2019 - G - Mark "Rocket" Watts (Former Target)


I didn’t mean to suggest that a 17-year old that believes he has the skills for the NBA is a bad teammate. And immediate playing time can be a good in it of itself, regardless of whether it leads to the NBA. Who doesn’t want to play? And there are plenty of reasons to play for teams other than Michigan, some “logical” and some “emotional,” nothing wrong with any of them (as long as they don’t break the rules of course).

But it is fairly well-known that JB approaches this “relationship-building” aspect of recruiting a little differently. I do think there’s a difference between telling a kid “we think you can be a guy who hunts shots in our offense and whoever is best will play,” and “you’re going to be big ten freshman of the year.” Doesn’t mean the kids who want option b are bad or wouldn’t do great at Michigan too.

And some depends on timing and class size. Michigan had some big and talented classes coming in at wing in '17 and '18. Carton could see the difference in depth charts at UM vs OSU.

p.s. No “bush league” opinions here.


Certain posters would argue to the death the shade of oranged that is a basketball.


Neither Beverly nor Watts are one and done talents. Let’s get real.

Second, Baylor is hardly Rutgers. (But as I say that, what a great example - how has being “the man” worked out for Corey Sanders?). They have good players and they’re not going to hand anything to anyone without it being earned.

You’re going to have to share the ball wherever you go, and usually it’s a good thing. How did sharing the ball work out for Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson, and Caris Levert when they all played together? Oh yeah - all of them looked great, we had an awesome offense, we made the Elite Eight, and all those guys made the NBA.

Playing for a successful team, in a good offense, where you show you’re a good passer in addition to being a good scorer, is seen as a good thing in the NBA. Everyone knows that if you shoot the ball 30 times a game, you’ll probably score 25 points. That’s not valued by the NBA at all. Efficiency and intelligence is.

Very few kids have the ability to be one-and-done first round draft picks. If that’s the mindset of either Beverly or Watts, that’s their first mistake. And their second mistake, if they happen to feel that way, is that sharing the ball or showing you’re a good teammate and a smart player is somehow detrimental. It’s the exact opposite. Coach Beilein doesn’t like turnovers? No kidding. Neither do the pros.

If kids in the 50-150 range are realistic about their present abilities, and which coaches can develop their skills and basketball IQ to a level where the pros want them, Michigan is a 100%, no-brainer choice over Baylor.


Thanks for the explanation. Makes more sense.


Well, Poole was playing behind a very good player (MAAR) and the team itself made the title game. Those are valid reasons, and any good coach would have treated it similarly.

And we have had TONS of freshmen stars who played immediately under JB. Manny, Trey, Nik, Hardaway, GR3, etc.


As a coach at the high school level, and close connection with a JUCO coach and former grad asst. at Baylor–I can tell you… pretty much every kid who is even lightly recruited in HS honestly believes they’re headed to the NBA. My best players always are sure they’re “going to make it”–even some of them who have matriculated to low tier JUCOs are still convinced. “Man, if I just get the right opportunity/coach/system to show my game…”

When you are that young, dominate often, have adult strangers making youtube vids/asking you for interviews, and have high profile coaches even in the same gym as you–you think it’s going to be easy. And, even the young athletes who are aware that their mid major offers/low tier power 5 means the odds are long, most are convinced that they are the exception. I think that confidence kind of comes with the territory as an elite athlete–not knocking it. All this is to say that we are going to be analyzing these decisions through a much different lens. Critiquing one’s choice becomes hard then.


Recruiting is about relationships and salesmanship.

Is this not universally known?


You’re misrepresenting what he said, which was “But what about the kids who think they already have NBA level skills?”

It doesn’t matter what the reality of the situation is, it only matters what they think.

As has been said several times in here, you bring up objectively good points for why Michigan would be a better situation in the long run. However, the 17 year old kids don’t always view things from the perspective that you do. He might think it’s a better situation to just be given the ball and be told “Hey, do something” even if it’s probably not for a guy like him. You don’t have to convince us of anything regarding the two schools and the odds of the NBA from each. He might also just dislike that he was a plan B here and a plan A there. Maybe he just connects with their coach more. There’s many reasons why one would choose somewhere over another.


Played immediately yes. Can you say they played 28+ minutes a game and shot 15+ shots per game?


Personal opinion: Watts is super talented, obviously sees himself as super talented (which I’d hope so, confidence is vital in the game at the collegiate level IMO), and probably sees an opportunity at one of the schools listed. I’m not surprised, especially at a place UCONN you know they’re preaching how they can develop his game to be like Kemba/Napier (even if none of their coaches are there).

With this being said, the Watts recruitment is not one to easily dissect. Who knows why he wants to go to any of the four places that are currently being discussed? Better opportunities, more play time, better atmosphere, more connections, maybe just a change of scenery! This doesn’t even mean that he dislikes Michigan/Ann Arbor/Coach B. Trying to break down a young man’s most important personal and professional decision of his life seems like it’s far more a can of worms than it’s worth before the person themselves gives some insight.


Probably the last guy to come in as a freshman and play that 15 shot a game role was Trey Burke. And obviously a lot of that was due to the situation.


I’d bet money both Watts and Beverly want to get to the NBA as fast as they can. I’d guess that’s more typical than not for the level of recruits Beilein wants. That doesn’t mean they are all convinced they will be one and dones, but the chance to do it is still going to be appealing to many. Sales pitches can reinforce their expectations. Beilein can make credible and strong two and done presentations. Those aren’t going to win out for some recruits that would actually be very good fits.

Of course, every PG expects and wants to pass the ball. But sharing the backcourt with a chucker like Poole may not be a draw. Following him if blows up and heads to the NBA probably would be. Just like we’re drawing more interest from bigs that want to play like Wagner, Poole’s success would help with players that want to play like him. Poole’s got the game and swagger that’s popular with fans and HS players alike. Recruiting is always going to have some ups and downs based on who is one the roster and who has recently left.

I agree, playing for a successful team is a draw. Fortunately, that’s working in Michigan’s favor now.

I’m not comfortable lumping #50 and #150 players together. Too big a difference in their offer sheets, likely sales pitches, etc. One thing many will have in common is the belief that they are underrated. One more reason their perspective on their NBA potential is going to be different than ours.


I just did a bit of digging, and, according to Sports Reference the last player to have double-digits attempts per game during their freshman seasons under Beilein was Burke (12 in 2011-12). In addition, the only other time a freshman led a Beilein team in FGA/G was 2007-08 and Manny Harris (13). Obviously I don’t think Watts is looking at stats saying “I wanna lead the team in field goal attempts per game” but IF that is something he’s interested in there is not really a track record of freshmen having free reign of the Michigan offense unless, like you said, out of necessity.


But there’s a huge difference between “free reign” and being a big contributor. Glenn Robinson and Mitch McGary both would have been first round picks if they had left after their freshman seasons. Neither guy was “the man” but both started (by the time of the tourney for Mitch), played well, and benefited greatly from being part of an excellent team and playing with other good players who helped them showcase their talents.

Corey Sanders is a perfect example of a guy who wanted to be “the man,” and have the ball in his hands all the time, and for my money it hasn’t worked out at all. He’s scored a lot of points, but he’s a terribly inefficient player - poor shooter, and turns it over all the time. And the NBA isn’t interested. You put him in a system like Michigan’s, and instill some better discipline with the ball and better shot selection (and give him better teammates to take the pressure off him), and he’s a much better NBA prospect.


Totally. I think Corey Sanders in Michigan’s system is a pro all the way.


I understand kids often have unrealistic expectations. The adults in their lives ought to be helping in that regard. Many of the schools Beverly and Watts are considering, IMO, are not going to help them get where they want to go, and I don’t think it’s that hard to figure out.

And it’s crazy that everyone is in such a hurry to leave school. When a kid is a lock for the first round, and especially the lottery, they should absolutely go.

But most guys are not one and done talents, and you see guys all the time rated as “second round to undrafted” who are leaving early. Not good choices, unless they want to play overseas.


There’s a big gap between Corey Sanders and any normal situation. LOL. Sanders is closer to the And1 Mixtape Tour than the NBA – wherever he ended up at school.

Seeing a better opportunity to play a certain way (uptempo, ball screen offense, lots of set plays, full court pressure) isn’t a crime. Thinking that you fit better in one system than another doesn’t make you Corey Sanders.

The point to all of this @LosAngelesWolverine1 that you still don’t quite seem to be grasping is that recruiting talk isn’t about the facts and proving that Michigan’s system is great or any other system is great. It isn’t about what should make sense, it is about how well coaches convince a player and the decision makers around him that their school is a fit.

And figuring out what really matters to a kid and who really matters to a decision is a very important part of the deal.


You are right. I said in the thread above I believe that I wasn’t giving hard facts behind why whomever is speculated to be the favorites, but was just giving some hypothetical reasons that are more positive reasoning than something more negative like say, taking money. I don’t wanna jump to those negative conclusions because there is a strong chance they are not true and we won’t hoenstly know anyway unless something got released to the public. I don’t want to put a kid in that negative spotlight if it is not truly warranted.


Litigators gonna litigate.


As for believing Watts and Beverly are possibly leaning elsewhere because they think they are one and dones…I can vouch and say for a fact that Beverly doesn’t think he is that. He wants a successful college career and a family environment among many other factors that puts him in a spot to make it to the league. He isn’t all hellbent on Nba or bust. He’s just enjoying what he has in the present and working hard and then whatever happens down the road happens. I can’t speak on Watts’ behalf but for Beverly I know the one and done notion is very misguided.