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July 2, 2012

Zak Irvin visits, sees big things for U-M in 2012

Michigan class of 2013 basketball pledge Zakarie Irvin visited campus yet again over the weekend, proving again he's as committed to the program as he's been since the day he pledged. The Fishers (Ind.) Hamilton Southeastern and Eric Gordon All-Stars AAU standout spent time with his future teammates and ran some open gym with the team, including the incoming freshmen.

His initial reaction: fear the 2012 Wolverines, and also the Michigan teams in years to come. Irvin had barely left campus before reports of his own open gym prowess had started making their way around the Internet.

"Yeah, I played really well," Irvin said with a laugh. "So did Tim Hardaway, Glenn Robinson and Mitch McGary. That was my first time going against the freshmen other than going against Glenn. They're really good."

Incoming frosh Caris LeVert runs the floor well, he added, and knocks down his shots, while sophomore Trey Burke is as good as advertised.

"Michigan is going to be great this year," he said. "They all play defense, they all can knock down open shots and threes. That day my shot was falling, too."

That's been the case for much of the last year, during which Irvin has blossomed into one of the better small forwards in the country (Rivals.com's No. 63 player nationally). He excelled in the Indiana Junior vs. Senior all-star games and for the junior squad in their two games with Kentucky, which they split. He scored 22 in leading the Indiana squad to a 126-103 victory over Kentucky at Heritage Christian School in Indianapolis in early June.

Now 6-6 and 185 pounds, Irvin figures to be the focal point of a Hamilton Southeastern team that loses standout guard Gary Harris (Michigan State). He's ready for the role, having added to his offensive arsenal in shooting the ball as well has he has in his young life.

"Gary was a great player to play with," he said. "Last year he helped me score more easily. I expect this year teams are going to make it harder for me to score, so I'm going to have to be able to create opportunities for my teammates, too."

Irvin was the subject of unfounded de-commitment speculation this spring, but he quickly put such talk to rest. He's still a year away from enrolling at Michigan but looking forward to the day.

"The visit went really well," he said. "I went up there and hung out with Tim, talked about college stuff and got to play with the guys and meet all the freshmen. I talked with the coaches, too. I can't wait to get up there."


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