Tulane decommitment Colton Christian committed to Michigan after an official visit to Ann Arbor over the weekend. Christian is a 6-foot-7, 205 pound forward originally from Bellevue, Washington. Christian spent his last year at Hargrave Military Academy where he averaged 14 points and 14 rebounds per game.
Here’s Christian’s statement on his commitment:
At the end of my visit this past weekend I committed to Michigan after I sat down and talked about all of the positives. There is opportunity with a great academic program, great tradition, and a chance to be a part of getting this program back on track. After meeting the whole staff and the players it seemed comfortable and is somewhere I want to be for the next 4 years.
We were waiting to announce the commitment because there is some final paperwork that has to go through with Tulane but some others jumped on the story so there’s no point in not posting it now.
Christian is described as a high motor, athletic, strong forward with a consistent mid-range jump shot and a knack for rebounding. Here’s an ESPN scouting report from Nov. 2009:
Tulane may have landed a sleeper as Christian plays a very efficient, and college ready, brand of basketball. He isn’t going to dominate the game with his scoring but has some inside-out skills and impacts the game in a variety of ways. He’s a capable scorer on the block with a little jump hook and can also step out to 18 feet and shoot. He’s strong and very athletic off of two feet, bodies up well defending the post, and rebounds out of his area. Look for him to see immediate minutes next year at Tulane.
Draft Express was also impressed with Christian when they saw him play at the 2009 National Prep Showcase:
One of the most effective players at this level in all the games played this weekend, Christian was super involved in most of his team’s plays, showing an extremely high motor on both ends of the floor. At 6’7, Christian is an undersized 4 who unfortunately doesn’t appear to have much length or strength to compensate. That said, he’s a solid athlete with a good second bounce around the basket, and he constantly puts all his physical tools to work with his relentless style of play.
Christian does the majority of his damage on the defensive end, attacking the glass, hustling back in transition, attacking passing lanes, and playing strong, fundamentally sound post defense. Offensively, he appears a bit limited, not showing much prowess on his perimeter shot, and relying mostly on a turnaround jumper in the post, which he has limited success with. He is good on the offensive glass and finishing around the basket on cuts, but he clearly has a ways to go here.
Word around the gym was this was the best most people had ever seen Christian play, so maybe it was somewhat of a fluke occurrence, but if he brings this kind of energy level to Tulane, he should be a very effective hustle player for them, as based on what we saw here, he looked like he could be a rotation player for a high-level D1 school.
Offers and Rankings
Christian originally committed to Tulane in October 2009 over an offer from Sacred Heart. After Tulane head coach Dave Dickerson was fired, Christian reopened his recruitment.
Similar to a number of other players that have reopened their recruitments this spring, interest the second time around was much higher than the first. Christian visited Penn State and California and received offers from both schools.
Michigan was decidedly undersized in every game last year. They played a 6-foot-5 power forward and a 6-foot-8 center. Michigan will have 5 new players (including redshirts) next year that are 6-foot-7 or taller. The Horford and Christian signings have made it quite clear that Beilein is aware of the need for additional size on the roster.
Christian’s scouting report is very similar to a taller version of Zack Novak without three point shooting range. He should be a more able finisher when receiving the ball as a cutter due to his better size and athleticism. He looks like a lock to be slotted in the four position. It’s tough to knock this commitment when you consider how often Michigan has been outrebounded and out-muscled in games, I can’t see much problem with adding a strong, active, rebounding power forward to the mix.
This also gives Michigan some more flexibility with their wing positions. Considering that the three and the four are relatively interchangeable, Evan Smotrycz, Zack Novak, Tim Hardaway Jr., Matt Vogrich, and Colton Christian could all conceivably fit at one end of the spectrum or another.
Christian’s commitment means that Isaiah Sykes will probably not end up in Ann Arbor. The numbers don’t make sense to add another wing player and there were enough bizarre circumstances and potential red flags surrounding Sykes’ recruitment that most will probably be happy to move on.
Here’s the updated scholarship breakdown:
This likely spells the end of the 2010 class but we hypothesized three months ago that Beilein could look for a European prospect and that is one possibility that probably remains open if the right fit comes along.