Where Are They Now? Evaluation Revisited

Obviously everyone is pretty disappointed with the season so far. In an effort to essentially get the collective minds of the board somewhere else, thought it would be pretty interesting to compare prospects production in relation to where we projected said recruits in high school.

I’ll start it off by limiting my evals from 2014 onward, with only my missed evals:


Kam Chatman - I most certainly thought he’d be instant impact with his combination of size, passing acumen and ballhandling. Thought it would take him a while to adjust on defense, but I’d be lying to say I didn’t totally whiff on his eval on the offensive side.

Dillon Brooks - didn’t think there was any way his bully ball game would translate to college based on a lack of size and skill. 3 years later and he’s averaged double digit points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists since he was a freshman. Safe to say I whiffed here. His motor is absolutely nuts, but his spatial awareness surpassed everything I could ever imagine

Devin Booker - thought he was extremely overrated as a 5star in HS. Thought he was more of a backend top 100 guy based on lack of ballhandling and athleticism. Fast forward three years and the guy was a one and done, and averaging nearly 20ppg in the NBA. Yeah, I’d say that’s a whif.

Vince Edwards - projected him as a tweener that lacked the skill to play the wing, thought he would be a rotational player, but certainly not an impact player. Fast forward three year and Edwards is averaging 12ppg, 5rebs, and 3.5asst in a point forward role on 45% shooting. I’d say that’s plenty enough skill


Jalen Brunson - thought he was far too unathletic to be a difference maker in college. In his sophomore year he’s putting up 14ppg and 4asst on nearly 45% from distance on one of the best teams in the country.


Xavier Simpson - thought he’d be a better offensive version of Derrick Walton in the halfcourt offense with the ability to hit elbow jumpshots and floaters. Didn’t necessarily think he’d be great as a freshman, but much better than he is now

TJ Leaf - thought he was good, but not top 20 good. Thought he had above average skills, but not particularly good at anything, in conjunction with not being a great athlete. Thought it would take him a few years to develop. I’d say averaging 17ppg, 9rebs, 3asst sort of bucked my eval

I’m sure there are others, just wanted to get the discussion started

I’m a Toledo guy, so don’t see alot in person.

If you would have asked me who’d have a better college career - Marc Loving or Nigel Hayes - I would have said Loving. He was very smooth and looked effortless playing for St. Johns in high school. Thought he would be very good at Ohio St. I thought Hayes was mostly good because he could just bully everyone in the TRAC. Thought Vitto Brown might be the better Wisconsin recruit from the Toledo are that recruiting class.

Vince Edwards has been a total head scratcher to me. Not only has he produced but he produced immediately. I thought he was too skinny and not a good enough shot.

Brunson gets it done but he still looks so slow and pudgy to me haha

Devin Booker - I always thought he’d be a nice C&S guy in college but he’s shown a lot of athleticism.

…I always thought Devin Robinson was a big miss for us and thought he would be a star. He’s not bad but struggles (even before his injury).

Ibi Watson - I guess we all hoped he would be the next Levert, especially after the 41pts in the Ohio all star game in HS. Similar size and rating to Levert coming in yet the guy just doesn’t seem to have it. Can’t even get playing time to improve in blowouts either way, and hard to believe he can’t beat out Lonergan.

Aubrey Dawkins - looked like the most athletic player on the team. I don’t see much mention of missing him but he would occasionally come in and catch fire. Although like the current players he had no motivation to play defense.

For what little it’s worth – and you know I value your contributions more than just about anything around here – I think you were wrong about Jamal Murray (who we sometimes forget was a Michigan target). He set a bunch of freshman records at UK despite having no front court and being frequently doubled.

Other than that, generally agree with your assessments. I wasn’t huge on Brunson either but he did seem to use his strength, shooting, and craftiness to put up great games against solid competition in HS. I figured he’d be solid at least.

T.J. Leaf might be a 1st or 2nd team All American as a freshman.

Can certainly add Murray to my extensive list. Thought he would be good but certainly not what ended up being

Wondering who everyone would rather have. Dawkins or Duncan. I would take Dawkins because of his vertical and both shoot just as well and do not play defend much

Also do not forget he graduated high school a year early. Did all of that while younger then everyone.

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Is it too late for Jabril Peppers to join the team, get a few more positions under his belt? At least he’ll hustle and we know he can play defense.

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id prefer if we kept Aubrey period. But I like him more than Duncan. Really felt like we messed up by not pushing Aubrey to get more touches last year after his frosh year. I get his d sucks but so does everyone’s on this roster though. I think he could have been huge for this season. We really could use his boost shooting and offense. We have no bench so he’d be huge starting of moving Maar to the bench.

Speaking of football, if anyone wants to buy some Tate Forcier or Sam Mcguffee stock I have plenty left to go around!

I think it’s pretty admirable of you to acknowledge your misses.

But doesn’t it, at least a little, cause you to be less critical of JB? You regard yourself as a pretty good judge of talent (which is fine, I’m not taking issue with that at all), and yet you’ve been wrong plenty. Even coaches that have a pretty good eye for talent, and for which guys fit their system, are going to miss once in awhile. The only way to be consistently “right” in this business is to be like Duke, UK and KU, and recruit nothing but 5 and high 4 star kids, and even then many of them don’t pan out. (Matt Jones and Chase Jeter, for example, are nothing special for Duke).

By the way, I think Wilson should be #1 on your list. You were hammering that guy for YEARS. :slight_smile: And now it turns out he’s a real bright spot. Last night, I saw him do two things he really hasn’t before - (1) caught the ball on the pick and roll along the baseline, and shot a leaning 15-footer with perfect arc and made it; and (2) took about a three dribble drive from beyond the three point line and finished with a left-handed layup. He really continues to surprise.

I haven’t compiled my own list, mainly because I certainly don’t watch these kids live like you. But I will say in watching Derrick Walton’s high school film, I was very convinced he was going to be a college star - just seemed to be able to do it all.

On another note, here’s something weird. Two years ago, MAAR drives to the basket in a road game against Maryland and throws down a Russell Westrbook-lite dunk. For the past two years, he hasn’t done anything like that. In fact, even on breakaways, he usually just lays the ball in. Then last night again, out of nowhere, he drives hard, elevates WAY above the rim, and while he didn’t finish the dunk, got fouled. I just don’t get it. If he has that type of leaping ability, why is he not using it much more often?

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To answer your question, no it doesn’t make me less critical of John Beilein.

You can miss when it appears near unanimous that said recruit will be an impact player in your program (think Kam Chatman) and such a miss is more forgivable.

However, when you go after guys like Austin Davis, Duncan Robinson, Ibi Watson, Eli Brooks that clearly have red flags in either athleticism, skill, motor, size, and are not likely to be impact player for years to come, that is not forgivable when your entire roster needs a serious upgrade on an urgent basis.

In a nutshell, no, its not forgivable to miss 3 years in a row, either by virtue of misevaluation or lack of development.

I miss on evals no doubt, but I have to say the guys that I preferred that were seemingly attainable at the time would’ve helped this program to the extent that perhaps we’re not in the position we are right now.

I’m not going to go through a list of said players because I think my evaluation skills are at least semi-respectable to the point where a good portion of people would agree.

Fair enough.

In response, I’d argue Chatman, Irvin, and Walton all appeared to be impact players, and none of them have been. And that’s why we are where we are. A guy like Duncan Robinson would be perfect (well, at least offensively) if we had a Trey Burke or Nik Stauskas who could draw defenders and hit him for wide open shots on the wing. Of the guys you mention, I don’t think any were recruited to be stars.

You argue we can’t recruit those guys when our “entire roster needs a serious upgrade on an urgent basis.” But now you’re basically saying, go get five star talent right now. And I’m sure we would do it, if it were that easy.

I’m not sure we’ve missed entirely three years in a row - Wilson and Wagner have been solid finds.

But I do agree that 2016 hasn’t looked promising so far, and as we’ve discussed before, if we had just been able to get a few “Plan B” guys, we would be fine. A class of Aiken, Towns, Tyler Cook, and Huerter (none of whom, other than Towns, were ever Plan A targets) would look comparatively great right about now.

I think what happened was, we shot for the moon and got nothing. Kennard, Booker, Blackmon, Langford, Battle, Thornton, Leaf - all elite recruits who seemingly liked us, but we landed none of them.

We got a recruiting bump in the sense that prior to our strong two year run, we wouldn’t have gotten any attention from guys like that. But we didn’t close.

I do think JB has returned to his prior approach - top 50-150 type guys as Plan A, which hopefully means he’s scouted them better - and that may pay dividends. At least that’s the hope, obviously. We’ll see. I look forward to hearing what you have to say about Livers and DeJulius after this weekend.

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You mentioned Aiken, another guy I was HUGE on that would’ve had IMMEDIATE impact this year is Bruce Brown. I honestly think he might be starting over Walton at this very moment based on what I’ve seen from his this year. The Westbrook comparison with him was spot on. Those are the kind of guys that are attainable, but they aren’t knockdown shooters so JB simply doesn’t want them. Same thing with Goodin. That has to change, period.

That’s fair. I don’t know if Bruce Brown is really a point guard (1.8 assists a game this year), but he’s playing well.

Goodin was weird. After the 2014 camp, it was clear Thornton/Winston were our top targets, but Goodin was still good enough to grab an offer. Then once Thornton committed to Duke, we seemed to go “all in” on Winston - until Battle burned us, Simpson wanted to come, and Winston wouldn’t commit when we gave him the chance to do so ahead of Simpson.

I have to think if it was simply A versus B, we would have taken Goodin over Simpson. He’s been playing OK, we’ll see what he does over the next few years.

You must be talking about a different Bruce Brown. Bruce Brown of Miami is averaging 3.2asst per game with a 20.3 asst rate as a freshman

Did we have a realistic chance with Brown, and did we recruit Tyler Cook? Have seen him mentioned a couple times over the last week but don’t remember us recruiting him.

Brown - I have no inside info, but considering he went to Miami I’d have to assume we had a reasonable chance had JB shown legit interest. Brown isn’t a knockdown shooter and so JB passed…and ended up with a considerably worse shooter in X.

Cook - Yes, we recruited him briefly but amazingly never showed consistent interest. I knew that kid was going to be a stud.