The first of two April evaluation weekends is in the books with Nike and Under Armour holding events in New York City and Adidas hosting an event in Dallas. The Wolverine coaching staff was on the road tracking recruits as we start to get a sense for who they will prioritize in the class of 2017, but they also still have to wrap up the roster for next season as well.
Michigan has more scholarships to play with and some roster flexibility that was lacking before Aubrey Dawkins and Ricky Doyle decided to transfer. Now the Wolverines have decisions to make. There are three options for the open spot on the roster: add a 2016 recruit or transfer, add a graduate transfer, or bank the scholarship for next season.
A graduate transfer would provide immediate relief without hindering the 2017 class while adding a recruit or traditional transfer would take a spot away from the 2017 class. As things stand today, the Wolverines have three open scholarships for the class of 2017 to go along with commitment Jordan Poole.
Sam Webb reported on Sunday night that Kostas Antetokounmpo is now on the Michigan radar. Antetokounmpo is the younger brother of Milwaukee Bucks wing Giannis Antetokounmpo. He recently participated in the Nike Hoop Summit and listed upcoming visits to Florida and St. John’s. He would take a spot away from the 2017 class, but would provide a significant length and athleticism upgrade at the four position for the Wolverines.
The most likely graduate transfer option appears to be Columbia guard Grant Mullins. Mullins is a smooth shooting guard who averaged 13 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists per game last season. He graded out as one of the best pick-and-roll players in the country last season according to Synergy Sports. He would bolster Michigan’s guard depth and act as a stop-gap on the roster until Jordan Poole arrives the next season. Mullins visited Syracuse on Friday and is set to visit Cal today, with the Wolverines working to get him on campus as well.
EYBL – Brooklyn
Michigan coaches were focused on 2017 prospects during the first weekend of the evaluation period and now have much more flexibility to work with. The Wolverines currently have a commitment from Poole and offers outstanding to Kyle Young and Jaren Jackson. Jackson had one of the most impressive games of the weekend in Brooklyn, notching 35 points and nine rebounds in a win over the Alabama Challenge.
Young got significant attention from the Wolverines and appears to be a primary option at the four position. He played with the King James Shooting Stars on the EYBL circuit and averaged 18.3 points and 5 rebounds per game in Brooklyn. John Beilein was a frequent presence at his games throughout the weekend.
But Michigan has also been ramping up its pursuit of another wing forward who had a coming out party on the national scene. The Wolverines were tracking Detroit Cornerstone wing Jamal Cain throughout the weekend in Brooklyn.
One name that has been rapidly rising up the board is Detroit Cornerstone wing Jamal Cain. Cain made his debut with The Family and averaged 14.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game through the opening weekend. He struggled shooting the ball at times (2-of-13 from three) and had 2 assists to 14 turnovers on the weekend, but he demonstrated the playmaking and scoring ability that many have raved about throughout his junior season.
Cain is planning to take a full unofficial visit and academic tour on April 27th and a Michigan scholarship offer could be around the corner for the in-state wing.
Michigan commitment Jordan Poole made his debut with the Mac Irvin Fire and averaged 9.7 points and 2.7 assists per game. He struggled to get his shot going from three (4-of-20) on the weekend as he adjusted to a new team.
It will be interesting to watch how the Michigan recruiting board shifts over the next few weeks. With additional scholarships in hand, the Wolverines can expand their priority list beyond combo forward (where the current offers stood) and potentially start to look at additional wings or a point guard to fill out the class around Poole.
- 2018 Lawrence North forward Kevin Easley will visit Michigan on April 28th. Beilein watched Easley work out this month and the Wolverines checked in on him during the opening evaluation period as well. The 2018 prospect is a strong do-it-all forward who appears to be rising the 2018 board quickly.
- 2019 Canadian point guard Andrew Nembhard is an early name to remember. He says Michigan is currently recruiting him the hardest and he was named one of the top performers at the Jordan Brand Classic by Scout: “Nembhard obviously has good size for his position, but he also showed good quickness and ability to get into the paint. Nembhard was aggressive off the dribble and looked to drive the ball when he had opportunities. With that said, he didn’t force things and showed a good feel.”
- Beilein also watched Kris Wilkes and Paul Scruggs and the Indy Hoosiers on Friday night.