The 2010 class has grown steadily throughout the winter and spring. Michigan has now signed four players for the class of 2010: Evan Smotrycz, Tim Hardaway Jr., Jon Horford, and Colton Christian. Jordan Morgan and Blake McLimans are also going to be freshmen this year after redshirting which brings the count of new players to six.
The larger class has caused some alarm among Michigan fans who wonder “how will we ever sign all of those great players in the class of 2011? 2012? 2013? 2025?” On paper there is now only 1 scholarship remaining in the class of 2011 which means that Michigan could technically bring in only one more player alongside Carlton Brundidge. At this point I expect Michigan to continue recruiting with the intention that they will add two more to the class of 2011.
Ideally you want to have very balanced recruiting classes. In a perfect world you would use roughly 3 of your 13 scholarships every year. The fact that this plan overlooks, one that Beilein knows very well, is that there will be attrition in a recruiting class.
Beilein has never been afraid to use his scholarships. During Beilein’s five years at West Virginia he recruited 17 players and 5 of them left the program. He also didn’t hesitate to bring in large recruiting classes. His 2003 class featured 6 recruits and his 2006 class featured a whopping 7 recruits.
Beilein found plenty of diamonds in the rough. He plucked guys like Joe Alexander, Alex Ruoff, DaSean Butler, and Frank Young out of relative obscurity. But for every diamond in the rough there is a Jerrah Young, Tyler Relph, or Brad Byerson that ended up leaving the program. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it is something to keep in mind when looking at Beilein’s recruiting classes.
In short, I have no problem with the size of this class. Things like attrition tend to work themselves out. There are 13 slots on the roster but Beilein has made it clear that he likes to work with an 8 or 9 man rotation. That’s 4 or 5 unhappy players that want to make a difference but don’t get the opportunity.
Even with the Christian commitment I expect Michigan to add two more players to the class of 2011 if the situation arises where they could take two commitments. Marshall Plumlee, Amir Williams, Kevin Pangos (recent profile), and Eric Katenda all appear to be viable candidates at this point but it’s not like any of them are on the verge of committing and Michigan will have to turn them away. They will continue pounding the pavement and recruiting the kids that they want in the ‘11 class.
We constantly harped on the lack of size on last year’s roster and questioned whether Beilein would adjust his style of play to compensate. I don’t think Beilein ever planned on playing small ball but his hand was forced. His West Virginia teams were full of 6-foot-5 to 6-foot-8 swing men who could play inside and out. With the average height of Michigan’s six added players coming out at 6-foot-8, it’s clear that next year’s team will at least be longer and taller.
I have received a lot of inquiries about how I see next year’s roster or rotation coming together. It’s obviously very early in the summer and this is something we’ll probably discuss for some time but with a gun to my head I’d go with this:
- One: Darius Morris
- Two: Stu Douglass
- Three: Zack Novak
- Four: Evan Smotrycz
- Five: Blake McLimans
I think you would see some versatility though. Evan Smotrycz and Zack Novak both have the ability to slide up or down a position. This should give Michigan the flexibility to play small, maybe with Novak and Smotrycz at the four and five, or play big, with Novak, Smotrycz, and Christian at the two, three, and four respectively. We don’t know how ready a lot of these freshmen will be at this level but some of them will have to play and we can only go based on the style of player they are reported to be.
Lucas-Perry (2), Vogrich (2-3), Hardaway (2-3), Morgan (5), Horford (5-4), and Christian (4-3) all have question marks but the competition is wide open so people will get their chances. In terms of getting a chance to see some of the young guys play together, the first opportunity will likely be during Michigan’s Team & Elite camps near the end of June.