The Wolverine

November 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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40 THE WOLVERINE NOVEMBER 2018 2018-19 BASKETBALL PREVIEW and can bring both scor- ing and rebounding to the Michigan lineup. "Brandon Johns is a guy that showed a lot of growth at this time, and he's got a chance to play right away," Beilein said. "He's just got the body that's ready to do that." Johns averaged 2.7 p o i n t s p e r g a m e i n Spain, not taking a spot- lighted role like Brazdei- kis. Still, he's someone who should grow im- mensely over the course of an initial college cam- paign, much like soph- omore guard Jordan Poole did a year ago. "Brandon is very ath- letic and can shoot the ball as well," Teske as- sessed. "He can get to the hole too." "Brandon Johns is re- ally athletic," echoed Yaklich. "He's got a re- ally good jump shot. When he's got his feet set, he has the ability to really be a high-level re- bounder." He also shares a men- tal approach similar to that of Brazdeikis, one that can help both suc- ceed, Yaklich insisted. "Brandon and Iggy really have a desire to learn," he said. "They ask questions, and they want to improve. They understand where we're trying to go with them. "That's the first part. They want to do it. They're willing. Now they need the practice reps, which they're going to get. They're going to have to go through eight to 10 games against different stuff that other teams run to get the game feel for how things go." DAVID DEJULIUS This rock-solid four-star out of Detroit's East English Village High projects as Michigan's point guard of the future, after finishing his prep career ranked by as the No. 97 overall prospect in the coun- try and No. 19 at his position. His present depends wholly on devel- opment in Michigan's system, but Beilein knows he has to tools to do it. Speed is his forte, belying the solid 190 pounds packed into his 6-0 frame. The Mr. Basketball finalist in the state of Michigan averaged 26.3 points, 8.1 assists and 7.7 rebounds in his senior season, demonstrating his all-around game. As a point guard, he'll be given time to develop. Beilein, as he often does, invoked a football comparison in this instance, likening the rookie to Michigan backup quarterback Dylan McCaffrey last season. "David DeJulius has got that body that's ready as well," Beilein said. "He's the quarterback. He's the guy that's got to figure this out. He's McCaffrey last year. It would be tougher to throw [McCaffrey] in [last year] and have the success he's having right now. He's learning all these things, but he could end up getting out there." Ya k l i c h a l s o m e n - tioned the growth to c o m e a n d D e J u l i u s ' physical assets coming into college basketball. "David DeJulius is strong," the assistant said. "He's quick. He's going to grow into a re- ally good defender. He has the ability, with his speed, to affect the game on both ends of the floor." He'll also have the benefit of learning from a point guard in Simp- son, who has paid his dues both in Beilein's offense and college bas- ketball. It came together last year for the third- year Wolverine, who has played in 79 consecutive Michigan contests and helped lead U-M to the title game last spring. ADRIEN NUNEZ Nunez, the lone three- star in the group of five, is simply a deadeye shooter, the kind that can draw Beilein's atten- tion any time. At 6-6, he has the length to shoot over a lot of defenders, and he's already turned some heads at times. "Adrien's shot is as pretty as they come," Yaklich pointed out. "He is a high-level shooter. When he is set, you think every one of them is going in." As much as Beilein loves great shooting, he knows Big Ten competi- tion requires a much more complete game. That's why the development process for Nunez will be huge this season and beyond. Michigan's strength program, and learning how the Wolverines operate at both ends of the court, can make a remarkable difference over the course of a year. Brandon Johns, an East Lansing native, was a key in-state addition to a recruit- ing class of five that is tied for the second biggest the Wolverines have signed with John Beilein at the helm. PHOTO COURTESY HAVILAH JOHNS

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