LOS ANGELES—Navigating through a July travel schedule as busy as most NBA teams in the midst of their regular season, 2015 Cleveland (Ohio) St. Joseph five-star power forward Carlton Bragg needed a break and had nearly a week off prior to heading back out west to compete in the Adidas Nations camp.
“It seems like he got his energy back from last week at Adidas 64,” Bragg’s mentor Michael Graves told GoBlueWolverine. “He’s smiling and joking and he’s got his bounce back. He’s being Carlton.”
Exploding in front of recruiting analysts and coaches from across the country at the Adidas Invitational in the middle of July, Bragg, the No. 4 ranked power forward in his class, is now an even hotter commodity with the phone ringing off the hook.
“On a day we’re averaging about 10 calls a day from different schools, and I’m handling all of the calls for Carlton so everything goes through me and I kind of three way a call with the coaches. The activity has really picked up.”
Michigan assistant LaVall Jordan has spearheaded the recruitment of Bragg over the last month and a half, keeping in contact and in the process of setting up an unofficial visit to Ann Arbor this fall.
“We talked to the head coach (John Beilein) once and of course coach Jordan calls about twice a week just to say hello and see how Carlton’s doing,” Graves said. “We’re shooting for an unofficial visit in September, if not October, but the schedule is so busy with school starting, just want to get off to a good start in the classroom.
“Michigan is right there. They’re right around the corner so it’s not like they’re far away and especially with their past history and the fab five, that was during my era, and now watching them this past year, it seems like they’re on their way back.”
Standing a long 6-foot-8, 195-pounds, Bragg’s versatility is very attractive to colleges inquiring, especially the Wolverines, who could see the Ohio native filling a role similar to that of sophomore forward Glenn Robinson III.
“We talked about it a little,” Graves said. “I think Carlton would be a three, stretch four because he has the jumper to be 6-9 just like a forward that runs the floor, like a hybrid. We haven’t talked x’s and o’s but they can see him in their system, especially with the three’s that they shoot.”
Bragg, who was told by one college coach that he averaged 20 points and six blocks in the games they sat courtside during the July evaluation period, is still early on in his recruitment.
“We’re just keeping the process open,” Graves said. “But you’ve got to consider Michigan. Texas, Ohio State, Illinois -- everybody is right there. It’s going to be Carlton’s decision, I’m just going to kind of help him if he needs my help I’ll say this school is the best for you or this school is the best fit for you.
“I would say by next summer we should have it down to six or seven,” Graves added. “Right now he has 13 offers and 32 schools that are interested. Right now the teams that offered him are the schools he’s going to go visit.”
“He really wants to be welcomed,” he said. “The atmosphere. He likes to smile so he’s comfortable. You can tell he’s comfortable when he’s smiling, so the atmosphere (is big). Coaching style is going to be a big factor too. Certain (coaching) styles, Carlton doesn’t do well. Campus life is going to be important to him and also academically.”
Graves mentioned the ideal date to visit the Wolverines is for the football team’s night game against Notre Dame on Sept. 7.