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Race to fill Michigan’s PG spot in 2021 appears down to two candidates...for now

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Unless the board expands, all eyes are now on two players to fill the 2021 class’ biggest need.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

The recruiting trail was kind to Michigan and head coach Juwan Howard earlier on in the summer with three 2021 commitments in a relatively short period of time, but has seen things trend the other way at a major position of need. Howard and his program have been in hot pursuit of a ball-handling guard with the future depth at the position in question.

The last few weeks have seen two of the more notable names — five-star Jalen Warley and four-star Angelo Brizzi — elect to go Florida State and Villanova, respectively. Throw in the fact that it appears in-state four-star prospect Jaden Akins is set to presumably commit this week to the Michigan State Spartans and it goes to show the value of building out a board and running through the options.

As a result of the recent decisions, Howard and his staff have been forced to expand that board with a handful of offers. A pair of four-stars have emerged as the top targets at the position now in Carter Whitt and Frankie Collins, the latter of which was offered over the weekend prior to Warley’s announcement on Sunday.

Here’s a snapshot of both players.

Frankie Collins (Las Vegas, Nevada)

Four-star prospect, No. 57 overall player

Collins is the newest name to enter the fold with an offer in the last week or so, but the staff has been in contact with the coaching staff via Zoom over the last couple of months.

He is not the biggest player at 6-foot-1, but he is extremely athletic point guard prospect that excels in both creating for himself and also working in a ball screen offense. The way he is able to get downhill and finish around the rim is impressive for a player of his size and he does have the ability to stretch a defense with his perimeter shooting. However, there are questions about his efficiency in jump shooting situations.

His high school career has seen him transfer out of Las Vegas to Arizona and then back to Las Vegas, where he will play this year alongside five-star guard Jaden Hardy. Michigan has an offer out to Hardy, but most have him heading to Kentucky.

Carter Whitt (Raleigh, North Carolina)

Four-star prospect, No. 71 overall player

Whitt is the second-most recent offer to the mix, as he earned his around the time that Brizzi committed to Villanova. A common theme of the point guards that Michigan has sought to recruit in this cycle have been players who need the ball in their hands to be successful. Whitt is not that type of guy and fits more of a classic point guard/”quarterback on the court” role.

He is as good a facilitator as any point guard in this class and is capable of creating offense. His highlight reel features a lot more no-look passes and ridiculous assists, which is no less fun to watch than dunks or some of the things you’d see on other reels. Scoring efficiency and athleticism remain the biggest concerns with his game, especially when it comes to his ability to shoot from the perimeter.

Whitt has transferred to Brewster Academy for his senior year and is going to get a shot to show when he can do and the type of impact that he can have in a much stronger league than he previously played in.

Overview

It’s hard to say who the top target is, as it feels like the staff might be taking a bit of a deep breath here to re-adjust to what the board looks like in the wake of some major decisions. Whitt has been offered a bit longer than Collins has, but there has been a decent amount of contact between the Wolverines and Collins recently and the pursuit appears to officially be on for his services.

If Michigan expands the board from here, it likely is to lower-rated players than these two guys as opposed to expand it upward. That could be where we see someone like Tamar Bates (four-star, No. 117 overall) enter the fold, but it remains to be seen what the interest is between both parties.

Whether or not Zeb Jackson proves he can play the point at Michigan, Howard and staff cannot afford to not land a capable point in this class. John Beilein’s success at Michigan was spearheaded by his program becoming a bit of a point guard factory and Howard has not landed one of his own yet. Whoever comes in next feels likely to be one of those three-to-four year foundational guys, so expect them to continue to pursue their options here.

For a look at Michigan’s updated offer board, be sure to head over here.