Friday, July 07, 2006

Friday's Hearsay and Conjecture

Most days I simply enjoy being an attorney. Today I loved it. There is nothing better in this profession than watching your opposing counsel get reamed by the judge. Especially when the judges uses your words and brief to do it.

Love it.

If that makes me petty, so be it. For those of you who don't care about my legal exploits, on to your Michigan related updates.

Horton Undrafted, Unsigned

In case you missed it with all the trades that clogged up the NBA draft last weekend, Daniel Horton, despite having heavy contact with a number of teams, went undrafted. The Free Press was reporting that Horton was close to signing a contract with the Miami Heat, but there has been no word on these negotiations since then.

Further frustrating the possibility of Horton signing with the Heat are that team's recent signings of Guards Chris Quinn and Mike Gansey. Quinn was Notre Dame's captain the last two years and staged a "anything you can do I can do better" show with Horton during the NIT quarterfinals this past year. The fact that Quinn signed instead of Horton is yet shove in the back for a Michigan program on the steep side of a cliff. Looking back at that the previous ND/UM game, it was Horton who got the better of Quinn posting 29 points to Quinn's 18. Mike Gansey you may also remember was one of the spark plugs for West Virginia. He's posted good numbers the last two years, but they too don't hold a candle to what Horton did last year.

It looks like Horton will go without a team a little longer. Hopefully his search will end soon, and with a team that can use his talents. There is a chance for Horton to land with the Mavs. The Free Press reported some interest, and Horton would fit well into Avery Johnson's push-the-pace system. Keep your fingers crossed.

Michigan's Basketball Free Fall Continues

After missing out on Patrick Beverly and Scottie Reynolds, Michigan proudly announced the signing of Reed Baker to a scholarship. Bakermania has swept the blogosphere. In case you're not familiar with Bakermania, its similar to the effects of getting bitten by several reeses monkeys (I am like sugar to them). Brian and Joey have both been coaxed back in off their respective ledges, but I'm get the feeling Joey's close to going all Full Metal Jacket/Gomer Pyle on Amaker.

(Insert standard "I'm sure he's a great kid and I don't want to make it seem like I'm demeaning him when I'm really being critical of Tommy" disclaimer.)

There is no way Baker's signing does anything but hurt our recruiting prospects. Baker is rated 2 Star/No Star by the recruiting services. Its hard for an incoming player to get excited about playing with people that they believe, off the bat, are head and shoulders above.

Remember when Alex Legion decommitted? Patrick Beverly had expressed great interest in playing with him because he wa such a hyped player. When Legion was gone, so too was Beverly. Scottie Reynolds saw the talent level and committed to Villanova, when there wasn't even a scholarship open for him yet! So instead of eating the scholarship for a year and trying to lure three good players to play together, Tommy handed it out to some stranger as if it was old Halloween candy.

The Rivals Hot 150 for 2007 doesn't list a single recruit that's chosen Michigan. FYI, three of the top 25 are going to Michigan State. Of the Scout 100, only 9 players even list Michigan as a school of interest. Of those 9, only Corperryale Harris list Michigan as a "high interest" school. Why? He's from Detroit! On the plus side, Michigan State is full, so they don't have space for him. Those three top 25 Scout 100 guys they verballed filled the tank, so we don't have any Izzo competition to contend with.

These kids will say all kinds of things during the recruiting season, but none of them are going to say "Man, that Reed Baker. Man. I want to play with HIM." Top athletes want to play with other top athletes. Not the backups.

If I was a four star recruit, I'd take one look at this line-up and run. At this point two scholarships remain open. Michigan has been rumored in the mix with some big names, but we all know how things end when rumors are involved. As mentioned above, Michigan's best bet to land a top 50 athlete appears to be Corperryale Harris. He's been on the in-state bandwagon for a while, so Michigan seems like a pretty good fit. Maybe the prospect of playing with Sims next year will excite him. Who knows.

Other than Corperryale, the most logical target would appear to be Michigan native Josh Southern of Saginaw. With Sims departure at the end of the year Michigan will be without a true center (not that we had one before). Big dude, great length. Surprisingly only 6'9", but at 250 lbs I'd expect him to tack on an inch or two before the 2007 season. Whats the hangup? A couple of big name programs have him targeted (Kentucky, Boston College, MSU, and Wake). OSU is listed, but they've filled up on big men, so I don't expect them to be players for Southern. However, given Amaker's track record, expect bumbling then coming close then losing him to a school that doesn't even have a basketball team. He'll tell everyone how excited he is to start anew with the subtext of "thank God I'm not playing in Ann Arbor." The Diag has the most up-to-date target list. Including Giantor Jr., Gary McGhee of Indiana, a 6'10" center who isn't close to finished growing. Like Southern, lots of competition.

As you've probably guessed, Michigan will be in a wait and pray mode, hoping that a star will fall out of favor with a big program and drop in its lap. Just like Boateng... er... oh wait... or Reynolds... dammit... Zach Gibson! Yeah like Zach Gibson. Um. Who the hell is Zach Gibson? (hint: he's sitting out next year due to transfer rules, and then getting a scholarship Michigan didn't want to give him when he first graduated high school!). But you knew that already.

At this point I'm guessing Harris will end up in Maize and Blue. (Yay!). The remaining scholarship will be placed in an envelope somewhere in Cristler during the Big Ten opener. The person who finds it gets to suit up to play a bunch of ex-wolverines in a pick up game. Those wolverines will report back to Amaker what happened. Amaker will then toss a coin in a fountain, wish on a star, and shake his Magic 8 Ball for guidance. If the Magic 8 Ball says anything other than "definitely not", that person gets the remaining scholarship. Its simple, really.

Our roster for next year looks like this:

Starters
PG
Jerret Smith So.
G
Dion Harris Sr.
F
Brent Petway Sr.
W
Lester Abram Sr.
F/C Courtney Sims Sr.

Bench
W Jevohn Shepherd So.
F Kendric Price So.
W Ron Coleman Jr.
G Alex Brzozowicz Jr.
F Phil DeVries So.
PG Reed Baker Fr.
SF DeShawn Sims Fr.
G K'Len Morris Fr.
SF Anthony Wright Fr.
PF Ekpe Udoh Fr.

Its a senior heavy team with one star on the bench in Sims. Harris and Smith will swap ball handling duties for most of the season unless Baker turns out to be better than his HS Class 3A pedigree would indicate. Early in the year, Tommy should play the kids to get a feel for what they can do. But when the Big Ten Season opens, expect to see lots of Coleman and Sheppard until they go cold, and Tommy's got no choice but to bench them. At that point, Morris and Baker may start seeing some playing time. While it ain't a bad starting line-up, there's little on the bench. And after next year, well, we're screwed. You may begin weeping now.

On the plus side, our lone recruit for 2007 is apparently improving during the summer camp sessions. Kelvin Grady (yes, there is relation) continues to impress and improve at the ABCD camp (Perhaps the worst name I've ever heard of for a camp of any kind, why not just call it the "Learn the Alphabet Camp" and be done with it?). So we got that going for us, which is nice.

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