Thus far the Michigan Wolverines have been very deliberate in extending scholarship in the 2014 class. When June 15th rolled around, (the date on and after which John Beilein will offer juniors to be), only Devin Booker and Keita Bates-Diop were verbally offered. That changed yesterday when Indianapolis (IN) Park Tudor forward, Trevon Bluiett made his way to Ann Arbor with his father.
“They had expressed interest… high interest, and I know they’re big about you wanting Michigan as much as them wanting you,” said Mr. Bluiett. “So I would say we kind of knew (the offer was coming). We saw facilities and the work that they’re doing. It’s just impressive as far as the money they’re putting into the athletics over there. From the academic center to the practice facilities, to the study halls, it’s just got everything you need for a well-rounded athlete. There’s weight room and training areas… they definitely put it together and have a good thing going. We saw Jordan Morgan and the other big fellow Jon Horford getting it in. We met the trainer and a couple academic counselors and administration, so we definitely were introduced to the program today.”
“Everything’s there to succeed.”
Though clearly impressed by the support for student athletes and the facilities at Michigan, the Bluietts found the most memorable aspect of their time on campus to be their interaction with the coaching staff.
“(lavall jordan) is a high energy guy with Indiana connections,” stated Mr. Bluiett regarding his son’s primary recruiter. “He’s very well known around our area, being a Butler grad. He’s a high energy guy, straight forward, and you can tell he loves his job. He loves who he works for and he’s just a nice guy.”
“It’s just a family type atmosphere (at Michigan). They’re just a straight forward coaching staff who pretty much tells you what it is in their eyes and how they feel. When it’s cut and dry like that, you’ve got to appreciate that, especially with what we’re going through. You can tell they did the legwork and did their homework on who they’re recruiting. You get that feel right off the bat. They know what they’re doing… they know what they want.”
“Fit” is always a two-way street recruiting. Prospects seek programs and coaches that fit their games. Meanwhile, the programs go through a similar vetting process when seeking players that fit their systems. After their first in-depth meeting, both Michigan and the Bluietts see the makings of what could be a mutually beneficial relationship.
“He does a little bit of everything,” Mr. Bluiett said describing his son’s game. “He shoots the ball at a high percentage at the three point line, he puts it on the floor, gets to the foul line, defends from one to three, and can rough up a four up a little bit. He is just all over the place as far as a basketball skill level. His skill is still developing, and he is working on athleticism, but he loves to play.”
“It’s almost perfect the way they play, (at Michigan)… how they spread the floor and give guys a little freedom to make high IQ plays. That’s what he does. So whether it’s with the pass or with the dribble or look to score, it just fits his style. They’re looking at him at the two (and) three. I think last year they played Hardaway, Novak and the Carmel kid (Stu Douglass) that way a lot, so the two and three definitely. They really open it up and you can tell they’ve watched him and know his game.”
All in all, the visit was a very strong step in Michigan’s pursuit of the Hoosier State star. That said, Butler, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas State, Louisville, Notre Dame, Purdue, Virginia, Xavier have also extended offers and remain firmly in the mix. At this early stage of his recruitment the younger Bluiett is still a long way from determining which of his suitors is the best option.
“We haven’t even talked two seconds about, ‘where do you want to go to school at’,” Mr. Bluiett explained. “I just don’t think it’s time. There hasn’t been time for that yet. I think you’ve got to know who you are before you pick a school. You’ve got to know what position, what skills. The kid is still developing. He’ll have to grow into who he’s going to be on the court before he can figure out where he’s going to play or who he’s going to want him.”
“We’re going to make our initial talk in August after summer ball. That’s what we said about a year ago as far as even sitting down and talking about (recruiting). We haven’t talked about colleges. We said we want to do it after your sophomore year of AAU. Then we’ll sit down and start picking his brain a little bit and see what he likes and where he sees himself fitting.”
There are a number of factors that will play into which program is winds up the victor in the race for the talented youngster’s services, but one factor with outweigh all others.
“Coaching staff has a lot to do with it,” said Mr. Bluiett. “How comfortable they make him feel because when you’re dealing with kids that’s very important. We have to do our homework. The thing with Trevon, I always tell him you don’t want to try to sneak into a scholarship offer because you’re going to have to go there eventually. You better make sure they want you just as much as you want to be there, so that’s the most important part.”