7-footer to Visit Rutgers

Rutgers' basketball staff hit the recruiting trail hard in search of a center for the 2010-11 season. There travels took them to the junior college ranks, where they found a 7-footer who already holds a pair of offers from established programs. The player already visited one school and is wildly familiar with another. But what does he know about Rutgers? And what type of talent does he possess?

Rutgers' quest to land a center during the spring signing period moved to picturesque Coeur d'Aelene, Idaho, where North Idaho College sits.

That is where 7-foot-1, 270-pound Guy-Marc Michel, a native of Sainte Marie, Martinique, spent the last two seasons. He is deciding between Gonzaga, which sits less than an hour west of the North Idaho College campus, Colorado and Rutgers.

Michel visited Colorado over the weekend, and he plans to visit Rutgers the weekend of April 9-11. Although he is yet to visit Gonzaga officially, he has been to the campus numerous times and knows the Bulldogs program well.

"Those three schools are really good,'' Michel said. "So I don't really know what I'm going to do.''

Gonzaga was Michel's longtime leader. The Bulldogs recruited him before junior college, and helped him locate North Idaho College when it was learned he would not meet academic requirements because of a need for basic core classes.

But there were questions as to how much Gonzaga wanted him until recently.

He averaged 8.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game as a freshman, then suffered a serious ankle sprain in the summer. He said he returned nearly five months later and averaged 7.2 points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots per game as a sophomore.

"I was out for five months and I was unable to practice,'' Michel said. "(Gonzaga) told me they're interested, but they wanted to see me play this year. They came to a couple of games. Nothing changed. They were still interested.''

Michel is a better rebounder and defender than offensive player..

"Probably his biggest improvement is he goes and gets rebounds now,'' North Idaho coach Jared Phay said. "Last year if it wasn't right to him, he wouldn't go get it. He has a 7-6 wing span. He's 7-1 but he has a really long wing span, so there's just a lot of length there. He's really pretty good with his body. He'd get in foul trouble here and there, but it wasn't a constant problem.''

Offensively, Michel is more of a project.

"He can score with his back to the basket a little bit, but he definitely needs to get better at that area,'' Phay said. "He definitely gets some putbacks, but he developed some post moves where he has a little jump hook, a one-dribble drop step. He can score. His footwork still needs to get a little bit better. He will travel every once in a while when he is making a move to the hoop.''

Of the three finalists, Michel knows Rutgers the least.

"I don't really know anything about them,'' Michel said. "I know they're 40 minutes from New York, and they used to be a really good team, but the past few years they're not that good.''

He said he understood the Scarlet Knights were in dire need of a center, and plenty of playing time was available.

"They did tell me that,'' he said.

Michel just returned from a trip to Colorado, where he experienced the Boulder campus and got his bearings for its proximity to Denver.

"I liked the place,'' he said. "It's not far away from Denver, the Denver Nuggets, and it's a nice place, it's a good program, so I think that would be a good place for me. I really like it. I think the staff is really interested in me.''

There was possibility Michel would take an official visit to Gonzaga this weekend, but Michel said it likely wouldn't happen.

"I have visited Gonzaga a couple of times,'' Michel said. "I know the players, I know the people, I know the staff, I know everything. I don't think that it would (matter) if I did a visit because I already know everything.''

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