Notebook: 2016 stars shine at Michigan Camp; Eron Harris expected to pick MSU

Michigan held its annual College Practice Camp on Saturday afternoon at the Crisler Center and managed to draw an impressive crop of talent.

Many of the Wolverines’ top targets from the class of 2016 were in attendance including five-stars Derryck Thornton Jr. and Tyus Battle, four-stars Cassius Winston, Quentin Goodin, Barret Benson and Kyle Guy along with under the radar targets like Seth Towns, Jon Teske and Matthew Moyer.

Most of the campers in attendance lived up to their billing. The five-star guards, Thornton and Battle, had moments of dominating play – both players have another gear of athleticism that you don’t often see – but they were far from the only impressive players at the event.

The point guard battles were the most fascinating of the evening. Wherever you looked during five-on-five play there was a high-major point guard battle: Thornton, Goodin and Winston all went head to head at various times and all made some big time plays. While all three players have very different styles of play, they all produced in front of the Michigan coaches.

Cassius Winston played a critical part in a number of big wins and shot the ball very well. Derryck Thornton Jr. was the most explosive of the bunch, with great quickness, defense and leaping ability, but that didn’t always translate to wins for his team despite playing with Northland (OH) forward Seth Towns. It took a while for his jumper to heat up, but he started knocking down threes consistently by the end of the night. Goodin found ways to get in the lane all night and was capable of scoring himself or finding his teammates, he seemed to elevate his game in head-to-head matchups.

While he’s not a point guard, Tyus Battle was also very impressive. He shot the ball very well in drills — something we were watching closely after his shooting struggles in EYBL play — and he’s also a dominant athlete. Battle backed up his top-20 ranking and was the top off-guard in campus.

Eron Harris headed elsewhere

Michigan was expected to host West Virginia transfer Eron Harris for a visit over the weekend, but Harris never made his visit and is expected to commit to Michigan State on Monday.

Harris, a 17 point per game scorer at Michigan State, had previously visited Purdue and his commitment to Michigan State means that Michigan is likely done recruiting for incoming players on next year’s roster. That means Michigan’s final incoming class consists of Kameron Chatman, DJ Wilson, Ricky Doyle, Aubrey Dawkins, Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Austin Hatch. Doyle is already on campus, while the rest of the Wolverines are expected in late-June. Chatman will tryout for the USA Basketball U18 team this week in Colorado.

Xavier Tillman dominates the morning session

The morning session of camp was for class of 2017 and 2018 prospects and wasn’t quite as stocked with high-level talent. This session is a great opportunity to foster relationships with AAU coaches and give young players a view of the Michigan program, but the talent level was down from previous years.

One star that was in attendance was Forest Hills Central big man Xavier Tillman. Tillman averaged 14 points and 8 rebounds as a freshman last season and is the son of former Michigan basketball standout Tonya Tillman. There’s obviously a long way to go in Tillman’s recruitment, but it’s safe to say he’s firmly on the Michigan radar and will be a priority for the Wolverines going forward.

Current players on campus

Derrick Walton, Zak Irvin, Mark Donnal, Ricky Doyle, Spike Albrecht and Andrew Dakich were all around during camp helping out with drills and demos. Doyle has been on campus working out and looked to have made improvements to his body, he participated in some drills with the big men and looked smooth. Zak Irvin also looked like he’s made improvements athletically as he showed some easy elevation during fast break drills.

Look for more from College Practice Camp in the days to come.

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