It has been an eventful few months for Jamal Cain. On the heels of an outstanding junior campaign at Detroit (Mich.) Cornerstone he has been tearing up the AAU circuit this spring with Nike’s “The Family.” With every outing he earns more high-major attention. Michigan has been one of the schools keeping a keen eye on him every step of the way, and last Wednesday invited him, his mom, his aunt, and his coach to Ann Arbor for an in-depth visit.
"I liked it. I liked it for real,” said Cain. “They had me go through basically everything the basketball players go through. How the classes are going to be, the schedules, and things like that. And where everything's at on the campus."
Beilein spent considerable time showing Cain exactly how he’d fit in on the court by showing him footage of past Maize & Blue standouts.
"Zak Irvin and Tim Hardaway," replied Cain when asked who Beilein compared him to.
"It made perfect sense.”
Then came the news that Cain made his way to campus to hear.
"It was somewhere toward the end," Cain said. “(Beilein) was like leading (up) to it. Coach was like, 'you know you have an offer to the University of Michigan.'"
"I was cheesing (uncontrollably).”
“She reacted the same way I did," Cain said laughingly.
When the dust settled the talented youngster left even more impressed with the Wolverines than he was when he arrived. The same can be said of his impression of Beilein.
“I think he's a great person,” said Cain. “A great person."
For Michigan the offer was a move that put it definitively in the running for one of the nation’s fastest rising prospects. For Cain it was further confirmation that all his hard work he has put in to this point is paying off.
"(Wednesday) was a blessing for Jamal and his family,” said The Family’s Assistant Program Director Paul Carmona. “To go up to Michigan and walk away with an offer, with the academics there and the basketball program, it's just a blessing to see that. Jamal is a heck of a kid… a very humble kid. I think people that follow Michigan high school hoops know what Jamal is capable of. He had a huge junior season averaging 26 points, 16 rebounds, four or five assists a game and this is really the first chance he's had to play and showcase his skills on a national stage. I think the young man is taking full advantage of it right now."
Indeed he is. Since the beginning of Nike’s EYBL (Elite Youth Basketball League) season Cain has also added offers from Cincinnati, Florida State, Marquette, Boston College. Based on Carmona’s scouting report it’s easy to understand why.
"(Observers) will see him pretty much attack the game in every aspect possible,” Carmona said. “He has a great blend of skill and toughness. With the 16 rebounds I think that shows that he attacks the glass, plays both ends offensively and defensively. But I think most basketball people tend to walk away most impressed with how hard he plays the game. He really has a passion for it and he has a lot of leadership. He has a great motor that allows him to outplay a lot of opponents."
That combination of skills and effort will undoubtedly lead to more offers and Cain plans to give each of them a hard look when they do. For the moment he still claims a top three of Xavier, Georgia and Washington State, but it’s clear the Wolverines are surging.
"Michigan is high,” he said. “Very high."
Stay tuned to The Michigan Insider for more on Cain in the coming days.