I was on hand at the Nike EYBL in Lexington over the weekend and was able to check up on a number of Michigan recruiting targets. Here’s a rundown of those that I caught in action.
Cassius Winston (2016 PG)
You know what you are going to get when you watch Cassius Winston play. He’s going to control the game, he’s going to hit tough shots, and he’s going to get into the lane and make plays. Winston is a complete offensive player at the point guard spot and will make an impact wherever he ends up. Winston isn’t the biggest or most athletic point guard, but he might just be the most productive — and it doesn’t matter the setting. He’s leading the Nike EYBL in scoring and The Family touts a 5-3 record through two sessions of play. He’s a winner and with John Beilein and Tom Izzo tracking him throughout the weekend it’s clear that they feel the same way.
Kevin Huerter (2016 G)
Kevin Huerter has a reputation as a shooter – and he’s a very good one, making over 40% of his threes in EYBL play – but what really impressed me was his vision and passing ability. The ball never sticks with Huerter (a rarity in AAU basketball), either in transition or in the halfcourt, and he always seemed to find the open man. In one game he threw a 60 foot transition outlet pass for an easy basket and a few plays later had a nice dish off of a ball screen. His handle is solid, but more to keep defenses honest rather than space them out and break them down in one on one situations.
When he was on the floor, his City Rocks team (6-2 in EYBL play) was a simply better team. He helped them off to a quick start in the first game I watched with a few assists and a personal seven point scoring run, but the Oakland Soldiers crept back in when he got some rest on the bench. Huerter isn’t a point guard, but with his passing ability he’s a great fit in Michigan’s two guard offense, especially if he’s paired with a more dynamic and athletic point guard.
He’s not the quickest or strongest player, but he does have pretty good length which he was able to use that to his advantage in defensive situations.
Bruce Brown (2016 G)
If you had to apply a label today, it would be hard not to label Brown as a combo guard, but his point guard skills showed plenty of promise. At 6-foot-3, he has incredible versatility. He scored in transition, off the bounce from the wing and even had a buzzer-beating alley-oop to close a half. His three-point jumper needs work, but he had no problem filling up the stat sheet. He’s not just a scorer either, his strength and athleticism allowed him to soar for a number of very impressive rebounds as well. Is he a point guard right now? Probably not, but if you trot him out there and give him the ball as a point guard — where Michigan is recruiting him — then his team will probably be productive.
Miles Bridges (2016 F)
Like his The Family teammate, Bridges is another player that brings the same thing every game: statement dunks, impressive rebounding and a strong motor. Bridges has started to add the three-point shot to his game, knocking down a couple in the afternoon session, but he fell in love with the long range shot. There’s no reason that he should have more three-point attempts than two-point attempts in a game. The highlight of his performance on Saturday afternoon was a thunderous dunk that almost pulled down the whole basket.
Bridges lists Michigan in his top five along with Kentucky, North Carolina, Michigan State and Iowa State
Bryce Aiken (2016 PG)
Aiken has the reputation of a ‘shoot first’ point guard, but he did a good job of running his team during a morning session win over Houston Hoops. He’s a small guard and his best attribute is his ability to get in the lane and get fouled. He took some really tough fouls over the course of the game, but kept getting up — even with a shoulder injury that would force him to sit out the night game. LaVall Jordan has been in contact with the point guard and he’s definitely one to track.
Devearl Ramsey (2016 PG)
Ramsey has received recent interest from Texas and new head coach Shaka Smart and it is easy to see why. He’s a bulldog in man-to-man defensive situations and can apply all sorts of pressure on the ball — a perfect fit for Smart’s ‘Havoc’ defense. He really struggled on the offensive end of the floor on Saturday night, but it’s hard to imagine that there are many better defensive point guards in the class. While he’s very quick, Ramsey doesn’t quite have the size to finish in the lane against bigger players which led to some of his struggles on Saturday night.
Seth Towns (2016 F)
Towns had a quiet weekend, averaging 6.5 points per game and going 3 for 11 from three-point range. He continues to look more fluid with the ball in his hands as he expands his game. He has a smooth stroke and good size for a wing, but still seems to be figuring out his role with the King James Shooting Stars after switching AAU teams this year.
LaMonte Turner (2015/16 PG)
One of the more athletic point guards we watched. Turner has good size and explosion and was a factor in transition and carving into the lane. His E1T1 team beat Cassius Winston and The Family on Saturday afternoon and Turner was key to the victory. He only took four shots (two of which were transition dunks) in the victory, but handed out 11 assists, grabbed seven rebounds and picked up three steals. There’s been talk of Turner reclassifying to the class of 2015, but it’s easy to see why he caught Michigan’s eye as a 2016 prospect.