Wednesday, July 7, 2010

2011: Johnny B's Make-or-Break Recruiting Class

Most people can foresee that the upcoming 2010-2011 Michigan basketball season will be a struggle. If you didn't know, allow me to refresh you with a simple equation:

Losing Team+ a bunch of decent freshman- leading scorer - leading rebounder= _________

I hate to sound too much like the kid who screams out answers before the teacher asks the class, but acceptable answers here are: uh-oh, damn it, a worse team, and do we really have to talk about the 2010-2011 Michigan Wolverines basketball team?

No. We do not have to talk about the 2010-2011 Michigan Wolverines (not yet anyway), because I believe that a true reflection of where a John Beilein coached team is headed is not exemplified by next year's team, but rather, is captured in the 2011 recruiting class. In essence, if you haven't been following basketball recruiting for the class of 2011, then you should. Currently, Beilein has only one commit, but is in the hunt for some premium talent. If all goes well, it could be the beginning of a flowering Michigan Basketball program under John Beilein.

What we have committed(according to scout):

6'1" Shooting Guard- Carlton Brundidge **** (Southfield, MI)
- Carlton is a scorer unlike any other we've seen at the University of Michigan in the past few years in the sense that does not have a lanky build like Manny Harris or Deshawn Sims. Sure, we've seen the undersized David Merritt drain the occassional 3-pointer, but this kid is a SCORER. He can't grab rebounds like Manny Harris, he isn't as tall as Darius Morris, but he puts the rock in the circular file. Remember this name, because he will surely impress when he sports the maize and blue.

What we have a decent shot at:

6'9" Center- Amir Williams **** (Beverly Hills, MI)
- While it is true that Michigan is competing with basketball powerhouses such as UNC, Duke, and Michigan State for this kid, Michigan still holds a few wild card factors that could play into its favor when attempting to land this kid. 1) He is a local kid. 2) He is friends with Carlton Brundidge (see above), and has done interviews with Carlton in which Carlton openly admits that he constantly recruits his AAU teammate Amir to come to Michigan. 3) He goes to Detroit Country Day. Now, the last time I checked, Michigan got a 6'9" center from DCD about 20 years ago and he went first overall in the NBA draft (I'm just saying...).

7'0" Center- Marshall Plumlee **** (Arden, NC)
- How John Beilein has found a way to maneuver Michigan into being one this kid's 3 "high interest" schools continues to baffle me, but I won't complain. Marshall Plumlee, whose two older brothers Miles and Mason just won a title at Duke, is a kid with size, versatility, and scoring ability. As mentioned, I'm not sure how John Beilein has slid Michigan into the race for this kid, but whatever he's doing, I like it.

What we have an outside shot at:

6'10" Power Forward- Cody Zeller ***** (Washington, IN)
- Yes, Michigan is in the hunt for a 5 star (according to scout) recruit. Much like Plumlee, I have no answers for how Beilein got into this position, but I do know this: Michigan is one of this kid's top 7 schools, and he has said in an interview that John Beilein is a guy that he could see himself playing for.

Yes, there is a still a lot of work to be done, and yes, star ratings are not perfect determinants of a player's potential. However, if your maize and blue heart is empty after a fruitless basketball season last year (and potentially one this year), I encourage you to look to the future. There is no guarantee that Michigan will land any of the non-committed recruits above, but if it could land one to compliment Brundidge, along with a 3 star supporting cast, John Beilein may be ready to take this program to the next level.