Five-star 2015 forward Jaylen Brown (Marietta, Georgia) has narrowed his list of schools down to five with a likely decision date looming. The Michigan Wolverines are in the mix, along with Kansas, North Carolina, Kentucky and California.
With the decision to place Austin Hatch on a medical scholarship, Michigan has one spot open on the roster for 2015-16. John Beilein and staff are free to add a player to the mix if they choose to do so.
Mix both of the above factors together, and it appears the Wolverines have some momentum to make a big splash to close out the 2015 recruiting class.
Michigan is very much alive for Brown, and some even see them as the favorite now, as evidenced by the recent run of predictions of the 247 Crystal Ball. The last 20 picks have him choosing the Wolverines.
This post is not designed to make a prediction one way or another. With that being said, the possibility of Michigan adding a legitimate one-and-done prospect is gaining steam.
So if Brown were to commit, what would that mean for the Wolverines in 2015-16?
First and foremost, Brown would be arguably the biggest recruit Michigan has landed talent-wise since Chris Webber. Many of the 2016 NBA mock drafts out there have him as a top five prospect in the class, and rightfully so. This kid can play, and he would be a great final piece to add to a championship puzzle for next season.
Brown is listed as a small forward, but would likely play the four in Beilein's system. In terms of what he brings to the table, he is a guy that can get to the basket with authority. Michigan would love to have him in a similar role as where Glenn Robinson III was a few seasons ago.
On a team full of very good players, but not necessarily any great, lead dog type of guys in the form of Trey Burke or Nik Stauskas, Brown coming in immediately makes him the most talented player on the roster and opens things up for everyone else.
Brown is not a great jump shooter, but his ability to drive the lane and get to the rim would open things up for Michigan on the perimter. He is a talent that must be accounted for at all times and when defenses collapse on him, it could bode well for guys like Zak Irvin from the three-point line.
As is, assuming everyone is healthy next year, Michigan has a roster that could certainly contend for a conference title and make a run into the second weekend of the tournament, but a commitment from Brown would make the Wolverines a threat to go even deeper. This would be Michigan's Jabari Parker or Stanley Johnson-type of player, along with a great surrounding cast that would not necessarily put a lot of pressure on him to be "the guy."
A starting lineup with Brown in the mix would likely look like this:
PG: Derrick Walton Jr.
SG: Caris LeVert
SF: Zak Irvin
PF: Jaylen Brown
C: Ricky Doyle
It is easy to look at the other teams in his top five and be concerned that Kentucky and Kansas always have a mass exodus of players that they send to the league, but Michigan has had more than its fair share of players move on, as well under Beilein (Manny Harris, Darius Morris, Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway, GR3, Mitch McGary).
Maybe Michigan does not end up with Brown and they bring in four-star guard Kenny Williams. That is not a bad compromise, either. Williams is a very good shooter and skilled on the defensive end of the floor. He could help the Wolverines down the road.
Or maybe neither of those guys will the spot and Michigan eats the scholarship for this year. They do not necessarily need to add someone for next year. That roster as is is good enough to win if everyone stays healthy. Anything more than what they have is gravy.
We will know sooner rather than later what ends up happening with Brown. The Crystal Ball is never an exact science and recruiting is a very fluid process, so it will be interesting to see how this all shakes out. Brown has been quiet throughout the process, so do not expect any major updates before a decision is made.