If you thought Andy Katz was crazy before, he’s not giving you any reason to change your mind. After early entries he has moved Michigan up to ninth in his latest preseason rankings.
The Wolverines make for a strong three-team race at the top of the Big Ten with Michigan State and Purdue. Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims decided to go back to Ann Arbor and weren’t tempted by false hope in the draft. As a result, Michigan should have its strongest team in years.
We should be good next year but I’m still not ready to put us close to the top 10. But hey, all those recruits that want to play for a top 10 team should commit now while Michigan still qualifies.
East Coast Bias?
I saw the idea of bias thrown around in the comments yesterday and apparently it comes from this tidbit from Brian over at MGoBlog.
I’m getting a little skeptical of these reports from NERR because identical ones are showing up at Scott Hazelton’s site. Hazelton runs a basketball school/camp sort of business and Smotrycz is a protégé. The glowing reports might not be 100% fair and balanced, then. Might want to scale those down to places where Smotrycz is not a titan astride basketball.
That’s not to say the last two weeks haven’t been very good for public perception of Smotrycz’s game: every national pundit who’s offered an opinion has been extremely positive, and most have brought him up apropos of nothing except his ability to ball.
I’m not sure what exactly Brian is thinking here but I want to make it clear that the reports are coming from New England Recruiting Report, NBE, Scout, and wherever else. They are not coming from Scott Hazelton. The Hazelton blog is essentially quoting people including Evan Daniels (Scout.com), Reggie Rankin (ESPN), Clark Francis (Hoopscoop) among others who have seen the Mass Rivals play.
The one area where NERR and NBE might be a bit biased is in the sense that they probably are looking for Smotrycz before the national sites. They focus on the east coast so it’s only natural that they pay closer attention to the east coast kids. The bottom line is that these reports aren’t coming from an AAU or camp coach, they are coming from numerous scouting services. Because we have seen such similar reports coming from regional and national sites, I feel pretty comfortable with the reports that Smotrycz is playing exceptionally well.
With Smotrycz in the fold and the news that the Regan recruitment appears to be cooling off I think it’s time to take another look at how the roster breaks down over the next few years.
2010-2011 — Sorted by Age
Guards (1/2): Laval Lucas-Perry (Jr.), Stuart Douglass (Jr.), Darius Morris (So.), Matt Vogrich (So.)
Wing (3): Manny Harris (Sr.), Zack Novak (Jr.)
Big Wing (4): Anthony Wright (Sr.), Blake McLimans (So.), Evan Smotrycz (Fr.)
Bigs (5): Ben Cronin (So.), Jordan Morgan (So.)
Manny Harris’ status is obviously up in the air which leaves a gaping hole on the wing. With two scholarships available, three if Manny leaves, it appears clear that at least one of those has to go to a wing. Because there are limited scholarships in the class of 2011 I think Michigan will stick to a three man class in 2010.
There are four big men tied up in the classes of 2009 and 2010 with McLimans, Smotrycz, Cronin, and Morgan. After following Will Regan’s play through the last high school season I am convinced that he is a very good prospect and will be a contributor somewhere. The math just doesn’t make sense to include him in this class. I think Michigan has to use their remaining two scholarships on back-court/wing players.
In the class of 2011 there are tons of talented in-state prospects. Big man Amir Williams has scouts drooling over his abilities and Carlton Brundidge can put points up in a hurry. With a three man class in 2010, Michigan will have two scholarships to give in 2011.