Who is Michigan's top priority on the recruiting trail?
Recruitment is all about priorities, especially given the amount of talent the Michigan basketball program is attracting after its recent NCAA title game appearance.
Some prospects will get more attention than others. This is inevitable given the restrictions the NCAA has when it comes to contacting recruits.
There are five targets on the Wolverines' war board right now, but a sixth may be added soon, since head coach John Beilein recently watched 4-star wing Jordan Barnett compete at the Nike Global Challenge. As for those already being heavily pursued by Michigan, it is time to rank them based on how high of a priority they are.
Three factors will determine a prospect's ranking: likelihood of signing with the Wolverines, number of other targets at a player's position and player rating.
Given the fact the Michigan Wolverines are already in a better position to land two other small forwards, Kameron Chatman is not exactly a high priority. This is not for lack of talent, though. The 4-star prospect would bring a very diverse skill set to John Beilein's group.
Chatman is simply vying for attention with a pair of recruits who have publicly put Michigan near the top of their respective lists. Although the Californian told UMHoops he will "probably" take an official visit to Ann Arbor this fall, "it's not planned out right now."
Those comments are not much different from what Chatman told the site in early June.
Setting up the official visit would demand some more interest from the Wolverines' coaching staff. Until then, however, Chatman is not going to be the highest priority on the recruiting trail.
This is not to say he could not eventually wind up donning the Maize and Blue. Prospects who receive an offer will not be turned down if they wish to commit.
For example, Beilein offered three point guards in the class of 2013, Derrick Walton and Monte Morris had Michigan near, or atop their respective lists. The first one to pull the trigger had a spot in the class, while the other would be on the outside looking in. Walton committed a little more than one month later. Morris eventually signed with Iowa State.
So, Chatman has the same opportunity to join the Wolverines as any other recruit with an offer. It does not mean he is at the top of Michigan's recruiting board, though.
Since Oregon appears to be the favorite at this stage of Chatman's recruitment, this should not come as a surprise.
The Michigan Wolverines and Purdue Boilermakers are in a tight race to land Vince Edwards. Neither has been able to separate from the other over the past month, which means it could be quite a while before the Middletown, Ohio product makes a decision. Edwards insists he is not in a rush.
"They've both been at the same kind of level. I can't say one is recruiting me harder than the other," he told Chris Balas of TheWolverine. "Both have contacted me at the same times, both are recruiting me hard."
Despite the fact Michigan's odds of landing Edwards are higher than anyone else it is lobbying, there is another small forward worthy of more attention. This is not a knock on the 6'7", 200-pounder's game. In fact, Edwards would be a perfect replacement for Glenn Robinson III. The other recruit is simply more developed.
The nation's No. 80 overall prospect is still a priority for the Wolverines, but three other players need to receive more attention.
A surprising turn of events recently came to light in the recruitment of 5-star power forward Kevon Looney. Jerry Meyer of 247 Sports informed the world via Twitter that the Michigan Wolverines and Duke Blue Devils are out in front of a large pack of programs.
According to Nick Baumgardner of MLive.com, Looney has "long believed to be a heavy lean toward Duke." This means the Wolverines more than likely still have some ground to make up. However, there is now a reason for optimism when it comes to Michigan's pursuit of Looney. An official visit would bolster those hopes even more.
With a goal of trimming his list to five schools by Aug. 1, time is of the essence for the Wolverines. Looney would also like to make a decision prior to his senior season, so Michigan needs to focus its attention sooner rather than later.
Although Looney does not hold an offer from the Wolverines, a visit to campus is the last thing he must do to earn one.
Getting Looney to Ann Arbor is the next step in the process. Once that happens, Looney may very well move up in terms of priority.
Trumping every small forward on the Michigan Wolverines' recruiting board is Trevon Bluiett. Only two schools are recruiting the 4-star prospect as hard as the Maize and Blue, Indiana and Butler. And for good reason.
Bluiett is a dynamic scorer. Shooting is Bluiett's best trait, which he put on display in a recent 41-point performance at the Peach Jam. In addition to grabbing eight rebounds and three assists, the Park Tudor School star knocked down 12-of-23 shots, including 5-of-10 from beyond the arc. The 6'5", 205-pounder also handles the ball well, which is a plus for a wing player.
Had assistant coach LaVall Jordan left for Butler, Bluiett would have slipped down the list. With Jordan back in the fold, Michigan's chances are stronger than ever.
No recruit is better to eventually fill the shoes of Glenn Robinson III than Bluiett. The Wolverines are treating him as such.
Do not expect a decision to come anytime soon, but Michigan will be pursuing Bluiett harder than all but one target until the very end.
John Beilein has been recruiting Devin Booker longer than anyone else in the country. Investing that kind of time in a recruit makes it very clear how much of a priority he is. As a result, the nation's No. 16 overall prospect says the Michigan Wolverines have something no other program does.
"Michigan’s been recruiting me since the eighth grade, so they have a special place in my heart I’d say because I’ve visited there seven times and my mom lives in Michigan still and she’d probably like me to stay closer to home and play,” Booker told SNY.tv during an interview at the Nike Global Challenge.
The Wolverines should have no problem making the cut. What could be problematic is some of their competition. Kentucky recently entered the fray, Michigan State will be tough to beat out, as will Florida, Missouri and others.
Official visits could wind up being the deciding factor for Booker. They would make an impression on Booker's parents, whom he wants to see Michigan's campus.
Although there is a long way to go, things are still looking very good for the Wolverines.