Michigan breaks through with Battle
The Michigan Wolverines have had a ton of success in recent years on the court including a run to the National Championship Game followed by an Elite Eight. However that didn’t always translate into success on the recruiting trail. On Monday however the Wolverines broke through. There is no doubt that John Beilein does things his way on the recruiting trail, and sometimes that didn’t always appeal to top prospects. At different times it seemed that highly touted prospects such as Devin Booker, Derryck Thornton, Trevon Bluiett, and Jalen Coleman-Lands would be headed to Ann Arbor for college, only to see those kids head in a different direction. Not since Mitch McGary had the Wolverines seemingly won a long recruitment for a five-star prospect. That changed however with Tyus Battle. Battle, who is the No. 10 ranked player in the class of 2016, had basically the whole country to choose from. Schools such as Syracuse, Duke, Ohio State, Connecticut, Villanova, and Louisville all offered Battle a scholarship, but in the end it was the Wolverines that won out for his commitment. Offensively Battle gives the Wolverines a dynamic weapon. He can score from all three levels on the court, and unlike many of the Michigan wings that have come before him, Battle is a very good ball handler which allows him to create for himself with ease. That has kind of been a missing piece for Michigan. Trey Burke did most of the creating his sophomore year in leading them to a chance at the title, and then the following season guys like Caris LeVert and Derrick Walton did it as well, and at different times both of those players actually played the point guard role. Now a big wing who can rebound, score, and create, Battle fits in nicely with what the Wolverines have put together. He can easily slide next to Zak Irvin and Aubrey Dawkins, both of which are more comfortable as catch and shoot guys, on the wing, and gives the Wolverines that star quality who can also be a secondary ball handler if needed. But more so than what he brings on the court, it shows that Beilein and his staff can be successful recruiting the way they do for the nation’s elite. Beilein is one of the few coaches who won’t offer kids early and also won’t offer kids until they make a visit to campus. Now the staff, and the fans, have to have confidence that this approach can be a long term success with the nation’s elite. Does this commitment mean that suddenly five-star prospects are going to flock to Ann Arbor, likely not, but it does mean that as Beilein tries to target the right kids for his style of coaching and recruiting, that he can bring in the best. For Michigan now they have their star centerpiece to the recruiting puzzle, and the roster is looking very impressive for 2016 when Battle arrives on campus.
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