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June 16, 2011

AAU Coach: Donnal is 'really good get' for U-M

Hours after Monclova (Ohio) Wayne power forward Mark Donnal committed to Michigan, Dan Dakich was on the phone with Donnal's mother, congratulating the family for the good news.

Dakich, the coach of Donnal's AAU team, Indiana Elite South 16u, knew that Donnal was walking into a perfect situation with the Wolverines.

"It's great. I think that (Michigan coach) John Beilein is one of the best teachers in college basketball," Dakich said. "Michigan is a spectacular university, with a degree that carries a ton of weight, and that's really important. The Donnals are Midwest people, Big Ten people, so it's close to home for his family.

"There isn't a single negative with this situation. I'm so happy for Mark. Everything in my opinion could not have worked out better for Mark or Michigan."

Dakich played for Bobby Knight at Indiana in the mid-1980s and has been coaching college and AAU basketball in the Midwest since. He said he's known Beilein and assistant coach Jeff Meyers for "100 years," and is happy that Donnal has a chance to work with the duo for four years.

"Meyer and Beilein did a great job of recruiting him, too," Dakich said. "They were on top of it. They got in on him early, they did what you're supposed to do and did a great job."

The Donnal family has been through the recruitment process before. Donnal's older brother, Andrew, is an offensive linemen at Iowa, entering his redshirt freshman year.

They respected Beilein's approach, and Donnal felt excited about Michigan almost instantly.

"This is a very smart family," Dakich said. "They know the recruiting process, so you're not going to pull the wool over their eyes. They asked the right questions, got the right answers and were extremely comfortable with everything about Michigan. I haven't spoken with Mark, but I talked to his dad last night and his mother today, and they're ecstatic."

"He wouldn't have committed there if he wasn't incredibly comfortable with the university, the basketball program, the coaches, the style of play, everything."

Dakich is very high on Donnal's potential and thinks the 6-9, 200-pound power forward will have a great career with the Maize and Blue.

"Regardless of who else is recruiting Mark, it's a really good get for Michigan for a variety of reasons," Dakich said. "One, he's a super kid, a great guy. Second, he's a tough guy, the kind of guy that you win with. And he has a skill set that fits everything Michigan needs: he shoots well from the 3-point line, he can pass out of the post, he can run, rebound and he'll get bigger and stronger. Whoever got Mark was getting a really good player, and Michigan got him."

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