The Wolverine

December 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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DECEMBER 2018 THE WOLVERINE 55   BASKETBALL RECRUITING "The trip was really good," Kessler said. "I enjoyed talking with Coach Beilein and the staff. The facilities were great. It went above my expectations." Which is saying something since Kessler said before the trip he was really excited to see Ann Arbor and had very high hopes for a great visit. "I love Coach Beilein and their style of play," Kessler said. "Moe Wagner is very similar to my style of play. Coach Beilein has told me I can be a lot like him. "Coach Beilein doesn't really have that southern hospitality. He just gives it to you straight, and I like that a lot." Kessler is a great shooter, which makes him a nice fit under Beilein. Duke had an assistant evaluate Kessler in a workout in October, but the Blue Devils have yet to offer. Clemson, Florida State, Stanford and Tennessee are also in the mix with the home-state Bulldogs. "I've definitely thought about go- ing somewhere else other than Geor- gia just to get away from being a Kes- sler at Georgia, but I also think you can do your own thing at the same school and be your own person," he said. "I've looked it at both ways. If Georgia is the right place, that's where I'll go and I don't really care who in my family went there." U-M gave him plenty to think about, however. "Awesome atmosphere," he said of the weekend in Ann Arbor, one that included a 42-7 Michigan foot- ball pounding of Penn State. "It was crazy." Morton, another point guard, en- joyed a great recent visit, though it remains to be seen how hard U-M will pursue him with Jackson in the fold … or how interested Morton would be in competing with Jackson at the same position if they did. He visited U-M for the Oct. 27 weekend, which is when he picked up his offer. Morton is a point guard who could play any of three positions. He saw plenty he liked while hanging around with Beilein and his team. "It was an impressive day," Mor- ton said. "My favorite part was sit- ting down with Coach B and the rest of the staff and getting to watch some film about style of play, talking how I would fit in their system, and just getting to know all of them better." The offer meant a lot, he added. It adds to an impressive list that in- cludes Iowa, Indiana, Pitt, Butler, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Vanderbilt, Stanford, Virginia, Indiana, West Virginia and Wisconsin. His coach, Andy Borman of the New York Rens 17U team, told Van- this summer his player has several special qualities. "He is a stud," Borman said. "He is a 6-5 point guard. He has great vision and can shoot the ball. He also can read the defense two to three passes in advance. "Ethan is also a great communica- tor. He is the extension of the coach. He is the quarterback on the floor. "His intangibles are staggeringly unique. He is a really good player. He has the size and the skill set. He also rebounds from the guard position." Evans believes Pitt, Indiana and Ohio State are the three schools to beat now, and that U-M is running with Purdue and others in the chase. NOTES • Michigan pledge Jalen Wilson started his season scoring 16 points in Denton (Texas) Guyer's 79-59 win over Lancaster. Wilson also took part in the Elite 14 event Nov. 3 in Wichita Falls, Texas, where ana- lyst Eric Bossi caught him in action. "He looks to be an ideal fit for the program he will play for in col- lege," Bossi said. "Wilson's shooting and ability to play the three or the four are ideal for the way Michigan plays." • Class of 2019 shooting guard Joe Girard III (6-1, 170,'s No. 40 shooting guard nationally) of Glens Falls, N.Y., had a Michigan offer at one point, but the Wolverines cooled this summer and took Wilson and Bajema. The 50-points-per-game scorer Girard pledged to nearby Syr- acuse in October. "I could have fit in at every school, and I could have thrived at every school," he told, "but what it came down to was being most comfortable with Coach [Jim] Boeheim and coach Gerry McNamara and the rest of the staff and the players. "I have a few friends on the team. Coach Boeheim and Coach McNamara have been on me for a while now, so I felt most comfortable with them." Beilein coached Girard's father, Joe Girard Jr., at LeMoyne College. ❏ On The Web For regular reports on Michigan basketball recruiting plus videos of U-M commitments and targets visit Butler (Pa.) Area Senior point guard Ethan Morton — a 6-5, 180-pounder who is rated as the No. 56 overall prospect in the junior class — picked up an offer from Michigan during the final weekend of October. PHOTO BY JON LOPEZ/COURTESY NIKE

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