Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Michigan Basketball's 2012 Recruiting Class Review

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With the commitment of Caris LeVert, Michigan's 2012 recruiting should finally be finished.  Many, including myself, thought Michigan's 2012 recruiting was finished after Spike Albrecht committed, but nobody could have predicted that the head coach of Ohio (green one) would leave and LeVert would re-open his recruitment.  Regardless, Michigan's 2012 basketball recruiting should be finished, barring some crazy events.

Knowing this, we can finally take a look at Michigan's entire class and see how it might impact Michigan both next season and in the future.  Recruiting has become a key component in building a successful college basketball team and Beilein has done a great job at assembling a class that addresses both the short-term and long-term needs of the program.  Obviously, a lot of developments changed the look of this class, including things like Trey Burke returning to Ann Arbor and the post-season transfers, but I do think Beilein did his best to get a recruiting class that addressed these concerns.

A key example of this can be seen in Spike Albrecht.  Now, he was primarily recruited to replace Trey Burke, since many assumed Burke was going pro, but he still fills a big need for the team.  Right now, there's a significant void at the point guard position.  Yes, Burke is there right now and is an outstanding player, but he will likely go pro after next season, which will leave a huge void at the position.  Derrick Walton, a very hyped 2013 point guard recruit, will be arriving on campus and will be the favorite to replace Trey Burke in 2013, but relying on a true freshman is never a great move.  Albrecht will likely be a redshirt freshman and will probably be a somewhat capable player.  So, even though the major need for Albrecht, which was replacing Trey Burke, isn't needed anymore, he still fills a big role for the team.

Along with this, Michigan was able to add a significant amount of size and talent for the future.  Michigan will be bringing in three players listed in the ESPN 100.  Each of these players have received grades of at least 92 from ESPN, are above 6'6", and will likely get playing time next season.  In fact, I predicted that Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary would each get a starting spot next season*.  For a team as solid as Michigan was last year, this is pretty impressive.

Michigan had a great year last season, but there were a few basic elements that the team lacked and the most obvious was size.  Addressing this is key and with the addition of McGary, Robinson, and Stauskas, this should be a problem of the past.  Now, whether all three of these recruits reach their full potential is something that is a question mark, but I think it's a safe bet that at least some of these guys will be making a significant impact both next season and in the near future.

And finally, Michigan filled out its class with the late commit Caris LeVert.  LeVert hasn't received much love from the scouting services (rated as a 2* by ESPN), but I think he may find a useful role with the team.  He certainly isn't going to start next year and I'm not sure if he'll get any playing time, but I believe he is Michigan's best "steal" in this class.  If there's one player in this class that will be a pleasant surprise, it will be LeVert.  He has a lot of raw talent, but I think he simply got overlooked by the scouting services to an extent.  I'm not saying he's going to be the Big Ten Player Of The Year or something, but I think he could develop into a Novak-type player and could be very productive for the team.

Overall, I would say this class deserves an A- as a rating.  It has a very elite recruit (Robinson III), a solid big man (McGary), a great shooter (Stauskas), a steal (LeVert), and a player to fill depth for the next few years (Albrecht).  Some of the recruits probably could have been a little better, primarily LeVert and Albrecht, but ultimately, it's tough to demand much more given the circumstances.  Few thought Burke would deeply consider the NBA at the beginning of the year, which made it very difficult for Beilein to recruit for the future.  Along with this, nobody could have predicted several players would transfer late, opening up even more depth for the team.

Considering these circumstances, this is a great recruiting class and one that could really solidify Michigan as a basketball team and program.  No recruit or recruiting class will make a team or a program, but with Michigan's recent momentum and Beilein's great coaching, I see no reason why this class won't be very productive both next season and the future.  Fans should be very excited to see these guys arrive on campus next fall, as they'll likely continue Michigan's recent winning traditions.

* - Note: My predictions were made before the Trey Burke announcement, so ignore Spike Albrecht as the starter

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