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Yes, it's true. I've been following Michigan basketball since listening to Tom Hemmingway cover Cazzie Russell on WUOM radio in 1962. I admit I took a semi-vacation the last two years off due to alumnus-disappointment over you-know-what (and due to losses). But Tommy Amaker has the program back on track to being a national power again by possibly next season, and certainly for 2004/05.
First off, to get a feel for the inexperience of this year's team, here is the scholarship player roster broken down by class. The NCAA allows 13 scholarship players.
1. Senior 6-6 F LaVell Blanchard
2. Senior 6-4 2G Gavin Groninger
3. Junior 6-5 WF/PG Bernard Robinson
4. Soph. 6-6 WF Chuck Bailey
5. Frosh 6-0 PG Daniel Horton
6. Frosh 6-3 2G Lester Abram
7. Frosh 6-10 C Chris Hunter
8. Frosh 6-8 C Graham Brown
9. Partial quailfier frosh - C/PF Amadou Ba
10. Transfer/redshirt soph - 6-8 PF JC Mathis
(recently dismissed PG Avery Queen was a junior, and G Dommanic Ingerson was a sophomore)
Michigan's 2002/03 recruiting class (high school seniors) was signed in the Nov. 02 early signing period, and it is 'stuck' at three due to the '5/3 rule' (changed to '5/4' for future classes). It is a consensus top 10 class, although, suddenly, it certainly would have been nice for it to have contained a point guard. The 2002/03 class consists of:
- Shooting guard Dion Harris (6-4, 210 lbs.) from Detroit Redford. A national top five 2G, Harris can do it all -- but he is not really a point guard.
- Center Courtney Sims (6-11, 225 lbs) from Dedham, Mass., Noble and Greenough. The slender Sims is a national top 10 center.
- Power Forward Brent Petway (6-8) from Griffin, Ga. He is a national top 20 PF.
And, if you think football recruiting happens earlier and earlier, basketball is far worse! With the early signing period, the majority of winter recruiting is done with juniors!
2003/04 Recruits (high school juniors) -- it looks like Michigan can sign total of three.
Wolverine needs: certainly a Point Guard, and a couple Wing Forwards. Here are early 2003/04 basketball recruits, by position.
Early Michigan commitment Wing Forward Ron Coleman (6-6, 200 lbs.) from Romulus, Michigan. He is one of the top 10 WF's in the country and is considered a top notch outside shooter.
Early Michigan commitment Shooting Guard Joe Crawford (6-3, 180 lbs) from Detroit Renaissance. He is perhaps the top junior 2G in the country.
Wing Forward. Michigan would certain love to grab Crawford's teammate at Detroit Renaissance, and Coleman's AAU teammate (The Family) as well, 6-6, 200 lb. Malik Hairston. Hairston has taken a couple unofficial visits to Michigan this past summer and fall. Hairston can do it all -- score from both insider and outside, and rebound.
Point Guard: One of the top 10 junior PG's in the country is Michigan frosh Daniel Horton's little brother, 6-0 Jason Horton from Cedar Hill, Texas. He has led his team to an undefeated start so far, to follow onto last year's big-brother-led regular season #1-ranked year. Michigan has been scouting Horton recently and is interested -- as is Horton in Michigan, reportedly listing the Wolverines as his early favorite.
Another point guard listing Michigan on his 'long list' is 6-1 Darius Washington from Orlando, Florida, Edgewater. Washington is considered one of the top five PG's in the country.
Power Forward: Perhaps the top PF in the country, 6-8 Kalen Grimes from St. Louis is listing Michigan in his top five.
Finally, Center: Michigan may be the early favorite for a top 10 center, 6-10 Mohammed Tangara from the famed program at Durham, North Carolina, Mt. Zion Academy.
2004/05 Recruits (high school sophomores!)
The one player I want to mention here is perhaps the top soph in the state of Michigan: point guard Jarrett Smith from Westland John Glenn. The Wolverines are already very interested in Smith.
A Basketball Recruiting Primer
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