Recruiting Roundup: 2016 commits wrap up senior seasons

Dylan Burkhardt

Michigan’s 2015-16 season is in the books as are the seasons of its four incoming commitments. Point guard Xavier Simpson has emerged as the jewel of Michigan’s class while Jon Teske, Ibi Watson and Austin Davis also wrapped up successful senior seasons.

Michigan returns its entire active roster from this season, but there’s still a significant opportunity for the freshman class to make an impact. Here’s a look at what Michigan’s 2016 commitments accomplished this season and what the Wolverines could expect from them coming up next season.

Xavier Simpson (PG, 4-star, 67th)

Simpson was named Mr. Basketball in Ohio and took Lima Senior all the way to the State Championship game, where they lost their only game of the season. Simpson averaged 27.2 points, 6.1 assists and 3.8 steals per game as a senior at Lima and is Michigan’s first Ohio Mr. Basketball since Trey Burke.

Simpson is a smaller lead guard, but he has the ability to make an impact right away in Ann Arbor, especially stepping into a situation where he’ll be the only scholarship point guard on the roster other than Derrick Walton.

Impact Forecast: It’s no secret that Michigan needs a backup point guard after Derrick Walton played as many minutes as anyone in Big Ten play. Simpson should be able to step in and provide a legitimate backup point guard option while learning under the senior lead guard. Given Michigan’s suspect depth in the backcourt, I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see a few Walton-Simpson lineups next year as well.

Jon Teske (C, 3-star, 149th)

The 7-foot-1 big man from Medina, OH was named to the All-Ohio first team last week. He averaged 16.4 points, 10 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.6 blocks per game while helping Medina to the district championship game.

Being first-team All-Ohio is a great honor,” Teske told the Medina Gazette. “It’s a very special award, and I’m honored to be a part of it.

“For three Michigan commits to make it is awesome. It shows the talent that is going up to Ann Arbor next year.”

Impact Forecast: At some point in his career, Jon Teske will be the best shot blocker that Michigan has had in several years. He’d have to make significant gains in strength and rebounding ability for that to be this year. With so many post players already on the roster and his thin frame, Teske seems like a likely candidate for a redshirt this upcoming season.

Austin Davis (C, 3-star, 181st)

Davis isn’t as long as Teske, but he had a very productive senior season at Onsted. He finished as runner up for Mr. Basketball in Michigan to Cassius Winston, and averaged 24.7 points, 14.4 rebounds and 4.8 blocks per game while shooting 79% from the floor. It’s hard to read too much from his numbers as he plays Class B basketball at Onsted, rarely facing players his own size, but he can only play who is in front of him.

Davis led Onsted to the regional final where they fell to River Rouge in a 49-44 loss. Davis had 17 points in the defeat as River Rouge forced someone else on Onsted’s roster to beat them.

Impact Forecast: Davis is a more physical player than Teske, but he’s also shown some athletic and conditioning limitations over his career. As a senior he’s put some of those to rest and has demonstrated significant improvement. Given his physicality, soft hands and feel under the hoop, he projects in the sort of role that Michigan’s centers have been known for: setting good screens, catching the ball off the ball screen and finishing at the hoop. Any young big man that can do those things better than Mark Donnal or Ricky Doyle should have a legitimate chance to earn minutes.

Ibi Watson (Wing, 3-star, 219th)

Ibi Watson averaged 19.3 points per game and was also named first-team All-Ohio by the Associated Press. He helped Pickerington Central to the regionals where they lost to eventual state champs Westerville South. Watson went down swinging with 27 points in the loss, but it wasn’t enough.

Impact Forecast: The road to playing time for Watson will be clear in 2015-16: Can he serve as a viable three-and-d option off the bench? Aubrey Dawkins has provided the ‘three’ (43%) without the ‘d’. Duncan Robinson played significant minutes and eventually ran out of steam down the stretch. There’s a legitimate role for another wing guard off the bench on this roster and, while raw, Watson has some of the talent to see the floor.

  • MEL

    whose going to be the odd man out on the current roster? we have 13 scholarship players and only twelve scholarships to go around?

    • CJK5H

      That will take care of itself. It isn’t really very classy of the fanbase to speculate on specific names. These are students who are working their butts off and don’t deserve to see fans trying to “vote them off of the island.” If a blogger wants to speculate using good information, it’s OK because it’s his job.

      For fans, it’s a lot better to just trust the process, support whoever stays and wish good luck to whoever leaves.

      • A2MIKE


      • MrLG

        I dunno, you can’t expect the fan base to be classy. It’s an interesting and important topic. Certainly, Kam, DJ and Ricky have to be considered transfer candidates. If they’re not getting the minutes at UM, why wouldn’t they transfer?

        • Champswest

          I guess you don’t understand the meaning of classy. It doesn’t matter if the topic is interesting or important. Conversations around the coffee station is one thing and a public forum is quite another.

          • MrLG

            You can say that if you want, but I don’t agree. Scholarships and transfers are what make college sports happen. Maybe you believe that fans should ” trust the process, support whoever stays”, but most people don’t feel this way. This is not HS any more…

          • Chillax

            I agree to some extent. It’s a reality of who stays and who goes. I wouldn’t be mad with some players opting to leave just due to a crowded field. I hope it works out for everyone for the best. It’s tough to speculate who would be out though. But Ricky’s playing time I can only imagine is going to get tougher next year. Wagner and Donnal seem to be the first two in. And I could see DJ bulking up even more next season. Teske should be a non factor.

          • Mattski

            If Ricky goes you realize he becomes a superstar for somebody who beats us, don’t you? It’s more or less a given.

    • ChaseGoBlue

      Doyle no doubt

  • Onsted

    Onsted is Class B

  • A2MIKE

    I am not buying that there are 218 better high school seniors than Ibi Watson. Hope he comes in with a chip on his shoulder.

    At this point last year I would have firmly been in the Austin Davis needs a prep year category. However, he has really transformed his body and lateral quickness. I actually think he could contribute next year.

    All of that being said, the most important player on next year’s team outside of Wagner is probably X. We so desperately need a playmaker that can’t beat someone off the dribble and hit the open roll man or an open 12 footer. I think by the end of the non-conference season it may be tough to keep him on the bench.

    • rlcBlue

      Based on those videos, Davis looks much closer physically to being ready for D-1 than Teske does.

    • Leslie Hoerwinkle

      Have you seen 218 high school kids play?

  • Mattski

    Some talent coming in, for sure. Davis looks quicker than I remembered. Can he hit from outside in Big Ten games?

    • Wayman Britt

      Or will he be explosive enough on his jumps and quick enough on lateral speed?

  • Fab 5 Legends

    Our frontcourt will will crowded, Davis, Wilson, Wagner, Doyle, Donnall, Teske even if someone redshirts, I can see Wilson or Doyle transferring imo

  • Wayman Britt

    Let me first say I have never seen Austin Davis play live and don’t want to be negative, but I like to evaluate a recruit on the competition they play and what other national top ten BB program offered them. If you look at the above video, he has 1 foot and 30 – 40 lbs on every competitor, naturally his stats are going to be awesome. How would you evaluate him versus a kid who averaged 15 points and 7 rebounds but banged every game with athletic and quick players in the PSL or Catholic league?

    • Slim33

      Davis averaged 11 and 8 at the Adidas Gauntlet in Dallas playing for the Michigan Mustangs along side Brian Bowen. The kid can play against top talent just like any other recruit from a power conference. I would argue actual high school basketball is far less relevant than aau ball these days.

    • A2MIKE

      I get it, you love the PSL. The problem is this isn’t 1992, and the PSL has struggled to win state titles and put out top tier talent. That is the world we live in today. The PSL still has great players and great teams, but is no longer head and shoulders above the rest, so please stop lamenting for PSL players in every recruiting post. Davis has some real talent, the upside is huge due to his lack of conditioning and a college level lifting program. I agree that the talent he faces is suspect but he played very well I’m AAU as well.

    • Bobby

      To me it’s clear that Davis isn’t just benefiting from his size. He made some pretty skilled basketball plays in that reel as well. He had a behind the back dribble, no look pass, and can hit the three. He reminds me of McGary- he looks like he plays with a high level of confidence and energy. That’s something we have sorely missed at the 5. I’m excited about his future.

    • Leslie Hoerwinkle

      Davis doesn’t play against 5’10” opponents. Your opinion had no cred.