Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Michigan Basketball In Play For Top 2014 Recruits

Photo Credit: DetroitSBNation
With the release of the Top 50 players according to Rivals, we can now take a look at the position of Michigan's recruiting chances in 2014.  How many recruits is Michigan seriously pursuing and does Michigan have a chance with these top recruits?  Michigan has done very well recruiting for the 2012 and 2013 classes and it should be surprising that Michigan will be competing for some of the top recruits in 2014.

First, before we get into Michigan's chances, let's take a general look at the list.  Only two schools (Virginia, Indiana) currently have commitments on the list.  This shouldn't be surprising, as it's well over two years before any of these recruits will appear on campus, but it does show the momentum of Indiana's program.  Along with this, the list is pretty well spread out geographically, although it is interesting to note that 6 of the top 15 players on the list come from the Midwest area.  Obviously, this does not mean Michigan will get commitments from any of these players, but it does show that there is a lot of talent in the area and that most of the Big Ten teams will probably have a good recruiting year.

Now that we've gone through a few interesting things about the list, let's go into the topic everyone cares about.  Where does Michigan stand with the recruits on the list?  In my opinion, Michigan is in solid shape for several of these recruits.  Michigan will probably never be able to match the recruiting status of teams like Kentucky, but if Beilein is able to keep landing high caliber recruits it will just be a matter or time before he is able to build Michigan's program and prestige for the long-term.

1.  Rashad Vaughn - G - #26 - 4*
Vaughn is a player that I believe could make an immediate impact at Michigan if he reaches campus.  He is listed as 6'4" according to Rivals, but 6'5" and 180s lbs by Scout.  Rivals has him as 4*, but Scout doesn't seem to have him quite as high.  Some of his other offers include schools like Tennessee, Texas, Iowa, and Baylor.  I really think he's a player that could have a big impact playing as a SG.  With Derrick Walton coming in 2013, I couldn't imagine how aggressive Michigan could be with Walton and Vaughn.  This is one to keep on eye on for Michigan fans.

2.  Devin Booker - G - #31 - 4*
Booker is from Moss Point, MS and has received much attention as of late.  Rivals has him listed as 6'3" and weighing 180 lbs, but Scout has him at 6'4" and weighing 175 lbs.  Most speculate that Michigan is in good position to land a commitment, though very early.  Booker also seems to be set-up to be a SG at Michigan, although others speculate that he might be able to play PG as well.  He averaged 23 points per game over this season at his high school, which is pretty impressive.  His father also played in the pros, which may follow the tradition of NBA offspring choosing Beilein as a coach for their sons.  He would be a great pick-up for Michigan and I do think he has the possibility of moving up a bit farther over the next year or so, although it's too early to say for sure.

3.  Keita Bates-Diop - F - #39 - 4*
Keita is from Normal, Illinois (Yes, that's really the name of the town).  He is listed as a small forward, 6'7", and 190 lbs by Rivals and he is listed as a power forward, 6'6", and 180s lbs by Scout.  I think he's a bit too small to be a true power forward for Michigan, especially with some of the immense size Beilein is bringing to campus, but he could do some damage as a small forward for Michigan if he ends up on campus.  He's being recruited by several other Big Ten schools including Illinois, Wisconsin, Purdue, and Northwestern, so picking him up would be pretty big.  I would like to see what he can do over the next few months before I can predict the scale of his impact right away if he comes to Michigan.

4.  Drake Harris - G - #46 - 4*
This could be the most interesting recruit in the 2014 class for Michigan.  Not only is he from Grand Rapids, Michigan, but he is also being heavily pursued by MSU.  This could be one of the first major Beilein vs. Izzo recruiting battles.  Along with this, there is speculation that Harris could be a two sport athlete and play football in the fall and basketball in the winter.  I'm not so sure how feasible this would be in college athletics, but it's certainly something unusual.  Izzo has said he's a "priority" for MSU, which is going to make it pretty hard for Beilein to get him in Ann Arbor.  Harris has had good things to say about Michigan, however, and I think his recruitment is far from over.  Harris is listed as 6'4" and weighing 180 lbs.  This is probably the commit I want the most in this class.  Not only because he's an outstanding player, but who doesn't like stealing a commit away from their rival?

5.  Trevon Bluiett - F - #47 - 4*
The final recruit Michigan seems to be deeply pursuing hails from Indianapolis, Indiana.  He is listed as 6'5" and weighing 185 lbs and a small forward.  Bluiett, like Harris, is going to be a battle for Michigan.  He has received attention from many schools including Indiana, Illinois, MSU, Notre Dame, and OSU.  He is amazingly talented and is going to be a great pick-up for whichever schools he ultimately decides to attend.  This is purely specualtion, but I think this could be a recruitment that goes far in to the future.  Indiana has been doing a great job at snatching up their in-state talent, but I think this might be a player that takes a little longer to convince, if they do at all.

Whether or not Michigan lands these recruits, it should be a great year for Michigan.  Since Michigan has been able to secure so many early commitments in 2012 and 2013, the coaching staff has been able to dedicate a lot of time to 2014 recruiting, which should ultimately help bring in another great class to Ann Arbor.  Make sure to stay tuned because the recruiting battles should start heating up between Michigan and some of the big-time college basketball programs this year.

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