Tim Hardaway Jr. is a Michigan Wolverine

hardawayjrMiami Palmetto guard Tim Hardaway Jr. verbally committed to Michigan after being officially offered by head coach John Beilein. Hardaway Jr. came to Ann Arbor to earn his offer and he got it done. The clinic that he put on Sunday ($) in the championship at Michigan’s team camp was probably what locked up his offer. It took Hardaway a while to warm up at camp but in the end Coach Beilein was impressed enough to extend an offer.

Hardaway is a 6-foot-4 lanky shooting guard with excellent length who is a great three point shooter. He’s not as athletic as Casey Prather and his offensive game isn’t as refined as Trey Zeigler’s but there is no doubt that he is the best shooter of the bunch.

Michigan had been in the drivers seat in Hardaway’s recruitment for a while. Other suitors included Minnesota and Kansas State:

Minnesota and Kansas State have both offered, while Florida, South Carolina, Kansas State, Northwestern and Florida State

ESPN rates Hardaway at 93/100, which is good for the #28 shooting guard in the country and the 93rd ranked prospect in the class of 2010. Rivals and Scout both Hardaway as a 3-star prospect. Rivals also has a couple premium video clips ($) from the AAU circuit this summer.

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Hardaway has played well early on on the AAU circuit this spring and summer. Hardaway was named to the all-tournament team at the Bob Gibbons TOC event. He also impressed ESPN scouts at the Nike Memorial Day Classic:

May, 2009: Hardaway, who has obvious basketball bloodlines, displayed high-level ballhandling and passing ability at both guard positions. He is an excellent athlete who uses his quickness and length to his advantage. He showed he is a threat from 3 if the defender backs off. He was very good in transition pushing the ball up the floor and is a great finisher at the rim. He had a good feel for using ball screens and also could create off the dribble. He was able to get into the paint for a midrange jump shot and did a nice job drawing the defense and kicking out to an open teammate. Defensively, he is a smart, fundamentally sound player who understands angles and has above-average lateral quickness. He still has upside and is developing some point guard skills. As his body continues to mature, Hardaway should blossom into an excellent college player.

Hardaway might not have the type of superstar potential that Trey Zeigler and Casey Prather have but I like this commitment a lot. Hardaway has the length to play at the top of the 1-3-1 zone and he has the shooting ability to play in John Beilein’s offense. I think right now he projects a little more to the two guard position rather than the three but he definitely has the potential to play both. The biggest knock on Tim right now is his handle, I would think his dad could help coach him up there though.

Scholarship Situation

A bird in the hand is better than two in the bush and this situation still gives Michigan a clear opportunity to land Zeigler or Prather.

Hardaway’s commitment leaves one scholarship remaining for the class of 2010 (see the updated scholarship breakdown for information about future classes). The two main candidates for that last spot in the class of 2010 are clear: Trey Zeigler and Casey Prather. This becomes a first come first serve situation for the last scholarship.

Taking Hardaway makes a lot of sense because if you wait too long for Casey and Trey then you risk being left empty handed. The staff has done an exceptional job recruiting Casey and Trey but acan happen in recruiting. Prather has consistently talked about visiting, the next step is to make that happen. Zeigler didn’t make it to Ann Arbor this week because of illness and his dad’s CMU camp being scheduled at the same time but he still plans to take a few visits and then decide in early Fall.

The class of 2011 is where the scholarship situation gets interesting. Assuming Michigan’s class of 2010 consists of Smotrycz, Hardaway Jr., and one more player that leaves only two scholarships in the class of 2011. I think Michigan needs at least one big man in the class of 2011, so that leaves only one spot for a guard or wing. At this point Michigan has offered Brandan Kearney (G/WF), Patrick Lucas-Perry (PG), Carlton Brundidge (G), and Amir Williams (C). With the crunch on scholarships in 2011, it will be interesting to see if a 2011 kid decides to accelerate their timeframe before it’s too late.

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