What to watch for: July evaluation period

Dylan Burkhardt

The July live evaluation period tips off tonight. Coaches will be permitted to watch prospects from 5 p.m. Wednesday through 5 p.m. Sunday for the next three weeks.

This will also be the first chance for new Wolverine assistant coaches Billy Donlon and Saddi Washington to hit the road while wearing maize and blue polos. Here are a few storylines to track as the Michigan coaching staff hits the road and starts to fill out its 2017 class while looking ahead to 2018 and beyond.

Establishing priorities

Recruiting during the live evaluation period is all about allocation of assets. How much time can be spent following the top targets, keeping tabs on commitments and finding under the radar gems.

With six offers outstanding, figuring out Michigan’s recruiting priorities isn’t nearly as a straightforward as it was in April when there were just a couple of offers outstanding.

Jaren Jackson (Spiece), Brian Bowen (Meanstreets), Kyle Young (King James) and Brad Davison (Howard Pulley) will all be in action at the Nike EYBL Peach Jam this week in Augusta. U-M commitment Jordan Poole (Mac Irvin Fire) and Jamal Cain (The Family) will be in action at the Peach Invitational down the road. Class of 2018 offer Brandon Johns will also be in action at Peach Jam with the Spiece Indy Heat.

The one prospect with a Michigan offer not on the Nike EYBL circuit is Kris Wilkes, who will kick off July at the Under Armour All-American Camp in Charlotte.

Jackson and Bowen have both reached five-star status while Young, Davison and Cain are hovering around the 75 to 125 range of most rankings. They have all played well this spring and could very well continue to rise as July plays out. Timing for this group will be important as well as the Michigan coaching staff has to decide whether to wait for a decision in August, September or later or move on to targeting additional names.

Michigan’s priorities to start the month will become clear early on as we track the movement of John Beilein and his assistants throughout the week.

Jordan Poole on the move

Michigan commitment Jordan Poole will be on the move this fall when he transfers from Milwaukee King to La Lumiere.

Poole had an up-and-down spring on the Nike EYBL circuit and the transfer to La Lumiere should provide him with an additional opportunity to face top-flight competition on a daily basis.

But before Poole heads off to prep school, he has a chance to close his grassroots career on a high note. Poole will have plenty of chances to prove himself on the big stage, including a trip to the Nike Skills Academy at the end of July. .

Next wave of offers

Michigan has handed out six class of 2017 scholarship offers and a 2018 offer, but there’s a shortlist of players who appear to be on the verge of receiving a Wolverine offer.

Class of 2017 combo guard Nojel Eastern is high on that list after an unofficial visit in late June. His Meanstreets AAU teammate, Isaiah Livers, is also on that short list and could be on the verge. Poole’s AAU teammate, Justin Smith, is another prospect that has visited Ann Arbor and could be in line for a potential offer.

In the class of 2018, Macomb forward Thomas Kithier should be next on the offer list. He’s taken multiple visits to Michigan over the last month and also picked up an early offer from Michigan State at their team camp in June. 2018 wing Robby Carmody is another target that could be on the verge of an offer after visiting Ann Arbor in June.

New targets and class balance

Michigan’s priorities for the class of 2017 are becoming clear with Poole in the fold and a commitment from Kentucky transfer Charles Matthews. The Wolverines are looking for a combo guard (Davison, Eastern) and a couple of wings (Cain, Bowen, Smith) or big forwards (Jackson, Young, Livers).

With three open scholarships, this seems like a trend that will continue, but expect the list of targets and names to grow. Michigan has been linked with a number of names like combo forwards Kimani Lawrence and Donnie Tillman, but it will be interesting to see what combo guards rise to the occasion because that list of targets is notably shorter right now.

With three weeks of AAU ball ahead, it will be interesting to see what new names become unveiled before visits are setup in August.

Class of 2018 recruiting building toward camp

Michigan’s College Practice Camp was moved from June to August this year, which should mean that class of 2018 recruiting should take shape over the month of July with a number of visits scheduled for early August.

The camp is scheduled for August 6th and I’d expect a majority of Michigan’s 2018 priorities to receive invitations to attend.

  • bobohle

    We need Jordan Poole to bring Brian Bowen to A2 with him since they will be on the same High School team now.

  • MChem83

    Can we please, PLEASE target an actual big man? Why is this SO hard for Beilein? You cannot build a championship team with nothing but point guards and 6’4″ to 6’8″, 180-200 lb wings. Every year we get beat up by teams who recruit actual big men who can actually play. Landing them is not that hard, but you actually have to TRY.

    • Considering three of the last five recruits (Wagner, Davis, Teske) that Michigan has signed (now enrolled) project to the center position, it makes some sense to focus on spots where the roster is weak in 2017: wings, the four, and a PG/combo to complement Simpson.

      • MChem83

        Well, we already have a PG/combo in the 2017 class (Poole), as well as another (MAAR) who will be a senior that year. For wings, we’ll have Robinson, Watson and Matthews. As far as our current bigs, Davis has “Project” written all over him, and frankly, none of Teske, Wagner or Wilson have me brimming with confidence, either. None of them are a great bet not to be mediocre. We need one legitimate big man in the 2017 class to go with our other needs (which we certainly have, too), and if we really want to be competitive in the Big Ten again, it would be nice if it were someone who could step right in and start at a major conference level. As I said, it’s not that hard..our competition does it every year.

        • Leslie Hoerwinkle

          Wagner does not have “mediocre” written all over him and he’s up to 238 pounds now. Davis could be the next Jordan Morgan. Other than McGary, most decent bigs won’t come to Michigan because of their role in Beilein’s system.