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Michigan Basketball Recruiting For 2007

His Harris, Grady and likely Legion back in the fold, attention now turns to the final scholarship available for the 2007 class.

Martell Webb's commit to Michigan on a football scholarship frees the basketball program to go after an additional athlete in 2007 or 2008. As Westside Rider purveyor Kenny points out, Michigan can borrow a scholarship against the 2008 season if it chooses or hold on to it and offer two scholarships during the 2008 recruiting class. A class that just got less-Michigan-esque when uber-recruits Kenny Frease committing to Xavier and Devlon Roe eliminating Michigan.

Webb was ranked only as a 2*-3* recruit by the ranking services and its questionable whether he'll even suit up for Michigan's basketball team. The final piece of the 2007 recruiting puzzle is whether Alex Legion suits up for Michigan or not. If not Michigan has one definite scholarship and one 2008 scholarship to play with, if he matriculates then only the "borrowed" 2008 scholarship remains in play. However, to play devil's advocate, lets see who's out there.

Who's Left?

Of the Scout Hot 100 only Patrick Patterson, Anthony McClain and Jai Lucas remain uncommitted. Here's a little background on all three I previously drew up:

Patrick Patterson, a 6-8 forward from Huntington, WV (Rivals #15) is still on the board. With Duke, Florida, Kentucky, Wake, Virginia, and West Virginia all on the board, you've gotta think Michigan has a chance all of a sudden. Duke just got bounced in the first round of the NCAAs (yes, they're still Duke, but they ain't got that shine anymore). Florida will be without a coach soon. Kentucky was widely presumed to be a lock for his services, and then the floor fell out from under Tubby Smith. Though Kentucky doesn't have a coach (though it'll likely be Donovan), and Patternson was reportedly very close with Smith and that will seriously hurt his chances of picking the Cats. Wake and Virginia, kinda blah. It's a long shot, but I think Michigan, if Legion/Harris stay, has a shot. (Ed note - Yeah, Donovan didn't go to Kentucky. My money's on Patterson being a Gator at this point)

Anthony McClain, a 6-11 center from Washington DC (Rivals 51, Scout 41)) is still on the board too. Florida, Tennessee, Cinci (?), and Connecticut are all on his wish list. Seems like he'd be worth a phone call.

Jai Lucas, a 5-10 point guard from Bellaire, TX (Rivals 42, Scout 46) has NBA bloodlines and family ties to Maryland. Still, he never accepted their offer and is sitting on offers from Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kentucky, and Maryland. Oddly, Iowa appeared in the mix for a while too. Like Patterson, Lucas was a presumed lock at Kentucky, but Smith's departure screwed that up. In the event Grady decides to re-open, wouldn't it make sense to make a phone call to inquire about his signing day decision?

Added to the list of available top 150 players from the Rivals 150 are:

SF Jenirro Bush of Crawford, MS. As a 6'7", 175 lbs, small forward Bush warrants a definite phone call. Rivals has Bush ranked at #78 overall in 2007,the #24 small forward and a four star recruit. Bush's offer sheet is good, with Florida State, Illinois, Oregon, Georgia St., Arkansas, Virginia, and UConn vying for his services.

Bush decommitted from Arkansas with Heath's firing and strangely seems to have re-classified to the 2008 class. However, if he's available he's worth a call.

Former Arkansas commitment Jenirro Bush has reclassified to 2008 and was in action with the Columbus Titans. A combo guard at around 6-foot-5, Bush looked a little out of shape, but displayed all the skills that had him ranked as a four-star in the 2007 class. He scored 18 points in the [The Real Deal on the Hill] game.

Tall, lanky, and quick. All qualities that make him a good fit. The fact that he's built like Courtney Sims, meh, not so good. The Illini are reportedly hot on his trail.

SG Cliff Tucker of El Paso, TX. Rivals has Tuckkr ranked as 2007's #89 player, #19 shooting guard, and a four star recruit. Oddly, Tucker's recruiting list only mentions Maryland and UTEP. Strange for a 4* recruit at 6'4" 185. Tucker has a rep as a smooth ball handler who could almost make the transition to PG. According to Rivals analyst Jerry Meyer:

"A smooth athlete who is skilled with the ball, Tucker plays as much like a point guard as a wing forward. He has a good feel for the game, but he does need to improve his strength and long range shooting for the next level."

With a lack of outside range, Tucker is probably not the best fit for Beilein's system, but a superb athlete. Maryland is apparently his first choice but he's yet to pull the trigger and accept. He may be waiting on another offer from a high major program. Might be worth a look to see if he's looking to expand his options.

SF D.J Kennedy of Pittsburgh. Rivals has Kennedy ranked as the #123 player in the 2007 class, the 35th small forward, and a three star recruit. Good high school rep, including the Pittsburgh Fabulous Five as a Junior and Senior. According to Rivals:

As a junior he was a second team Class AAAA all-state slection. He was also selected to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Fabulous 5 in Western PA. As a senior he was again selected to pthe Pittsburgh Post-Gazzete's Fabulous Five. Helped team to Class AAAA state championship."

At 6'5" 185, Kennedy is a definite small forward/wing who probably would fit well in Beilein's system. Academically he's got the goods too, sporting a 3.5 GPA. He's got an offer list of Georgia, Minnesota, Virginia Tech, Xavier, Duquesne, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Kansas State, and surprisingly Florida. Beilein's in with Kennedy may help in this situation if Michigan is interested in going after him. However, the presence of Legion and Harris make his recruitment a little more difficult with respect to playing time. Still, the Florida offer certainly perks your interest.

So Where's That Leave Us?

According to Rivals ($) Lucas appears to be down to a pair of SEC schools, so his services may be spoken for.

Patterson will end up at a High High Major school. If he doesn't head to Florida I'd expect he'd go with his original commit to Kentucky now that Gillispie is there.

McClain is a wildcard at this point. Listed between 6'10" and 7', McClain goes by the nickname "Biggie" and is the only touted, unsigned post player left in the 2007 class. According to Rivals at the Capital Classic at the Comcast Center on April 5th, McClain had 12 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocked shots in 19 minutes of play.

[He] greatly impressed spectators with his size, mobility, and effectiveness in the paint.

He's got an impressive offer sheet of Connecticut, Florida, Tennessee, and Cincinnati (?). But what the hell. We're Michigan. He's worth a shot.

Bush is likely going to re-evaluate things with a year in college-prep and Tucker will probably end up at Maryland after all is said and done. Both still warrant a call.

Of the listed players, DJ Kennedy has to be the most likely target. He's quick, big and has already spoken with Beilein. His offer sheet is nice, but not overwhelming. Unless he goes to Florida, Michigan should have as good a chance as any school on his list.

Beilein's got a reputation for turning coal into diamond NCAA runs. There's always the possibility he'll unearth some gem we don't know about. However, after the Trifecta is back in the fold Beilein's biggest challenge will be determining whether he can fill that final slot with some one he's not only seen play, but with someone who can contribute immediately. If not, that final scholarship may wait until next year.

(Ed note - Thanks to Kenny for pointing out my miscounting of the scholarships.)