Michigan State Basketball: Breaking Down Spartans’ Top Targets in Class of 2015

Extending offers is the easy part for Michigan State coach Tom Izzo. But getting prospects to sign—the ones he really wants—has been a challenge.

In recent years, the veteran Spartans coach has slipped a bit on the recruiting trails, failing to snag big-time talents—such as Cliff Alexander and Jabari Parker—who were thought to be locks for East Lansing.

However, Izzo’s regrouped, moved forward and has shown shades of old by gaining commitments from Kyle Ahrens, a modestly rated wing/shooter with immense promise, and Deyonta Davis, a 5-star stretch 4 who could be the second coming of Adreian Payne.

As usual, there are several maybes floating around the recruiting land, with Caleb Swanigan—a gritty, 6’8”, 265-pounder out of Muskegon—being on top of that list.

And speaking of said list, it’s time to review.

 

What Will It Be, Hank?

Henry Ellenson brings a few things to the table, with versatility being his strength. The 6’10”, 230-pound Rice Lake (Wisc.) senior is the No. 4-ranked power forward of 2015, per 247Sports, warranting a 5-star grade.

During a recent interview with Sports in the Mitten, SpartanMag.com’s Paul Konyndyk detailed Ellenson’s progression, along with his roughly four-year relationship with Izzo. Michigan State “really likes” Ellenson, who is supposed to visit Sept. 20 when Spartans football hosts Eastern Michigan.

According to Ben Roberts of Next Cats, a Kentucky recruiting blog, Ellenson met with Kentucky, Michigan State and Marquette this week, his three finalists.

At one time, Ellenson, who impressed this past summer during the Peach Jam in Georgia, was closer to 260 pounds, but he shed a few and began playing away from the basket more often.

According to Konyndyk, Ellenson’s favorite player is Carmelo Anthony. But that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s trying to mimic the New York Knicks star.

Ellenson’s transformation could be a great thing, and it could be a bad thing: His weight loss could cost him spacing in the paint. Should he choose the Spartans, he’ll be toe-to-toe with guys who, on the low end, will have a significant advantage on the scale.

That idea applies to most conferences, actually. But the Big Ten is known for black and blue. Whether that’s an issue depends on how he’s used.

The Spartans need a player like Ellenson to boost the frontcourt, not necessarily score from the perimeter and drive the lane like Melo.

 

Intermission

The thought of Eric Davis joining Michigan State makes sense. Izzo routinely gets the best in the state, so to entertain the idea of the Saginaw Arthur Hill star running the floor at the Breslin wouldn’t be crazy.

Nor would it be crazy to think that he’ll stay in the state, as the Wolverines have also been hot on his trail. 

However, North Carolina State and Texas have a decent shot at landing the services of the nation’s No. 10-ranked shooting guard. It’s rare, but it happens. It looks like Davis—a 6’3″, 172-pounder—could go south. 

He’s supposed to make his decision Tuesday, per Jeremy Mauss of MWCConnection.com: 

 

Green and White Nik Stauskas?

Spartans followers are familiar with former Michigan star Nik Stauskas.

As a matter of fact, everyone in college basketball has at least heard of the sharpshooter who won the 2014 Big Ten Player of the Year award after making one of the greatest single-season leaps in league history. 

There won’t be another quite like him, but there could be a Stauskas-like player headed toward Michigan State: Matthew McQuaid, a 4-star prospect out of Duncanville High (Texas). The 6’5”, 175-pounder is the No. 19-ranked shooting guard of 2015 (No. 67 overall).

However, he’s more than a shooter, evidenced by the video above from Texas Hoops. 

 

Smooth with Swanigan?

Getting the Fort Wayne Homestead big man would be mission accomplished for Izzo, who desperately needs another rough-and-tumble guy to throw around size down low, own the boards and tout attitude to match. That seems to be Swanigan, who’d bump like Derrick Nix and power finesse like Delvon Roe. 

The 6’8″, 265-pounder is an ideal fit for Michigan State, but he’s not guaranteed by any stretch.

But Spartans recruiting followers have been envisioning a powerful tandem in the middle, anchored by Swanigan and complemented by his AAU teammate, who’s already committed. Spartan Recruits is all about the potential duo:

 

Follow Bleacher Report’s Michigan State Spartans basketball writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81

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NBA’s Sophomore Class in Position to Redeem Itself Entering 2014-15 NBA Season

We knew it wouldn’t be pretty. The 2013 draft class had a fairly uninspiring first year, as expected, relative to previous classes.

But it’s a little harsh to write off players one-year deep into their careers. 

With a brand-new batch of rookies to beat up and break down, the 2014-15 NBA sophomores will be able to operate a bit more under the radar and hopefully closer to their comfort zones. 

And it starts with Anthony Bennett, who was pretty bad last year. He actually stunk and stunk often. You could just see his confidence crumbling with every brick he threw up.

The attention it drew probably didn’t help. Bennett was, of course, the No. 1 pick. And anytime the No. 1 pick struggles putting the ball in the bucket, it’s going to generate some buzz.

But the good news for Bennett entering year No. 2 is that the bar has officially been lowered. Nobody expects No. 1-overall results anymore from Bennett—we’ll save that for his new teammate Andrew Wiggins in Minnesota.

The fact that he’ll be playing alongside mostly young guys for a team headed to the lottery should help take off some of the pressure.

Bennett looked a little more comfortable during this year’s summer league (he missed it last year), having averaged 13.3 points and 7.8 boards prior to being dealt to Minnesota. 

Wolves coach Flip Saunders spoke on Bennett’s untapped talent and promising NBA potential (via Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune):

You look at him and he was drafted, had shoulder surgery, did not practice at all during the summertime, missed training camp, came in during the year and was diagnosed with sleep apnea and other things. He has lost 25 pounds, he’s working hard to get in shape. He’s an NBA player. He’s a guy that’s going to be a rotation-type player.

While Bennett caught most of the flack last season, the No. 3 pick in the draft last year wasn’t much better.

It’s been easy to forget about Otto Porter. He accomplished very little as a rookie after a late start following a preseason injury.

He returned to a Washington Wizards team that was making a real push, and with fellow small forward Trevor Ariza playing some of the best ball of his career, the opportunity for Porter to establish any rhythm was never really there.

Fast-forward a year and Ariza has been replaced by the 36-year-old Paul Pierce, who managed just 28 minutes per game last year.

There will be playing time up for grabs this season, and with Porter looking sharp and healthy—he averaged 19 points on 48.4 percent shooting and 38.9 percent from downtown in five summer league games—this could be his chance to make a name for himself in Washington. 

And remember Alex Len? He went No. 5 in last year’s draft but ended up with twice as many personal fouls as made field goals.

The writing was on the wall after Len missed summer league following ankle surgery. Soreness then kept him out of 40 games and limited him the other 42. 

You won’t find many highlights from Len’s first year in Phoenix. His season-high nine-point effort didn’t quite make the rounds. 

But Len didn’t shrink—he still has that 7’1″, 255-pound frame. And though it might take a few years to nail down, he does have an offensive repertoire in the post reminiscent of Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas. 

Plus, only Miles Plumlee stands ahead of Len on the Suns’ depth chart this season.

Len told Dave King of SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun he’d added 10 pounds since last year. As long as he can hold up physically, particularly his feet and ankles, he’ll have a nice shot to bounce back from what was a silent season in Phoenix. 

Nerlens Noel was pretty quiet, too, though his excuse is a bit more valid. He missed all of last year recovering from a torn ACL, an injury that likely cost him the chance of going No. 1 overall.

And though he’ll be considered a rookie this upcoming season, something tells me Noel will help bring some credibility to the 2013 draft class. 

He sure looked like a top pick in this year’s summer league, where his spring and bounce appeared to be completely rejuvenated. 

Noel was blocking shots left and right, getting out on the break, soaring above the rim and even creating his own looks in the paint. 

His world-class athleticism and instincts should translate to easy buckets and rim protection right off the bat—regardless of how far his skill set has come. 

Don’t sleep on Noel as a Rookie of the Year candidate behind Wiggins and Jabari Parker in 2015. 

Ben McLemore is another guy I wouldn’t sleep on—he’s coming off an awfully disappointing year having shot just 32 percent from downtown. 

It was somewhat bizarre, given his 42 percent three-point stroke at Kansas and textbook shooting mechanics. 

But for whatever reason, his shot just didn’t fall last season. Now a sophomore, you’d expect McLemore’s comfort level to rise, and with the Kings selecting fellow 2-guard Nik Stauskas in this year’s first round, he’ll have some added motivation to take that next step. 

McLemore is one heck of an athlete, and he’s a serious defensive upgrade over Stauskas. Only his offensive game is fueled by confidence—and when it’s low, McLemore’s game can stall. 

But when it’s pumping, he’s capable of finding the zone and putting up points from outside in a hurry.

I’m buying low in year No. 2. Expect a more confident McLemore as a sophomore and, in turn, a more consistent scorer.

The No. 8 pick in the 2013 draft, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, experienced similar problems as McLemore did his rookie year in Detroit. 

Despite owning the reputation as a sharpshooter, he hit just 31.9 percent of his threes. 

Caldwell-Pope ultimately struggled adjusting to a reduced role from the one he saw at Georgia, where he was the clear-cut top option in the offense. And though the full adjustment won’t happen overnight, Caldwell-Pope should have a much better idea of how to operate as the fourth of fifth guy in the pecking order.

His confidence was at a whole other level during summer league this year—he averaged 24 points a game, having showcased the entire offensive package, from step-back jumpers and pull-ups to hard drives and floaters.

Caldwell-Pope certainly looks the part at 6’6″ with smooth athleticism for a 2-guard. 

He’s not going to shoot worse than he did a year ago. Jodie Meeks is the only guy stopping Caldwell-Pope from averaging over 20 minutes a game this season, which is around how many minutes he got as a rookie. 

I’m willing to bet he does a little more with his playing time in 2014-15. 

C.J. McCollum is another guy who missed time last season with an injury, and it ultimately hurt his chances to earn consistent minutes. 

He’s healthy now, as made evident by his 20.2 point-per-game scoring average in summer league this year. 

From a fundamentals standpoint, McCollom is awfully polished. He can go get a bucket from every angle on the floor, whether he’s taking it to the basket, generating offense in the mid-range or making it rain from outside. 

And with an exceptionally tight and crafty handle, he offers the versatility to slide to the point if his team is looking for some additional firepower in the lineup. 

Will Barton has had his moments, but I don’t think he holds off a healthy McCollum off the bench, whose ability to put the ball in the hole holds too much value in that rotation.

I’d argue Gorgui Dieng, the No. 21 pick from the 2013 draft, will be the breakout sophomore from the class. It’s hard to ignore what he’s currently doing in the FIBA Basketball World Cup, where he’s averaging 18 points and 11.4 boards through five games. 

 

He even went for 27 in a terrific win against Croatia.

Mid-range jumpers, step-backs, post-ups, pick-and-roll finishes—we’ve seen it all from Dieng this summer, including moves and shots we never saw him execute as a prospect at Louisville. NBA.com’s John Schuhmann also noted his underrated passing ability from the elbows.

Nikola Pekovic is clearly Minnesota’s starting center, but it’s going to be hard to keep Dieng buried on the bench next season, given his two-way services and improved offensive skills.

You’d have to think he’ll see more than the 13.6 minutes a game he got last year, even if it’s in a backup role. 

While the 2013 draft class should have its fair share of bounce-back candidates, don’t forget about the guys who actually put up strong rookie campaigns. 

Michael Carter-Williams, Victor Oladipo, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Mason Plumlee and Tim Hardaway Jr. should each have significant roles as expected impact players. 

No, this class didn’t produce any superstar talent or franchise centerpieces. But we’re not exactly talking about a bunch of scrubs. 

Look for many of the 2015 sophomores to finally break out for their respective teams.

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Pittsburgh Basketball: Early Wish List for Class of 2015 Prospects

One of the things that has kept Pitt relevant in college basketball for a new generation amid a transition to a new conference is the business it has conducted on the recruiting trail. Head coach Jamie Dixon has surrounded himself with good people over the years and is never shy about setting the bar high, even if he ultimately doesn’t get the blue-chipper(s) fans want.

In the past, Dixon has built a Panther pipeline from New York to Pittsburgh which has served the program exceptionally well. However, the move to the ACC has made him expand his horizons beyond the Mason-Dixon Line; four Maryland natives are listed on his 2014-15 roster, most notably three-year starter James Robinson.

Furthermore, Dixon is now paying unprecedented attention to his own backyard. Erstwhile Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL) stars Sheldon Jeter, Cameron Johnson and Ryan Luther join the Panthers this season.

So where would they like to go from here? Let’s take a look at a few players they’ll see along the 2015 recruiting trail who might look good in a blue-and-gold uniform.

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Ohio State Basketball Recruiting: Breaking Down the State of the 2015 Class

It seemed like Thad Matta and the Ohio State basketball coaching staff could do no wrong when it came to the recruiting trail for the class of 2015, but they received their first bit of bad news recently.

Mickey Mitchell, a versatile forward who can play multiple positions, attack the rim off the bounce and shoot from the outside, decommitted from OSU. His brother Mike was once a part of Ohio State’s football team but transferred to be closer to his family.

Interestingly, this isn’t the first time Matta has been on the wrong end of some football movement, as Brian Snow of Scout.com pointed out:

Rather than wallowing in what could have been, it’s worth looking at the current state of the Ohio State 2015 recruiting class.

It is still ranked as the No. 4 group in 247Sports’ composite rankings even without Mitchell, which is a testament to the class Matta was and still is putting together. Point guard A.J. Harris, shooting guard Austin Grandstaff and center Daniel Giddens are all 4-star prospects according to the composite rankings at 247Sports and give the Buckeyes depth at multiple positions.

Harris is a speedster in the open floor who can dart past defenders and finish at the rim with a soft floater. He is also an effective passer and will help Ohio State consistently get out in transition.

Grandstaff is a lethal outside shooter who can create his own looks off the dribble, use pick-and-rolls or launch attempts off passes. He is also an underrated passer who can play some point guard if needed.

Giddens is a physical post presence who swats shots with ease and controls the boards on both ends of the floor. His strength and athleticism make him an incredibly difficult matchup, and he will give the Buckeyes the rim protector they need going forward.

Even if Ohio State doesn’t receive another commitment for the 2015 class, it should be fine. After all, there is plenty of young talent on campus already, and Matta’s group is still ranked in the top five. However, there are three scholarships left to distribute among the next two classes, so look for the Buckeyes to hit the recruiting trail hard in the coming months.

Unfortunately for the scarlet and gray, superstar Cleveland prospect and recruiting target Carlton Bragg recently trimmed his recruiting list to five schools on Monday—Kentucky, Kansas, Illinois, Arizona and UCLA.

Ohio State is noticeably absent from that group.

The Buckeyes could use an elite power forward considering the three commitments already in tow are a point guard, shooting guard and center. That won’t be Bragg though.

Still, big man Doral Moore, power forward Ivan Rabb and power forward Esa Ahmad are all listed among the Buckeyes targets for 2015 on 247Sports and could fill that gap immediately.

Rabb is an athletic specimen who uses his versatility and speed to block shots, contribute on the boards and spin past defenders on the block. Moore can stretch his offensive attack with a mid-range jumper, but he has a lethal hook down low and controls the boards because of his athleticism and size.

Ahmad is an Ohio product who is versatile enough to score down low or get out in transition with the guards. He would be an ideal fit alongside Grandstaff and Harris because the two guards will likely look to push the tempo once they arrive on campus. Ahmad will fill the lanes accordingly.

Grandstaff has not given up hope that Mitchell will once again decide to rejoin the Buckeyes, saying as much recently, via Eleven Warriors:

“Mickey’s one of my best friends and I still think we have a shot at getting him, for sure. I’m still going to recruit him and hope to bring him to Ohio State, but it’s his choice and I respect him doing what he needs to do for himself.”

It may be a long shot, but Mitchell would certainly give the Buckeyes recruiting group a boost yet again. However, even if he decides to look elsewhere, Matta and Ohio State will still be in a prime position to finish among the best recruiting classes in the country for 2015. 

That’s not a bad position to be in two months before the 2014 season starts.

 

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Indiana adds recruit to newest freshmen class

Hoosiers announce Emmitt Holt is newest addition to freshman recruiting class

      
 

 

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College Basketball Recruiting Rankings: B/R’s Top 20 Players in Class of 2015

Every class has its strength. From what I saw this summer keeping tabs on the top prospects in the 2015 class, this is the year of the big man.

Based on Bleacher Report’s recruiting rankings—picked using my observations and discussions with college coaches throughout the summer—12 of the top 20 players in this class are big men.

That’s good news for coaches chasing a national title. A lot is made of guard play in the NCAA tournament, but it’s hard to win without a big guy. Going into last season, only one national champ in 13 years had won the title without a big man who would eventually get drafted in the first round of the NBA draft.

Connecticut likely bucked that trend unless one of the Huskies’ bigs ends up getting drafted in the first round down the road. Their lack of talent in the post made their run all the more unbelievable.

Most champs are built inside out. And with that in mind, let’s take a look at which 2015 big fellas landed in my top 20 prospects.

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NCAA Basketball Recruiting: Pro-Player Comparisons for 5-Stars in Class of 2015

Coaches at the nation’s top college programs are eminently familiar with the NCAA basketball recruiting class of 2015, but fans may not have gotten to see much of the next crop of young stars. As these top prospects prepare for their senior years of high school, one way to get some perspective on what kinds of players they are is by looking at the pros they could grow up to become.

Isaiah Briscoe, for example, is an undersized shooting guard whose toughness lets him play bigger than his height. That’s a playing style that has helped Dwyane Wade earn bushels of All-Star appearances in his NBA career.

While Briscoe certainly isn’t on Wade’s level now, the Heat veteran makes a great role model for the New Jersey-based youngster. Read on for a closer look at that pairing, plus NBA counterparts for the rest of Rivals.com’s 5-star prospects in the 2015 class.

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Michigan State Basketball Recruiting: Best-Case Scenarios for MSU’s 2015 Class

With Kenny Kaminski released from the team, the once-limited remaining potential for Tom Izzo’s 2015 class has expanded. Now, there are two scholarships available for the prospects within Izzo’s sights.

The more scholarship space, the more possibilities.

Izzo was initially in a much more difficult spot with the precariousness of which recruit would fill that void after Eron Harris and Bryn Forbes transferred. State’s signal-caller has located several highly targeted high school seniors and extended offers.

Last week, one of those players, Montaque Gill-Caesar, signed on with the Missouri Tigers. That eliminates one prospect on Izzo’s radar, with several still remaining.

Given the team’s current personnel, Izzo will have to emphasize which recruits are most important to acquire.

 

Securing Swanigan

In terms of personnel in 2015 and sheer talent level, garnering Caleb Swanigan must be at the top of Izzo’s priorities. Not only is he ESPN’s highest rated recruit out of MSU’s offers, but his skill set also perfectly addresses Sparty’s biggest issue: frontcourt talent.

Branden Dawson is the only returning forward from last year’s team who played meaningful minutes. Role players Matt Costello and Gavin Schilling also return, but neither played a key role last season. Both players are inexperienced and lack offensive skill.

Skill is certainly present with Swanigan. And so is size.

The 6’8″, 275-pound forward imposes his will with physicality. Still developing a solid jump shot, he has a soft touch around the rim and fantastic perception of nearby defenders.

Swanigan seals opponents deep into the paint and finishes right over them. He knows how to use his robust frame to dominate in the post, and his skill around the rim makes him such a difficult cover.

A player with that type of skill set and mindset fits MSU perfectly. Once Dawson graduates after the 2014-15 campaign, State will have to rely on Costello, Schilling and Deyonta Davis, who is Swanigan’s AAU teammate and a talented stretch 4.

Despite Davis’ potential, that frontcourt needs some help. Swanigan is already a polished post player, something that seems more and more distant in today’s guard-dominated world of college and professional basketball.

Think Zach Randolph.

Like Randolph, Swanigan uses his overpowering size and craftiness around the rim to score. Combine his bruising mentality with Davis, who complements him wonderfully, and MSU will have one of the most complete lineups in recent memory.

The guard play will be loaded. If Swanigan is acquired, the frontcourt will boast similar potential, though it won’t retain as much depth.

He is evidently the most important target for Izzo because of the team’s desperate need for size and talent down low.

 

Acquiring Brunson after official visit

Jalen Brunson is one of the top point guards in the 2015 class. For a while, Temple was a plausible destination for the 6’2″ scorer after his father was hired by the staff.

But now, it appears as though MSU is back in the running.

According to 247Sports’ Crystal Ball Predictions, Brunson is most likely to sign with Michigan State. If this were to happen, MSU would boast one of the most talented backcourts in the nation, if not the deepest.

With Tum Tum Nairn running the point, transfers Harris and Forbes shooting from the perimeter and Denzel Valentine showing his ubiquity on the wing, the guards are already appearing formidable.

But if Brunson, who is arguably more talented than any of the aforementioned names, were to sign, this would be one of Izzo’s best backcourts he’s ever had.

Brunson can distribute to teammates and run the show. He can certainly light it up as well.

For Izzo, acquiring the necessary fit for his system and personnel situation is often most important. But Brunson is so talented and polished that he would immediately become a dynamic threat on the perimeter, despite the overload of options MSU has.

Izzo’s “small-ball” lineup with those mix of players would be deadly. Brunson is reportedly scheduled to visit MSU in the near future.

The prospect of him joining this loaded backcourt certainly is exciting for Spartan fans.

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Michigan Basketball Recruiting: Best-Case Scenarios for Wolverines’ 2015 Class

As John Beilein and the Michigan basketball program get prepared to reel in another fine recruiting class for 2015, the best-case scenario may actually be if they land a small class.

You see, the Wolverines basically have just one scholarship to give out at the moment, according to VerbalCommits.com. Now, things could change.

With Caris LeVert and Zak Irvin catching the eye of NBA scouts and general managers—ESPN’s Chad Ford has both of them in his top 50 NBA prospects list—they could be candidates to declare early for the NBA draft, and therefore, their departures would open more scholarships.

Most Michigan fans would elect to see LeVert and Irvin come back to Ann Arbor for their senor and junior years, respectively, than to see their scholarships used elsewhere.

But that may not be a viable option.

Throwing a wrench into the plans is that Michigan is set to host Division III transfer Duncan Robinson (Williams College) shortly, as Chris Balas at TheWolverine.com reported (subscription required).

Robinson played for Beilein’s former assistant coach at West Virginia, Mike Maker, at Williams College last year.

But now that Maker is the head coach at Marist, Robinson is looking for a new start on the big stage. Thomas Beindit also reported on the visit:

Also of note is that there could be other transfers or issues freeing up scholarships, so it’s a fluid situation to monitor.

Here then are a few best-case scenarios for the Wolverines’ 2015 class.

 

1. LeVert and Irvin elect to stay at Michigan while the Wolverines add the best player available.

It’s probably safe to say most Michigan fans would prefer LeVert and Irvin stay at Michigan, while in the process the Wolverines restrict the scholarships they could use in 2015. I’m guessing that’s the same feeling Beilein has as well.

If Michigan gets LeVert and and Irvin to stay, and no else leaves for unforeseen reasons, the Wolverines conceivably may be able to land only one 2015 prospect.

At that point, it may be in Michigan’s best interest to land the best overall prospect it can considering its 2015-16 squad would be a deep one.

If that’s the case, Michigan would consider itself lucky if it can secure the services of point guard extraordinaire Jalen Brunson, perhaps the highest-rated recruit—No. 17 overall, according to Scout.com—they have a legitimate shot of landing.

Granted, point guard is not a pressing need with Derrick Walton Jr. expected to stick around for a while, but on a deep team, grabbing a high-end player like Brunson may be the route to go.

Brunson, from Lincolnshire, Illinois (Adlai E. Stevenson HS), is an electrifying floor general who makes steady decisions with the ball in his hands. He can set up his teammates just as well as he can torch the nets from deep.

 

2. LeVert unfortunately declares for the NBA draft, but Michigan uses his scholarship on a promising wing with Irvin also returning.

Say LeVert becomes an all-Big Ten performer and perhaps earns All-American status, too. Then the 2014-15 season will likely have been considered a success, right?

If the Wolverines get 20-plus wins and enjoy another deep NCAA tournament run, LeVert could leave. We can live with that trade-off.

If that were to happen, look for Michigan to use a scholarship on a versatile wing like Jalen Coleman, Eric Davis, Prince Ali or Perry Dozier, all of whom are viewed as top-50 (or close to) recruits in the 2015 class.

While you don’t want to see LeVert leave, the replacement player for him could be a great consolation prize, as all of the aforementioned targets have upside through the roof.

 

3. Both LeVert and Irvin regretfully leave Michigan, but the Wolverines nab a three-man recruiting class that ranks among the best in 2015.

Again, Michigan would prefer not to lose the services of LeVert or Irvin. However, let’s say both players erupt this year and leave—similar to the way Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson did this past year.

Then it would be best if the Wolverines can recover and garner a top-10 or top-20 class to offset what they might lose.

This is the not the ideal way you want to shape up the 2015-16 roster, but it could be a reality.

So, if that were to come to fruition, the best way to rebound from that would be to recruit a well-rounded class that has a bit of everything.

Maybe you start with Brunson at point guard. Add a wing in Coleman, Davis or Dozier and then add a big man to complete the class.

That big man could be Trevor Manuel, who is an overlooked but skilled big still developing his game.

In all, the Michigan basketball program is in good hands with Beilein at the helm.

Whether Michigan signs one player or perhaps three or more, the 2015-16 season should be a year the Wolverines are equipped for another successful run.

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UCLA Basketball: Expectations for the Bruins’ Incoming 2014-15 Class

While the floors of Pauley Pavilion are ripped out and replaced with a state-of-the-art court after damage from a burst water main destroyed the court UCLA played on last season, the Bruins are in a reconstructive phase of their own.

Although they had hoped to only lose point guard Kyle Anderson to the NBA, guards Jordan Adams and Zach LaVine elected to take their talents to the professional ranks as well.

This has left the Bruins facing a number of questions as they prepare for their second season under head coach Steve Alford.

Athletic director Dan Guerrero has assured that the new court in Pauley will be ready by the end of October, but Bruin fans will have to wait and see what kind of team will take that court this coming season.

The departures of Anderson, Adams and LaVine have opened a void in the UCLA squad, but Alford has lined up an incoming class—and a transfer guard—that may be able to not only fill that void but build upon what the trio created in Westwood last season.

Here’s a look at the expectations for the Bruins’ incoming class for the 2014-15 season.

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