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Quick analysis: What Isaiah Todd brings to Michigan Basketball

Juwan Howard just landed the centerpiece of his retooling of the hoops program in Ann Arbor.

Isaiah Todd’s instagram

Isaiah Todd made it official on Thursday night with the announcement that he has committed to play for Michigan Basketball in 2020, which is the first huge recruiting win for Juwan Howard since he arrived on campus to take over as head coach. So just how good is the five-star recruit and 12th-ranked player in the class of 2020?

Damn good.

Todd is not as highly regarded as he was earlier in the process when he was named the top player in the class back in 2017, but that does not mean he is any less talented. He has maintained his five-star status, though has not taken as many steps forward in his game and is still raw.

That said, raw can be good, especially when you have the moldable skill-set and athletic profile that Todd brings to the table. He stands at 6-foot-10 and is still a bit slender for his size and age (he will be 19 when his first game comes along), but he moves up and down the floor as well as any kid in this class and his athleticism is fun to watch. If he is any indication of what Howard wants to do on offense, the Wolverines are going to run and he gets to the basket with the best of them.

The part of his game that needs to be tightened up is his shooting and shot selection, period. He can shoot, and it looks pretty when it goes in, but the amount of long twos that he attempts might drive people nuts at times. He is listed as a power forward, but this is a player who prefers to play on the wing.

The good thing about Todd is that he does not need to have the ball in his hands to be effective offensively, as he can slash and finish at the rim with the best of them. In a lot of ways, he is like a more polished version of Glenn Robinson III coming out of high school. A fast-paced game and transition offense is going to put his skills most on display.

You hear the term “power forward” and a lot of people think that means he might be a banger inside, and don’t get me wrong, he is capable of playing on the block at times, but that isn’t his game. You might see a baby hook here and there, but he is a little more finesse that.

Defensively, he is able to do the job on that end of the floor and blocks a respectable amount of shots, but not as great on that end of the floor as you’d like to see out of your 4-man.

We’re still almost a year away from Todd actually being on campus in Ann Arbor, which should only help him iron out some of the finer points of his game that I’m sure Howard and his staff will point out. He also has time to grow and physically develop in a weight program and improve some of his movements laterally. If he’s able to shoot, he might wind up being a lottery pick and a No. 1 scoring option for the 2020-21 Wolverines, but at the very least he should wind up cracking the starting lineup and being one of those guys who can slash and occasionally hit some shots from the perimeter. His development in shooting the basketball could be the difference in whether he is a one-and-done guy or maybe sticking around for a second year. But if it hits, it’s going to hit big.

Now, we wait and see who follows, because more talent is on the way to Ann Arbor. This is the first domino to fall.


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