INDIANAPOLIS—Several of Michigan’s top basketball targets played at a high level on Friday, day three of the Adidas Invitational, kicking off the beginning of the highly anticipated, and crucial, July evaluation period.
Below are evaluations and recruiting notes on several prospects that performed well with Wolverine assistant lavall jordan looking on closely:
2014 PF Kevon Looney, Milwaukee Running Rebels—Looney showcased why he is the No. 2 power forward in the country Thursday. He simply was aggressive around the basket. While he settled for outside shots on his first two days of the tournament, day three he went towards his strength--his low-post game. He had multiple dunks and dribble drives for buckets. He drew fouls and was able to capitalize at the free-throw line. He made his presence known on the defensive end, too. He blocked shots and easily got double digit rebounds. This was by far Looney’s best performance of the tournament.
2015 C Stephen Zimmerman, Dream Vision—Zimmerman’s full game was on display Friday afternoon. Finishing with 20-points in front of Michigan assistant LaVall Jordan, Zimmerman was huge for Dream Vision as they advanced in the tournament. Often the focal point of the offense, Zimmerman made fantastic decisions with the basketball, having a good feel for when double teams were coming and which one of his teammates would be open inside or on the perimeter. When Zimmerman decided to attack the rim he was unstoppable and made a living at the free throw line. Also knocking down a couple of his outside shots, including a really smooth stroke for a 7-footer, Zimmerman continued his strong play blocking shots defensively and wrapping up rebounds on both ends of the floor. Zimmerman looked like the No. 1 player in the class of 2015 on this day, without a doubt.
2015 SG Jalen Coleman, Indiana Elite—Coleman could not get a shot to fall in his final game Thursday night and unfortunately for him, the bad bounces continued on Friday morning. Coleman was creating separation, getting in the paint for a pull-up mid-range jumper or attempting to draw contact at the rim -- neither worked. The three-point shot wasn’t any better but it’s important to stress that he was getting good looks both off the bounce and within the workings of the offense. Coleman appeared much happier after his game Friday evening, potential indicator of a much better performance.
2015 PF Carlton Bragg, Ohio Basketball Club—Bragg stole the show on the main floor at North Central high school Friday evening. Playing his game with oodles of passion and emotion, Bragg was the loudest person in the gym, both with his voice and his play. A regular block party inside on the defensive end, Bragg routinely stuffed shot attempts from his opponents, throwing some against the wall on the baseline and others into the bench area. On multiple occasions Bragg showed off his motor, blocking a shot and racing down the floor before throwing down a follow-up two-handed slam on the other end. The entire gym was impressed. Bragg has a Kevin Garnett approach to the game in the sense that when he dunks, he screams, and means business, so much so that he received a technical in the second half. Bragg attempted a few perimeter shots throughout the game but did the biggest portion of his work inside the paint.
2015 PG Sedrick Barefield, Compton Magic Select—The young man has continually played much better after a disappointing opening night performance -- Barefield is playing with a purpose at the point guard position. Yesterday he displayed his passing, defense and leadership, minus his scoring ability to help his team win. Today he scored buckets in a variety of ways -- floaters in the lane, crossover pull-up jumpers, and off steals. He started off slow in the first half but turned it up in the second half. Barefield continues to build on what has been a good showing at the Adidas invitational thus far.
2016 PG Derryck Thornton Jr., Dream Vision—One of the quickest point guards around, Thornton Jr. likes to race up and down the floor, leading the fast break, tossing lobs to his four-star teammate Chase Jeter. Friday afternoon, Thornton Jr. wasn’t able to do that as often as he liked, playing more within the confines of Dream Vision’s half court offensive attack. Regardless, Thornton Jr. proved he’s more than capable of doing that as well, knocking down a handful of outside shots and showing nice control taking it into the lane. Despite being a point guard and roughly 6-foot-1 or 6-foot-2, Thornton Jr. goes to the rim like he’s going to dunk every time -- he’s still waiting for one to fall (Thornton Jr. has hit the floor hard on each on a foul as the ball trickles off the rim).
2016 PF De’Ron Davis, Colorado Hawks—Very disappointed in his play today and was one of the rare times he takes the floor without his motor going up and down the floor. With that said, he is a really good young post player. When De’Ron gets the ball on the low post, and doesn’t think about it, he usually scores. Davis blocks shots runs the floor very well, and rebounds with a purpose. As he matures De’Ron will understand that he has to bring it every single night. When that effort isn’t there his team will be sent home from tournaments early.
2015 SF Cameron Walker, Compton Magic Select—Cameron is a long athlete who seems to be coming into his own. Walker does most of his work from 15 feet in with a jumper here, put back there, and, on occasion, throwing down a dunk. At 6’7 Walker could be a little more assertive offensively with his versatile skill set. On defense, he contest shots and is a good defender. Looking forward to seeing him put it all together, playing at a higher level than he already does.
2015 PG K.J. Walton, Spiece Indy Heat—Walton was impressive Friday; he had 14 points in the Heat’s opening playoff victory. Most of his points came off physical dribble drives, where he over powered his opponent. He is great finisher and looks natural moving towards the rim. He attacks the boards and ends up with his fair share of rebounds. He is strong defender as well. He answered some critics with his ability to hit a few outside shots. His game seems to be on the rise.
2015 SG Tyler Williams, Urban DFW—Williams fits the mold of a prototypical shooting guard at 6-foot-6, 185-pounds. He can also play point guard if needed with his improved ball handling skills. He can score off the dribble and has a decent jump shot, too. He has offensive skills that you want from a two-guard, but you didn’t see those skills Friday. He just wasn’t aggressive in his play. He’s a very unselfish player, to say the least. But in his case, it might serve him well to be more aggressive. He only had eight points in his team’s first round victory. He rebounds well for a guard and showed some shot blocking skills as well. He’ll need to work on his footwork moving forward.
-- Stephen Zimmerman says he’s planning some visits for August and that Michigan is one he’ll be looking at hard, hoping to make it out to Ann Arbor. Since June 15, Zimmerman says his relationship with LaVall Jordan has continued to blossom with the added contact.
-- Derryck Thornton Jr. says Michigan is “high” on his list and that he loves the way the Wolverines play, particularly the freedom and focus put on the point guard position. Still a long way from the end of his recruitment, Thornton Jr. hopes to get to Ann Arbor for a game.
-- Carlton Bragg says he has had several conversations with Michigan coach John Beilein and assistants, receiving a good vibe from all. Bragg is in the process of planning unofficial visits this fall and indicated that the Wolverines could be in line to receive one, and, if he does, would receive a scholarship offer from the Maize & Blue.
--Jalen Coleman maintains he still has an interest in taking more visits before the summer is out and mentioned Michigan as a destination he definitely wants to get back to.
GoBlueWolverine’s Josh Newkirk, Andre Barthwell and Kyle Bogenschutz contributed to this report.