Scouting Zak Irvin

Four-star forward Zak Irvin made a recent move into the top 50 in the class of 2013. Here is a look at what the future Michigan Wolverine brings to the table.

Background: Zak Irvin is a key piece to a very strong University of Michigan recruiting class. The 6-foot-6 wing has stepped his game up in the last 12 months and following the graduation of current Michigan State star Gary Harris is now asked to be a go to player on his high school team. Here is a look at how Irvin is playing in his new leading role.

On Offense: Irvin stands out the most on the offensive end because he is downright explosive at times. He isn't explosive in terms of athleticism, but he is like a microwave in that he gets hot in a hurry and when he gets into his zone he is a problem to deal with.

A streak shooter, Irvin showed what he can be like all in one game. In the first half of a recent game against Indianapolis (Ind.) Arsenal Tech, Irvin scored only four points in the first half, but then he came out of the locker room and something clicked. Irvin hit his first shot of the second half, and seemingly was on fire instantly.

He was then able to hit several threes in a row, got to the foul line a few times, and scored off of straight line drives to the bucket. Then inexplicably he came out to start the fourth quarter and was ice cold. That said when the game got close, Irvin hit a big three late and then went 6-6 from the foul line to seal the win.

While that somewhat inconsistency and can be frustrating at times the 15 points he scored in about three minutes of game action during the third quarter showed exactly what he is capable of when locked in and feeling good.

In college the way Irvin is going to score is with his ability to make shots. What is exciting about Irvin's potential is that at 6-foot-6, and maybe even slightly taller with very long arms. It is tough for wings to really bother him on his shot because of such a high release point. Also his trigger is very quick where he doesn't need a ton of time or space to get the ball off. Also when Irvin is feeling good and in rhythm quite honestly the shot is going in and the defense being played on him is virtually irrelevant.

Outside of the fact that he can go from super cold to super hot shooting with no real warning and then back to cold and then back to hot again, the issue with Irvin on the offensive end is that his ball handling needs to be tightened up.

Over the summer he was forced to play some point guard on his AAU team, and actually that is when his game took off, but that usually happened against slightly less intense defense where he had some space to operate. Against Tech some of the ball handling issues came to light, especially when Irvin tried to push in transition.

Irvin right now is a one way driver, right, and when he tries to change directions with the dribble he is prone to turnovers or simply can't beat his man. However this year he is showing signs of being good on the hard right hand drive and getting to the rim, but he must take that next step or else college scouting reports will catch up to him and limit his impact.

Still Irvin can be a dynamic offensive weapon because of his shot making and ability to play multiple positions. He is making good strides on being aggressive all the time, and part of that has come out of necessity and his team needing him, and with that added learning experience he should be more than capable of getting some buckets on the offensive end right away in college.

On Defense: Defensively Irvin is an interesting case. He is a good defender because of his length and overall desire to guard his man, but is only average to slightly above average athletically and with his lateral movement. However he makes up for that because he is smart and anticipates plays well while also being versatile.

Right now Irvin is best suited to guard a small forward because a smaller shooting guard might bother him with quickness and that could lead to some open shots, but still he is pretty good at staying in front of his man, and with his length he is able to give a little bit of space yet still be there to challenge the shot.

One place on the defensive end where Irvin looked to be making strides was on the glass where he looked tougher than ever. Irvin isn't someone who used his size to snatch rebounds very often last year, but he finished with double figure rebounds against Tech and battled some against Trey Lyles who is one of the best rebounders in the class of 2014. With him stepping up his desire and effort on the glass that makes him all the more valuable on the defensive end.

Overall Irvin has the potential because of his size, length, and versatility to be a well above average to good defender at the college level. Because of some athletic limitations he is not likely to ever be seen as a complete lockdown guy, but coaches will have no problem putting him on a good scorer and feeling solid about their chances to limit the opportunities that player will have to get buckets.

Overall Impression: Quite simply Irvin is a different player now than he was 12 months ago, and most importantly he is taking on the leadership qualities needed by his high school team. Fishers (Ind.) Hamilton Southeastern doesn't have much behind Irvin in terms of options, but he still has his team as one of the best in Indiana.

By continuing to improve from last year to this year combined with his ability to shoot which has always been there, Irvin got moved into the top 50 in the most recent class of 2013 rankings.

With Glenn Robinson and Nick Stauskas already on campus and playing well on the wing a ton of playing time could be difficult to come by for Irvin, but he does look like someone who should be able to make some kind of impact from day at Michigan, and a kid who will have a very fine college career on both ends of the floor.


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