GR3 is an amazing athlete. Standing around 6'7" and weighing 192 lbs, he is a physical specimen. He also has a 36" vertical, which is incredible. He's one of those players that is simply a freakish athlete. He's incredibly athletic and Scout identifies this and his 3-point shooting as his biggest strengths. For a player that is going to play out on the wing, this is exactly what coaches and fans should want to hear. His body size reminds me a lot of Hardaway, who stands at 6'6" and weighs 200 lbs. In fact, according to ESPN and MGoBlue, Hardaway and GR3 are identically sized in height and weight. The shape of their bodies aren't identical and they will probably space out a little bit over time, but that's a pretty big positive. Hardaway has done some great things at Michigan and he was only rated as a 3* recruit. GR3 is rated significantly higher, which has raised expectations sky-high.
Here are the basic listings for GR3:
Really, the only major recruiting service that seems to be hard on GR3 is Scout. To me, this is a good sign, especially because they still have him rated in the top 30 in the country and as one of the best small forwards. Probably the most significant of these ratings is the support that ESPN has given him, which I consider the best major recruiting service when it comes to basketball. They gave him a 97 rating and easily put him among the elite in the country. Plus, other recruiting services like Rivals and 247Sports have rated him even higher than ESPN. His offer list is not too impressive, but a lot of people forget just how early he committed to Michigan. He joined the Wolverines almost a year ago in July of 2011, which was at the beginning of 2012 recruiting and when he wasn't that highly rated. Rivals at one point even had him as the #118 recruit in the country. A pretty big climb for him as he is currently rated as #11 in the country by Rivals.
The big question now, of course, is how will he do at Michigan and specifically, this fall. Obviously, with any recruit, there is always some uncertainty. Can he live up to his hype? Will he be able to grasp the system quickly enough to make an impact? Will some outside factor such as home sickness slow down his college transition? These are all questions that are fair to ask of just about any recruit. There's no way to adequately predict just how quickly a high school recruit will adjust to the college game. Having said that, I do have some pretty big hopes for GR3 this fall and beyond.
I've already projected that he will start this fall and I really believe that he has a decent shot at making the All-Big Ten freshman team, one of the All-Big Ten teams, and potentially being Big Ten Freshman of the Year next season. I'm not going to make a claim or guarantee that he will earn any of these awards, but I certainly think there's a good chance. He will be arriving on a team that has been ranked #5 during the preseason, returns 3 starters, and 2 All-Big Ten players from last year. This is a pretty good situation for GR3 to arrive and develop. He will also not have to carry the load as some freshmen will have to do next year.
GR3 also seems to be a pretty good fit for Michigan's offseason losses. Michigan's primary three losses, Zack Novak, Stu Douglass, and Evan Smotcryz, will all have to be replaced if Michigan wants to have a successful next season. Mitch McGary should fill most of the role left by Novak and Smotcryz and GR3 is a great fit for the void left by Stu. His defense and ball handling skills aren't as good as Stu, but I think he has far more raw talent, is much taller, and probably has better offensive skills. GR3 probably won't be an immediate upgrade over Stu, but after GR3 gets a few games under his belt, I think he will more than fill the void left by Stu.
I hate to put too many expectations on a player that hasn't played one second of college basketball yet, but I can't help but be optimistic for GR3. He's immensely talented, is entering a great situation, and is just about a perfect fit for what Michigan's team needs next year. I won't make grand claims about what he will do next season, but I will say this. I will not be surprised one bit if he ends up on a All-Big Ten team and I really do believe he will be on the All-Big Ten Freshmen Team. His contributions should also go a long way toward Michigan's chances for repeating a Big Ten title and making a solid NCAA Tournament run.
Here's his highlight video: