"I thought it was a great experience," said Hardaway Jr. regarding his four day camp stay in Ann Arbor. "The guys on the Michigan basketball team treated me like I was one of them. They were really great people to hang around with and be with all the time. I appreciate them letting me be there with them and hang out with them."
This morning Hardaway Jr. announced that he plans to hang out with them a lot longer in the future – four years longer to be exact. After leaving camp he was offered a scholarship based on his impressive showing. Less than 24 hours later he verbally committed. Receiving the offer so soon after camp speaks volumes about what the Michigan coaching staff thought of his performance. That said, he didn't get a chance to speak to them specifically about their impressions. Someone that did is Hardaway's high school coach, Chris Brown. The Miami (FL) Palmetto headman spoke Beilein & company and received a very clear understanding of why the Wolverines moved so quickly on his star pupil.
"Tim really played pretty well from what I'm understanding from the coaches," said Brown. "I heard he had at least five threes in the final and some driving dunks. He shot the ball really well, but then some of the other things that I know Beilein and Coach Mahoney wanted to see, like seeing him put the ball on the floor a little better… as the week went on they saw he could do that. That impressed them. They also saw he could get the ball go coast to coast and finish off plays. With his height he can get the rebound, and with his skill level he can take it all of the way down the court. That was big for them. They liked that."
Another likely reason for Michigan's full-court press was the attention Hardaway was getting from other suitors. In addition to the other offers he'd already received from Kansas State and Minnesota, a number of other schools were showing growing interest.
"He was just at Florida with Billy Donovan on Monday," Brown reported. "I took him up there for a day. He has been getting a lot of interest from them. He also got a lot of interest from Oregon, Oregon State, Virginia Tech, and Northwestern."
According to Hardaway, he was also hearing from Georgia and Miami. None of that matters now, though, as he set on becoming a Wolverine.
"We ultimately decided Michigan because I think it was a great fit for him and the way he plays the game," said the youngster's father, Tim Hardaway Sr. "The passing and cutting, moving without the ball, back-cutting… everybody is interchangeable. Everybody can dribble. Beilein gives his guys a lot of freedom to go to the basket. If you've got a pull-up jump shot, take it. He wants them to understand how to play the game and play it the correct way. If they're going through a bad stretch he will sit them down and talk to them and say, ‘look, this is what we need to work on a little bit more to get you out of this slump.' He sits down and talks to them. He cares about the kids and I think for my son, that's a good fit for him."
"Michigan is coming up again," Sr. continued. "Beilein has made great strides in that program. I think that he is going to have it be a program to be reckoned with again. Plus I love the school for academics. It's one of the top academic programs in the country. They graduate mostly all of their ball players. I really like about the school too."
Stay tuned to GoBlueWolverine throughout the week for video of Hardaway Jr. at Michigan's Elite and Team camps.