with simple rotations and well defined roles that the freshmen can fit in comfortably.

    • BlueRev

      What I like is that we have 5 guys for the 2 spots–we’ve lacked big man depth over the years, but we have depth this year though very young. This will lead to what you are saying–knowing your role. These guys will not be asked to learn two positions (4 and 5), but each new guy has a clear one spot and role:
      *Doyle–5 only
      *Wilson–4 only
      *Chatman–4 primarily
      Donnal–5 primarily
      Bielfeldt–4 and 5 as the veteran of the bunch

      Year’s past guys had to learn 2 spots right off the bat. No such deal here.

    • section13row15

      Agreed! What a great year for UM to have Europe summer option too w/ so many young guys! Ricky can set himself apart by playing well there. Remember when it was looking like Blake McLimans was going to be our starting 5 man and JMo beat him out? That all started taking shape in Europe 4 years ago.

  • Chazer

    Let’s see 255 in April plus 20 more with the Sandman….275 by November. Likes contact, sounds like we found a banger on the boards. This will be different!

    Go Blue!

    • LS2

      For reference, listed size of some fairly decent NBA bigs.

      Dwight Howard: 6-11 265
      Greg Monroe: 6-11 250
      LaMarcus Aldridge: 6-11 240
      Joakim Noah: 6-11 232
      Jonas Valanciunas: 6-11 231

      No reason for Doyle to need to get to 275

      • kam

        275 is fat and crazyyy bad. especially at 6’9 6’10

        • Chazer

          Wow…I guess I hit a nerve…LOL. Yea 275 is more like a lineman. Lets hope he can run and give quality minutes, the young man does have a big frame.

      • jkuofm27

        I went to do a check on this and found this link that lists averages for NBA height and weight as well as some other interesting info I thought I would share. Just to back LS2’s point, 275 would put him in the 95+ percentile of the NBA and be an overkill for someone who has yet to even fully develop.

      • Northern Blue

        Agreed.. Plan should be to add lean muscle and reduce fat, but not necessarily gain mass. Mobility for big men is huge now. Guys like Noah, Chandler and Bosh in the NBA are the most valuable because how mobile they are in defending the pick and roll. Now, back to basket scorers like Love, Pekovic, and Al Jefferson are liabilities because they can not move well enough and get exposed by high screen and rolls.

        We want Doyle on the JMo program for whoever remembers what JMo looked like when he was in high school

    • 275 sounds ludicrous. Getting the 255 that he has now in shape and working on his quickness/athleticism will be the primary goal. I wouldn’t expect him to try to add much more weight.

    • Kenny

      255 is a good playing weight. he is not going to play LT for Ness.

    • mikey_mac

      I’d like to see that weight actually drop a bit, so he can really get off the floor on rebounds and put-backs.

  • jblair52

    I like his strategy (get to the FT line) – especially with the new rules.

    With his size, he might be able to do some damage inside.
    If anything, guys defending him will be a step slower getting to helpside if he’s posting hard. I’m envisioning a lot of those “post up turned screens” type of plays for guys driving to the hoop.

  • gobluemd16

    He seems like a great kid, I like how excited he is to get to Michigan and it sounds like he’s been putting in a ton of hard work.

  • BlueRev

    First of all–just want to say THANKS GUYS FOR ANOTHER GREAT ARTICLE–this site is the best!

    Looking fw to this young man in blue–Chris Young type that likes to bang (yet better perimeter game and shot) coming in with not a lot of pub but contributes early.

    I hope his height and wingspan determine playing time over Beilfeldt, tho along with Donnal we need all three to get some time at that center spot. Give us 12 minutes off the bench with 3 points, 3 rebounds and a block and we’re in good shape.

  • mikey_mac

    Love to hear how strong his work ethic already is. Also great to hear he’s already noticing gains in athleticism, which will really be key to getting him on the floor. Bielein’s approach to guarding PnR is really difficult on bigs, and unless JB adapts his system, Ricky is going to need all those gains.

  • salama

    What is your best sport besides basketball?
    “Before basketball, I used to be a competitive swimmer. I did freestyle and butterfly.“
    This is the most Tim Duncan answer possible, and therefore the best possible answer for a big.

    Hail Beilein!

  • Champswest

    Okay, he got me totally geeked. I have been anxious for him to get here and on the floor. I was hoping he could give us 10+ minutes behind McGary. Now I am hoping that he can give us enough minutes that Donnal can slide over the the 4 for a few minutes. Doyle has the better body for the 5 and he isn’t really that far behind in experience. I feel a little better about our front court than I did yesterday.

    • I don’t understand the rush to slide Donnal to the four. Michigan had Mitch McGary and rarely moved him to the four.

      If Doyle can play quality minutes at the five that would be great, but it would be in addition to Donnal I think and not sliding him to another position.

      • BlueRev

        Yes, Chatman and Wilson can handle the 4 leaving Donnal and Doyle at the 5, with Beilfeldt backing up both spots

      • kam

        People dont seem to understand Donnal is a 5… Chatman and wilson who are 6’8 will both handle the 4 duties most likely..

      • dafug

        Donnal certainly fits everything UM has been doing at the five since Coach B has been there and expands upon it – adding the pick-and-pop option.

        I think people just want more rebounding and interior defense and the assumption is more size (sliding Donnal to four) would equate to that. But Chatman and Wilson will be longer than GRIII and have stronger reputations as rebounders. After some development it should allow them to continue to stretch the floor on offense and improve the weaknesses on defense and the glass.

      • DoubES

        Say it louder Dylan. Maybe people will finally get the message.

        I have never understood why many folks think Donnal is a four. It tells me that either they don’t really understand Beilein’s offense, or they don’t know Donnal’s skill set. The latter is understandable as we only saw a few minutes of his play in an exhibition game early this past season, but he is a big (five) all the way.

        • Tyrell

          It is because we remembered Smot. playing the 4 with Morgan at the 5. I think every fan is hoping that Donnal can bring the outside shooting that Smot. had.

          • Donnal is not Evan Smotrycz, in more ways than one.

          • scipiodreams80

            Not to diss a future opponent, but am I correct in reading this as a positive?

          • Tyrell

            Yeah I agree, that was an very broad statement. I am just saying that it is not like JB has never played two big at the same time. I really thought Donnal would be the starting 4 before McGary declared for the NBA.

          • For the most part. Donnal doesn’t think he’s a three and he knows to play in the post offensively. But he hasn’t really showed the perimeter skills to be a playmaker on the perimeter either — something Smotrycz definitely thought he had, but it’s up for debate to what degree.

            I think the four is perimeter spot in this offense. A 6-9 guy that can play it would be great, but I’m not sure Donnal is that guy right now unless he develops a lot.

          • scipiodreams80

            Hmm… that would sure make me hope that landing Huff wouldn’t be off the table due to the Dawkins commit.

            Of course, DJ does show promise in potentially developing into that sort of guy.

          • Yep — DJ shows promise to be a true stretch four. Chatman seems like a guy that can play that spot consistently, but could project down the lineup more.

            Huff would give you a stretch four — essentially as a 2015 recruit, but with only two years of eligibility. Michigan has been looking at guys like Bragg, Ahmad, Boudreaux maybe Ellenson and they might be off the table if they add Huff.

          • scipiodreams80

            Thanks for the response.

      • David DeMember

        Wasn’t JB planning on using Mitch at the 4 this year at times before the injuries? I think when we run in to situations like MSU, Kentucky or Wisconson (circa 2012-3 Ryan Evans), teams that have a “true 4” – we may need to slide Donnal over there at times. This year, many of the big games we lost, typically Morgan got in to early foul trouble (b1g champ, kentucky, etc). I would presume we’ll see a heavy rotation of the 4 mentioned bigs along with irvin at the 4 at times as well. I think we’ll run a deeper rotation this year than Michigan has in a long, long time

    • kam

      Chatman and wilson will be playing the 4.. We don’t need donnal to get minutes at the 4. Doesn’t even make much sense.. lol

      • scipiodreams80

        Chatman had better spend all his time at Camp Sanderson if that is going to be the case. He is way too slight both up top and down low. Wilson is, of course, a bean pole, too, right now, but he thinks like a 4 and seems to have more shot blocking/shot deterring presence than Chatman. No knock on KC, who I have very high overall hopes for. KC’s game seems pretty evolved for his age.

  • zeroskie3

    Welcome Ricky! I hope you have a great career at Michigan.

  • dafug

    Fantastic interview. Thanks guys and welcome Ricky!

  • Merlin50

    Ricky great to have you onboard. You will do great in Ann Arbor but do yourself a favor and don’t read any messageboards-fans can be fickle.

  • Chezaroo

    Welcome Ricky! Looking forward to your career!

  • scipiodreams80

    Great article, but you didn’t ask the one thing everyone is dying to know! Exactly how tall is he, and is he still growing?

    • Rich74

      Read the first paragraph again.

      • scipiodreams80

        Ah, thanks. The second question still stands.