The Wolverine

August 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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74 THE WOLVERINE AUGUST 2018   BASKETBALL RECRUITING League (EYBL) games with the Al- bany City Rocks this summer, Girard averaged 12.2 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists per contest, and shot 40.8 percent from the field and 36.7 percent on three-pointers. He once thought of committing in the spring, but it's taken longer than he expected to make a decision. His top six — Michigan, Syracuse, Duke, Penn State, Notre Dame and Boston College — are all still in the mix. "I'm being recruited as a combo guard, so I can play on an off the ball," Girard said from Nike Peach Jam in South Carolina July 12. "A lot of the time here in AAU ball I'm off the ball … back at home I'm on the ball probably 90 percent of the time." It's his shooting that initially got several recruiters' attention. Michi- gan head coach John Beilein coached Girard's dad Joe Jr. at LeMoyne, and he could tell early that Joe III might be a great fit. "Coach B. actually contacted us," Girard said. "We went out to a game when I was in fourth or fifth grade, but I started getting better at basket- ball. Sixth grade, there was not that much buzz nationally, but he said to my dad, 'I can't really talk to you anymore. Your son has the potential to be a recruit.' "As an eighth grader I had 31 points and the game-winning three in my first varsity game, and he ac- tually called my high school coach. That's when the first interest started. "Coach B. is one of those guys who wants to follow the rules, wants to do it by the book. … We've stayed in con- tact ever since. On June 15, he started contacting me and my dad again." Beilein went to his house and then his high school this spring, and the relationship has blossomed since. His father said they continue to talk to all schools, and a recent visit to Syracuse just happened out of convenience. "It was a last minute thing, just because I play football," Girard said. "In August, we start double sessions. It's hard to schedule." He isn't certain when he'll take more visits or when he'll decide. MARK "ROCKET" WATTS 6-3 • 180 • SG Detroit Old Redford No. 50 player nationally Michigan could pick up its inter- est in Watts now that Carton is off the table. Watts av- eraged 25.0 points per game in EYBL regular-season play and then put up 43 points (eight tri- ples) in a win over BABC July 14 at the Nike Peach Jam In North Augusta, S.C. He averaged 26.3 points per game in seven con- tests at the event. Watts made the USA U-18 National Team and averaged seven points per game in helping lead the USA to the gold medal at the FIBA Americas U18 Championships in St. Catha- rines, Canada. He plans to take his time and de- cide during his senior season. He also kept a close eye on U-M last year during the Wolverines' run to the NCAA championship game, and he's said he liked what he saw. "That really surprised me. I didn't know they were going to make it that far," he said. "Coach Beilein didn't have a lot of stars on his team, but he made it work. I thought they were going to win it all, too." Watts will make a number of of- ficial visits this fall before deciding on a school. While many believe he'll end up out of state, the Wolverines are still heavily involved. KEION BROOKS 6-8 • 210 • PF Fort Wayne (Ind.) North Side No. 15 player nationally Beilein visited Brooks right after the national title game and offered, a n d t h a t m a d e a n i m p r e s s i o n . However, Indiana and Kentucky are thought to be his leaders, with Mich- igan State, North Carolina and others in the mix. His father, Keion Sr., told us earlier this week that U-M was still under consideration. He also told Kentucky Sports Radio location wouldn't be a factor. "I don't think that will really mat- ter," he said. "He's going to go where he feels it's the best fit for him. We want him to grow, and we want him to reach the goals he's trying to reach. "From a young age, he's played all over, so he doesn't have to be near home. I think it will be the best fit at the end of the day." COACHES WATCHING SEVERAL MORE 2019 PROSPECTS Other offers could well be on the way. Here's a look at some players the Michigan coaches have been watching closely. HARLOND BEVERLY 6-3 • 170 • SG Montverde (Fla.) Academy No. 56 player nationally Michigan hosted Beverly, formerly of Southfield (Mich.) Christian, in early July. He av- eraged 16.0 points, 6.0 assists, 6.0 re- b o u n d s a n d 3 . 0 steals per game and led Christian to a state Class D title, scoring 14 points in the first quarter on the way to 23 in a 64-54 win over Buckley (Mich.) High. He added eight steals, seven re- bounds, six blocked shots and four assists in the win. Michigan coaches said they'd watch him over the July 13 weekend and did at an event in Milwaukee. The shooting guard had a number of good games with REACH Legends. Beverly thinks he can play either guard position in college. "At the next level, I feel like I can be a true combo guard." he said. "I feel like I can score well enough to be a threat from the wing, but I also feel like I have great size and tools to run the point. "I can do whatever my team needs me to do to give us the best chance to win." He took the campus tour and be- came more familiar with Michigan on his visit. He's been in Ann Arbor a number of times over the last few years. "It was fun," he said, confirm- ing the coaches talked to him about an offer. "We'll see how July goes. Programs recruiting me the hard- est are Michigan State, Michigan, Texas, Baylor, Ohio State, Florida and Xavier." He said he has no timetable for a commitment and no plans for the future. "I'll commit to a school whenever I feel like it is the right move" he said.

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