Five-star PG Dennis Smith Jr. has Michigan interest

Dylan Burkhardt

Dennis Smith Jr - Adidas Gauntlet Indy (Day 2)INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — As Michigan has emerged on the national radar as a consistent contender over the last five years, the Wolverines have also turned into one of the best ball screen offenses in the country. Darius Morris, Trey Burke and Nik Stauskas all excelled running ball screens and young guard recruits are taking notice.

Michigan’s tendency to let their guards make plays has led to the Wolverines’ strong standing with a number of notable point guard targets — especially in the class of 2016. The Wolverines have been strongly linked to Derryck Thornton Jr., Cassius Winston, Jamal Murray and Quintin Goodin in the class and are now after another dynamic floor general, Dennis Smith Jr.

Smith, the 247 Sports Composite No. 2 point guard in the class, has an electric handle, great passing ability and elite athleticism to boot. Michigan jumped into his recruitment over the last month along with a host of other major programs across the country.

Smith rattled off a list of Louisville, Michigan, Duke and North Carolina when asked what schools have been after him recently and added that VCU “comes heavier than anyone else.” He also listed offers from Kansas, NC State, VCU, UNC Charlotte and Wake Forest.

Despite all of the new interest and headlines, Smith remains unfazed by the attention.

“I’ll always have a chip on my shoulder regardless of how many offers I have,” he said. “It’s just regular to me.”

Michigan and Smith are still getting to know each other, but Smith knows one thing about the Wolverine program.

“(I don’t know) a lot,” he admitted when asked what he knows about Michigan. “I just know they had Trey Burke and they’ve had some really good guards.”

Bacari Alexander is the point man in Smith’s recruitment and has started to form a bond with the North Carolina guard.

“Coach BA, he’s really cool,” Smith said. “He’s a funny guy and he likes to joke a lot.

“He tells me he likes my game and I’d be a good fit for the style of offense they play and that they would run a lot of pick and rolls for me.”

The Wolverines have shown interest, but Smith could be a hard pull from ACC-country. Louisville has been coming on strong and Smith is intrigued by the Cardinals upcoming move to the ACC.

“That’s a good thing going for (Louisville) right now,” he said. “They are going to the ACC. There’s going to be some stiff competition in the ACC. It’s going to be fun to watch this year.”

Duke is also rumored to be a heavy player in the North Carolina native’s recruitment and have raved about the prestige of the Blue Devil program.

Smith is planning visits to Duke and North Carolina in the next month, but he hasn’t discussed a visit to Ann Arbor with the Michigan coaching staff. He’s also in no hurry to make a decision.

“Nobody is above anybody right now,” he said. “I probably won’t start making a list until late junior year.”

  • Steve2081

    Smith is one of Scott Phillips 7 take aways from the Adidas Gauntlet

  • Wayman Britt

    I am glad UM is casting a wide net, but let’s just get Thornton to commit and call it a day on PG’s.

  • David Remmler

    It’s good to aim high but I don’t think Michigan is going to land a player like Smith. On paper, Michigan should land top ten talent but they seem to prefer a Kentucky of maybe Duke. No worries though. If he doesn’t come to Michigan, Beilein will turn a lower ranked (but still elite) player into a better player than Smith. And he’ll probably stay at least a couple years.

    • jblair52

      ever heard of Derryck Thorton (2016 #2 PG by Scout – 5 Star)??
      sounds like there’s a good chance he could go BLUE within the next couple months.

      • David Remmler

        Maybe you’re right but the pattern has been for Michigan to land 3 or 4 star talent while the Kentuckys and a Dukes land top 10-15 ranked 5 star players. The lone exception was McGary. GR3 doesn’t count in my book since he was a 3 star when he committed to Michigan before rising to a 5 star top 15 ranking. But it’s all good. Beilein can do just as much or more with non 5 stars who stay a couple years. And they’re really isn’t much difference between say a top 30 player like Chatman and a top 10 player. Chatman may end up a lottery pick when he leaves Michigan.

        • jblair52

          Duke, NC, Kansas, Kentucky have constantly been at the top. Michigan is trending UP though in our recruiting ever since Beilein has arrived due to winning and player development. 2016 should be a great class.

  • Wayno

    I’m glad UM is starting to get attention from more top gaurd prospects. With Belien they should be on the national radar as a top gaurd producing school soon.

    • Steve2081

      We’ve been getting attention for a while now. It’s time to land someone.

      • Wayno

        Not really, he needs to develop more gaurds who succeed in the NBA before UM is recognized as an elite gaurd school. Hardaway Jr. and Burke are rookies, and by all appearances appear to be impact players. A couple more NBA prospects like that produced and I think they’ll be viewed as elite.

        • David Remmler

          I think it’s crazy not to regard Michigan as THE most elite guard school already after sending two 3 star guards and one 4 star guard to the NBA (2 likely lottery picks) in the past 3 years including one national player of the year. Moreover, they have ANOTHER 3 star guard (Levert) projected as a lottery pick next year and a starting PG who has a good chance of going to the NBA in the next year or two. By far, Michigan has been THE best school in the country at developing guard talent in the past 3 years.

          • Wayno

            I’m not disagreeing with that, I’m just saying the sample size is too small for them to be a top spot for recruits compared to places like UK, UNC, Duke, etc. The recruiting will take a little longer to catch up to the fact that they’ve established the reputation of developing great gaurds.