Recruiting Notebook: Open scholarship, April evaluation

Dylan Burkhardt

The first of two April evaluation weekends is in the books with Nike and Under Armour holding events in New York City and Adidas hosting an event in Dallas. The Wolverine coaching staff was on the road tracking recruits as we start to get a sense for who they will prioritize in the class of 2017, but they also still have to wrap up the roster for next season as well.

Scholarship situation

Michigan has more scholarships to play with and some roster flexibility that was lacking before Aubrey Dawkins and Ricky Doyle decided to transfer. Now the Wolverines have decisions to make. There are three options for the open spot on the roster: add a 2016 recruit or transfer, add a graduate transfer, or bank the scholarship for next season.

A graduate transfer would provide immediate relief without hindering the 2017 class while adding a recruit or traditional transfer would take a spot away from the 2017 class. As things stand today, the Wolverines have three open scholarships for the class of 2017 to go along with commitment Jordan Poole.

Sam Webb reported on Sunday night that Kostas Antetokounmpo is now on the Michigan radar. Antetokounmpo is the younger brother of Milwaukee Bucks wing Giannis Antetokounmpo. He recently participated in the Nike Hoop Summit and listed upcoming visits to Florida and St. John’s. He would take a spot away from the 2017 class, but would provide a significant length and athleticism upgrade at the four position for the Wolverines.

The most likely graduate transfer option appears to be Columbia guard Grant Mullins. Mullins is a smooth shooting guard who averaged 13 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists per game last season. He graded out as one of the best pick-and-roll players in the country last season according to Synergy Sports. He would bolster Michigan’s guard depth and act as a stop-gap on the roster until Jordan Poole arrives the next season. Mullins visited Syracuse on Friday and is set to visit Cal today, with the Wolverines working to get him on campus as well.

EYBL – Brooklyn

Michigan coaches were focused on 2017 prospects during the first weekend of the evaluation period and now have much more flexibility to work with. The Wolverines currently have a commitment from Poole and offers outstanding to Kyle Young and Jaren Jackson. Jackson had one of the most impressive games of the weekend in Brooklyn, notching 35 points and nine rebounds in a win over the Alabama Challenge.

Young got significant attention from the Wolverines and appears to be a primary option at the four position. He played with the King James Shooting Stars on the EYBL circuit and averaged 18.3 points and 5 rebounds per game in Brooklyn. John Beilein was a frequent presence at his games throughout the weekend.

But Michigan has also been ramping up its pursuit of another wing forward who had a coming out party on the national scene. The Wolverines were tracking Detroit Cornerstone wing Jamal Cain throughout the weekend in Brooklyn.

One name that has been rapidly rising up the board is Detroit Cornerstone wing Jamal Cain. Cain made his debut with The Family and averaged 14.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game through the opening weekend. He struggled shooting the ball at times (2-of-13 from three) and had 2 assists to 14 turnovers on the weekend, but he demonstrated the playmaking and scoring ability that many have raved about throughout his junior season.

Cain is planning to take a full unofficial visit and academic tour on April 27th and a Michigan scholarship offer could be around the corner for the in-state wing.

Michigan commitment Jordan Poole made his debut with the Mac Irvin Fire and averaged 9.7 points and 2.7 assists per game. He struggled to get his shot going from three (4-of-20) on the weekend as he adjusted to a new team.

It will be interesting to watch how the Michigan recruiting board shifts over the next few weeks. With additional scholarships in hand, the Wolverines can expand their priority list beyond combo forward (where the current offers stood) and potentially start to look at additional wings or a point guard to fill out the class around Poole.

Other Notes

  • 2018 Lawrence North forward Kevin Easley will visit Michigan on April 28th. Beilein watched Easley work out this month and the Wolverines checked in on him during the opening evaluation period as well. The 2018 prospect is a strong do-it-all forward who appears to be rising the 2018 board quickly.
  • 2019 Canadian point guard Andrew Nembhard is an early name to remember. He says Michigan is currently recruiting him the hardest and he was named one of the top performers at the Jordan Brand Classic by Scout: “Nembhard obviously has good size for his position, but he also showed good quickness and ability to get into the paint. Nembhard was aggressive off the dribble and looked to drive the ball when he had opportunities. With that said, he didn’t force things and showed a good feel.”
  • Beilein also watched Kris Wilkes and Paul Scruggs and the Indy Hoosiers on Friday night.
  • MrLG

    Whatever happened to Christian David? Still a candidate?

  • geoffclarke

    Just watched a couple old videos of Andrew Nembhard. Very impressive for such a young kid (current freshman!?!?) Already crafty and I’m partial to tall PG’s.

  • Champswest

    Dylan, on my screen, your scholarship chart only shows the first eight names. Everything below that is a big black box.

  • Mark Worthley

    In addition to banking the scholarship for next year, it is also still possible that Mark Donnal is on the team for the 2017-2018 season, correct? If he continues to improve this offseason, I’d like to see Mark Donnal get a fifth year at Michigan.

    • Mark Worthley

      Why are we redshirting players if there isn’t going to be room for their fifth year? By doing so, we’re wasting a scholarship for the year that the player redshirts, and then for their fifth, and presumably best year, they are playing for someone else.

  • Colby

    Have we been mentioned with any other grad transfers besides Mullins? Seem like our only option at this point.

    Kostas is interesting, wonder why not many other offers though. Wonder if they have kicked tires on anyone else.

    • Kenny

      I would rather have Spike coming back. I do not see anyone out there will contribute more than Spike will.

      • MGoBlueAdam

        Are you his doctor? How much would he even contribute at the same position as Walton and X? Do you know that he is for sure going to be the Spike of old? He has missed an entire season after having two hip surgeries.. Also, did Spike grow five inches so that he can play a position of need?

        People are a little short sighted if they really believe that Spike would help this team more than a guy like Mullins

        • GTFOmycourt

          i find it odd that so many people believe it is reasonable to assume Spike is going to be worse and unhealthy. What am I missing? It seems to me the position of need is largely contingent upon X being able to contribute right away…It is not set in stone that X will be able to contribute immediately is it?

    • MChem83

      We already are overloaded with projects at the 5. Definitely don’t need to waste another roster spot on a big guy who is “raw”. If they can’t get a big who can step right in and start, go for a productive wing.

  • Wayman Britt

    Why would Mullens want to go to Cal and play for Martin? Martin lost in 1st round with all that talent.
    Beilein is ten times better coach. Beilein could help him become a better player and develop his game. UM would be a great fit for Mullens.

    • MChem83

      Why did Jaylen Brown? Because Beilein is not as good a salesman. It has nothing to do with player development.

    • rlcBlue

      Mullins may be one of those rare graduate transfers who is actually interested in a graduate degree. Berkeley’s a pretty good school, even with Cuonzo Martin.

  • Wayman Britt

    Unless a 5 star recruit from the 2017 class wants to come to UM, Beilein should put on the gas to get Cain. Getting a player from the state of Michigan will pay dividends not just for 2017, but beyond. UM needs to continue to recruit Detroit and the state. It’s true Michigan doesn’t produce the players it once did, but a handful of players are still very very good.