2017 - F - Justin Smith (Target)

Figured I would add Smith to the mix because he put UM in his top 7 - IU, UM, Xavier, Wisconsin, Stanford, Villanova, and Illinois


The upcoming visit should be very interesting. I’d expect him to be offered and then you start to wonder if anyone will accelerate their timeframes. Smith seemed to take his game to the next level over the last couple of weeks of July and that’s intriguing.

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Curious, do most of you guys see Smith as a significant drop below Cain in talent?

No, not at all. Cain shoots better than Smith and puts it on the floor better, but Smith is a superior athlete (Cain is a very good leaper, but Smith is even better, and he has better body control and lateral quickness), appears to be a better passer, and has a more developed body (though neither is exactly cut at this point). Smith is actually ranked higher by most (though not all) services–some considerably higher–and has a better offer list. I have seen Smith live and Cain only per film, so it’s not a fair comparison, but I’d say they’re very similarly talented in my view.

Although I would prefer the home grown talent of Cain, I don’t think we could quibble over Smith taking the spot if he is offered. To me the talent is to close to not take the bird in hand. The only attributes I see that Smith has over Cain is as MHoops1 has stated is athletic ability and quickness. I really love Cain’s length and I think he can handle enough to get his shot off more consistently. I am in no way an expert and have only seen both on film/video.

I agree. Since the spot is likely for a “3” I would rather have Cain but I’d take Smith if he’s ready to commit.

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Not bad problems to have

Some thoughts on Smith

  • Great athlete overall and that’s why I would take him. He’s also really strong in the upper body.
  • He didn’t shoot the ball well on the EYBL circuit and wasn’t great finishing around the rim. Mac Irvin Fire was not good and both him and Poole have pretty average shooting numbers across the board.
  • Seems like Smith really elevated his game in the two weeks after Peach Jam though and that’s encouraging.
  • Looks like a good slasher and shows some ability to put the ball on the floor and slash to the rim.
  • Worth noting that Smith has probably the better offer list and ratings than Cain.
  • For whatever reason Cain shoots almost all of his threes from the corners and is pretty good (in EYBL) and Smith really struggled from the corners.

I think both Cain and Smith would both add something to the wing at Michigan. Not sure either of them is going to be a top-level creator for others at that spot. They have the offensive makings more of a guy at the four spot than the three, although the differences offensively there are minimal at Michigan. Smith is a little stronger so maybe a bit more versatile defensively, but I’d still like to take more of a true four.

Here’s some additional summer footage

Does the coaching staff still have Jamal Cain higher up on their board (I assume he is based on receiving his offer well before Smith who expects one here coming up).

I know these guys want to take visits and commit on their own timeline, but the coaching staff has to manage that difficult line between being patient and being proactive at the same time.

If it comes down to a Smith vs Cain option, I think Cain’s skillset fits team needs better with the other pieces already projected to be on the roster. I think both can be good rotational players for Coach Beilein’s system, but with Irvin’s eligibility expiring after this season and Robinson’s expiring after '17-18, I see a potential hole in outside shooting from the wing position. Matthews is more slasher/finsh around the rim than outside threat. The likely options for UM at the “4” in this recruiting cycle aren’t dead-eye distance shooters. Teske & Davis are more “inside the paint” scorers than stretch-post options.

Smith’s scouting report reads more like Matthews than Irvin.

Again, I think either would be a fine rotational player in our system; just trying to project team skillset strenghts/weaknesses.

Do you think if the Matthews transfer didn’t happen, Michigan takes both easily? They still could, but some attrition would need to take place.

Not saying your saying it negatively but I prefer Mathews to both all day. Mathews plus one is better than both together all day


Smith’s scouting report reads like GR3’s more than either of those guys IMO.


I 100% agree - I am just trying to figure out how all this plays out.

Smith is going to get offered. What if he wants to commit right away or soon after. Do you call Cain and tell him, you are Option 1 and tell him, please we need you on board now.

If Smith wants to commit, you have to accept. It’d be like taking Simpson when he wanted to commit. It’d be nice to get the local player and I would love to get every good player out of Detroit, but if Smith is ready, he’s good enough to take immediately. Plus he seems to really fit academically and he’s played with Poole.

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If the Winston/Simpson scenario is any indicator, they’ll probably call Cain before Smith arrives and tell him the situation. Not a “pressure” per se, but just being real about how, once they offer Smith, that spot is up for grabs.


I don’t really see the comparison to that situation.

It’s not like Cain is the only wing that they’ve been recruiting. There’s a long list of offers and more will probably go out.

With Cassius they had made a big point to emphasis that he was the main PG that they were recruiting.

The similarity would be if Smith is a probability to commit soon after he is offered on his visit. You might give Cain a heads up. OTOH, they may not have a strong preference between the two and would just let it play out.

here are some highlights of smith from the nba top 100 camp. I think there are some of the same highlights in both, but with some different angles

Is he a real 6 7? I actually think he’s better than Cain or very close too. Thing is Cain might be a better fit. Smith is a better athlete/ smoother as some have stated bu Cain is longer/ more skilled and looks like a more complete player.