Sam Webb: Guys this gives us the opportunity to over the bevy of new faces that you have coming to the fold for fans to get familiar with. I think ahead of their arrival it would be great to get an understanding of what they bring to the table skill wise from your perspective. How they might fit in on the floor? A few guys have been in the pieces of the puzzle for a long period of time. Let us start off first with the guys who signed early on; D.J. Wilson, Kameron Chatman, Ricky Doyle and Austin Hatch.
Jeff Meyer: “Certainly as you look at the nucleus coming back we have now, which was a year ago an unproven backcourt. We’ve got an experienced backcourt with Derrick, Spike and Caris. Whenever you look at college basketball, I always say you start at the backcourt and that point guard position is critical, so we’re excited about that. Then you have Zak and Mark that we feel really good. So we’ve got a good core, nucleus coming back Sam, we’ve talked about that. When you add Kam Chatman, who at 6-7 with length and versatility and he’s a lefty, which will allow us a little bit more, Coach Beilein, a little bit more creativity with this offense moving forward. Again, kids that have length, they’re going to play on the wings, through the baseline more than likely, although Kam can move to the backcourt. Really exciting to know those kids coming in have tremendous opportunity and #2, they have what we’re looking for in terms of versatility that fit with our nucleus of kids coming back.”
Sam Webb: Watching Kam Chatman seems like a guy and tell me if you agree with this assessment, could play the one, the two, the three or the four. It seems that he is that versatile and I’m curious when you look at him and his potential for next season, could he be a guy that we see in that four spot that we’ve seen Zack Novak in the past and we’ve seen Glenn Robison in in the past?
Jeff Meyer: “Let us talk about the four spot. We don’t even like saying ‘the four spot.’ He will be a right side guy because he is left handed and he will be able to just flow and play and fit in with the offense perfectly when he is down in the wing position, a little bit like Novak, as a lefty. He could play in the backcourt and a lot of times on the backcourt, he was on the left hand side, but on the wing position. He was a lefty that played on the right side, so you think about where Glenn played these past two years. You think about where Kam can fit in best with Glenn’s departure, it is definitely on that right side as a wing player.”
lavall jordan: “Yeah I think the versatility is exciting for the group coming in. We were excited about that last year, you had some versatility, we thought and being able to play big with Mitch and being skilled enough to do it on the perimeter and then shuffle around and go small. We could play Derrick and Spike together. So you had versatility to your group, offensively and defensively. So I think with Kam and with DJ, they’re interchangeable. Like you said, Kam and Jeff alluded to the Zack Novak. Zack played a little bit of everywhere, maybe outside of the center position. He had the capacity to do it, from a basketball IQ standpoint and then he had the toughness to do it when he had to guard a bigger guy. The skill to be able to move around that’s a huge, outside of your point guard and center position, if you can have some interchangeable parts there in the other spots that’s a key to what we do and I think it makes you tougher to defend and then it gives you more flexibility as Bacari was talking about earlier defensively.”
Sam Webb: Tell us about D.J. Wilson and his game and what he brings to the table.
LaVall Jordan: “D.J. is exciting because he has got this raw potential. He is 6-9; he has a 7-2 wingspan and he is a skilled player for his size. He can handle the ball on the perimeter. He can shoot the basketball from three and then he can go down and post. He will rebound and he’ll block a shot. He’s active defensively. His biggest deal is going to be the weight room. John Sanderson is going to be key to his success translating to this level. He’s got to get stronger. Similar to Caris LeVert, for his size, he has got to add weight. He has got to get a college meal plan and a college weight and strength training plan. We’re really excited about what he can do and what his potential is if he maximizes it.”
Sam Webb: BA, how tall is Ricky Doyle?
Bacari Alexander: “Ricky Doyle last week measured in with shoes at 6-10, 255 pounds. It is interesting the metamorphosis that he has come under in terms of changing his body. In terms of who he is, he’s a contact seeking big guy who really carves out space well for himself in the post, has the ability to shoot consistently out to 17 feet, whether that be a trail jump shot inside the arc. He has shown the ability to shoot threes, although that is not an area of his game that he hunts. He’s a guy that will be able to help get us into the bonus. He’s a big who can make free throws, has great hands around the rim, hook shots over both shoulders. So we’re excited about who he can become. Now we talk about pace of play, he was in his early career more of a plodding big, who was a constant runner, constant worker. Now the quickness and the different styles that he’ll be up against, even defensively is going to be an area of growth. What I tried to concentrate on with Coach Beilein is getting those young big guys up to speed defensively so that they can be available to us for longer stretches in games, which was something that was very fleeting for a guy like Jon Horford when I look back on our last true freshman if I was to correlate the two. So Ricky would have to develop along those lines, but I’m very excited about his, for lack of better terms, Rocky Balboa approach to development. This young man has been able to share with us through his trainers down in Florida, his workout regiments that they came up and learned from John Sanderson. I think he is now eight weeks into that and he has also had conversations of coming up early, prior to the start of summer to maybe get some open gym in with out guys, maybe even a couple of workout sessions with Mark Donnal. So it is open season at the five spot and I am so thrilled to kind of reset the table and find out who is the best big in the locker room.”
Sam Webb: Have you guys, maybe it is a fluid thing, but do you guys have a current or up-to-date picture of where Austin Hatch is in his recovery?
Jeff Meyer: “We do Sam. Austin took his official campus visit a couple of weeks ago. He had a great time with our guys and our staff. What an incredible young man and we’re so excited to have him a part of our Michigan basketball family. He is continuing to work very, very hard finishing up his final year in high school, Loyola High School in LA. He played on a very, very high ranked and very competitive team. Austin is working very, very diligently, not only in the weight room but in his conditioning, in his skill development and is excited about stepping on campus in late June and being part of this recruiting class.”