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Michigan Monday Crootin’: 2020 hoops recruiting picking up steam

Developments on two hoops targets, plus a new tackle prospect in football.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan basketball may have lost to Wisconsin Saturday. There’s still plenty of momentum on the recruiting trail.

John Beilein is jostling for two elite 2020 prospects in four-star combo guard Ethan Morton and five-star center Walker Kessler.

The former — who hails from Butler, Pa. — “appears to have strong interest” in Michigan, according to The Wolverine.

“Coach B sees me as someone that can play multiple positions in their offense with the one through three,” Morton said. “And they play with a lot of guys that have similar positions but are shooters and creators, but also just basketball players, so that doesn’t deter me at all.”

He ranks as the No. 55 player overall per Rivals, as well as the No. 11 point guard. He holds 22 offers, including ones from Indiana, Ohio State, Purdue and Wisconsin.

He would look to complement four-star point guard pledge Zeb Jackson. The Maumee, Ohio native stands 6-foot-3, while Morton possesses more height at 6-foot-5.

He shined over the summer at the USA Basketball training camp in Colorado Springs, as well as Nike’s Peach Jam in North Augusta, S.C.

He used that smooth stroke to score a Butler Area Senior High record 51 points on Jan. 8.

Expect a Big Ten battle for him. It’ll be a national one for Kessler.

Despite his recent offer from Duke, and an official visit earlier this month to Virginia, Michigan “remains a serious player” for the 7-footer’s services, per Rivals.

The College Park, Ga. product officially visited Ann Arbor for the Penn State football weekend — a rousing 42-7 rout over the Nittany Lions.

Beilein — who has “done great work in connecting with him so far” — will likely have to compete with a host of blue-bloods, including two top-five teams in the Blue Devils and Cavaliers.

North Carolina is also increasing interest, but Michigan has a compelling counter argument there:

Rivals sees Kessler as a top-10 prospect, as well as the second-best center nationally.

The other major target is Duncanville (Tex.) four-star wing Micah Peavy, who witnessed Michigan’s 80-60 pummeling of Northwestern on Jan. 13.

Ed Warinner and company hauled in a highly-rated corps of linemen in 2019, including a quartet of four-stars.

The offensive line guru is now angling for the first OL pledge of the 2020 cycle. He looks to be in good position with Louisville (Ky.) tackle John Young, who unofficially visited last weekend.

Measuring at 6-foot-6, 280 pounds, Young carries a similar frame to 2019 Michigan tackle commits Trevor Keegan and Trente Jones.

The visit peaked his interest.

“I got to spend a lot more time with the coaches and see all of the facilities,” he told The Michigan Insider ($). “Spent most of my day with Coach Warinner and Coach Harbaugh. They were telling me that I was a top priority for them and showing me what it was like to play offensive line for Michigan.”

He sees a ton of attractive qualities in Michigan, from Ed Warinner’s history of developing NFL linemen to a chance to play for Jim Harbaugh.

Competition looms from both in-state programs Kentucky and Louisville, as well as Ohio State. A follow up trip to Ann Arbor could take place this summer with an official.

Young ranks as the No. 354 overall prospect for 2020, the No. 39 offensive tackle nationally and the fourth-best player in the Bluegrass State according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.

Final Notes

  • ICYMI: Von Lozon talked with 2020 Canadian TE Theo Johnson this weekend.
  • ICYMI: Trevor Woods with the latest on potential Rice DT grad transfer Zach Abercrumbia.
  • Stay tuned for a Maize n’ Brew exclusive with 2020 three-star safety Xavion Alford.