Michigan Basketball Recruiting: Breaking Down Wolverines’ 2016 Wish List

Michigan coach John Beilein is always on the prowl for talent.

At the moment, he has Jon Teske, a 6’11”, 210-pound center, in his back pocket for 2016. According to Verbal Commits, the Wolverines coach has nine open offers and two slots to fill for his next class.

With that said, Beilein’s almost guaranteed to get his pick of the litter. What’s not to like about the 9-2 ratio?

Now onto the disclaimer: This slideshow will highlight five of the Wolverines’ top targets—or “wish-listers”—based on team need, player fit, overall skill and the almighty popularity factor. 

Almost every coach wants the big-time, headlining 5-star kid. Whether or not said player’s “right” for the team is often overshadowed by “Who cares?! He’s a freak athlete! He’s the next…”

One of those guys will be on this list.

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Adrian Wojnarowski accuses Coach K of needing Team USA as a recruiting tool for Duke

One of the NBA’s most respected reporters writes a scathing criticism of Coach K.



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Michigan Basketball: 3 Burning Questions About Wolverines’ 2015 Recruiting Plans

As the Michigan basketball program enters the 2014-15 season, recruiting may be the farthest thing from the mind of head coach John Beilein. You see, Beilein and company technically have no scholarships to give out this year, per VerbalCommits.com.

Obviously things can change, as they did last year for the Wolverines when they lost Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary early to the NBA. Also, a player or two could transfer, or any other number of situations can unfold to add more players.

So, let’s address three burning questions about the Wolverines’ 2015 recruiting plans.


Will transfer Duncan Robinson be the only newcomer to the 2015 class?

In August, the Wolverines roped in Duncan Robinson (which the school just officially announced), a highly touted transfer from Williams College from the Division III level.

Of course, as per NCAA laws, Robinson will have to sit out this year, but he will have three years of eligibility remaining starting in 2015. Noted as a dead-eye shooter, he figures to be a perfect fit in Beilein’s offense. Hopefully his skills can translate to the Big Ten. He did average 17 points and seven rebounds per game last year, and he looks like he’ll be be a major role player going forward.

However, as mentioned before, technically the Wolverines have no open scholarships, and Robinson could conceivably be their only addition, despite the Wolverines’ interest in 2015 recruits such as Eric Davis, Trevor Manuel and Perry Dozier.

One thing that may happen is for Michigan to add no players in the fall signing period. Which leads us to the next point.


Who may be available later in the spring in case a scholarship opens?

That is a very fluid question, considering all of the variables involved.

Beilein’s best hope is that some of his 2015 targets postpone their college decisions ’til the spring. Dozier is scheduled to make a visit on September 26, and perhaps Beilein can squeeze him in, or maybe convince him to wait it out, which is unlikely. 

The thing is, the Wolverines have two potential NBA talents in Caris LeVert and Zak Irvin. And just like Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr., Stauskas and Robinson III before them, LeVert and Irvin could be tempted to leave early too. It’s too early to speculate on this, but Beilein has to have a contingency plan just in case.

There is really no telling who will hold off on their commitments this fall. No doubt Beilein and crew are hoping some of the guys they like hold off ’til the spring when he’ll know for sure what LeVert and Irvin plan to do.


How will 2015 recruiting class affect 2016 class?

Also of significance in regards to the class of 2015 is how it relates to the 2016 class.

Obviously, the more 2015 recruits Michigan locks up, the fewer scholarships they can offer to the 2016 class. And by all accounts, the 2016 class is where the Wolverines may strike gold, as they are tied to many top-notch recruits.

Beilein already has a commitment from Jon Teske, a 6’11″ center from Medina, Ohio, who is considered a fringe top-100 recruit (he’s ranked as the No. 105 recruit according to 247Sports). After that, Michigan has approximately two open spots left.

Expect Beilein to go hard after a couple of top-10 point guard prospects in Cassius Winston and Derryck Thornton Jr., with both liking Michigan a lot. With Derrick Walton Jr. expected to be a senior by the time either of these guys would enroll, Beilein will want some depth at point guard. And both Winston and Thornton Jr. are considered can’t-miss prospects.

After that, Michigan may look for the best available players, and they have extended offers to plenty of high-end prospects in V.J. King, Josh Langford and T.J. Leaf (all top-25 recruits according to 247Sports).

With the wealth of talent legitimately considering Michigan in the 2016 class, Beilein may bank all possible scholarships he may have for 2015 and pursue the 2016 class more aggressively.

Nevertheless, the way Beilein approaches the 2015 class will impact how the 2016 class shapes up.


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Geno Auriemma Accused of Recruiting Violation After Calling Mo’ne Davis

This week in “Narc News,” a recruiting violation complaint has been filed against University of Connecticut women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma citing a recent phone call he made to Taney Dragons pitcher Mo’ne Davis.

Hartford Courant reporter John Altavilla (h/t The Big Lead’s Mike Cardillo) brings news of the complaint, which was filed with the American Athletic Conference. 

The complaint alleges that the Huskies coach broke recruiting rules by calling Davis to congratulate her on an impressive performance at the 2014 Little League World Series.

Auriemma told Altavilla that the phone call occurred after representatives of the Philadelphia 76ers reached out and suggested he congratulate the eighth-grader “because she loves basketball.” The Huskies coach said the call lasted all of two minutes.

“The conversation lasted like two minutes and we hung up,” Auriemma told Altavilla. “And then I was told a school turned us in for a recruiting violation because we are not allowed contact of July 1 before her junior year of high school. … That’s the world that we live in.”

Auriemma added that he spoke with the Little League World Series communications office prior to contacting Davis and received permission to relay his message.

To recap: A college basketball coach was narc’d on for calling an eighth-grade baseball player and telling her good job throwing those baseballs.

The school pointing the finger at Auriemma remains unknown, as conference rules allow institutions filing complaints to remain anonymous. 

Clearly, whichever program is taking issue with this correspondence believes Auriemma is trying to snake a recruit from the crib. And why should it not? All the hallmarks of tampering are there. 

Davis, a lifelong Huskies fan with aspirations to play professional women’s basketball, was seen wearing a UConn hoodie during the Little League World Series. She even had the audacity to flaunt her inside connections to the program when meeting Clayton Kershaw on Wednesday. 

Or Davis is a kid who loves a successful basketball program and owns some of its merchandise—you know, like a fan or something.

Auriemma says he hasn’t even seen Davis play basketball.

“Under normal circumstances, I would probably not know anything about her until she was in ninth grade,” Auriemma told Altavilla. “I have no idea if the kid is very good, kind of good, not good at all or a superstar or can even reach the basket. How is that a violation?”

UConn maintains that the correspondence between Auriemma and Davis was not a violation, as NCAA rules dictate that young athletes don’t become prospective student athletes until ninth grade.

In any case, we now live in a society where you can be punished for telling kids “good job” or giving homeless teenagers food. Good times!


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Kentucky Basketball: 3 Burning Questions About Wildcats’ 2015 Recruiting Plans

Kentucky basketball has been the cream of the crop when it comes to recruiting over the last five years. Since head coach John Calipari took over the program, the Wildcats tend to finish top in the country in recruiting rankings and often draw some of the biggest names coming out of high school.

Despite the last two seasons being vastly different from what Calipari and Kentucky are used to, the recruiting effort has stayed the course. Two years ago, the Wildcats failed to make the NCAA tournament and lost in the first round of the NIT to Robert Morris. However, that didn’t stop Kentucky from getting arguably the best recruiting class under Calipari. 

Last year, Kentucky struggled in the regular season but made a run to the national title game. Despite making the deep run and having a talented roster, only two players decided to leave early, with six players who were in the rotation deciding to return for another year. Again, another top-five recruiting class will be joining them in Lexington.

This slideshow will take a look at the burning questions that Big Blue Nation will have when it comes to Kentucky’s 2015 recruiting plans. 

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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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Villanova Basketball Recruiting: Biggest Competition for Top 2015 Targets

With the summer dwindling down and players headed back to school, the Villanova Wildcats have only three players left on their list of prospective targets for the class of 2015. 

The three players left on the table are Chris Silva, Jalen Brunson and Isaiah Briscoe, and each of those individuals possess a different challenge for the Wildcats with a different set of competitors lining up for their respective signatures.

Below is a look at the competition Jay Wright and his staff will face to bring each one of these players to Villanova. 


Chris Silva

Silva recently tweeted a list of the five schools left in the running to bring him in. 

The Roselle Catholic (N.J.) product listed Kansas State, South Carolina, Seton Hall and Rhode Island as the other four schools left in his recruiting process. 

On the surface, it may seem like Villanova has the upper hand in the race for the big man based on program pedigree, but that isn’t likely to be the only factor playing into Silva’s decision. 

Seton Hall is a local team for the player based in North Jersey, and thanks to what Kevin Willard has done there, the school is becoming a contender in the smaller Big East Conference. 

South Carolina brings the appeal of the SEC, but it takes a certain type of player to deal with noted hothead Frank Martin. 

Kansas State will always be included in the second tier of Big 12 basketball schools, but it does have one of the best home courts in the nation, which could act as a major selling point for Bruce Weber. 

Rhode Island seems like an odd school to be included with these names from bigger conferences, but an opportunity to play early in his career could persuade Silva to head up to New England. 

Villanova stands a strong chance to snag Silva since it will need help down low from the first second Silva potentially steps on campus. 

With a need down low and a winning pedigree behind it, Villanova could put itself high atop the forward’s list of favorite schools when the time comes to make a decision. 


Isaiah Briscoe

Briscoe, who is Silva’s high school teammate, has a local feel to his final list of schools, but his decision may not come for quite some time. 

The guard from Roselle Catholic told SNY’s Adam Zagoria he plans to make his decision as late as possible, which means he may not commit until the spring. 

Competing for the commitment of the star guard with Villanova are Arizona, Seton Hall, Rutgers and St. John’s. 

The one school that doesn’t fit in with the others here is Arizona, which has one spot open in the class of 2015 and already has two verbal commitments from shooting guards. 

With Arizona already loaded at Briscoe‘s position, a local school should benefit from his decision, but which program gets his talent remains to be seen.

Rutgers has a tarnished image right now, but playing in the Big Ten has to spark at least a bit of interest in the mind of Briscoe

St. John’s has done well in the recruiting department during the Steve Lavin era, but the results have been hard to come by. 

As mentioned above, Seton Hall is a burgeoning program in the Big East that could easily contend with one or two big-name signings. 

Expect the Pirates to be a big contender for Briscoe, and with a crowded backcourt at Villanova, he could lean toward the local school instead of coming down to join up with Wright and the Wildcats. 


Jalen Brunson 

The third player with Villanova still left on his list of potential suitors is Brunson, who will visit Michigan State, Purdue, Temple and Illinois as well. 

The allure of playing for a contender in a basketball powerhouse like the Big Ten is a big draw for any young player, and Brunson has that at Michigan State and Illinois. 

As for Temple and Purdue, neither school has been on the national radar on a consistent basis as of late, but Brunson could opt for one of those programs to help turn them around for good. 

Villanova presents Brunson with an interesting scenario because the Wildcats will have Phil Booth, Ryan Arcidiacono, Dylan Ennis and Donte DiVincenzo in the backcourt for the 2015-16 season.

Brunson may not be handed a starting gig right away, which could turn him away from the Wildcats given how much freshmen play in this age of college basketball. 

While he may not start right away, Brunson could end up being a solid contributor off the bench, like Kris Jenkins and Josh Hart were last season. 

By handing him playing time during his freshman campaign off the pine, Villanova could jump to the forefront of Brunson‘s list, especially if his visit goes well. 


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

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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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