Michigan will host its annual College Practice Camp on Saturday and is set for one of its biggest recruiting days of the year. The camp is one of John Beilein’s most important recruiting tools as it provides the Wolverine head coach with an opportunity to work directly with prospects in a practice setting. The day is split into two sessions, one for underclassmen (2017 and 2018) and the other for upperclassmen (2015 and 2016). Both sessions will mirror a college practice, starting with drill work and finishing with five-on-five games.
Many of Beilein’s most important recruits and commits at Michigan have participated in the camp. The list of camp alumni including Darius Morris, Tim Hardaway Jr., Glenn Robinson III, Derrick Walton, Zak Irvin, Mark Donnal, Austin Hatch, Kameron Chatman and many others. Most of those players went to camp without a scholarship offer before impressing at camp and eventually earning one.
UM Hoops will be on hand throughout the day on Saturday, but here are six storylines to track during camp weekend in Ann Arbor.
Eron Harris takes his final visit
A lot of attention will be on the four and five-star prospects in attendance, but one of the most important visitors in attendance will be Eron Harris.
Harris, who averaged 17 points per game at West Virginia last season, is wrapping up his three visit tour of Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue and plans to announce his decision shortly after his weekend trip to Michigan. Michigan has the last visit and will look to add an experienced and proven scoring guard to its future roster. Harris has the potential to shape Michigan’s recruiting picture in the class of 2015 and would give the Wolverines an immediate impact guard for the 2015-16 season.
Point guard showcase
Point guard is expected to be the deepest position group at the camp with a number of top-50 players expected including class of 2016 stars Derryck Thornton Jr., Quentin Goodin and Cassius Winston. Players like Devin Cannady, a 3-star in the class of 2015, will add depth to an already impressive group. That list doesn’t even include four-star combo guards Kyle Guy and Eron Gordon. Both players are probably better playing off the ball, but often times play the point guard position as well.
The setting will be reminiscent of 2011 when Derrick Walton, Monte Morris (Iowa State) and Demetrius Jackson (Notre Dame) battled at the point guard spot. A coveted scholarship offer is on the line and John Beilein will have the invaluable opportunity to evaluate potential point guards in a hands-on environment.
Derryck Thornton Jr. is widely presumed to be the top point guard target on Michigan’s recruiting board, but he’ll have his hands full if he wants to prove that title on the floor.
Tyus Battle at the top
Tyus Battle is expected to be the highest ranked recruit in attendance, perhaps the highest ranked recruit to participate in one of Beilein’s camps. The 6-foot-5 guard is ranked 8th nationally according to the 247sports Composite rankings and is one of the top three shooting guards in the country.
Battle is expected in Ann Arbor on Friday — he tweeted that he was on his way on Thursday night — for an unofficial visit and has a strong bond with Wolverine point guard target Derryck Thornton Jr, who is already on campus.
Battle has had a rocky time with a new AAU program on the Nike EYBL circuit this spring, but his talent is undeniable and schools like Syracuse, Kentucky and Duke are all involved in his recruitment.
Towns under the microscope
Seth Towns is unique among Michigan’s top targets because he’s not a consensus top-50 recruit and he’s not even ranked by most major scouting services. Despite his relative lack of national attention, Towns appears to be one of Michigan’s top targets. He’s visited Michigan eight or nine times and he expects a Michigan offer on June 15th. He also hasn’t hesitated to name Michigan his leader.
This will be an opportunity for Towns to show off his skillset in front of the Michigan coaches and prove his abilities to wrap up a scholarship offer.
Focusing on the bigs
The big men are always an interesting group to evaluate because there are fewer post players in attendance.
All eyes will be on Medina (OH) big man Jon Teske. Teske missed significant time this spring with an injury, but is back on the court and expected at camp on Saturday. Teske is a June 15th offer candidate and will have a chance to prove himself at camp on Saturday.
Barret Benson and Al Eichelberger have also been linked with camp visits and would provide some quality competition if they make the trip.
Underclassmen ready to shine
There’s always one or two underclassmen that excel during the morning session of camp. Players like Devin Booker, a relative unknown from Grand Rapids at the time, and Luke Kennard once emerged onto the Michigan radar after showing out as top prospects at various Michigan camps. Keep a close eye on who will steal the spotlight this summer.
The classes of 2017 and 2018 are afterthoughts for now, but hosting this camp allows John Beilein and his staff to make an early impact with some of the young talent around the Midwest.