Nike Interviews: Brennan-McBride & Vanderbeken

At last week's Nike All-American camp in Indianapolis, GoBlueWolverine kept tabs on two Canadian center prospects on Michigan's 2006 target list. When we finally spoke with Devin Brennan-McBride and Jamie Vanderbeken, they discussed recruiting and adjusting the high level of play in the states.

We first mentioned six-foot nine-inch, 246-pound Canadian prospect Devin Brennan-McBride last spring after he made an unofficial visit to Ann Arbor. The London Ontario native played a bit passively when we observed him in camp and tournament action last year, but his raw athleticism was evident. At this year's Nike All-American camp, he really stepped things up. He was in better shape and was far more active on the court. He showed that he gets off of the floor very well for a big man and can stick the 15-footer. At the same time, he displayed a still-developing offensive game and got outmuscled post. Still, he continues to make progress and his potential is obvious. We heard coaches commenting, "he just doesn't know how to use his body yet." His showing put him back on the 2006 radar.

What schools are you currently hearing from?

"I've heard from Pepperdine, Xavier…I can't think of them all right now. It's just been a lot of mail. Arizona has been sending a lot of mail."

What do they say they like about you?

"They say they like my size and they say I'm athletic. They're looking for a guy who can step out and shoot the jumper or go down and bang in the post if needed."

Have you been looking at this camp as a chance to open some eyes?

"I'm hoping so, but I'm just taking it as it goes. Just do my best and show people what I can do."

Have you set up any unofficial visits yet?

"No, I've been too busy practicing. We practice pretty much the whole summer when we're not in tournaments. I haven't had a lot time to do that stuff."

You're in grade 12 now. Is there any chance you'll stay for grade 13?

"Maybe. I don't know. I haven't thought that much about it. We'll have to see when the time comes."

What's your top five at this point?

"I don't know. I'm wide open."

Jamie Vanderbeken is another new name on the 2006 target list. The 6-10 233-pound center prospect caught our attention with his willingness to bang down low and his ability to knock down the three pointer. He isn't quite the athlete a guy like Brennan-McBride or Kosta Koufos is, but he still runs the floor well. He's another Canada prospect that is still adjusting to the level of competition stateside. Depending on how things shape up elsewhere, he could become a more viable target.

How do you think the camp is going for you?

"So far it has been going pretty good. It's different than in Canada. There's A LOT more competition! I'm not the biggest guy anymore like I am in Canada, so I can't just do my usual things. I have to open up a little bit and go out and shoot. It's good. There are a lot of good athletes here."

Who are some of the top players in Canada that you've played against over the past few years?

"I actually played with Jevohn Shepherd last summer at the Nike All-Canada camp. I played against Ryan Wright a couple of times."

What schools have been in contact with you?

"UCLA, where Ryan is, has. Michigan, where Jevohn is, has also. There's also Minnesota, Utah, and Oregon State."

What were your stats last season?

"I averaged 25 points, about 15 rebounds, seven assists, and about five blocks a game."

How would you describe your game?

"I like to drift out to the perimeter. In my city I can get away with going into the post and doing whatever I want to do because the tallest guy out there besides me is like 6-6. I can just do whatever I want really. When I come down here, I have to open it up more…dribble and shoot more."

Have you taken any visits?

"I visited Oregon State about a month ago."

Do you have plans to make more visits anytime soon?

"Not anytime soon. I'm going to take the majority of my visits in the fall."

What coach from Michigan have you spoken with? What's you interest level in the Wolverines?

"Coach Swenson. They haven't been talking to me as much as some of the other schools, but it's closer than the rest of the schools. I'm definitely interested."

When you sit down to make your decision, what are going to be the most significant factors in your choice?

"I don't know what I want to major in yet, but I want good academics. I want playing time as well. I want a place where I feel comfortable. Whether it's East Coast, West Coast, or down south….it doesn't really matter to me."

Do you have a timetable for your choice?

"I want to make it early so I can just focus on basketball. Then I won't have to worry about the pressure and all of that. Whenever that time comes around, I'll do it."

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