The 2009 class is in the books and I’m sure the Michigan staff will be excited to take this season’s momentum onto the recruiting trail. Right now there are technically two scholarships available but I would expect Michigan to take three in the class once everything works out. The biggest needs are at the wing and power forward positions — the debate would be what to do with the third scholarship.
High school seasons are pretty much in the book and that means it’s time for AAU ball. Kids like to put recruiting on the back-burner during their high-school season but AAU ball is all about recruiting. Things typically start to pick up and stock rises and falls quickly. The frustrating thing for Michigan is that a lot of the kids on the board are looking to make fall decisions rather than spring or summer.
Here is a quick run-down of who is on the board and how their high school seasons wrapped up. The list really hasn’t changed much since when I posted the 2010 hot-board a while back (will be updated soon). The main additions are Prather, Dragicevich, Payne, and Oliver. The three “firm offers” are Will Regan, Trey Zeigler, and Casey Prather but there is plenty of serious interest up and down the list. For more on every kid make sure to click through their category pages on the sidebar. You can find some video as well as the weekly recruiting wraps there.
Will Regan (6-foot-8, Nichols, NY)
Will Regan has emerged as Michigan’s premiere big-man target. The junior had a huge year for the Nichols School and he seemed to produce night in and night out. Nichols’ season came to a disappointing end against Canisius in the Manhattan Cup final but it there is no doubt that Regan is blowing up.
Michigan has been in good position with Regan for a long time. Academics are important to Regan and Michigan certainly fits the bill. A spring decision seemed imminent but several new schools including Villanova have started to show interest. Regardless, Regan has an offer and Michigan is in very good position.
Trey Zeigler (6-foot-5, Mount Pleasant, MI)
Trey Zeigler appears to have been the #1 wing forward on Michigan’s board for a long time. He is the son of a college coach and possesses all the tools including athleticism, basketball IQ, and shooting. Zeigler was named to the Class A all-state team and averaged 24 points and nine rebounds per game while shooting 48% from behind the arc.
Zeigler’s recruitment has been a bit of a roller-coaster in terms of speculation but the Zeigler family appears to have been true to their word in terms of time frame and plan. They have consistently stated that they want to take their time and not rush to a decision. The “big four” for Trey were Michigan, Michigan State, CMU, and UCLA but UCLA isn’t getting as much play of late. This will definitely be the recruitment to watch over the summer and you can bet that the rumors will be flying in every direction.
Casey Prather (6-foot-5, Jackson Northside, TN)
It’s hard to call Casey Prather anything but an athletic freak. The 6-foot-5 swingman was a finalist for Mr. Basketball in Tennessee as a junior and is garnering interest from high-majors across the country. Prather averaged 24.4 points and 11 rebounds per game but lost to Mr. Basketball award to Josh Jenkins who averaged over 40 points per game.
The odds of landing Prather are probably long but it appears there is some sincere interest. Vanderbilt appears to be the local school to watch out for but big dogs like UNC and Wake Forest have been in to watch Prather play.
Moses Morgan (6-foot-5, Palo Verde, NV)
Moses is a skilled wing forward from Nevada whose Palo Verde team fell just short of a state championship. Morgan appears to have bounds of talent but sometimes isn’t quite assertive enough on the offensive end. Commenter Ken in Vegas was at the game and produced this report.
Moses has been big on Michigan since he visited in the fall and his recruitment doesn’t seem to have moved much over the school year. Things should start moving a little more quickly over the summer AAU period.
Tim Hardaway Jr. (6-foot-5, Miami Palmetto, FL)
Hardaway Jr. is a wing guard from Palmetto High School in Miami. The son of NBA-star Tim Hardaway Jr., the three-star prospect visited Michigan this winter for the Duke game and Michigan appears to be in a pretty good spot. Hardaway has also received interest from Kansas State, Miami, Virginia Tech, and Florida State in recent months.
Alex Dragicevich (6-foot-6, Glenbrook North, IL)
Dragicevich is a 6-foot-6 wing forward from Glenbrook North was named second-team All-State in Illinois. His Glenbrook North team finished 11th in the final Chicago Tribune rankings. Glenbrook North fell just short of the state finals when they lost to Waukegan in the class-A super sectional.
Alex can shoot it and also has length at the wing but he might not be as good of an athlete as Prather and Zeigler. Alex’s recruitment is definitely one to watch this summer.
Ray McCallum (6-foot-3, Detroit Country Day)
McCallum is one of the top players in the state of Michigan and one of the top point guards in the country. He made it to Ann Arbor for a game with his Country Day teammates but it appears that Kansas is leading his recruitment. Detroit Country Day fell short of their ultimate goal, a state title, but they still had a dominant year. McCallum was not the one to blame; he had 30 points in the defeat before fouling out. One thing is certain, the Mr. Basketball race next year will be something else with Keith Appling, Ray McCallum, and Trey Zeigler.
Devin Oliver (6-foot-5, Kalamazoo Central, MI)
Oliver is a smooth wing forward from Kalamazoo Central that reminds me a little bit of Lester Abram. Watching him play in the state championship game I must say that I was impressed. He can score the ball in a number of ways — he shot the jump shot, got to the hole, and worked the offensive glass. Oliver certainly needs to add some muscle to his frame but you can see why coaches have taken notice. The optimal situation would be one in which Michigan can bring Devin in on the Kalamazoo Promise which would essentially allow them to add Devin without using up a scholarship.
Evan Smotrycz (6-foot-9, New Hampton, NH)
Smotrycz is a skilled big man from New Hampton, a school that plays in the same league as Blake McLimans’ Worcester team. It appears that Michigan’s interest in Evan is on the rise ($) and this recent ESPN scouting report would start to explain why:
Smotrycz has the ability to score in a variety of ways. He can connect on jumpers from beyond 3-point range as well as score in the paint. Smotrycz has an effortless jumper and does a good job of getting his legs involved on the shot, which gives him the ability to connect from deep on his jumper. When he applies himself, he has the ability to cause match-up problems by taking bigger frontcourt players out on the perimeter with his shooting ability in addition to taking smaller defenders down to the block when he gets the opportunity to do so. Smotrycz also has very good vision and passing skills. He plays an unselfish brand of basketball at times, he plays little too unselfishly and does not look to exploit his advantage in terms of scoring the basketball. Smotrycz also has problems when he faces more athletic frontcourt players and tries to guard them. As long as he does not try to over-extend himself and maintains a high level of aggressiveness, Smotrycz can develop into an excellent frontcourt player on the next level. He just has to continue to work to overcome his tendency to disappear, which he should not do given his immense amount of talent.
Smotrycz is definitely an intriguing prospect but I’m not sure that he would be the answer in terms of someone that can bang in the post. He is averaging 14 points and 8 rebounds per game in a tough league so he’ll definitely be one to watch over the summer.
Allen Payne (6-foot-6, Winton Woods, OH)
The Ohio-native appears to be slipping down the Michigan list, he seems to have had a solid season but his name just hasn’t received much play. Payne appears to be very interested in Michigan and at 6-foot-6 he can basically do it all. I think he’d qualify as a plan-B guy at this point.
Cameron Ayers (6-foot-3, Germantown Academy, PA)
Cameron is another guy that appears to be slipping down Michigan’s list. Ayers had a solid season but the Michigan talk seems to be at a bit of a standstill. I’m sure there is still interest but he appears to be a guy to keep an eye out for rather than stay glued to.