C Drew Naymick visits Stanford

Stanford frankly has not had success recruiting from Michigan or recruiting against Michigan lately, but the Cardinal are making a strong move with prized big man Drew Naymick currently. Naymick just took a visit out to Stanford, and had a lot to say to The Bootleg about the visit and his recruitment.

C Drew Naymick (profile)
North Muskegon (North Muskegon, MI)
Ht: 6-10;  Wt: 230
Jr stats: 21 ppg, 11 rpg, 6 bpg

Drew Naymick is one of the "other" post recruits you've heard about in this 2003 class, but maybe you haven't pay much attention in the midst of the David Padgett Watch.  Well, Naymick is a serious talent who has offers from every one of his top schools.  He is regarded not just as one of the top big men in Big Ten country, but also as one of the best rising big men in the nation.

He averaged a double-double this past season and proved to be a dominant defensive force with 6 blocks per game.  One playoff game late in the season saw him swat 16 shots in one game.  But Drew has been slow to gain as much recruiting attention as is his due, partially because North Muskegon is not one of the bigger or 'name' schools in Michigan.  The state has four classes of high schools for basketball competition, from Class A down to Class D, based on the size of the school.  North Muskegon competes in Class C, and Drew's rising senior class at the school has just 85 bodies.

If you trace Drew's recruitment back to this winter, it was viewed as a pure in-state battle between Amaker and Izzo.  Ohio State and some others were on the radar, but Stanford did not appear to be.  Stanford appeared in the early spring with his comments (likely coinciding with a visit from Coach Mike Montgomery to see him in the spring), and now recently has been one of his top six schools.  Though he stratified with a top three and second three: Michigan State, Michigan and Ohio State up top; Stanford, Wake Forest and Notre Dame were the next three.

Now after Naymick's unofficial visit to Stanford this past week, the Cardinal has made a big move.  Drew told me that his top three now are Stanford, Michigan State and Ohio State.

"Actually, the visit helped me quite a bit.  Stanford is a great option for me."

Stanford almost didn't get the visit, as Drew's schedule this summer just looked too packed to work in a trip out West.  That would have been a death knell for the Cardinal, as Naymick is likely to make his decision at the end of the summer.  But somehow, Monty and the staff convinced the Drew at the last minute to squeeze the trip in.  Naymick says that he is unlikely to have the opportunity to take his official visits before his decision, so the unofficials he has been able to take will loom large in his commitment.

Drew has family in the Bay Area, with an aunt and grandfather in Stockton.  He says that the fact that he has family out here helps ease the disadvantage of the distance from home, relative to a place like Michigan State in East Lansing.  But Drew says plainly that "distance is a factor," and it appears this is the greatest stumbling block for Stanford in his recruitment.

The unifying characteristic for Drew's top three schools is the overall strength of their basketball programs.  He wants to have "a better chance of winning right away," and he says that he "can't go wrong" in that department with Stanford, MSU and OSU.

Digging deeper, Drew says that he wants to know who is coming in to the program, and who is already there.  Overall, he would very much like to come in as part of a very talented class, and is watching to see who commits where.  Specific to big men, he would like some talent there from which he can learn, and also against which he can practice.  But he does not want to walk into a situation where he is on the trailing end of a logjam of post players.  He has yet to do much analysis of who is there and arriving at these programs, but he did single out that Paul Davis will already be at Michigan State.

It is not obvious that Stanford has a great advantage here relative to this competition in the way that it does, for example against Arizona in the Padgett recruitment.  But they certainly can paint a pretty picture.  Drew appears by all accounts to me to be more of a natural center, while incoming post Matt Haryasz has a greater inclination as a power forward with is high post game.  Even if Stanford brings both David Padgett and Drew Naymick in this class, Padgett would again be more of a forward with Naymick residing more in the low post.  Drew thus doesn't face much of a logjam at the classical center position, while still benefiting from the surrounding talent and practice of elite post player.

The next question buzzing for Stanford fans is where Stanford stands on Naymick.  Drew told me that he has the application for Stanford Admissions in his hands, and is working on it currently.  He is carrying a 3.7 GPA and a 29 ACT score, which roughly translates into a 1300 SAT.  That's a strong set of credentials, and Drew has a strong academic focus at home.  He plans on finishing the application "as early in July as possible."  He does have a grade snafu right now, with a computer error at his high school, but that irritation does not appear likely to hold up his transcript significantly.  Stanford likes Drew enough that they have told him there is an offer ready for him if and when he clears the admissions process.

Some of the subjects Drew has most enjoyed studying have been world history, business and aviation.  His father was a pilot and now works in the FAA.  Drew has had dreams of flying, but laughs off the thought of someone his size in a cockpit.

One important point made by Drew in our conversation was that despite the importance of academics to him and his family, academics are secondary to basketball in his decision.  They are a "close second," but his ultimate decision is going to be mostly grounded in basketball.  He did also note that "Stanford clearly separates itself from the others academically," but I don't think that is going to buy Stanford the currency to win this alone.  Stanford has made a very strong move of late, largely on the impression of the campus and basketball.  But it will be a tough battle to beat Michigan State on distance.

Some of the pluses for Stanford Drew noted from his visit were the coaches, players, campus and weather.  He said he "really liked the campus a lot - it was better than I thought it would be" and enjoyed the temperate weather.  He laughed that it was actually cooler at Stanford than it currently was back home in Michigan currently.  Drew liked the staff a lot, and noted that Coaches Tony Fuller and Eric Reveno spent much of the time showing him around.  He also had the chance to meet and talk with Coach John Murray about the program's strength and conditioning.

Drew has been a strictly a center in high school, working mostly in the low post.  He has prided himself on intermediate jumpers out to about the free throw line, but that has disappeared from his game in the last few months.  Drew played baseball this spring - a real passion of his - and that took enough time away from his basketball that he did not get enough shooting repetitions to keep up his range.  Regaining his touch to mid-range is an intense focus of his this summer, and he would like to even extend his shooting range to the three-point line.  If you are curious about a 6-10 baseball player, Drew hit .370 this spring, but has no realistic thoughts of playing baseball past high scho

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