With players like Tory Jackson, Tom Herzog, Darquavis Tucker, and Alex Legion on the floor at the same time, there wasn't any question that a veritable whose who would make their way to Michigan to both see and be seen. We noticed assistants from Notre Dame, Michigan State, Kent State, Toledo, and Wyoming, as well as head coaches Perry Watson (University of Detroit), Billy Donovan (University of Florida), and Tommy Amaker. There were surely others in attendance, but we couldn't pick them all out since the majority of our attention was focused on the court.
The first guy we observed was Tory Jackson. The fact that Donovan made it up from Gainesville for the two-hour session points to how significant of a recruit the young PG is for the Gators. Just days ago, however, Jackson again proclaimed Michigan as the leader for his services. (For that story, click here). At the same time, he expressed concern regarding the prospects of Amaker departing from Ann Arbor. Because of that, Amaker's presence was not only dictated by proximity, it was dictated by necessity as well. That he was there to show his face and clear things up certainly did not go unnoticed. Based on conversations with the Hurricane coaches, it's quite clear that Michigan's headman has been extremely proactive in refuting the rumors regarding his lack of security at Michigan and has made it known that he will be in Ann Arbor to coach Jackson if he chooses to become a Wolverine.
On the floor, Jackson pressed a little early, but really warmed up as the session went along. He really took over offensively in later scrimmages with authoritative drives and excellent passes. His jumper wasn't falling consistently on the night, but he had everything else going. One of the times he really drew smiles was when he went up and threw down a one-handed on an alley-oop in warm-ups. GoBlueWolverine's Andre Barthwell was in attendance as well and felt that Jackson's showing while playing with the Hurricanes was reminiscent of his play at last year's ABCD camp. "My different he looks when he is around equally talented players," Barthwell said. "People are always talking about how he shoots too much, but on his high school team that is out of necessity. What I noticed tonight, as well as at ABCD was his willingness to give the ball up, his willingness to direct traffic, and his willingness to just let the game come to him."
One of the primary targets for Jackson's passes was fellow Saginaw native Darquavis Tucker. He was unquestionably the most athletic player on the floor, dazzling onlookers with high flying dunks that he completed effortlessly. He mentioned that Michigan State and Syracuse have been on him the heaviest thus far, but that he is receiving interest from a number of other schools including Michigan. He has yet to hear from the program he grew up loving though…the Duke Blue-Devils. We'll have more from Dar in an interview set to publish in a few days.
One of the real stories of the summer, (one that we actually mentioned a few weeks back) is the pseudo-merger between Grady-Elite (run by Kevin Grady Sr. out of East Grand Rapids) and the Hurricanes. The collaboration adds East Grand Rapids junior PG Kelvin Grady and Holt junior center Paul Crosby to an already loaded Hurricanes roster. Grady will be "playing up" with the 17s and is stlll getting a feel for his new teammates. That said, he expressed a great deal of excitement regarding the level of talent that he is now playing with and against. "I'm tired," he said after the practice. "There are a lot of great players out there. Tory Jackson is really good. This is only going to help my game."
Grady's "pure point-guard" style will mesh well with the array of scorers he is now playing with. He can go anywhere on the court with the ball and is always looking for the open man. Don't be surprised to see both he and Jackson on the court at the same time since Jackson can move over and provide a scoring punch from the two-spot. The Wolverines have already shown interest in the super-quick floor general. "Michigan has been showing a lot of love," he said. "I like that." That being said, it didn't sound as if he was looking to make an early decision. It's not out of the realm of possibility, but didn't sound like a priority at this point. More on him later.
Tom Herzog looked pretty good last night and is really comfortable with his teammates. He was another player that really caught Barthwell's eye. "He knew the ball was coming to him and was doing things with it," Barthwell said. "He played a little stronger in there. Still, the name of the game with him is defense. People don't realize how good he is defensively. All I'll say is before he left he had Spaulding imprinted on his hand from all of the shots he had blocked. Herzog mentioned the same top three of Michigan, Michigan State, and Notre Dame. However, a new team may be creeping in a little. "I like Coach Weber," Herzog said regarding the Illini head coach. "I also like how the big guys are involved in the offense and how they move around in the offense." Andre Barthwell will be chiming in with more from Herzog in the coming days.
A few other notes
-There was a surprise attendee at the practice. Another talented prospect could be on his way to the Hurricanes. We'll report back when we hear more.-Alex Legion was extremely excited looking at the awesome array of talent on his team. He expressed confidence in their prospects for the summer.
-Godwin Heights PG Cecil Brown may have not been the quickest PG on the floor, but he was one of the strongest. He was also the most consistent from outside, connecting on most of the triples that he took. The ones he missed weren't off by much.
-Finally, sources indicated that Coach Amaker was at Pershing yesterday to visit with Deshawn Sims. We'll have more on that a little later.