Michigan Basketball: Strengths and Weaknesses of U-M's 2013 Recruiting Class

Zach Dirlam@Zach_DirlamSenior Analyst IIFebruary 19, 2013

Michigan Basketball: Strengths and Weaknesses of U-M's 2013 Recruiting Class

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    Michigan basketball is once again at the forefront of the national stage, and its 2013 recruiting haul will help the Wolverines continue to contend for Big Ten Conference titles and Final Fours.

    Head coach John Beilein managed to assemble the No. 12-ranked class in the country, despite the fact Michigan will only be adding three newcomers to the roster for the 2013-14 campaign.

    Each prospect will bring something unique to the Wolverines next season, but what exactly are the strengths and weaknesses of the class as a whole? Click ahead to find out!


    Note: All player and team rankings are courtesy of ESPN.com.

Strength: Mid-Range Shooting

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    John Beilein's system is built around efficient shooting, and the newest Michigan Wolverines have all shown the ability to consistently knock down mid-range jumpers.

    Zak Irvin is the best shooter of the incoming trio. The 6'6", 185-pounder can pull up over anyone to get the shot he wants, which makes his mid-range jump shot even more difficult to defend. Irvin can also hit shots on the perimeter, so opposing teams will have to pick their poison when it comes to the 4-star prospect.

    Most of the damage 4-star point guard Derrick Walton is going to do for the Wolverines will either be in transition or from jumpers in the lane.

    Mark Donnal is quite an impressive shooter for a big man as well. The 4-star power forward spends a significant amount of time making plays at the rim, but Donnal can do a lot more than just throw down dunks and layups.

    The nation's No. 82 overall prospect can nail shots from beyond the arc and likes to face up and hit jumpers from inside the key.

    None of the three are overly consistent from three-point range; however, all of them will be able to make plenty of mid-range shots at the college level.

Weakness: Low-Post Offense

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    Despite the fact the Michigan Wolverines are bringing in three highly touted prospects, none of them will provide much help in the low post, which is an area the Maize and Blue need to improve immediately.

    Donnal is the only big man in the 2013 recruiting haul, and it is going to take him at least two or three years in Ann Arbor to develop an arsenal of tools to use in the post.

    The 6'8", 225-pounder gets most of his points in the paint off of dunks and layups. While that is a recipe for dominance at the high school level, Donnal will need to find other ways to score in order to succeed at Michigan.

    "(Donnal would) do well to add a jump hook, turn around jumper or up-and-under move," according to his scouting report on ESPN.com. 

    A few years from now, Donnal may very well have a polished post game to go along with his outstanding shooting range. For the 2013-14 campaign, however, Michigan will be relying on its returning players to score on the block. 

Strength: Transition Play

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    Even if sophomore point guard Trey Burke opts to declare for the NBA draft at the end of this season, the Michigan Wolverines will not need to change much about their offense thanks to the arrival of Walton.

    Walton's game looks a lot like Burke's. Both players are at their best running the floor in transition and can take over contests with their scoring abilities if need be.

    The Chandler Park Academy standout is lightning fast and always knows where his teammates are when he is on a fast break, which will help Walton get on the floor as a true freshman.

    Irvin also has plenty of speed and athleticism to be a force in transition. Irvin's length and ball-handling will allow him to ignite a fast break on his own and finish at the rim if defenders choose to cut off his passing lanes.

    If either of these two fail to make some easy buckets on the run, Donnal will be there to clean up the mess. Donnal runs the floor well for a big man and is known for throwing down some monster tip-slams.

    Expect Michigan's transition offense to continue thriving with the arrival of Donnal, Irvin and Walton.

Weakness: Physicality

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    It is rare for high school prospects to possess all of the physical tools needed to withstand the brutal wear and tear of the Big Ten Conference. All of the Michigan Wolverines' 2013 recruits will need to pack on some muscle weight if they hope to help the Maize and Blue win a league title.

    The long and lanky Donnal will need to bulk up from 225 pounds to around 240 or 250 before he can be an effective player on the interior.

    Meanwhile, Walton (165 pounds) will have to pack on at least 15 pounds to play a more physical brand of basketball as a true freshman. 

    Irvin has the least amount of work to do since he will be arriving in Ann Arbor at 185 pounds, though, he should emulate Michigan's current small forward Glenn Robinson III and get his playing weight above 200 pounds as quickly as possible.

    Adding strength is something all high school players need to do once they get to their respective universities, and this should not be a concern after year one or two for the trio of incoming freshmen.

Strength: Versatility

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    The Michigan Wolverines love to mix up their rotations, and the newest crop of recruits will all provide head coach John Beilein with plenty of versatility.

    Although Walton is a true point guard, his shooting abilities would allow him to play a little bit of shooting guard if Beilein wants to keep Spike Albrecht on the floor for longer periods of time next season.

    Donnal will be an undersized power forward most of the time; though, if he is able to improve his ball-handling skills, the Whitehouse, Ohio product should be able to play some small forward.

    As for Irvin, the Hamilton Southeastern High School signee will be able to play some shooting guard as well. Irvin can knock down shots from anywhere on the floor and would be a tough matchup for opposing guards because of his size.

    The Wolverines could utilize their newest recruits in a number of different ways, which undoubtedly has Beilein and his staff excited.