Those still not on the Patrick Beverley bandwagon after his big senior season received another exhibit as to why they probably should be Sunday afternoon in Chicago. The unsigned senior, one of the top recruits on U-M's wish list, notched 13 points, six assists, three steals and one blocked shots in 23 minutes against in his West squad's 118-102 win over the East.
Though his team was dominated by Ohio State signees, including the Gatorade National Player of the Year in seven-footer Greg Oden and guards David Lighty, Daequan Cook and Mike Conley, the possible future Wolverine more than held his own, making six of his 12 shots (1-for-4 from three-point range) and getting his teammates involved in the win.
Beverley also had a large contingent in the stands, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, led by his mother, Lisa.
"I am having the time of my life,'' he told the Sun-Times. "I really enjoyed myself in this game. Rankings don't mean that much to me, but I think I deserve to be ranked among the best players … I just wanted to go out there and prove I belonged, and that I could play with the best players in the country.
"It was a motivation [losing in the Public League playoff semifinals and missing a chance to play at the United Center]. Is there a better way to end your high school career? "
Beverley averaged 32 points per game as a senior (including playoff action) and played the Roundball Classic with the same intensity he showed during the season, proving relentless on both ends. He scored nine points in the first half to help lead the West to a 62-50 lead at the break, then continued to play well in the second half, adding what the Sun-Times called "a beautiful step-under floater in the third quarter."
Most scouts now see Beverley as a top-75 talent, but event organizer Sonny Vaccaro said people still ask him whether or not the Marshall star is a legitimate high Division I talent. Illinois regulations prevented college coaches from attending and seeing for themselves.
"I thought all the Chicago kids played very well, but for me, the mystery is that people still think Patrick Beverley is a mystery,'' Vacarro said. "I still have college coaches ask me whether or not he's a high-major player.'"
Beverley told TheWolverine.com after his visit in late March that U-M was his leader, but added he still planned to visit Arkansas the week of April 13 before deciding. He told the Sun-Times U-M and Arkansas remain his top two, and he recently told the paper many of the same things he told TheWolverine.com about Michigan.
"I really enjoyed my Michigan visit and can see myself playing with that team," he said. "It was ironic. [Michigan coach] Tommy Amaker told me he had seen something special in me, and that's the exact same thing [Marshall coach] Lamont Bryant told me early in my career.
"I checked out the campus, talked to academic advisers and other people there. It shocked me how everybody was so down to earth. I had thought at a big school like Michigan that everyone would be more formal and uptight. It was totally the opposite."
Beverley reiterated playing time would be a critical factor in his decision.
"Coach Amaker told me that with Daniel Horton graduating, I would come in as a point guard," Beverley said. "He said Michigan didn't really have a guard to play that position."
Watch TheWolverine.com for more on Beverley in the days and weeks to come …