Long believed that Michigan’s 2014 recruiting class was signed, sealed, and delivered, the Wolverines are once again utilizing the spring to look for late additions to an already strong group following the NBA draft departures by Nik Stauskas, Mitch McGary, and Glenn Robinson III.
Already landing wing Muhammad Abdur-Rahkman and extending an offer to another wing in Aubrey Dawkins, Michigan is also focusing on 6-foot-8, 205-pound versatile forward Cole Huff, transferring out of Nevada after two seasons.
“It happened about a week ago,” Huff’s former AAU coach Clint Parks said. “A current Michigan manager, Josh Langer, used to coach in high school and he contacted me when he found out Cole was transferring and said I’m going to ask the coaches if they’d be interested.
“He took it to Coach Alexander and LaVall jordan and just kind of mentioned it to them and they determined from there, they did their homework and got their release and Coach Jordan made his way out to Reno to visit with Cole on the west coast. It’s all moved kind of fast I would say.”
One determining factor for Huff’s recruitment with Michigan was last week’s decision by Wolverines’ sophomore center Mitch McGary to leave for the NBA. With that now out of the way, the door appears to be opening for further dialogue between both parties.
“Obviously a domino fell with Mitch (McGary) headed to the NBA so that potentially opens up a scholarship for next year’s class but that hasn’t been determined on their part, as of now,” Parks said. “So, that’s pretty much where it’s at.”
Parks adding, “It’s wait and see a little bit. Mitch is a first priority, helping him along and the next step he’s taking so there’s no super rush.”
If things continue to progress, Parks says Michigan will be Huff’s last visit, adding, “He’s not on a very strict timeline, I mean, he’s going to take some visits and make a decision shortly there after.”
Step one of this process was making the decision to leave the Nevada program though, something that Huff saw as an opportunity to further his basketball career and showcase a unique skill set.
“The best way to put it was a fresh start, a new challenge,” Parks said. “Nevada was a great experience for him, a great two years but I think he’s just looking to go somewhere he can express himself as a player more, be able to be put in a position to do more things instead of just a pick and pop shooter or low post player. You know, having the freedom that a lot of the schools that he’s interested in, have a lot of wing players and guys that have similar skill sets to him, do in the past.
“Just that freedom to do multiple things and really just express himself as a basketball player and not just be a one trick pony.”
Possessing more than just one trick up his sleeve, Parks describes Huff as a very balanced player, fundamentally sound with the details of the game.
“He’s your classic late bloomer,” Parks said. “He’s super skilled, he can shoot it, he can handle it, he can pass it, he can post you but his back to the basket game needs to improve. He’s just an all around player. I wouldn’t say he’s great at one thing but he does a lot of things well and he can really space the floor and I think the most important thing he has going for him is he is an extremely hard worker.
“I tell people all the time we’ve been fortunate to have two kids the past two years get drafted from our program in the first round, Tony Snell and Kawhi Leonard, and the thing people always raved about with them was their work ethic and their mindset and their approach to get better everyday and he has that same work ethic, mindset, drive and determination to be a player.”
Wherever Huff ends up, he will have to sit out one season due to NCAA transfer rules, but according to Parks, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
“The redshirt year will be the most important year of his career just for him to be able to focus on himself and get his body right and get better physically and just working with the coaches wherever he goes,” Parks said. “Working daily on his game, it’s an important year and he’s ready for that challenge.”
For Michigan, what stands out the most is the development of players with similar body types and versatility that Huff possesses. Potentially having a full year to work with Coach Beilein is a very intriguing possibility.
“He’s a fit because of the way they play and the past success they’ve had with players like him,” Parks said. “Obviously we know Michigan speaks for itself and I followed Coach Beilein going all the way back to Richmond, he’s always had skill players and he increases skill and high IQ.
“He’s not just about how athletic you are or how high you can jump or how fast you can run, he likes complete basketball players and guys who can think the game and Cole fits right along in that category.”
As far as what Huff wants in his next college experience, the Wolverines approach appears to be right up his alley.
“Moving forward with his whole decision, that’s one of the things he’s looking for is how important is player development and the strength and conditioning program and what have guys like him been able to do in the past,” Parks said.
No official date has been set up with Michigan just yet, but those details are in the process of being firmed up.