As John Beilein and the Michigan basketball program get prepared to reel in another fine recruiting class for 2015, the best-case scenario may actually be if they land a small class.
You see, the Wolverines basically have just one scholarship to give out at the moment, according to VerbalCommits.com. Now, things could change.
With Caris LeVert and Zak Irvin catching the eye of NBA scouts and general managers—ESPN's Chad Ford has both of them in his top 50 NBA prospects list—they could be candidates to declare early for the NBA draft, and therefore, their departures would open more scholarships.
Most Michigan fans would elect to see LeVert and Irvin come back to Ann Arbor for their senor and junior years, respectively, than to see their scholarships used elsewhere.
But that may not be a viable option.
Throwing a wrench into the plans is that Michigan is set to host Division III transfer Duncan Robinson (Williams College) shortly, as Chris Balas at TheWolverine.com reported (subscription required).
Robinson played for Beilein's former assistant coach at West Virginia, Mike Maker, at Williams College last year.
But now that Maker is the head coach at Marist, Robinson is looking for a new start on the big stage. Thomas Beindit also reported on the visit:
Also of note is that there could be other transfers or issues freeing up scholarships, so it's a fluid situation to monitor.
Here then are a few best-case scenarios for the Wolverines' 2015 class.
1. LeVert and Irvin elect to stay at Michigan while the Wolverines add the best player available.
It's probably safe to say most Michigan fans would prefer LeVert and Irvin stay at Michigan, while in the process the Wolverines restrict the scholarships they could use in 2015. I'm guessing that's the same feeling Beilein has as well.
If Michigan gets LeVert and and Irvin to stay, and no else leaves for unforeseen reasons, the Wolverines conceivably may be able to land only one 2015 prospect.
At that point, it may be in Michigan's best interest to land the best overall prospect it can considering its 2015-16 squad would be a deep one.
If that's the case, Michigan would consider itself lucky if it can secure the services of point guard extraordinaire Jalen Brunson, perhaps the highest-rated recruit—No. 17 overall, according to Scout.com—they have a legitimate shot of landing.
Granted, point guard is not a pressing need with Derrick Walton Jr. expected to stick around for a while, but on a deep team, grabbing a high-end player like Brunson may be the route to go.
Brunson, from Lincolnshire, Illinois (Adlai E. Stevenson HS), is an electrifying floor general who makes steady decisions with the ball in his hands. He can set up his teammates just as well as he can torch the nets from deep.
2. LeVert unfortunately declares for the NBA draft, but Michigan uses his scholarship on a promising wing with Irvin also returning.
Say LeVert becomes an all-Big Ten performer and perhaps earns All-American status, too. Then the 2014-15 season will likely have been considered a success, right?
If the Wolverines get 20-plus wins and enjoy another deep NCAA tournament run, LeVert could leave. We can live with that trade-off.
If that were to happen, look for Michigan to use a scholarship on a versatile wing like Jalen Coleman, Eric Davis, Prince Ali or Perry Dozier, all of whom are viewed as top-50 (or close to) recruits in the 2015 class.
While you don't want to see LeVert leave, the replacement player for him could be a great consolation prize, as all of the aforementioned targets have upside through the roof.
3. Both LeVert and Irvin regretfully leave Michigan, but the Wolverines nab a three-man recruiting class that ranks among the best in 2015.
Again, Michigan would prefer not to lose the services of LeVert or Irvin. However, let's say both players erupt this year and leave—similar to the way Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson did this past year.
Then it would be best if the Wolverines can recover and garner a top-10 or top-20 class to offset what they might lose.
This is the not the ideal way you want to shape up the 2015-16 roster, but it could be a reality.
So, if that were to come to fruition, the best way to rebound from that would be to recruit a well-rounded class that has a bit of everything.
Maybe you start with Brunson at point guard. Add a wing in Coleman, Davis or Dozier and then add a big man to complete the class.
That big man could be Trevor Manuel, who is an overlooked but skilled big still developing his game.
In all, the Michigan basketball program is in good hands with Beilein at the helm.
Whether Michigan signs one player or perhaps three or more, the 2015-16 season should be a year the Wolverines are equipped for another successful run.
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