The big disappointment in that game from scouting perspective were those not in attendance with the Mustangs. There was no LaDontae Henton, no Devin Oliver, and no Jon Horford. We don't know why they weren't present this weekend, but their squad did fine without them. The Mustangs knocked off a talented Indiana Select team (whom we will talk about shortly), and subsequently throttled Wisconsin Force in the morning game we were at.
Also on the disappointing front was the absence of Tim Hardaway Jr. We arrived Friday evening Friday evening hoping to catch the Miami Palmetto standout play with the Mac Irvin Fire in the night. GoBlueWolverine's Andre Barthwell chatted with the Fire's coaches and they informed him that Hardaway may arrive Saturday. Well Saturday morning came and Hardaway again wasn't on the floor. During the 8:00 am game against the Family, his coaches informed Dre that Hardaway would not be present at all. We'll catch him at a later date.
Back to the players that were there. The Indiana Select team that lost to the Mustangs on Day 1 was at a physical disadvantage in some match-ups because the entire squad was comprised of 16-year-olds playing up a level. Still they more than held their own. The team features three players that are being targeted by the Wolverines: Bloomington (IN) South G Spencer Turner, Washington IN F Cody Zeller, and Arden (NC) Christ (though he hails from Indiana) C Marshall Plumlee. If the last two names sound familiar, they should. Zeller and Plumlee both have siblings that were heavily recruited to high major programs. Now it's little brothers' turn. Zeller is without question the most talented player on the team. At 6-9 he can face up from the perimeter and either drill the three or put it on the floor and get to the basket. Despite his slender physique, he absorbs contact well and can still finish with either hand. He is also extremely active around the basket. He is more athletic than Plumlee, but Plumlee has more brawn. We didn't get a good account of Marshall's game because of an injury he suffered in an earlier
In Turner's case, it wasn't his best shooting night, but his coach insists he is one of the best shooters in the country. The Wolverines clearly have heard that buzz as well. A Michigan assistant recently attended one of his open gyms and he is hoping to return the favor by traveling to Ann Arbor in the not too distant future.
From there we went to check in on some of the younger division teams featuring Michigan targets…
Indiana Elite 16's
Justin Gant – A classic John Beilein big man. Standing 6-8, 210-pounder he showed impressive versatility in a tight game Saturday morning vs. the Derrick Rose All Stars. Gant handles the ball well for a big man… he even dished a pretty no look pass in transition that led to a high percentage look for one of his teammates. However, where Gant really shines is as a shooter. The North Terre Haute star knocked down four three pointers in game and notched 16 points total to help his squad hold onto the victory.
The Wolverines have also shown interest in Gant's teammate, Arcadia (IN) Hamilton Heights G/F Austin Etherington. The Wolverines made it to both youngsters' high schools last month because both hold similar appeal. They both can flat out stroke it. We didn't get to see show that skill as much as we did Gant.
Etherington looks like he is a big time shooter… he just didn't get the touches necessary to display it. But Etherington wasn't complaining. This quintessential team player was just happy his team was winning. That made his game winner late Saturday afternoon all the more sweet. He was also happy that the Maize & Blue has started to pay him some attention.
Another player that recently received at least a cursory glance from the Maize & Blue is Bloomington South's Darwin Davis. He is pound for pound the toughest player on his team, is a great defender, and has the ball on the string. The knock on him is he is only 5-9. That will likely limit his opportunity with a number schools. Even so, we liked his game a lot.
Up Next… a look at some of the targets from the 15-and under division.