Ft. Wayne, IN -- GoBlueWolverine was on hand at the Spiece Run N Slam Classic for the 11th consecutive year and the positive Michigan rumblings were as palpable as ever. The most significant involve three high profile targets.
When GoBlueWolverine mentioned Michigan being much more than an afterthought in the race for Milwaukee (WI) Hamilton star a few months back, many fans believed it too good to be true. Recently, though, the five-star power forward made his Maize & Blue interest much more clear. He has been in consistent contact with assistant Laval Jordan and John Beilein, and the Wolverine staff enjoys a distinction that has long cast them in a positive light.
“Michigan was actually the first school his freshman year to actually start recruiting him,” said Milwaukee Running Rebels coach, Shelby Parrish. “Coach Laval Jordan began recruiting. So they’re in there and they’ve been doing a good job with him.”
For his part Looney mentioned that his recruitment is still open at the moment, but he plans to narrow his list to five schools in July. He also mentioned that his parents want him to make his decision by September. He expressed skepticism over his ability to actually meet that timetable since he has only visited three schools to date (Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Marquette). The next few months loom large for the Wolverines (and all his other suitors for that matter) as they try to make the cut. Looney is uncertain over his ability to get to Ann Arbor in that timeframe, but he also indicated that the Michigan elevated itself in his eyes with their postseason run to the championship game. He was actually in Atlanta for the Maize & Blue’s Final Four match up. He came away extremely impressed with the team and intrigued by how he might fit in. Stay tuned for much more from the talented youngster throughout the week.
When Michigan offered Pickerington Central basketball star a football scholarship last year, many took to it be a novelty. When he committed to Ohio State to play basketball, many forgot the football offer had even happened. Today Tate confirmed that such sentiments were misplaced. Anyone contending that his hardwood future is set in stone is sadly mistaken.
“Football is actually my first love,” Tate said. “That’s the first sport I ever played. I didn’t really like basketball.”
That is the antithesis of how Grand Rapids Christian star Drake Harris felt during his formative years. These days, though, the two elite prospects are starting to sound a lot alike. When Harris decided to switch from basketball to football he mentioned the abundance of 6-4 players in the NBA, and the paucity of those with that size at his position in football. Saturday in Ft. Wayne Tate said, ‘there are a lot of 6-5 guards in the NBA. Right now I’m (already) the size of a NFL linebacker.’”
So what are the odds he chooses football moving forward?
“50/50,” Tate replied.
It should be noted for the record that the four-star small forward reiterated that he is ‘all buckeye,’… so there was no talk of decommitting. But if he switches sports… an obvious possibility… it appears that there will be an opportunity for football schools to make their moves based on his new reality.
Michigan is doing its due diligence in hopes of being in contention if Tate alters his path. Linebacker coach, Mark Smith made it by his school recently, and good friends Taco Charlton and Caris LeVert are working hard to try to lure their former teammate to Ann Arbor. As is the case with Looney, we’ll have much more on Tate in the coming days.
Virtually overnight this talented floor general has emerged as a major target on Michigan’s 2015 target board (which will be reflected in our Basketball recruiting primer update next week). The son of Charlotte Bobcat assistant Rick Brunson (also a 1991 McDonald’s All American, Temple standout, and nine year NBA veteran) became the focus of intense Michigan interest on the EYBL circuit last month. Michigan assistant Laval Jordan was also at one of his open gyms through the live period. In short, the Wolverines have suddenly made him a priority. While it’s clear the success the Wolverines enjoyed on the floor last year is being looked upon in favorable light, it’s the reputation the coaching staff has for connecting with and developing its players that stands out as Michigan’s biggest asset. There is little doubt that the coaching will weigh as heavy as, or heavier than any other factor in determining this rising sophomore’s collegiate destination.
“If Coach Cheney came out of retirement, that’s where he would be going,” said Brunson’s father. “I was a McDonald’s All American and I went to Temple. Everyone was shocked… but I picked a coach… someone I could relate to… someone that could be at my wedding. That’s the same thing I tell my son. ‘You’re successful when you have a relationship with your coach… so let’s go find a coach that you can find a relationship with.’”
For more on Brunson in the coming days, stay tuned to GoBlueWolverine.