The Wolverine

September 2017

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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68 THE WOLVERINE SEPTEMBER 2017 BY CHRIS BALAS B asketball recruiting is always hit or miss, with more prospects getting away than signing. College coaches are forced to cast wide nets in order to land a few coveted recruits. U-M has hauled in three in the 2018 class — Detroit East English Vil- lage point guard David DeJulius (6-0, Rivals' No. 119 senior nationally), East Lansing (Mich.) High forward Brandon Johns (6-8, No. 60 prospect in the class of 2018) and 2019 reclas- sifier Taylor Currie (6-9, three-star talent) of Clarkston (Mich.) High — but has missed on a number of other prospects in its quest to add one, po- tentially two, more in the class. Of the most recent U-M targets to commit to other schools, two — four-star wings Jerome Hunter of Pickerington (Ohio) High and Da- mezi Anderson of South Bend (Ind.) High — pledged to Indiana. Four-star shooting guards Cormac Ryan of Mil- ton (Mass.) High and Robby Carmody of Mars (Pa.) High committed to Stan- ford and Notre Dame, respectively. But arguably the No. 1 prospect on the Wolverines' board, Canadian Ignas "Iggy" Brazdeikis, is still avail- able and extremely high on U-M. The Wolverines will get one of his official visits, he said in July after playing in front of Michigan head coach John Beilein at the NY2LA Summer Jam at Mequon (Wis.) Homestead High. The 6-8, 220-pounder from Mono (Ontario) Orangeville Prep would be a top-35 prospect if he lived in the United States, Rivals' Eric Bossi has said. "The Michigan recruiting pitch has been really good," Brazdeikis said. "Coach Beilein and I talk a lot, al- most every day. Our relationship has grown a lot. I feel like a visit will soon be scheduled." Brazdeikis has unofficially visited Michigan in the past, but he wants to spend more time around the play- ers and learn about the Wolverines' culture. "I want to also get to learn more about the coaching staff and what they are trying to do," he added. Brazdeikis now holds 26 offers, with Vanderbilt and Florida among those considered serious contenders. He av- eraged an impressive 22.4 points and 7.5 rebounds per game while shooting 50.4 percent from the field and 30.0 per- cent on three-pointers for CIA Bounce in 15 regular-season games in the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League. He followed up by averaging 17.4 points and 7.0 rebounds in five con- tests at the Nike Peach Jam July 12-16. Brazdeikis is seeking a program with tight-knit players and a system that fits his skill set. "I know in college, my teammates will be there for me, and I'll be there for them," Brazdeikis said. "And it's going to be fun being in an environ- ment where there are set plays and winning is everything." Brazdeikis' grassroots basketball career came to an end in July, but he's ready for the next chapter. "It's kind of a relief because each and every game on the AAU circuit is a battle, and everyone is fighting for scholarships," Brazdeikis said. "Knowing that stage of our lives is done is a happy ending." NEW 2018 TARGETS EMERGE Beilein and his staff continue to search for wings in the 2018 class, and they've reached out to Charlotte (N.C.) Gaston Day School shooting guard Nate Hinton after the his huge July weekend at the adidas Gauntlet finals in Spartanburg, S.C. The Wolverines' coaches weren't the only ones. Illinois, Arkansas, Au- burn, Indiana, Massachusetts, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Virginia Common- wealth, Virginia Tech, Wichita State, Clemson, Maryland and St. Louis all reportedly offered Hinton after he averaged 17.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists to lead Team Loaded NC to the championship game. He shot 55.0 percent from the floor and 56.0 percent from long range to burst on to the recruiting scene. Though he has no leaders, Hin- ton had been speaking mostly with Rhode Island, Cincinnati, East Car- olina, Temple, South Florida, Tulsa and a few others. He has two visits planned — to Houston and Clemson — and is intrigued by U-M. "I am interested in the Michigan program," he said. "The tradition of the program and the competitiveness of the culture is something that I'm about."   BASKETBALL RECRUITING High-Profile 2018 Target Is Still On The Table Ignas "Iggy " Brazdeikis, a 6-8, 220-pound forward at Mono (Ontario) Orangeville Prep, is arguably the top remaining 2018 prospect left on U-M's board, and he is extremely high on the Wolverines. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM Notes • Michigan head coach John Beilein offered two more players from the 2018 class in early August — Versailles (Ohio) High wing Justin Ahrens (6-5, Rivals' No. 137 rising senior nationally) and Grand Rapids (Mich.) Christian's Duane Washington Jr. (6-3, three-star prospect). Ahrens' list includes Big Ten schools Ohio State and Purdue, though Michigan seems to have surged. "It's obviously a good offer and a good fit for me, I feel like," Ahrens said after his visit the weekend of Aug. 4-6. "I like them a lot. I really think I fit in there well, and Coach Beilein does, too." Washington holds offers from Butler, Iowa State, Virginia Tech and others, and plans to take official visits this fall. He will spend his senior year at Sierra Canyon (Calif.) High. He averaged 15 points and shot just less than 46 percent from three- point range, and 49 percent overall, in 16 Nike Elite Youth Basketball League games in the spring.

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