Recruiting Roundup: Transfers, Esa Ahmad, Jamal Murray and other notes

Nolan Cressler Cornell v Notre Dame hq3tNSZkkFkl[1]April means transfer season in college basketball and Michigan could have an open scholarship depending on attrition this spring. The Wolverines have already been mentioned with a couple potential targets including West Virginia sophomore Eron Harris and Cornell sophomore Noah Cressler.

Harris won’t be released from West Virginia until the semester is over, so he’s not permitted to be in contact with other schools yet, but expect Michigan to show some interest. Harris was named the top transfer in the country by ESPN and will have almost every school in the Midwest chasing him when he gets his release after averaging 17.2 points per game last season.

Cressler is another interesting candidate. He scored 16.8 points per game for a Cornell team that went 2-26 and the 6-foot-4 guard has offers from Dayton, Rutgers and Vanderbilt with interest from Pitt, Michigan, Notre Dame, Davidson, Butler and Creighton, according to TribLive.com. ESPN ranked him the 9th best transfer in the country

He put up 16.8 points per game this past season for Bill Courtney in the Ivy League and will sit and have two seasons left to play. Cressler is a big, strong guard who is attracting attention from the likes of Vanderbilt, Northwestern and Pittsburgh.

Cressler plans to visit Vanderbilt on April 11th. He fits the mold of a shooter off the bench with some size, but doesn’t have the same impact potential as Harris.

The intrigue of adding an off-guard is obvious for John Beilein and his staff. Even if a transfer has to sit out next season, they could hit the ground running in 2015-16 and provide an insurance policy if Caris LeVert emerges as the NBA Draft prospect many expect.

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Report Card 2014: Nik Stauskas

Michigan 79, Texas 65-7
Dustin Johnston

Nik Stauskas was the Big Ten Player of the Year. On a team with many different offensive weapons, he was the most used player on the roster and Michigan’s leading scorer. But more than that, Stauskas was the Wolverine with the spotlight always on him. When Michigan needed a basket late in the clock, it turned to Stauskas; when Stauskas didn’t have a good game, Michigan typically lost.

Before this season began, the offense was full of question marks. The most pressing question had to do with the departure of Michigan’s two great guards, Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. With those two gone, who was going to be “the man” in Michigan’s offense — the go-to guy? Stauskas didn’t let that question linger for long. By Michigan’s third game, it was obvious he was Michigan’s first option on offense — and the player it turned to in clutch situations down the stretch. Other than a stretch of so-so performances during a five-game period in the Big Ten season, Stauskas did a great job coming through when the Wolverines needed him to. He scored 19 points on 12 shots at Michigan State, blowing kisses to the hostile Izzone as he did so; he hit a game-winning step-back 3-pointer to net Michigan its first win at Wisconsin since 1999; he gave Michigan everything he could in Michigan’s Elite Eight loss to Kentucky, scoring 24 points and hitting four threes in the loss.

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Michigan 73, Tennessee 71-26Michigan will take a trip to Europe this summer, according to John Beilein on the Inside Michigan Basketball television program and first pointed out by Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press.

On the Inside Michigan Basketball television show, Michigan coach John Beilein indicated U-M will take an overseas trip this year in an mgoblue.com interview after the Elite Eight loss to Kentucky.

“This is the year that we can go to Europe,” he said during the “Coffee with the Coach” segment. “So we’ll have another 10 days that we can practice and improve and we have some young kids coming in that can now go to Europe, so it will be a good time for us.”

NCAA rules allow teams to play and practice 10 days in a foreign country during the summer months every four years.

Michigan went to Belgium and Amsterdam in 2010 before a surprisingly successful season. Another trip to Europe could give Michigan time to gel with a roster that is expected to see at least some turnover this off-season.

Draft roundup: Latest on Stauskas, Robinson and McGary

Michigan 73, Tennessee 71-5

Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary all made it clear that they weren’t ready to discuss their draft stock after Michigan lost to Kentucky on Sunday. But their decisions are coming soon and are the most important news bits expected over the next month. Here’s the latest on all three players’ decisions, draft stock, and when they need to make a decision. (Photo: Dustin Johnston)

Important Dates

The concept of ‘testing the waters’ has essentially been eliminated from the draft process. Prospects only have until April 15th, 2014 to remove their names from the NBA Draft and maintain NCAA eligibility – the NBA allowed June 16th date has no importance to the NCAA.

  • April 9, 2014: NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee Application Deadline
  • April 14, 2014: NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee Response Deadline
  • April 15, 2014: NCAA Early Entry Withdrawal Deadline
  • April 16, 2014: NCAA Late Signing Period Begins
  • April 27, 2014: NBA Draft Early Entry Eligibility Deadline
  • May 20, 2014: 2014 NBA Draft Lottery
  • June 16, 2014: NBA Draft Early Entry Withdrawal Deadline
  • June 26, 2014: 2014 NBA Draft

Nik Stauskas

Nik Stauskas wasn’t even on the NBA Draft radar last year, now he looks like a lock to go in the top 20. Chad Ford’s latest update is very positive:

Stauskas continues to show why NBA teams are so intrigued by him. He is an incredible shooter with a quick release and great range. He shot 12-for-30 from 3-point range in the tournament, not his finest hour. But no one questions his ability to shoot the basketball. He also shows significant handles for a player his size and can be a pretty explosive finisher around the basket. He should go late-lottery to mid-first round and is expected to declare for the draft.

Stauskas is listed as a prospect with ‘one foot out the door’ by Chad Ford, and it would be a surprise if he returned to school.

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Video: DJ Wilson Playoff Highlights

Class of 2014 Michigan commitment DJ Wilson had a great season with Capital Christian, leading his team to the Open Division State Championship Game. Here’s footage of Wilson in action during playoff play.

Five Key Plays: Michigan vs. Kentucky

1) Nik Stauskas delivers for Michigan in the first half

Michigan’s 75-72 loss to Kentucky in the Elite Eight didn’t have a happy ending, but it was still a great game and there were plenty of highlights. In the first half, Michigan’s offense revolved around Nik Stauskas — the sophomore scored 18 points in the opening frame alone, and he only needed seven shots to do it. Stauskas was off-the-charts efficient thanks to two 3-pointers and six free throws. The first two plays of this sequence show Stauskas hitting from deep. The first play has Aaron Harrison and Alex Poythress mixed up on a ball screen. Harrison switches onto Jordan Morgan and Poythress is lackadaisical in his switching, giving Stauskas just enough breathing room to fire and hit. The second three is from way beyond NBA range, as Caris LeVert shows drive and draws the slightest attention from Marcus Lee before dumping the ball to Stauskas for the long 3-pointer. After his shooter’s touch and a bit of luck net him a mid-range pull-up, Stauskas drives the lane and hits the and-1 layup after Andrew Harrison attempts to draw the charge. Finally, Stauskas gets his hands on the ball after it’s fumbled by Dakari Johnson and pushes it the other way. It looked like he had Derrick Walton on the fast break, but Stauskas pulls it out for a slick hesitation move on Aaron Harrison for the lay-in. In the first half, it was all Stauskas for Michigan, while it was all inside buckets for Kentucky.

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