Last year at this time, I was hoping for Keita Bates-Diop as a perfect fit at the 4. Of course then he committed to OSU. For awhile, there was no one comparable on the radar until it looked like Looney might be recruitable and therefore a great option. Of course he just dropped us. Vince Edwards looks like he’s going to Purdue, and he’s not in the same league as them anyway. So here are my favorites, in order, to fill that spot (and I believe a 4 is Michigan’s biggest need in the 2014 class):
Jonah Bolden - I’m buying the hype on him. I think he is as perfect a fit as Looney would have been. He has the athleticism, length, agility, shooting ability, and what looks like a natural feel for the game. It looks like he can add some muscle to that frame. He might even be able to handle the players like Perry Ellis or Chane Behanan a little better than GRIII. He is also a Michigan fan with connections to the program. He will also be playing high school ball with Derryck Thornton. Perfect fit, IMO.
Devin Robinson - Possesses most of the positive attributes as Bolden but skinnier and not as broad shoulders. But he’s obviously very good and would be a huge get. I think Michigan might be coming in too late to his recruitment.
Donte Grantham - Like the above two, I really like his combination of size and ability to stretch the floor with his outside shooting. Looks like a smart player.
Kameron Chatman - I don’t really consider him a 4, but he’s got a strong lower body and as we all know is very versatile. I’m not saying he is the 4th best player on this list (definitely higher, maybe the best), but my 4th option to fill the 4 spot, the biggest need. Excellent rebounder and passer for his size.
Josh Cunningham - Like Chatman, I don’t think he’s a 4, but he looks bigger in the upper body with some athleticism to boot.
D.J. Wilson - Decent player, but if you thought any of the above players was skinny, Wilson takes it (skinniness) to another level.
If Edwards is still an option, I’d put him at around 4 in the above list. Very versatile and does a lot of things well, but not great. He looks like he’s a competitor too and I wish him the best at Purdue if he does end up going there.
At this point, I’m starting to think the more likely scenario is for UM to land Jaylen Johnson which would cancel out everybody else on this list. Unless of course Bluiett heads elsewhere which I think is unlikely. I’m thinking the next 2 months could be a commitment-palooza with Bluiett, Booker, Coleman, and then a 2014 PF.
I think if Michigan were to get Jaylen Johnson, it would mean two things: (1) my very limited knowledge has led me to a misinformed opinion of how he would fit in Michigan’s offense and (2) we would probably stop recruiting Bolden (to my disappointment), Robinson, Grantham, and Wilson. But I don’t think we would stop our recruitment or interest in Chatman and possibly Cunningham because I think those two can easily play a wing position. Especially Chatman with his skill level.
I'm thinking the next 2 months could be a commitment-palooza with Bluiett, Booker, Coleman, and then a 2014 PF.
That would certainly be a nice haul. I would be very OK with that set of committments if they were to happen. The highlight vid of Coleman on the blog really showcased a lot more of Coleman’s game than I had previously known about. Kid can get his shot anywhere on the floor or dish if need be.
I’ve been thinking of Johnson’s recruitment a little differently since my last post - and it looks like some gentlemen I respect on the Rivals message board agree. I’m guessing Michigan is recruiting Jaylen Johnson as a 5. And that they’ll continue to recruit a combo forward like Bolden. I mean, they’re going to lose Morgan, McGary, and GRIII, so it only makes sense they would bring in (2) 5’s and a 4. I’m guessing they could redshirt either Johnson or Doyle, but I think it’s obvious that the staff believes - as do I - that you never save scholarships so long as you can find good options. So they’re not going to bank a 2014 scholarship if they can get Johnson.
I actually agree with this line of thinking but I also think it impacts Booker and Bluiett. I don’t think we have room Doyle, Johnson, a stretch 4, Booker, and Bluiett. I think Booker or Bluiett would get squeezed if we took Johnson and a combo forward like Bolden.
I actually agree with this line of thinking but I also think it impacts Booker and Bluiett. I don't think we have room Doyle, Johnson, a stretch 4, Booker, and Bluiett. I think Booker or Bluiett would get squeezed if we took Johnson and a combo forward like Bolden.
I agree; but I also believe we don’t need both Booker and Bluiett. I like either of them.
At this point, we only have one open spot in the class of 2014, so not sure how we take commitments from 2 or three of the guys on people’s wish lists. Other spots may open up because of early departures, but we won’t know if or how many until next April.
At this point, we only have one open spot in the class of 2014, so not sure how we take commitments from 2 or three of the guys on people's wish lists. Other spots may open up because of early departures, but we won't know if or how many until next April.
Definitely a tricky situation. It appears with the work Robinson and McGary are putting in, that they are preparing for the '14 draft. I know this coaching staff plays by the book, but I’ve got to think they’re being forthright with the recruits. They have to be prepared for both McGary and Robinson to leave after this year. I think they can safely take commitments from 3 more players but I don’t know what they can do regarding receiving written letters of intent. Does anyone know the rule on that?
Well, I think they’ve been in that situation before, and transfers had everything work out OK, but you put yourself in a tough spot if you get too many commitments and the guys you expect to leave don’t. If things go as expected, you would anticipate McGary and Robinson going in the draft next year, but there is always the possibility of an injury that would keep one of them out most of the year and induce them to stay in college for a third season. It’s also possible (though less likely) that Irvin and Walton might flirt with the draft. That would leave anywhere from 1 to 4 mores spots to fill, so the coaches have to walk a tightrope, not over-committing, but not getting caught short, either, and not knowing for sure how many spots they actually have to fill until well after signing day.
We’re in kind of an in-between situation, where we are in the running for some top level recruits, but don’t have the prestige of a Kentucky or a Kansas, where elite recruits would wait around for a spot with us.
Thought I’d revisit the topic since a lot has happened since the original post a couple months ago. Again, I thought the 4 was the biggest need for the 2014 class. I will also opine that the 4 and 5 positions WILL take a step back from this year’s squad to next year’s, and now I think the 5 position will have the biggest regression (more on that in a later post, but now I’m wishing the Jaylen Johnson recruitment would have gone differently). When I originally posted, we had already lost out on Kevon Looney. Without further ado, here is what my ranking of players was at that time who could best fill the stretch 4 position.
Jonah Bolden - After watching a lot more tape of both Bolden and Looney, I definitely think Bolden (at this point) is a step down from Looney. Bolden may be the better shooter and more willing passer - especially in the open court, but Looney is better everywhere else. But I am glad Bolden is still on the table and hope we continue recruiting him and get him. My biggest hope is that he thrives on a stacked Findlay Prep team, improves his assertiveness, ability to attack the basket, ability to create, and tries to always guard the opponents best 3, 4, or 5 man.
Devin Robinson - Dropped Michigan. Could go to IU. He’ll be good in any system.
Donte Grantham - Going to Clemson. Probably would have been one of our better defensive options to fill the spot because of his mature body.
Kameron Chatman - I said I didn’t really consider him a 4, but at this point, am SO glad we got him. With Kam at 4, I think our offense in '14-'15 might rival our offense this past season. Walton will be a sophomore, etc… I think it will be a thing of efficient beauty. We know GRIII’s weakness was post defense (see Ryan Evans, Perry Ellis, Chane Behanan), and Kam would probably have similar struggles, BUT his dad said he might grow another inch and he already has a similar wing span to GRIII. It’s also possible he could play better position defense than GRIII as a freshman…I haven’t seen enough video to know. And like I said, offensively, he will help make us hum.
Josh Cunningham - Have no idea about him…he was obviously someone they were looking at a couple months ago, maybe as a plan E?
D.J. Wilson - I don’t think Wilson has been discussed enough on this site. Kidding. But for what it’s worth, like Bolden, he definitely needs to work on his assertiveness. I don’t think he’ll play much as a freshman, unless he really improves this year. The good thing is, like most people, I think he can improve. I think added muscle and time working with a basketball trainer could give him a lot more confidence. I definitely think he has more of a knack for blocking shots than Bolden (less than Looney). I am really happy he is at Michigan and at the very least will be one of those players who give the program stability and potentially could become a very good player.