Michigan Basketball: How Each Top Recruiting Target Fits Wolverines' Offense
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With the early signing period less than four months away, the Michigan basketball program is attempting to put the finishing touches on its 2014 recruiting haul.
The class already features 4-star big man Ricky Doyle and reclassifed small forward Austin Hatch. The final two spots in the class are likely going to more highly touted prospects, though. None of the remaining targets will have a problem meshing with the other newcomers or returning players.
All five would be ideal fits for the Wolverines offense. Head coach John Beilein is undoubtedly drooling over the possible rotations for the 2014-15 campaign with two of the following players in the fold.
All player rankings are courtesy of ESPN unless noted otherwise.
Trevon Bluiett, Small Forward
Trevon Bluiett is not just a shooter; he is a scorer. Photo courtesy of CBS Sports.
Small forward is a position that requires a player to do a little bit of everything to be successful. Trevon Bluiett has all of the necessary tools to replace Glenn Robinson III. This is exactly what the Michigan Wolverines are recruiting him for.
Per CBS Sports' Gary Parrish, Robinson is projected to be a lottery pick in the 2014 NBA draft, which makes an early departure seem imminent. As long as Robinson stays healthy and meets expectations this season, Michigan will be looking for a new 3 next year.
Thankfully, Bluiett is an even better fit for John Beilein's offense than Robinson. Shifting to the 3 in 2013-14 will help Robinson shed the label of being a finisher rather than a scorer. Still, his shooting percentages away from the rim have to come up for this to happen.
Conversely, Bluiett's most prized asset is his jumper.
The 4-star prospect can knock down shots from anywhere on the floor. This was evident in a recent 41-point performance at the Peach Jam, where he knocked down 12 of 23 field-goal attempts, going 5-of-10 from beyond the arc.
Getting to the basket is not something Bluiett has a problem with, though. The 6'5", 205-pounder can finish at the rim or sink floaters in the middle of the lane.
Consistent shooters with the ability to spread the floor and create open space are a staple of Beilein's offense. Bluiett is exactly that and then some.
The only question remaining is whether or not the Wolverines can beat out Butler and Indiana for his services, per Jeff Borzello of CBS Sports.
Vince Edwards, Small Forward
Vince Edwards is currently favoring Michigan and Purdue. Photo courtesy of 247 Sports.
Another ideal replacement for Glenn Robinson III the Michigan Wolverines have their eyes on is Vince Edwards. In fact, the Middletown (Ohio) High School standout is almost a replica of Robinson.
Edwards does most of his damage at the rim. Driving to the hole and finishing in traffic are what the 6'7", 200-pounder does best. The 4-star prospect has to polish his jump shot, especially from three-point range, in order to be a complete player. For the time being, though, he could take advantage of the driving lanes created by the shooters in Michigan's offense.
Sounds a little bit like Robinson, right?
If Edwards were to wind up with the Wolverines, he would be a natural fit at the 3 but could see some time at the 4. In an era where stretch 4s are becoming more common, Edwards is a good fit for that role in a smaller Michigan lineup.
The Purdue Boilermakers are the Wolverines' stiffest competition right now for the Ohioan. Everything is even in the battle for his signature, per UMHoops. Only time will tell whether Edwards wishes to follow in the footsteps of Robinson.
Kevon Looney, Power Forward
Kevon Looney can dominate in the paint and knock down shots out on the perimeter. Photo courtesy of 247 Sports.
Big men like Kevon Looney do not come around very often. The 5-star prospect handles the ball and knocks down jump shots like a guard, yet his physical stature and aggressiveness allows him to dominate the paint as well.
John Beilein loves power forwards who can shoot. Former West Virginia Mountaineer Kevin Pittsnogle is evidence of this. Evan Smotrycz attempted to fill this role in Michigan's offense, but inconsistency forced him to transfer to Maryland last April. Neither of those players was as highly regarded as Looney, though.
Like Glenn Robinson III, rising sophomore power forward Mitch McGary is also a lottery pick in the eyes of CBS Sports' Gary Parrish. In all likelihood, McGary will not be back in Ann Arbor for a third season.
This will open up immediate playing time for Looney. Pairing the nation's No. 9 overall prospect with shooters like Zak Irvin and Nik Stauskas would give the Wolverines one of the most potent offenses in college basketball.
As far as position goes, Looney's AAU coach, Shelby Parrish, believes he could play any of the forward positions.
"He could play a stretch four, a three, he could play multiple positions for that team,” Parrish told Joe Stapleton of UMHoops. "And it’s wide open — (the Wolverines) play both ways; they get out, they get up and down, they use athleticism, and then they run sets. So at the three position there’s a lot of freedom."
Michigan is still a long shot to land Looney, but its chances will significantly increase if he makes an official visit to campus this fall.
Kameron Chatman, Small Forward
Kameron Chatman is another candidate to replace Glenn Robinson III. Photo courtesy of 247 Sports.
The third option the Michigan Wolverines have to replace Glenn Robinson III is 4-star small forward Kameron Chatman. The Long Beach, Calif., native is a more balanced prospect than Trevon Bluiett and Vince Edwards.
Chatman has the ability to hit three-pointers and mid-range pull-ups, but not with Bluiett's consistency. Same with going to the basket. The 6'6", 175-pounder uses his length to finish at the rim, just not as much as Edwards. This is by no means a knock on Chatman, though. After all, he does those things well enough to be ranked No. 42 overall in the class of 2014.
Passing on the fast break and ball-handling fall into the strength category for Chatman as well.
The Long Beach Polytechnic High School star would be best at the 3. In order to play the 4 in smaller lineups, Chatman will have to add some muscle.
Devin Booker, Shooting Guard
Devin Booker is the top target on Michigan's board. Photo courtesy of ESPN.
The prospect sitting atop the Michigan Wolverines' recruiting board for the past year is none other than Devin Booker. This should not surprise anyone, considering Booker is a perfect shooting guard for John Beilein's offense.
The 5-star recruit is a dynamic wing player with a pure shooting stroke. Not only does Booker possess all the necessary physical tools to play college basketball, but he is also one of the most cerebral prospects. Such a thing comes with the territory of being the son of the 1994 Big Eight player of the year.
"His basketball IQ is one of the first things you notice regarding his play," an ESPN analyst wrote (subscription required). "He's economical with his shot selection which speaks to his feel."
Despite the fact Booker has to work on driving the lane and scoring at the rim, he could make an immediate impact at Michigan. Booker's outside shooting more than makes up for a developing slash-and-drive game.
Given his size (6'5", 185 lbs), Booker could play either the 2 or 3. He could wind up forming a high-scoring duo with Nik Stauskas and/or Zak Irvin. Imagine a lineup with those two/three spacing the floor together.