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January 7, 2014

Hoops: Class of 2015 recruiting updates

Michigan is still seeking its first 2015 pledge, but there are several prospects high on the Wolverines. Here's a look the offerees, a few other priorities and more from the junior class and how they've fared recently.

Starting with Lincolnshire, Ill., Stevenson point guard Jalen Brunson, who continues to impress. Brunson didn't score until the second quarter but notched 23 points and took home MVP honors for No. 2 Stevenson, which won its first Proviso West Holiday Tournament championship with a 67-55 victory over Morgan Park.

"It was a big adjustment for us," Brunson told the Chicago Tribune. "We haven't played that good of a team since last year against Simeon (a 58-40 loss in the Class 4A championship game). It was a really good test for us. We stuck together and won."

Brunson scored five straight points, two free throws and a triple, to turn a 40-39 deficit into a five-point lead. He scored 13 points in the third quarter and also finished the game with nine rebounds.

Rivals.com's No. 28 junior nationally (6-0, 175) led Stevenson past Westchester (Ill.) St. Joseph, 85-72, last Monday in the semifinals. Brunson scored 32 points, notched eight rebounds and dished six assists. Illinois, Connecticut, Creighton, DePaul, Oklahoma State, Purdue, SMU, Temple, Tulsa, Virginia and Xavier have joined Michigan in offering.

Brunson and the 13-0 Patriots play at home against Lake Zurich, Ill., tonight before heading to Zion-Benton Friday.

A second offeree, LaPorte, Ind., La Lumiere shooting guard Jalen Coleman (6-3, 180, No. 34), also continues to play well. His Lakers lost 71-60 to Indianapolis Arsenal Tech High School recently, with Coleman scoring 21 points.

"Four-star junior Jalen Coleman also had some nice moments for La Lumiere," Rivals.com reported. "His shot wasn't quite on target, but he is getting stronger, understands movement and decision-making on the offensive end and is a natural scorer who plays the game with some swagger."

Illinois has turned up the heat, while Arizona, Cincinnati, Indiana, Memphis, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Providence, Purdue, UCLA and Xavier have also offered. A new NCAA rule prevents coaches from watching prospects at prep schools, and they can't attend games between prep schools.

"I haven't seen too many coaches right now," Coleman said, adding he has no leader.

Kentucky seems to be a clear leader for Franklin, Ohio, five-star shooting guard Luke Kennard (6-5, 195), but Michigan is still involved. Kennard continues to shatter scoring records. Playing with tendinitis in his left knee after missing two games, Kennard returned Saturday night and broke his own school record with 53 points in a 78-51 win over visiting Bellbrook.

"It felt pretty good tonight, so I really wanted to play," Kennard told the Dayton Daily News of his return after missing the Wildcats' last game at the Beach Ball Classic in South Carolina. "Jumping is when it really starts to hurt more. I'll just keep icing it. I'll be OK."

Kennard scored 16 points in the first quarter and added six, 20 and 11 in the next three. His previous record was 51 points against Edgewood last month.

"Even after scoring 53 points, the scary part is that I think his ceiling is even higher," head coach Brian Bales said. "The kid is that special."
Kennard plans on cutting his list in January, and Kentucky is the only one assured to make the cut.

Other notes:

Carrollton, Texas, Hebron small forward Tyler Williams remains on the radar. Rivals.com's No. 144 junior nationally recently scored 21 points to lead the Hawks to their ninth straight win, a 46-37 victory over McKinney Boyd.

Williams currently has offers from Tulsa, Iowa State, Texas A & M, San Jose State, Creighton and SMU, and has been to Michigan twice for visits.

"[Williams] is a solid player," Mark Bishop, Hebron head coach, told starlocal.com "He's been solid as a three-year starter for us. We usually aren't too disappointed in what he does for us. He does a great job for us."

His instincts are what helped him earn District 5-5A Co-Offensive Player of the Year honors last season. Williams averages 19 points and 8.1 rebounds per game and is a "high IQ guy," his coach added.

  • Michigan continues to watch five-star junior Carlton Bragg, a junior power forward from Cleveland Villa-Angela St. Joseph. The Vikings lost 73-60 to Las Vegas Bishop Gorman High School on Friday night on ESPNU at the Cancer Research Classic in Wheeling, W. Va. Bragg finished with nine points and 14 rebounds in the loss.

    Bragg holds offers from MSU, Illinois, Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland State, Connecticut, Dayton, DePaul, Georgetown, Indiana, Kansas, Louisville, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina State, Ohio State, Texas, UCLA, West Virginia and Wisconsin. He has yet to visit Michigan.

  • Saginaw Arthur Hill's Eric Davis scored a career-high 32 points to lead his team to a 71-56 win over Southfield Christian on Saturday. Davis is thought to be leaning out of state, but he did visit for Michigan's loss to Arizona recently.

    "We really wanted him to come out and attack the basket on the offensive end," Arthur Hill coach Greg McMath said. "He's the best player in the state regardless of class, and he showed it tonight."

  • Finally, Versailles, Ohio, shooting guard Kyle Ahrens will miss the rest of the year with a broken leg suffered Dec. 29. Ahrens scored 32 points in a win over West Liberty that Friday and had 13 before going down with his injury.

    Ahrens has an Iowa offer and is getting a good look from Michigan, MSU and others.


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