The Wolverine

March 2019

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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86 THE WOLVERINE MARCH 2019 BY CHRIS BALAS A lthough redshirt junior Charles Matthews is a pretty sure bet to leave for the NBA after his redshirt junior season, Michigan would still need one more player to leave before having room for another freshman. That hasn't stopped Beilein from re‑ cruiting others. Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy shooting guard Lester Quinones (6‑5, 200,'s No. 44 overall senior nationally) has been high on U‑M since last year, and the Wolve‑ rines recently made his top seven along with Indiana, Georgia, Mem‑ phis, Ohio State, Maryland and LSU. "Michigan recruited me all sum‑ mer, and then they had somebody commit, so they laid off in winter," Quinones said. "Now they said they might have a scholarship or two available, so they've been recruiting me hard the last month." U‑M has already signed two in the 2019 class — Jalen Wilson of Denton (Texas) Guyer (6‑8, 210,'s No. 43 overall prospect nationally) and Cole Bajema of Lynden (Wash.) Christian (6‑7, 175,'s No. 92 overall player in the country). Quinones has yet to visit to receive an offer, but U‑M head coach John Beilein has been working hard to get him on campus. "Coach B has been calling me the past couple days, trying to figure it out," Quinones said Feb. 10. "He's trying to get a set weekend where they don't have a game he told me. "He really wants to focus in, show me around, hang out with me and stuff. If they have a game, they really don't have time." Quinones plans to bring his parents with him. His mom is especially in‑ terested in the academic side, he said. Former Michigan assistant John Mahoney was the head coach at IMG Academy who brought Quinones to his program from New York. Ma‑ honey is no longer there, but he did give Quinones plenty of information about the U‑M program. "He talked to me about it a lot," he said. "The offense is similar to the one that we run. With all the screens, back‑doors, they move the ball really well. … My game just kind of goes in with that, aggressive, not too many moves, shoot or move the ball, driv‑ ing and kicking. I think that helps with my game, as well. "I feel like I would be a great fit there. I used to watch them all the time when I was a kid, back when they were with adidas. Growing up, I watched a lot of Michigan." The fact that the Wolverines have been a major player on the natio‑ nal scene the last several years also hasn't hurt. "I like that it's a great, powerhouse Final Four team and could be this year, too," he said. "They could win the na‑ tional championship. It's just a great program and not just basketball — aca‑ demically it's a great school as well. "That's what my mom really looks into. I think it would be a great fit for me to be there. I just like it all around." Quinones has good relationships with LSU and Maryland, having visited both, but won't decide for a couple more months. CLASS OF 2019 SIGNEES PLAYING WELL Signees Bajema and Wilson are both playing well. Bajema was aver‑ aging 23 points per game as of Feb. 14 and recently broke his school's career scoring record. He hit a midrange jumper in the second half of a 77‑40 win over Bothell (Wash.) Cedar Park Christian that gave him 1,603 career points, lifting him past Isaac Reimer's previous record of 1,602, set in 2013. Bajema finished with 17 points in the victory and followed up with 32 in a 70‑63 win over Seattle King's School Feb. 13. His team remained undefeated with the win. Wilson's Guyer team improved to 26‑4 behind his 19 points per game. Wilson notched 20 points to surpass 2,000 career points in a blowout win of Fort Worth (Texas) Fossil Ridge. Feb. 5, and Guyer finished perfect in district play with a win over Southlake (Texas) Carroll Feb. 12 in which Wilson scored 15. IN-STATE STANDOUT GRATEFUL FOR MICHIGAN OFFER Benton Harbor (Mich.) wing Carlos "Scooby" Johnson (6‑5, 200, Rivals. com's No. 100 overall junior nation‑ ally) raised eyebrows with his play at Michigan's team camp this summer. It's his recent play, though, that has earned him an offer from U‑M head coach John Beilein. In January, Johnson dominated in a win over Saginaw (Mich.) High, one that went a long way toward earning him an offer. He finished with 39 points (20 in the third quarter) while nailing five triples, plus 14 rebounds, four as‑ sists, three blocked shots and two steals. A week later he was in Ann Arbor with his mom and dad taking the tour of campus and earning his cov‑ eted offer.   BASKETBALL RECRUITING John Beilein And His Staff Are Still Pursuing 2019 Prospects Michigan has picked up its recruiting of Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy shooting guard Lester Quinones, a 6-5, 200-pounder who is rated as the No. 44 senior nationally by PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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