Notes from Friday Night at Spiece

immersive[1]The Spiece Run ‘n Slam Classic is one of the premiere midwestern spring AAU events and this year’s tournament is no exception. There are plenty U-M recruiting targets participating in the event and we’ll have coverage throughout the weekend and beyond.

I spent Friday night watching the Eric Gordon All-Stars 16U team, featuring 2013 wings Zak Irvin and VJ Beachem, as well as the Illinois Wolves 16U team with 2013 point guard Jalen James. Here are a few notes from the first night of action:

  • It took Zak Irvin a while to get started on Friday night but the long wing guard scored 10 second half points as the Eric Gordon All-Stars knocked off St. Louis Team Swish, 69-54. Irvin told me that he’s developed a very strong relationship with Michigan assistant coach Lavall Jordan and that he fully expects an offer from the Wolverines on June 15th. Michigan appears to be in a very strong position in Irvin’s recruitment at this juncture.
  • Irvin’s teammate, V.J. Beachem, added nine points and also played very well. He’s a smooth athlete, and might have an even longer wingspan than Irvin, with the ability to knock down the three point shot.
  • Jalen James has gone from unknown prospect to the talk of the Big Ten. James is a strong point guard with a great frame that plays the game under control. He plays high school ball at a very small high school in Chicago and simply hasn’t had the exposure that he’s getting this spring. Jalen’s AAU coach, Mike Mullins, has coached some terrific point guards and raved about Jalen’s game. Mullins added that James is hearing from “almost all of the Big Ten” and is working on getting a visit scheduled to Ann Arbor this June.
  • Michigan is also inquiring about James’s teammate, big man Andrew Zelis. Zelis has optimal size but is still growing into his body, improving his mobility and coordination and learning to play the game efficiently.
  • Austin Hatch won’t be playing this weekend as he’s recovering from torn ligaments in his ankle and will be sidelined for a few weeks. Hatch’s father reported that Austin is up to 6-foot-6 and 214lbs and he’s yet another 2013 wing prospect to keep an eye on.

We’ll have much more from the Spiece Run ‘n Slam Classic over the coming days.

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