Putting together the class of '17

There has been a lot of excellent discussion on the blog and in other threads about players we should go after in the class of '17 aside from Jordan Poole who has already committed. As much as we want to get really good players though, we also need to ensure that the class fills certain needs. To me, we need at least two forwards, one of whom should be capable of playing the 4 in Beilein’s system (with Irvin graduating, we’re likely going to need someone to give us immediate minutes there), and either a third forward or a PG/combo guard to spell Xavier Simpson. We also need at least one more shooter in addition to Poole (the truth is that in the last 3 classes, we haven’t gotten a great high school shooter) and an athletic wing, preferably one capable of guarding both 2s and 3s. How do we shoehorn those needs into what is likely to be a 4 person group? And how do we balance guys we’ve prioritized with a need to ensure that we get solid/immediate contributors in areas of need (John Beilein has usually given guys we’ve prioritized until late summer/early fall to drop, but when they haven’t, he has pulled the trigger on other guys–dropping Jalen Coleman-Lands for Duncan Robinson and Cassius Winston for Xavier Simpson are two recent examples)?

It’s going to be a very interesting summer in many respects. Justin Smith will be visiting with his team–do you wait to push for/offer him while waiting for Jamal Cain to decide, pursue him with a first to commit gets the spot, take them both if they want to come and possibly write off a guard and/or more highly rated guys like Wilkes or Kimani Lawrence, or keep adding names in the event we get neither? At the combo/4 spot, we have clearly prioritized Jaren Jackson and Kyle Young to date–how do we treat guys like Isaiah Livers, Donnie Tillmon or others? Could Lawrence, if he’s really interested, be a 4? Could Anthony Gaines be a guy in the mix (I know he’s really short for the position, but that hasn’t stopped Beilein before)? How do those guys mesh–would Gaines, for example, be a more realistic priority if we got two other guys who could shoot (or conversely, would Livers or Brad Davison be more attractive if our next recruit or two are really athletic)? And under any circumstances, do we ensure that there is a spot or spots for “difference makers” if we have a realistic shot of getting them?

Curious about people’s views on these things. I think it’s early for a “Best Guess Class,” but if anyone wants to hazard a guess…

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I like this… Sort of forces people to come up with a realistic wish list.

Who is going to be first with their list? :slight_smile:

Would Wilkes and Cain be mutually exclusive? If so, is bringing in Wilkes just a way of getting Cain to hurry up? If it were up to me, I would take both.

For the four, I’d like to see Jackson as a priority and Tillman as a Plan B. I realize I’m overlooking the most obvious name but if the point of the exercise was to agree on everything, it wouldn’t be much fun, would it?

I like livers. I’ve posted a few times on this. Out of names that have mentioned us that I know that I like
Jackson( is he realistic still?)
Dawson ( I believe is his name) looked pretty good

All these kids would be acceptable to me. I have personal favorites I’ve spotted to that we’re not linked to us that I’d love to get involved with. I’d love to offer a few more. Personally I’d probably drop donnals fifth year so we have four more spots to work with besides Jordan unless the last recruit was clearly inferior talent wise now and in the long run. Position wise then along with Jordan take

Then another 3/4 tweener.

My list is similar. I would prefer Young to Tillman, though I like the idea of (if we miss out on Jackson), going all out for Tillman and avoiding the competition for Young. Usually I would be against laying down and letting MSU and OSU fight it out for a good recruit, but I think Tillman is good enough that taking the (over-simplifying) “bird in the hand” is a winning strategy, in this case. Also, I am hoping there will be room for a pg, though I like our chances of getting a top tier 2018 pg better, because X will be one more year closer to handing over the reins.

If Tillman’s game is like Draymond’s like some have stated, then he’ll be fine because he gives us position versatility by playing/guarding 3s and 4s.

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Good topic. A plausible 4 has to be the top priority.

Wilson is the only 4 on the roster with 2017 eligibility. It’s anyone’s guess what caliber of player he’ll be a year from now—he could be anything from starter-quality to unplayable. So, best-case scenario, we’ll need someone to back him up; worst-case we’ll need someone to take over the position.

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I agree with what you said about a four man being the top priority. I’d like to get a true four and someone who can play there in a pinch.

Young is the obvious top priority there and he’d be a perfect fit as more of a true four man than Michigan has had in years (that can step out and hit the three). Add Cain to the mix with Young and you feel pretty good on the wings.

I think I’m also in the camp that would like to add another guard though for depth and like the idea of either a true shooter (Davison) or more of an athletic combo who could replace MAAR.

The problem here, as @MHoops1 alluded to, is that I’m not sure how long you can wait for Young – especially with all of his new offers – without starting to prioritize/offer some other prospects.

An early Kyle Young commitment would be so huge, think everyone agrees the 4 spot is biggest need but seems like most of the new targets are on the wing or guard. Who else is targets at the 4 besides Tillman and Livers?

It’s a pipe dream but hope the staff really gets after Lawrence and Samuels, can add Wilkes to that list as well.

Do whatever you can to get Wilkes, regardless of who’s returning or enrolling for 17.
He has talent.


And now, just a day later, more questions. How does the possible recruitment of Matthews impact recruiting in '17? If we get him, does that make the wings who are athletes but not really shooters/perimeter players (Smith? Gaines for sure) less significant, and increase the need to get guys with perimeter skills for the other positions? Does it reduce the number of scholarships we would have in '17, or simply ensure that either there is attrition or Donnal doesn’t get a fifth year?

Recruiting is fluid.

I’d think that Matthews would make Young a priority and a class of Poole/Matthews/Young would be pretty sick.

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That’s fair. It’s also why getting a guy like Jamal Cain–one who can fit within both categories ala Tim Hardaway–has been made a priority.

Matt, is there any concern on the part of Jamal or his family that he might wait himself into Seth Towns territory, i.e., teams he really likes (in that case, OSU and Michigan, in this case, perhaps Michigan and Xavier, each of whom is purportedly in the mix for Matthews) fill up at his position? As much as he is a priority at this time (and, IMO, should be, as he is a great fit), he’s a Top 70 kid, not a Top 20 kid. The latter can wait as long as they want–there will always be a place made for them by teams of choice. With the former, it is more of a gamble.

That’s been my point with Jamal, and why I think adding a guy like that is so important. You get the shooting that JB loves, athleticism to finish around the rim, and ballhandling that can be developed into a PnR threat. All the while he’s an above average/good rebounder for a wing. He just fills so many of our needs (namely athleticism/finishing around the rim and decent perimeter defense), its hard not to like the fit with Jamal.

MHoops - without giving away too much, I think Jamal (as most recruits that are top 70ish) will wait until after the July evaluation period before ‘trimming the list’ so to speak. Really need a full picture before any concrete decisions come to fruition. UM definitely in the mix though

Sounds like a smart plan for Cain. His offer list has been slightly strange to me – no offers from regional schools, some with a heavy Michigan presence, is perplexing: no Iowa or ISU, for instance? No serious interest from Wiscy or NU? Maybe they think he’s a Michigan lock or something. Might as well see what’s out there for a little bit longer, and you never know if you might catch the eye of a national power. It’s also easy to wait when multiple spots are available at what appear to be his top couple of schools. If that were to change, say Matthews transfers in, there would be more pressure.

Matt, I understand you’re limited in what you can say. That said, here’s where I see a potential problem with needing “a full picture”–the only things which can seemingly be added to “the picture” would be who else he gets offers from and/or additions via commitments to the rosters of the teams in the mix. If it’s the former, and he really wants to go, or even strongly consider, a school which hasn’t yet pulled the trigger, that’s fine for him, but at that point, the schools which have offered early might be wise to reprioritize, since he might be hoping for something else. If it’s the latter, well, as you say, most top 70ish kids won’t pull the trigger, so he may not get much information, but if they do, it may be in a direction which would leave him out of a school he might wish to attend.

I’m not saying that Jamal shouldn’t take all the time he needs to make the appropriate college decision for himself and his family. I am saying that taking his time is not without its own risk. If he judges that risk to be less than the benefit he will gain by having a “full picture,” he should absolutely take his time. In a similar vein though, if his schools of choice decide that the risk of holding a slot for him is too great when compared to the benefit they will gain from taking another player who is ready to commit (as Michigan has done in recent times with Coleman-Lands/Robinson and Winston/Simpson), the choice he wants to make could be restricted.

On the questions on 'what will wilkes interest do to cain?" or “what will matthews entering the discussion do to wilkes?”, I (strangely) side with JB on the premise of: Michigan isn’t in a position to take blind risks and needs spread the opportunity to multiple options rather than be at the whims of a single 17y old’s decision (a la X vs Cassius). If anyone feels threatened, they can accept their offer, and we can plan around them, but until they do…

I like the number of medium to high probability guys in the 17 pool. If he doesn’t put too many eggs in any one basket, we should net something pretty solid.

Yeah, you have to figure this is what happened to Towns, too. Harvard is a great landing spot - for academics. Michigan is a great landing spot for both basketball and academics.

Yeah, it’s weird to me that instate kids with a Michigan or MSU offer would take things out unless a Duke, Kentucky, or Kansas is about to come calling. And even then, I’d put more stock in JB’s ability to get a kid rated in the 70s to the NBA than any of those coaches’ ability to do the same.

Given Cain’s current offer list, I think we’re the top basketball and academic school after him. And his family can watch him play here. Seems like the logical choice to me. We’ll see what happens.

I think we’ll always hold a spot (likely Donnal not getting fifth year) for a Wilkes, Bowen, or even a Jaren Jackson, even if we have four commits before that. I see us taking Poole, Cain (if he commits), a guard (maybe this new kid we’re looking at), a four (Young, Tillman, maybe Justin Smith), and then saving a spot for any of Wilkes, Jackson, Bowen, or Kimari Lawrence, all of whom will be tough to get.

even w/o the five star holding spot, i’d be doing backflips for the higher end of each of those positional lists and if we were to, say, get 3 of poole/cain/matthews/young I would bet that some of the others in the 5star list would take us a lot more seriously.

This is shaping up really well. Best since '12 if things start to convert. next few months will be interesting