Michigan Basketball Recruiting: Meet Wolverines' 2014 Class
Although the 2014 class features four signees at the moment, the Michigan basketball program could add at least one other prospect before the offseason is complete. The Wolverines are set to host Pennsylvanian Muhammad-Ali Abdur Rahkman, and Aubrey Dawkins has also popped up on their radar.
Michigan could also be in play for Eron Harris, who is transferring from West Virginia.
For now, though, let's stick to the players who have already committed to the Maize and Blue. One or two figure to make an impact right away, while the other half of the class will take at least a couple of seasons to flourish in Ann Arbor.
Nevertheless, this is an underrated class with plenty of athleticism for head coach John Beilein and Co. to utilize.
If Mitch McGary decides to declare for the NBA draft, Michigan will have to turn to Ricky Doyle for production much earlier than it would like. The 3-star power forward is still developing a mid-range game, but his strengths are finishing at the rim and playing with his back to the basket. The Wolverines need both of those things with the departures of veteran big men Jon Horford and Jordan Morgan.
Doyle's head coach at Bishop Verot, Matt Herting, came away impressed with his senior season, which bodes well for Michigan.
"By the end of the year he averaged 25 points, 10 rebounds and shot 71 percent from the floor, 70 percent from the free throw line despite every team throwing three guys at him," Herting told Chris Balas of Rivals.com. "He played well, but it's frustrating when have three guys on you all the time packed around you.
"He just had to be sure he was being patient and getting others around him involved."
Should McGary return, Doyle can take a redshirt season and ease his way into the rotation.
Despite any shortcomings, he has more athleticism than just about any power forward, aside from McGary, whom John Beilein has had during his tenure in Ann Arbor. Doyle has plenty to work on, but his upside is very high.
There is little doubt D.J. Wilson has the physical build and skill set to become a serviceable stretch 4 at Michigan. However, it is unclear how long it will take him to develop and put everything together.
With another prospect able to play the 4 in his class and reserves like Max Bielfeldt and Mark Donnal coming back, Wilson is unlikely to blossom as a true freshman. The Sacramento, Calif. native is a bit of a project, but one the Wolverines will wind up being very happy with a few years down the line.
The 3-star prospect closed out his high school career with a 29-point, 10-rebound and four-block performance against powerhouse Bishop O'Dowd.
"[Wilson] definitely showed what his potential is," O'Dowd coach Lou Richie told The Sacramento Bee. "Our game plan was to let him beat us with perimeter shooting. Well, he showed he could do that, and about everything else. He was amazing."
The ceiling is very high for Wilson. He needs to put on some muscle to compete at the college level, but strength and conditioning coach Jon Sanderson will make sure he fills out well. Polishing up his jump shot will be the next key to making Wilson one of the toughest matchups on Michigan's roster.
Do not expect him to contribute right away, but come 2015-16 or 2016-17, a breakout season should be on the horizon.
It is hard to know what the future holds for Austin Hatch. John Beilein maintains he will be on a regular athletic scholarship, but it is hard to believe he can make an impact for at least a couple of years. This is not meant as an insult to Hatch. It is simply an acknowledgement of the long road back to basketball for a plane-crash survivor.
Back in June 2011, he was put into a drug-induced coma to recover from serious head, lung and rib injuries. For two months, he remained in a coma. Once he finally awoke, his basketball future was the furthest thing from anyone's mind. Simply making a full recovery would be an incredible challenge.
On Jan. 9, 2014, Hatch completed his comeback and drained a three-pointer for Loyola (Calif.) High School.
Expectations will be low for him, so any playing time he manages to accumulate over the next four years would be a bit of a surprise. Still, given all he has been able to overcome, do not count this young man out. He is a fighter who will do everything he can to get on the floor for the Wolverines.
Keep an eye out for Hatch down the road.
With Glenn Robinson III heading to the NBA, Michigan is in need of a new starting 4. Enter Kameron Chatman.
No, the 4-star small forward is not the freakish athlete Robinson is. He is, however, a much better shooter, an excellent ball-handler and an efficient facilitator. One thing he does much better than the departing Robinson is shoot the three. According to a recent report by Rivals.com, Chatman shot 43 percent from beyond the arc this season.
"Kameron is a perimeter player who just happens to be extremely tall and has the gift of rebounding," Chatman's father and AAU coach Canaan told UMHoops. "Coach Beilein sees him playing one, just because he does have the ability to facilitate; he’s a great passer, he handles the ball extremely well.
"He’s six-seven and a half right now. By the time he gets to school, I know he’ll be a little over six-eight, might be closer to six-nine. So he might move a little bit off the ball, but his skills will be in place."
Chatman capped his high school career with a Division 1A State Championship in Oregon. He averaged 25 points, 11 rebounds and four-plus assists at an array of positions for Columbia Christian High School.
Adding some muscle to his frame will be the first priority once he makes it to campus, but regardless of how quickly he does this, Chatman will be called upon to play a major role. Michigan needs a game-changing prospect to fill the vacant spots in its rotation. He should do just that.
Note: Star rankings courtesy of ESPN.com.
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