Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman sets Michigan official visit

2048x1552[1]As the spring signing period winds down and Michigan prepares to see off a significant chunk of this season’s roster to the NBA, the coaching staff continues to evaluate more under-the-radar members of the 2014 recruiting class.

The latest blip is Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman, a wing from Allentown, Pennsylvania. Abdur-Rahkman had a monster senior year for his Central Catholic high school team, averaging 23.6 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game this past season. Before his senior year, Abdur-Rahkman held offers from mostly mid-majors: Bucknell, Drexel, Lehigh and Harvard were all in on his recruitment. But since then, he has caught the attention of some high-major schools. One of them is Michigan.

Abdur-Rahkman has been hearing from Boston College, who he thinks is “going to offer” soon, and places Penn State in the same category. He holds an offer from Rice after the coach who was recruiting him to VCU, Mike Rhoades, became the head coach of the Owls.

Out of all the schools going after him at this late period of his recruitment, Abdur-Rahkman said it was Michigan and Rice whom he was hearing from the most.

“Coach Beilein calls me at least three times a week,” Abdur-Rahkman said. “He just talks about how I play and I have a great feel for the game, stuff like that. And he wants me to come on a visit.”

The Allentown, PA native said he has been in contact with Michigan for a few weeks and confirmed that he plans to visit Michigan officially this weekend after speaking with John Beilein tonight.  [click to continue…]

Michigan 73, Tennessee 71-24

Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III are expected to announce their NBA Draft decisions during a press conference on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.

Stauskas broke the news on Twitter on Monday evening and the Michigan Athletic Department later announced a ‘Michigan basketball’ press conference at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

ESPN’s Jeff Goodman tweeted that Robinson is also expected to declare for the draft during the same press conference, but Mitch McGary is ‘still wrestling with his decision‘. MLive’s Brendan Quinn confirmed with McGary’s father that he doesn’t plan to announce on Tuesday.

“He’s still back and forth on it,” Tim McGary said.

Tim McGary said he expects to meet with Mitch McGary on Wednesday during Michigan’s annual basketball banquet to discuss the decision further.

“As far as I know, he hasn’t decided anything,” said Tim McGary, who was asked if there was any chance his son would make any announcement during Tuesday’s press conference and joked, “He better not.”

ESPN reported last week that Stauskas would declare for the draft – something Stauskas quickly denied at the time. Stauskas was the Big Ten Player of the Year and is projected as a top-20 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. Robinson has reportedly selected an agent and is projected on the edge of the first and second rounds. McGary remains undecided and is also projected as a borderline pick after missing most of his sophomore season due to back injury.

Michigan has been evaluating a number of late-bloomers, decommitments and transfers to help deal with potential attrition. (Photo: Dustin Johnston)

Report: Glenn Robinson III plans to declare for NBA Draft

Michigan 73, Tennessee 71-20Jake Fischer of Slam Magazine and the Boston Globe is reporting that Michigan sophomore Glenn Robinson III has signed with an agent and will declare for the NBA Draft this week.

CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish reported that “Robinson hasn’t informed the Michigan staff of his intentions yet” and is supposed to meet with the Wolverine coaches this week.

Robinson is projected as a late first or early second-round draft pick and averaged 13.1 points and 4.4 rebounds per game last season.

ESPN reported last week that fellow sophomore Nik Stauskas would enter the draft, but he denied the reports. Mitch McGary submitted his name to the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Council but has yet to make his NBA decision after missing most of his sophomore year with back surgery. (Photo: Dustin Johnston)

April Hot Board: Prospects and transfers on the radar

Michigan already lost Jon Horford and could face more attrition to the NBA Draft in the coming days and weeks. April recruiting is something akin to the Wild West and things move quickly. With fifth-year transfers, decommitments due to coaching changes, late-bloomers and other transfers – there are plenty of opportunities available.

The Wolverines have been active on the recruiting trail and have been evaluating a number of prospects that could fill needs in the late signing period, which begins on April 15th.

Ryan%20Taylor-X[1]Ryan Taylor

2014 Wing – 6-foot-5 – Uncommitted
Consensus Rank: N/A – St. John’s Northwest Military Academy
Ohio U, Michigan

Michigan has watched Ryan Taylor multiple times and has been in steady contact with the Northwest Indiana native, who visited in February. Taylor has the connections – he played for the same SYF program that four current Wolverines played for – and he appears to have caught Michigan’s eye during his postgraduate year at St. John’s Northwest Military Academy and a couple of big games at the National Prep School Invitational in February.

Scouting Report: Taylor is a lengthy wing shooter that would fit the Michigan mold fairly well. We talked to one scout that saw Taylor play in February and he felt Taylor fit the mold of some other recent Wolverine wings “that lack strength, yet can shoot it a bit and aren’t afraid of scoring in traffic.”

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Michigan evaluating 2014 wing Ryan Taylor

Ryan TaylorMichigan is pursuing a possible late signing in the 2014 class — Ryan Taylor, a shooting guard currently finishing up a prep year at St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy in Delafield, Wisconsin. Taylor scored a little over 20 points per game during his prep season this winter.

Taylor is a target in line with previous late signees such as Spike Albrecht and Caris LeVert. The coaching staff got on him within the past couple of months and have had steady contact.

We spoke with Taylor on Friday night and he described himself as a good shooter and a player who “loves to play defense.” He said he is working on his slashing ability and foot speed.

Playing his high school ball at Michigan City High School in Indiana, Taylor is also an alum of the SYF AAU program — the training ground of players like Glenn Robinson III, Mitch McGary and Spike Albrecht.

“I know Glenn, Spike and Mitch,” Taylor said during our phone conversation. “And I also somewhat know Max (Bielfeldt) because I played for SYF. And also our mentor is the same person, Wayne Brumm.”

Wayne Brumm is the program director and coach of the SYF AAU team from Northwest Indiana. He guided four current players — Robinson, McGary, Albrecht and Bielfeldt — to the Michigan program. If Taylor is mentored by Brumm, you can bet he’s hearing good things about Michigan.

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John Beilein sounds off on block/charge, NBA age limit rules

Michigan 73, Tennessee 71-29
Dustin Johnston

In the final minutes of Michigan’s Sweet Sixteen matchup against Tennessee, the Volunteers cut a once-sizeable Michigan lead into single digits and then finally to a single point. With 10 seconds left in the game, Tennessee inbounded the ball to big man Jarnell Stokes, who faced up Jordan Morgan on the baseline.

Stokes lowered his shoulder, Morgan went down. Charge called. Michigan won the game.

While that was an example of a charge call going Michigan’s way, John Beilein said on Wednesday that he didn’t see enough of those calls this past season. During both his press conference and his appearance on the Michigan Insider Wednesday morning, Beilein expressed a desire for the NCAA rules committee to re-examine the changes it made to the block/charge call during the 2013 offseason.

“My hope is that we’ll re-evaluate this entire thing,” Beilein said. “In retrospect now, that was difficult for everybody to add the hand-check foul, which I’m in support of, and the new block/charge rule, which I did not think worked out as well as they had hoped. I expect people to really take a good look at this and decide where they go in the future.”

It’s no secret that charge calls are especially important to Michigan’s defense. Without a shot-blocker protecting the rim and with shaky perimeter defense, often the only way for Michigan to stop an opposing player slashing through the lane was to anticipate where he would be, establish position and take the charge.

The new rules this season made doing that more difficult. They called for a referee to decide whether or not the defensive player had established position before the offensive player had begun his “upward motion” on his shot. This required defenders to be at spots earlier — and it also made officials far more hesitant to call charges. Beilein said he would like to have shot-blockers underneath — and very well might with this new recruiting class.

“It certainly is good if you have a shot-blocker back there instead of a charge-taker. We did not have a shot-blocker back there,” Beilein said. “It’s a thing we’ll continue to work on, but I don’t plan on changing at all. It would be nice to have a huge shot-blocker who can change games, but that will come through either in guys we have now or guys who are coming in, like a DJ Wilson will be able to block some shots.”

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