Thursday, April 06, 2006

Foreign Legion

Legion Transfers High Schools, Decommits From Michigan

In yet another blow to Michigan recruiting, Detroit Country Day junior Alex Legion has decided to rescind his verbal commitment to UM. Legion will also transfer from Detroit Country Day to Oak Hill Academy in Virginia. Legion is ranked in the 2007 class as Rivals #15 and Scout #2 shooting guard in the country. MGoBlog was the first to comment on it.

Up until this point Michigan's courtship of Alex Legion can best be described as shark fishing. You're excited you've hooked this monster, but you're scared shitless about what you're gonna do once you get it in the boat. While you can't wait to brag to your friends that you landed this killing machine, you can't wait to see it mounted on the wall, you can't wait to show it off, part of you really wishes the line would snap.

Well, it snapped yesterday.

In terms of recruiting, this is a nasty gut punch. The kind that makes you double over in pain, gasping for air. Legion was a shake-your-head-did-he-just-do-that-? kind of talent. Anytime a player like him re-opens, its bad, bad news. This also marks the third 5 star de-commitment of Tommy's tenure. The Diag points out that Joe Crawford bailed to play for Kentucky and Al Horford jumped ship to play at Florida (and win a national championship).

The Diag also points out that 2006 recruiting target Patrick Beverly seemed to really like Legion and the fact that he was committed to play at Michigan. Ugh. And the dominos begin to fall.

For Alex Legion this couldn't possibly have been a better move. Mark Snyder's Free Press article has this quote:
"I'll be away from Mr. Green and my mom and get a chance to think things over," Legion was reported as saying, "I'll think about my own self and my own choices."
The Mr. Green is Legion's guardian Tim Green, the creepy guy who has been calling Alex's moves the last year and a half or so. Make no mistake, this Green guy was trouble. I don't know him personally, I make no judgments on his character, but when he refers to Alex's decision on colleges and DCD's decisions on playing time by saying "we" and "our" it freaks me out. High School and College basketball are replete with stories of older men befriending young talented ball players and using them as their meal tickets. The fact that Legion is transferring to Oak Hill to get away from it all is a good sign for him personally. I wish him luck in his personal voyage to assert himself.

As for Michigan, as mentioned above, had Legion stayed firm on his commitment he would've brought a whole lot of baggage. If Green's influence was overbearing enough to force the kid to transfer to get away from it, had he stayed instate, Tommy would've had to deal with Green as well Legion's purported "me first" attitude. Once the shark's in the boat you've gotta handle him or he'll handle you. Still, with the way Tommy handled Daniel Horton's well publicized troubles, he may have been able to handle Legion. Whether he could take Legion and Green at the same time was what made us all nervous.

Still, Legion may commit after all. Michigan was his favorite starting out, he's a home grown boy, and he's got family here. The Daily reports he's mulling offers from Michigan, Connecticut, Kansas, UCLA and Villanova. Yeah. I know. Everyone's Final Four, and us. Still, we're on there. I'll take that as good for the time being.

What it does to our recruiting efforts only time will tell. Unfortunately, anytime a top level talent backs out it tends to scare the other recruits. If Patrick Beverly says "screw it" and heads to Arkansas, look to this as one of the reasons. However, if Tommy secures Beverly's services for the next four years in spite of this, he gets my "golden recruiter" plaque for his office. The options are still better for Beverly here than at Arkansas. Big Ten school. Close to home. National television exposure the second Michigan shows any hope, because, hey, it's Michigan. And playing time, playing time, playing time. Now he doesn't have to share the ball with Legion.

The line broke. The shark swam off. Now all we can do is tell the tale of the one that got away. Still, there's daylight on the ocean. We've got plenty of bait. We're back to re-threading the hook, changing the tess, and putting the line back in the water. The shark's still out there. So are others just like him. Let's see who bites next.


At 11:00 AM, Blogger Joey said...

Shit is not getting better until there is a coach in place who has demonstrated that he can coach 'em up and win with second-tier talent.

At 11:11 AM, Blogger Maize n Brew Dave said...

I'm with you on this. Like I said yesterday, until Tommy shows me he's a good in-game coach and a decent pre-game preparer, he's on my "gotta go" list.

However, I can't blame Tommy on this one. This kid's got a lot going on upstairs. Hopefully he'll sort it out and recommit to UM.

At 6:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Word is, he's going to Kentucky, and with that new coach, they may get 8 more national titles or something.


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