The Wolverine

February 2021

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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FEBRUARY 2021 THE WOLVERINE 57   BASKETBALL RECRUITING "Diabate is a high-level defender who can move his feet, turn his hips and block shots at the top of the square. He is a capable rip and attack, rim-running forward who finishes above the rim and even knocked in a three here. "Buyer beware, anything around the basket, on either end, keep your head on a swivel." Collins (6-1, 175), playing with his Nevada Air Nado club team after his Henderson (Nev.) Coronado high school team was sidelined due to pandemic concerns, still has a lot to work on, his shot being the biggest thing. But there's a lot the nation's No. 67 overall prospect does right, and much of it was on display in his squad's overtime loss to Ypsilanti (Mich.) Prep Jan. 9 in Fort Worth, Texas. Ypsi Prep, led by Michigan State pledge Emoni Bates, couldn't keep Collins from getting to the rim. The athletic guard finished with 29 points, including a number of Euro- step finishes, and was the most im- pressive player on the floor accord- ing to most who watched. "Not sure who is going to win this game in OT, but what I do know … Michigan-bound Frankie Collins has a big heart," ESPN recruiting direc- tor Paul Biancardi tweeted during the game. "Best player on the court tonight." Neither Barnes (season canceled) nor Bufkin (season delayed) have played yet, but both also made big jumps in the rankings. Chicago Simeon's Barnes (6-6, 180) moved up from No. 112 to No. 102, while Grand Rapids Christian's Bufkin (6-4, 175) moved from No. 60 to No. 49. Finally, forward Will Tschetter (6-8, 225), the only three-star in the class, moved from No. 147 to No. 133. He notched 35 points and 13 rebounds in Stewartville (Minn.) High's season- opening 81-58 win Jan. 15. Tschetter made a trio of three pointers in showing his range in the victory. ISAIAH BARNES IS PREPARING DESPITE CANCELED SEASON Michigan signee Isaiah Barnes transferred to Chicago Simeon last fall hoping to expand his game, but the four-star wing never got the chance. His senior season was can- celed due to the pandemic, leaving it up to him to improve his game. Barnes turned to the well-known Denard Brothers in Chicago for his workouts, which he's been doing since the COVID-19 outbreak started. "They work on everything with me," Barnes said in December. "I've definitely been developed a lot over these last few months." His physique proves it. He looks chiseled and prepared to contribute in his first year at U-M, carrying a chip on his shoulder to prove his No. 102 national ranking is too low. Michigan was a no-brainer for him, he said. He and head coach Juwan Howard are both from the Windy City and know a lot of the same peo- ple, and Howard was the only head coach to talk to him regularly. "He talked to me every day, and it wasn't just recruiting and basketball. It was a lot about life," he said. "He told me he's going to help me on the court and off the court. He's re- ally like a mentor figure. When we talked, it was like we already knew each other forever. "As a coach, I like how he likes to play fast. I watched a few games, and every time the ball comes off the rim, he's saying 'Go, go, run!' He really trusts his players to make decisions in transition. He also has an NBA- style offense." Barnes is also excited about the education he'll receive, he added. "Michigan has great academics. It's always great to come back to school or stay in school to get a degree," he said. "But really, it came down to the coaching staff and their trust in me to be the first commit." He was the first domino to fall and got the ball rolling on U-M's top- rated class. Assistants Phil Martelli and Saddi Washington played a ma- jor role in landing him, too, and he's also developed strong relationships with them. Barnes will play the two and three spots for the Wolverines. He averaged 18.5 points per game and knocked down 65 triples at Oak Park (Ill.) Rivers Forest High as a junior. He loves the thought of what he'll see at Michigan. "Everybody that is committed to Michigan plays fast and plays hard. They're dogs," he said. "You can tell Coach Howard likes to recruit tough- ness, and all of these guys are tough. I feel like we're all going to comple- ment each other really well. "I definitely see a national champi- onship. We have the No. 1 recruiting class and with the guys already there, we're going to be tough to beat." U-M EMERGING FOR JETT HOWARD? "My dad is Juwan Howard, two- time NBA champion and current men's basketball coach at the University of Michigan." That's how Jett Howard, four-star class of 2022 wing out of Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy, introduced himself after giving his name during a recent YouTube feature … not the first time, certainly, and it won't be the last. Such is life when you're the son of a legend, but it hasn't seemed to faze him to live in that shadow. On the contrary,'s No. 65 overall junior prospect nationally according to seems to have embraced it and is doing his best to meet his own lofty expectations. "I started playing basketball when I saw my dad playing basketball. I was like 1 or 2," the 6-5, 180-pound Howard recalled in his recent video from IMG Academy. "I had a little Isaiah Barnes,'s No. 102 overall player in the country, transferred to Chicago Simeon last fall hoping to expand his game, but his senior season was canceled. He has stayed busy, though, training with the well- known Denard Brothers. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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