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April 8, 2013A third cousin of the well-known musical LeVert family, Caris LeVert took an unusual path to Michigan. John Beilein and his staff didn't get a chance to see him live during the season, only recruiting the Ohio University pledge after coach John Groce bolted for Illinois.
Groce only recruited him "a little bit" for the Illini, LeVert - an admitted Ohio State fan growing up - said. It wasn't difficult to put those loyalties behind him once he signed.
"It wasn't too hard," he said. "Michigan is a great university, and I'm really blessed to be here. Trey Burke was pretty big [in my recruitment] being from Columbus - that was a big time factor. But my mom loved Michigan from day one."
And so has LeVert, who has proven to be a pleasant surprise and a great fit. His phone has been buzzing from the constant text messages - unlike Burke's, though, they're all positive.
"I'm not sure if it's as bad as Trey," he said with a smile of the Buckeye vitriol.
And it wouldn't matter. He woke up Sunday feeling great about his contribution Saturday in U-M's win over Syracuse (two, key triples) and his team's rise to the title game.
"It's a blessing from God. We're in the championship game," he said. "I know my coaches and teammates have a great deal of confidence in me, and that gives me the confidence to go out there and play hard."