Michigan Basketball Recruiting: Meet the Wolverines' 2013 Class
The Michigan basketball program will not have to deal with any recruiting drama during the spring signing period, because all three prospects from its 2013 class signed national letters of intent back in November.
For the second straight season, head coach John Beilein and his staff have brought in a recruiting haul ranked among the top 15 teams in the country. Michigan finished with the No. 13 ranked class this year.
This is very encouraging considering the fact the Wolverines have yet to reap the benefits of their recent appearance in the national title game.
Two of the signees will have a chance to produce immediately, while another may have some waiting to do before he is able to make an impact in Ann Arbor. Without further ado, let's meet the Wolverines' latest crop of recruits.
Note: All player and team rankings are courtesy of ESPN.
Zak Irvin, Small Forward
When 4-star prospect Zak Irvin signed his national letter of intent last November, the Michigan Wolverines picked up an extremely versatile combo forward.
Irvin has a pure shooting stroke and can knock down jumpers from anywhere on the floor. The areas where Irvin excels more than any other are from mid-range and beyond the arc. Those strengths combined with his athleticism and length will make Irvin a matchup nightmare at the college level.
The 6'6", 185-pounder can put the ball on the deck as well. Although Irvin may not be a supremely skilled ball-handler, he can create scoring opportunities for himself and others off the dribble. Irvin's explosiveness allows him to drive to the basket and finish at the rim with ease, which is similar to the way Glenn Robinson III plays.
As a senior at Hamilton Southeastern High School, Irvin averaged 18.8 points per game, grabbed a total of 402 rebounds and dished out 164 assists. Those numbers were impressive enough for Irvin to capture the 2013 Mr. Basketball award in the state of Indiana.
What role Irvin will play during the 2013-14 season is going to depend on whether or not Robinson returns to Ann Arbor.
If Robinson returns to Michigan, Irvin will likely come off the bench. There is a possibility for Irvin to crack the starting lineup, though, if John Beilein elects to play him alongside Robinson, Nik Stauskas, Mitch McGary and Derrick Walton.
Either way, Irvin will score in bunches and could be a candidate to win the Big Ten Freshman of the Year if he lives up to all of the hype.
Mark Donnal, Power Forward
Although Donnal is a bit of a project, John Beilein and his staff may have nabbed a talented prospect with plenty of upside. Donnal has a terrific jump shot, which he utilizes near the paint and from three-point range.
In addition to being a solid shooter, Donnal is known for throwing down some monster dunks. Often times, Donnal will soar through the air, collect a teammate's miss and flush it home for two points. Donnal will not be able to do this quite as much in the Big Ten, but his ability to finish at the rim is outstanding to say the least.
A glaring hole in Donnal's game, however, is the ability to post up inside. This is an area Donnal will need to make significant strides in, though, he can still contribute as a true freshman without playing on the block.
As long as Mitch McGary returns, the Wolverines will already have a talented post player in their rotation. Donnal will simply be able to come off the bench as a shooting big man and leave the posting up to McGary and Jordan Morgan.
This season, Donnal will come off the bench sparingly and may even be a candidate to redshirt if McGary returns for his sophomore season. The Wolverines are already going to have a loaded rotation of big men with McGary, Morgan and Jon Horford, which leaves little time for Donnal.
Do not expect much out of Donnal for the 2013-14 campaign. Look for Donnal to burst onto the scene in 2014-15.
Derrick Walton, Point Guard
Walton excels in transition, which is where his speed and athleticism can create openings for others. Finishing plays off on the fast break is not a problem for Walton either. In this sense, Walton is a lot like departing sophomore Trey Burke, which means the offense will not change very much this season.
Scoring is another facet of the game in which Walton has the ability to dominate. The 2013 Gatorade Player of the Year in Michigan will need to become a more consistent shooter, but Walton can rack up monster games when he catches fire.
Anything from mid-range is a very high percentage shot for Walton, though.
Not only does Walton have the potential to be a dynamic scorer, he makes sure to get all of his teammates involved as well. Slick passes and dump-offs in transition helped Walton average 10.1 assists as a senior at Chandler Park (Mich.) Academy.
At the defensive end of the floor, Walton is as active as anyone. In addition to the 26.2 points per game Walton put up in 2012-13, he grabbed 7.7 rebounds and forced 5.4 steals.
The only knock on Walton's game right now is his strength. Things are going to get physical in the Big Ten and Walton will need to add some muscle to handle the meat-grinder that is league play.
With Walton at the helm of the offense, Michigan will continue to be at its best when it gets out in transition. Spike Albrecht's 17-point outburst in the national title game has made this an open competition for the starting spot at point guard.
Look for Walton to beat out Albrecht, though, and replace Burke in the starting five. Thanks to Walton and Albrecht, point guard play will yet again be a strength for the Wolverines in 2013-14.