When he's not coaching his team to wins over Top 10 teams, Michigan head coach John Beilein is looking for future prospects to sign who can lead wins over highly ranked squads. Beilein and his staff have been all over the country in recent weeks to watch prospects from all different classes.
The Wolverines have several from the state of Indiana on the roster right now and they're still recruiting others from the Hoosier State. Four-star junior shooting guard Jalen Coleman and four-star sophomore guard Eron Gordon are among those on the radar.
It's not coincidence, but Beilein insists he's not just focused on one area.
"I look at the whole footprint of the Big Ten," he said. "There are a lot of players to go around. Many of them are very talented, and we have great high school coaching across the board. We have really solid summer basketball programs being run all over the place, and we're just always looking for people who fit what we need, athletically and position-wise, and who fits us academically.
"It's not like, 'we're going to Indiana to get players, or we're going to Ohio or we're going into Michigan' - we're looking for all the good players who Michigan wants to recruit. It just so happens right now that we have some very good Indiana players, and we're really proud to have them."
Michigan assistant LaVall Jordan was in La Porte, Ind., Sunday to see Coleman (6-3, No. 34 nationally) play with his prep school, La Lumiere. Coleman was on fire a week earlier at the Hoophall in Springfield, Mass.
"Since the summer, the class of 2015's No. 34 player has been in the gym working hard to rebuild his shot. The 6-3 shooting guard at La Porte (Ind.) La Lumiere showed much improved mechanics during December but the deep jumper wasn't falling with regularity. On Sunday, though, those jumpers started going in. The four-star prospect was on fire from deep as he dropped 28 points on 10-17 field goal shooting and made 8-11 from behind the three point line in a win over Centereach (N.Y.) Our Savior.
"Capable of handling the ball and running the point for stretches, Coleman can lay either off the ball or be used as a combo guard capable of helping initiate offense. He has an ideal basketball frame with his long arms and wiry strength. Laterally quick, Coleman is also an outstanding on the ball defender who harasses his opponents into bad shots and turnovers."
Coleman reiterated that he was wide open and mentioned Michigan State, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio State, Purdue, Notre Dame, UCLA, Arizona, Illinois, Providence and Cincinnati as having offered, adding he's been leaving most of the recruiting to his father.
"Lately my dad has been talking to [college coaches]," Coleman said. "I haven't really myself talked to many of the coaches personally.
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Also in 2015 news, Lincolnshire, Ill., Stevenson standout point guard Jalen Brunson (6-0, No. 28) scored 32 points to lead his team over Marian Catholic and Kentucky-bound Tyler Ulis, 76-66.
"The state's top two point guards lived up to the hype, and No. 5 Stevenson withstood a furious comeback to defeat No. 2 Marian Catholic 76-66 at Glenbard East's "When Sides Collide" in Lombard," the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Brunson scored a game-high 32 points, while Ulis notched 23 points and nine assists for Marian (15-2), which trimmed a 55-38 deficit to 66-63 with 1 minute, 26 seconds to go.
"Tyler is a very good point guard, a very good player, period," said Brunson, who was 9-for-15 from the field and 11-for-14 from the line. "I think he has the complete package. He can do everything. I try to model some of his game [after his]. He is such a good defender.
"It wasn't really a one-on-one matchup. I've got to give props to Tyler leading his team.
NY2LA Sports reported Brunson was "fantastic and efficient.
"He scored 32 points on 8-for-14 shooting while also grabbing seven rebounds and making numerous big plays," they wrote. "The lefty guard hunts his shot and looks for teammates and can do so much on the floor thanks to his tremendous basketball IQ. Brunson changes paces well and since he's able to stop on a dime and score from anywhere, he's always a threat to score."
As we wrote yesterday, the Wolverines are also looking at Duncanville, Texas 2015 target Matt McQuaid, a shooter ranked No. 58 overall.
Big man coach Bacari Alexander watched Shaker Heights, Ohio guard/forward Esa Ahmad recently in Dayton. Ahmad put up 28 points in a win over St. Louis Christian Brothers recently.
"A 2015 6-foot-7 wing, the Shaker Heights product has so much versatility to his game because he is able to play everything from shooting guard to power forward," TheRecruitScoop.com's Alex Kline reported. "His improved handle has turned him into more of a wing prospect at this point. Some schools are recruiting him as a two, but it varies.
"At this time last year, Ahmad was playing a lot in the post, but was also a great shooter from outside. While he still plays in the post a bit, he has more of a green light to do what he wants and college coaches like that he brings so much to the table."
West Virginia is recruiting him hard and has offered, with coach Bob Huggins fond of the idea of him being a shooting guard for the Mountaineers. Rutgers, Miami, Maryland, Xavier, Dayton and others have offered.
"Ahmad is an up-and-coming, versatile, high-post four man," Kline added. "He is tough to defend because he is strong and active on the low block, can drive to the paint off the dribble and has a very effective mid-range game. He is one of the fastest risers in the country. He had 28 points and nine rebounds in Shaker's victory over St. Louis Christian Brothers.
Class Of 2016 Notes
Beilein also watched University of Detroit Jesuit 2016 guard Cassius Winston last Friday, though many believe Winston is an MSU lean. Winston, Rivals.com's No. 35 sophomore (6-0, 165), scored 18 points in a 75-57 win over De La Salle.
See below for video from PrepHoopsTV:
They Wolverines are also watching Lakewood, St. Edward big man Derek Funderburk (summer highlights below).
"Coming off of the bench for Ohio's top team, Funderburk brought the total package," CityLeaguesHoops.com reported recently. "Offensively, he showed off great footwork on the blocks and made some outstanding passes for a 6-9 guy. Defensively, he displayed great range defending on the perimeter and presence as a shot-blocker on the interior. Ohio's No. 2 sophomore definitely lived up to his reputation in yet another St. Ed's victory."
Finally, Fort Wayne, Ind., class of 2016 big man Caleb Swanigan is a top 50 sophomore when he's in shape. Here's a nice article on him from earlier this month: Swanigan.
Swanigan camped at Michigan this summer.