The Michigan Wolverines men’s basketball program officially announced on Thursday it’s 2020 recruiting class, which features three new freshman signees and a graduate transfer in Mike Smith. Zeb Jackson, a four-star guard and commit under John Beilein, signed with the program back in December.
“The addition of these four young men to the Michigan Basketball family is another important step in the growth of this program,” head coach Juwan Howard said via the program release. “Yes, all four bring tremendous basketball skill and talent; however, it’s their maturity, growth mindsets and desire to get better as people which makes us proud to have them represent the Block M. Our staff cannot wait to have them get to Ann Arbor.
Here is a closer look at the recruiting class that Howard brings in during his first full cycle, which now ranks No. 8 in the country. Smith’s addition does not factor into these rankings. Also attached are comments one each player from Howard via the official release.
Hunter Dickinson, center — DeMatha Catholic HS (Hyattsville, Maryland)
247Sports Composite: No. 32 player nationally, sixth-ranked center, No. 2 in Maryland
I really like his game around the rim. Some guys have size but not the skill to match. In a lot of ways, Dickinson is a throwback center that is capable of hitting a mid-range jumper. He has soft hands and a soft touch inside and looks very at ease with himself and how he plays. There can often times be an awkwardness that has to be worked out of a young big, but that does not seem to be a problem with him. He also is not soft inside and shows a good competitive nature. He just looks the part of a college basketball big man and someone who is ready to contribute right away.
What Juwan Howard said: “Even though he appears to be a quiet and gentle giant, Hunter is going to make some noise for us down low. He is patient in the post and allows for plays to develop before he attacks — especially with his left-handed hook shot. He is a space eater and really takes pride in defense. The successes he had at DeMatha allow him to bring a winning mentality to Ann Arbor.”
Terrance Williams, power forward — Gonzaga HS (Washington, DC)
247Sports Composite: No. 86 player nationally, 15th-ranked power forward, No. 1 in DC
When Howard talks about positionless basketball at Michigan, this is the type of player that fits the bill there. He can bang down low in the post while playing the four but also as the athleticism to play out on the perimeter and create offense. He rebounds well and is adept at crashing the glass. While he does not have a consistent go-to move in the post, he shows terrific touch around the basket and is able to put the ball on the floor and get to the rim. Williams has range on his jump shot and the mid-range game is his bread and butter. He also has the ability to stretch the defense and hit shots from three-point range. There’s just a lot to like about his offensive game and he is a jack of all trades on that end of the floor.
What Juwan Howard said: “Terrance is part of the new breed of collegiate basketball players — a hybrid who can play many different positions. He is efficient with his play and is skilled both offensively and defensively. He is not afraid of contact, so it stands a chance that he has an opportunity to come in and be a major contributor.”
Jace Howard, small forward — University School (Miami, Florida)
247Sports Composite: No. 351 player nationally, 58th-ranked small forward, No. 29 in Florida
Scouting Report Snippet:
There’s not a ton out there on Howard, especially when it comes to video, but reports say he has a nice mixture of athleticism and length and probably projects to playing either forward spot at the next level. He might be a bit of a tweener, but someone who may be capable of giving you some good minutes off the bench in those games where you may just need to find a way to grind it out to get the job done. When you hear the term “coaches son, first guy in, last guy out, grinder, etc.” about a player, this is kind of that in more ways than one.
What Juwan Howard said: ”Without question, this a special day for my family and I that I will be able to coach my son. Words cannot express how proud I am of him for all the work he has put in over the years to get to where he is now. He will bring a passion like no other to this program. He wants to get better, and with his skills we know he will be a valuable asset.”
Signed in December: Zeb Jackson, shooting guard — Montverde Academy (FL) (Maumee, Ohio)
247Sports Composite: No. 69 player nationally, 10th-ranked shooting guard, No. 9 in Ohio
Has a combo guard game at 6-2. Has room for strength gain. Solid athlete with good body control. A lefty who loves to pull up going right. Good shooter. Can get into the lane and make plays. Adequate on the boards and on defense. — 247Sports’ Jerry Meyer
What Juwan Howard said (in December): “The commitment Zeb has shown to improve himself as a person, as well as a player, has been a joy to watch. He is a bright student with a tremendous passion for the game of basketball, and we welcome that here at the University of Michigan. He is skilled, athletic and has a very diverse game, allowing him to play multiple positions. Zeb Sr. and Shonda have raised a wonderful young man. We cannot wait for him to get to Ann Arbor.”
Grad Transfer — Mike Smith, point guard (formerly of Columbia)
2019-20 per-game stats: 22.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 43.2 percent shooter (34.1 percent from three)
At worst what Michigan has here in Smith is a point guard who is able to come off the bench and fill it up offensively and get you a bucket. At best, you added a scoring point guard who is also able to distribute and fill up a stat sheet, adding even more offensive firepower to next year’s team.
The numbers look great from a four-year starter coming in, but it is important to cite the step up in competition. He could come and not skip a beat, or he could come in and be more of a role player like Jaaron Simmons was a few seasons ago. It is way too early to tell, but there is a lot to like here.
What Juwan Howard said: “When we looked at our roster, we wanted to make sure we had some depth, as well as experience, at the guard position. Mike had a sensational career at Columbia, and we are thrilled to have him join us. He will be an extension of the coaching staff to our young guards and, having been through the battles on the floor, his experiences will be invaluable.”
The Wolverines have one scholarship spot remaining in the 2020-21 cycle, which could be filled by the addition of another grad transfer, a late flier on a recruit or they could simply keep it open as they did this past year. The team will also wait out an NBA Draft decision from Isaiah Livers and potentially Franz Wagner, though the latter has not declared at this time.