Recruiting: Where Things Stand

Dylan Burkhardt
on

Michigan’s roster is starting to come into focus with the news that Caris LeVert will be returning for his senior season and big man Austin Davis will be a Wolverine.

The next question is: what does that mean for Michigan’s recruiting going forward?

It’s no secret that Michigan is starting to work with a crowded scholarship situation, but don’t expect the Wolverines to be done recruiting any time soon. John Beilein has been out on the road recruiting class of 2015 and 2016 prospects over the last few weeks – even with the understanding that LeVert was leaning toward returning to school.

Expect Michigan to continue recruiting in the class of 2015 and 2016 as it searches for a point guard and a wing to balance out the roster.

Including 2016 commitments, there will be eight players standing 6-foot-7 or taller on the roster when the class of 2016 arrives. With only 13 scholarships to give, that means there are only two or three trusted ball handlers in the mix.

From here on out, Michigan’s recruiting focus has to be on adding perimeter talent. Remember, this is an offense that has played essentially four guards for the majority of John Beilein’s tenure in Ann Arbor.

Here’s a rundown of Michigan’s top targets in both classes and a brief update on where things stand. As of right now, I’d expect Michigan to try to land two more players in the class of 2015 and 2016 combined — a point guard and a wing guard. If one of those players is Jaylen Brown, a presumed one-and-done, then I’d expect the Wolverines to continue recruiting 2016 wings to replace him.

Class of 2015

Jaylen Brown – 2015 SF

Brown is the best available recruit in the 2015 class and has Michigan in his top eight. The Wolverines hosted him on an official visit last month and he plans to start working toward a decision in the next several weeks. There’s very little concrete information about Brown’s recruitment – he managed to take an unofficial visit on the other side of the country without anyone knowing – but ESPN’s Paul Biancardi said on ESPN Recruiting Nation that Michigan could be one of Brown’s favorites.

“[Jaylen Brown is] the best finisher in the class,” Biancardi said. “When he gets in the paint and at the rim you can’t stop him. He can go over you, around you. He has a great second jump and a jumpshot that needs work. Sources close to his family told me it could be Cal or it could be Michigan for his final destination.”

Brown told ZagsBlog that he hadn’t cut his list at this time.

Given the lack of information regarding Brown’s recruitment, it feels like this one could still have a few more twists and turns. Most recently, Brown had discussed making a decision in April, but no formal decision date or timeline has been set.

Kenny Williams – 2015 SG

A VCU decommitment and former Michigan target last summer, Kenny Williams is one of the best shooters in the class of 2015. He’s now one of the hottest recruits available in the country.  John Beilein made an in-school visit last week and it appears that Williams will setup a trip to Ann Arbor. A date hasn’t been finalized for that trip, but Michigan is still recruiting him with LeVert in the fold, according to a report by MLive.

Williams took an official visit to North Carolina over the weekend and also visited Virginia unofficially on Tuesday.

Michigan is considered one of the favorites in Williams’ recruitment, but the next step is setting up a trip to Ann Arbor. Williams isn’t a point guard so adding his commitment could mean that Michigan’s focus in the class of 2016 shifts squarely to the point guard spot — or at least on prospects that could play both guard spots.

Class of 2016

Point Guard

Cassius Winston – 2016 PG

Michigan State has made a strong push in Winston’s recruitment, but Michigan remains very much in the mix. The Detroit Jesuit guard has visited Michigan at least a half dozen times in the last year and he’s one of the most complete offensive point guards in the class.

Quentin Goodin – 2016 PG

John Beilein watched the versatile point guard over the live evaluation weekend and Michigan is one of the schools recruiting him the hardest. That being said, the Kentucky native could be difficult to pull out of the Bluegrass State if Louisville or Kentucky start to prioritize him in their plans.

Jamal Murray  – 2015/16 PG

Jamal Murray is a hot commodity and there’s a very real chance that he will reclassify to the class of 2015. While he hasn’t made a decision on reclassification, Kentucky and others appear to want him in the class of 2015. John Beilein watched him in March and remains in the mix, as his father told ESPN that “everything is in discussion,” and listed Syracuse, Louisville, Michigan, Oregon, Wake Forest and Illinois among others.

Devearl Ramsey – 2016 PG

California native has starred with Team USA youth squads and is known for his quickness and defense despite his small stature. He was supposed to visit Michigan last summer, but an injury forced him to reschedule.

LaMonte Turner – 2016 PG

A newer point guard target on the board, Turner is a top-100 guard who attends IMG Academy in Florida. Beilein was spotted catching one of his games at the Nike EYBL circuit and he could be an intriguing option to track this spring and summer.

Wing

Tyus Battle – 2016 SG

Battle is planning to take an official visit to Michigan on May 8th and also just wrapped up his first two official visits to Duke and Louisville. The wing guard isn’t playing AAU this spring and the May official visit could be very important for the Wolverines.

“He’s probably just going to go through the process and just pick a school,” Battle’s father told Scout.com. “It’s not that we don’t like the recruiting process, but there are some other things that he needs to get along with.

“He will visit Michigan on May 8 and after that we will see.”

Josh Langford – 2016 SG

Langford has taken multiple visits to Michigan and is one of the top prospects on the board. He’s also emerged nationally after a big weekend on the adidas Gauntlet circuit. Langford had in-home visits with Arizona and Kentucky this week and both schools extended a scholarship offer. UCLA also jumped into the mix with a scholarship offer.

Seth Towns – 2016 SF

Towns’ previous top two was presumed to be Michigan and Ohio State, but both schools grabbed commitments from class of 2016 big men in the last week. What does that mean for Towns? It’s tough to say just yet, but the 6-foot-7 wing had plenty of opportunity to commit to either school over the last several months.

Kevin Huerter – 2016 SG

Huerter blew up on the Nike EYBL circuit last weekend and has received interest from Michigan — even before his national blow up. Baylor, Rice, Creighton, Maryland, Penn State, Marquette, Texas Tech and Miami all offered the 6-foot-5 guard after his big weekend in Virginia.

John Beilein made an in-home visit with Huerter on Tuesday evening and you can bet that the Wolverines will be paying close attention to him in Lexington this weekend. John Beilein has strong ties to the upstate New York area and could be a factor in his recruitment going forward.

Miles Bridges – 2016 SG

Michigan State has long been presumed a favorite for Bridges, but Michigan has ratcheted up its interest in the athletic wing from Flint, who plays his prep ball at Huntington in West Virginia.

Others to Watch: Frankie Hughes, Damien Jefferson, Devon Daniels, Bruce Brown, Eron Gordon

  • mikey_mac

    Conspicuously missing is an explanation of how UM plans on adding another ’15 to a completely full roster. Is the writing that plainly on the wall for Hatch?

    • EchoWhiskey

      Yes.

    • MrLG

      Yes, inquiring minds want to know.

      • MrLG

        I do find it odd that Dylan has not responded. Maybe he knows something that he can’t disclose?? Like maybe someone has decided to leave?

        The return of Caris certainly dims the outlook for Kam. Kam is not likely to play much next year, so if he sits a year somewhere else, it’s not a big deal. He’s a long way from home and the last year was a disappointment. He’s the most likely to want a new environment.

        • Mattski

          I still think he can contribute in a major way. And I think that–as with the sudden preponderance of guys at the 5 spot–we are going to see players emerging year-to-year to play quality minutes in a well-orchestrated sequence by Beilein and the other coaches. It has often been a mistake to write a player off during Beilein’s still-short tenure.

        • psickert1

          Give the kid a freaking chance to improve before prematurely giving up on the kid. Wow. Kam was not a top 30 player who had high major offers for nothing. He wasn’t highly recruited for nothing. Give these kids a chance to improve before you go around declaring who will and won’t play. Smh. Also Stop suggesting that kids transfer. The speculations are driving me crazy! I think that I’m going to leave these message boards alone for a bit. SOME of these Every now and then fans come here and post some unbelievable things, lol.

    • Quick Darshan

      I remember being surprised when Hatch was put in the game during the Exhibition. I had expected him to be redshirted because he was still recovering.

      That they put him in the game so quickly, makes me think the plan the whole time was to get him in the stat sheet as a UM player and then give him the Medical scholarship.

      If they saw him as someone who could contribute long-term, they would have redshirted him.

      • MAZS

        Though he also played in actual games, exhibition games don’t count against red-shirting. Donnal played in two exhibition game in 2013 before red-shirting.

  • Mattski

    Interview with Moritz. Sure sounds like he plans on being in A2:

    http://mgoblog.com/mgoboard/interview-2015-mbb-commit-moritz-wagner

    Some thoughts about differences between the European and American styles of play. Also why he likes Beilein’s system. And he’s eager to go to school!

    • Where else would he plan on being? I believe the only hurdle is the TOEFL test that’s required by non-English college students.

      • Mattski

        There was speculation that, as with Benzing, his recruitmant had hit some snag. This would seem to lay such speculation to rest. Half of my family is in Germany, and I know few middle class German kids for whom the TOEFL would be an impediment; unless the journalist is cleaning him up a lot, he is quite well spoken. He doesn’t seem to harbor any illusions that he’ll just walk on and start.

        • My understanding is that he just hasn’t taken it yet, not that he has failed it or anything like that. So we’ll see.

  • JVS

    Maybe jumping to a conclusion w/o seeing other ways to interpret this, but the push on Kenny Williams to me seems like a signal that Langford/Battle/Bridges are looking less likely given our potential number of slots. Or at the very least that we are hedging our bets. The list of teams Langford hosted this week not including Michigan was also surprising. Suppose they will still take their visits, but hope we aren’t writing off the perimeter A-list of 2016 at this stage in order to secure Williams (and giving slots to A.Davis as good as he may turn out)

    • Mattski

      Maybe less a matter of hedging bets–in a very fluid field–as doing due diligence and planning for all scenarios.

      • JVS

        Fair point and fully agreed that all it is for sure is diligence until a Williams offer goes out. If one does though, and similar to Davis, it starts to paint the picture I mentioned, but for now will hold tight and hope we are still shooting higher.

    • Champswest

      A bird in the hand (Williams) is worth three (Langford/Battle/Bridges) in the bush.
      The risk of not committing when you have an offer is that someone else may take your slot. The risk of not continuing to recruit is that you may not get your #1 target and then end up with nobody.

      • JVS

        I’d agree with that sentiment if we were sitting on five free slots, and had playing time to give out next year. If we are down to at most 1 aside from a required PG, and there is no time next year, and there are still some high 4 and 5 star guys considering us I think we can be a bit more selective. Kenny Williams is a nice piece, but not sure how much he raises the bar which is how I think they should look at it given the amount of time there still is to sign 2016 wings. Maybe attrition/early exits play a role in this and its irrelevant, but pushing the talent average up would be my priority.

  • Nick

    So many moving parts, kudos to Coach B and his staff for their diligence and patience. They never seemed overwhelmed by any of this.
    I’m sure everyone is looking forward to the 2015 class being settled; that will bring a lot of clarity to the situation.

  • UMTigersWingsLions

    If Jaylen Brown comes who will be the 4? Will Zak be a super sub? Nice problem to have

    • Way too premature, but I would think you would see Walton, LeVert, Brown, Irvin and Doyle.

      • Fab 5 Legends

        that would be a great/ideal lineup with great bench…Spike, Dawkins, Rahkman (first 3 up) etc…interesting to see how DJ Wilson, Duncan Robinson, Mark Donnal role will be on this team next year…considering Belein teams do not typically use more than 3 or 4 rotating subs

        Great article on recruits…

        • Fab 5 Legends

          Also will see Mortiz Wagner role..not enough minutes to go around in my opinion next year…but as long as the players stay committed to long-term…they will get more minutes in future years baring injuries of course…I hope Donnal improves, if not I am hoping Wilson/Wagner are ready to contribute…our perimeter game will be deadly

          • Fab 5 Legends

            forgot about Chatman too lol i guess it is a good problem to have…

            12 players ready to go…

          • Champswest

            13

          • Tyrell

            I completely agree with you in regards to not having enough minutes to go around. I really hope JB starts to press the opponents to wear the other team down and start subbing like Bo Ryan (sub anyone who makes a turnover or takes a dumb shot) to get more guys in the game.

            And I too hope Donnal plays well from here on out; I would love it if he retakes the starting position from Doyle.

  • Fab 5 Legends

    I really think we have a shot at Jaylen Brown…if it is between Cal & Mich…it would turn us instantly into a final 4 contender

  • UMTigersWingsLions

    We could literally have 2 5’s like UK

  • UMTigersWingsLions

    Jaylen come to UM…we are way better than Cal, with Caris back, and a deep roster. You could very well help bring us our 2nd championship, and more than 25 years. We have great facilities. You have family here. coach Bielien will get you ready for the pros like no one else can. We would love to have you here. This is the best choice, and you know it.

  • bobohle

    Great update Dylan. I think most of us needed to see. I think 2016 depends on 2015 first. As I stated yesterday: Jaylen Brown come on up. With this depth we could play the full court havoc defense at times. I am sure Lavell Jordan would love to do that. This could be the most versatile Michigan team offensively/defensively in a long time. Can’t wait till next year.

  • ChaseGoBlue

    What ever happened to the podcasts Dylan?

    • That was kind of Joe’s thing and we never got it started back up after he left.

  • ChipperFliet

    Somebody please tell Jaylen the team is going to the Bahamas!!

    Damn, if joins the Maize and Blue, I’m going to the Bahamas!!

    • bobohle

      That was good. Someone should of told Booker last year he would be going to Italy.

      • psickert1

        He went to bahamas instead. Speaking of Booker, he is a one and done player. Could you imagine the backlash that would’ve by these so called fans for entering the draft.

        Man, I remember that one poster said” I wish he breaks both legs and can never play again, If he enters the draft” when Trey Burke was conciliating entering the draft after his Freshman season..just imagine the backlash that Booker would’ve got smh..

        Booker would’ve been a great fit and we recruited Ullis, we might’ve got him.

    • Corperryale

      Yeah, but did you watch the Bahamas games last year? They play them in a poorly lit ballroom on what appears to be plastic tarp of some sort. Almost as bad as those aircraft carrier games, except much less cool. At least the field is pretty decent. Too bad the Great Alaska Shootout isn’t relevant anymore. That was a cool tournament back in the day.

  • Kenny

    i believe that levert’s returning makes Michigan more attractive to jaydon brown. If he comes onboard, he walks into a great team with the possibility to compete for the NC.

    • psickert1

      Who is jaydon Brown? Just curious.

      • Indiana_Matt

        Jaydon is a variant of Jaden (American): sometimes linked to Jadon, but more likely a modern invented name from Jade, first appearing in the US in the 1990s.

  • Wayman Britt

    Well 2015 recruiting is still up in the air, but UM definitely needs a PG in 2016. I think we will see Beilein start looking at Turner, Ramsey or other targets. Winston seems to favor MSU. If Goodin declared early that would be great.

    • MAZS

      It is worth remembering that Izzo loves Nairns–really loves him. He would only be a junior when Winston arrives–and he’s a 4 year player. It might give Winston pause.

      • SAS

        If Winston has even a small desire to play at the next level, he should stay as far away from the lil angry midget as possible.

      • Corperryale

        Nairns will be their Achilles heel next year.

        • MAZS

          i get what your saying–but MSU may have enough to absorb a short point who can’t shoot at all.

  • A2MIKE

    Am I the only one that watched the highlight of Heuter. I love his size at the pg spot. Very fluid stroke, looks like he could be someone to keep an eye on.

    • Corperryale

      Yeah but he seems more like he would be an SG in college, and then his size would be nothing special. He does have a very nice shot, as you say.

    • psickert1

      He reminds me of Travis Colan. I believe that he would be a great addition, IMO.

    • MAZS

      He doesn’t have the quickness to play point. Good vision is a plus, but not enough.

  • NIck

    Re Jaylen Brown highlights: So do you not need to land on both feet simultaneously on a jump stop? What’s the official rule? I know I could look it up but if someone knows it..

    • SAS

      No

      • Indiana_Matt

        Do you only have the freedom to use either foot as your pivot foot if you land simultaneously, though?

    • psickert1

      Smh. Odd question.

  • Mark Worthley

    Is there a way to get both Kenny Williams and Jaylen Brown?

    • SAS

      No

      • Corperryale

        If someone were to leave in the next few days, it could happen. But so unlikely it’s probably not worth suggesting.

  • jt

    Go blue jaylon u can’t go wrong plus u will be part of something very special this year it’s been awhile since Michigan has brought back this many returning players.

  • psickert1

    Kenny Williams plays like kcp from the pistons.

  • Kevin Gilbert

    Is the only way to sign ANY of the 2015 recruits, to change Austin’s scholarship to medical or academic? Seems to me the roster is full and there isn’t room for Brown or Williams. Would coach cut a less significant player? Is that even an option?

    • MAZS

      Only changing Hatch’s status or, more remotely (as Beilein has said not), a transfer.

      • Fab 5 Legends

        maybe Chatman or Donnal are planning to transfer? I hope they both stick around, as they could develop into good players come their junior/senior years. But I can see 1 of them leaving.

        • MAZS

          One might surmise that, except that Chatman has already committed to staying on campus for the Summer and Beilein stated a week ago that he doesn’t expect any attrition.

  • AAdave

    Looks like we have a legit shot at Williams or Brown if we have room. Still not sure how we have room with all the schollies filled though.

    As for the other players on our wish list, it looks like we are a really long shot except for maybe Turner or Ramsey. I don’t see us winning any head to head battles against Kentucky or Duke for others and Winston is leaning heavily towards MSU. Or maybe we’ll pick up a player to be named later as recent patterns suggest.

  • JosephG

    I wonder how many of these recruits stretch out the commit process, just to bask in all the dam attention!

    • Webbdog

      Does it matter?

    • And how many of them just want to make the right decision? When did you decide what college you were going to attend?

      No reason not to take their time if they want to.

      • JosephG

        When I do decide, most likely in state. And nothing wrong with being patient. I was referring to those that might have made decision already, that just like all the attention .. Thus waiting on making the announcement. Which happens, not saying that this is the case with Brown.

  • Mattski

    The read on Austin Davis:

    “If anyone thought their voices didn’t travel, they’re wrong. They did — straight down U.S. 12, into the village of Onsted, and right into the Davis’ living room.”‘

    http://www.mlive.com/wolverines/index.ssf/2015/04/austin_davis_from_onsted_with.html

  • UMTigersWingsLions

    Jaylen….we are by far the best choice for you. You will love it here more than the other schools.

  • UMTigersWingsLions

    We will have the best backcourt and perimeter in the country.