The Wolverine

April 2021

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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58 THE WOLVERINE APRIL 2021 BY CHRIS BALAS T he 24 McDonald's high school All-Americans for the class of 2021 were revealed Feb. 23, and for the first time since 2002, a Michigan signee made the cut — three of them, in fact, giving the Wolverines the most of any program in the country. Montverde (Fla.) Academy five- star small forward Caleb Houstan (6-8, 200,'s No. 8 overall player nationally), Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy four-star power for- ward Moussa Diabate (6-9, 190, No. 26) and Grand Rapids (Mich.) Chris- tian four-star shooting guard Kobe Bufkin (6-4, 175, No. 49) all made what most consider prep basketball's best of the best all-star team. Though Houstan is the only Rivals five-star of the bunch, it's worth not- ing Diabate is rated as the best four- star in the country, just one notch away from five-star status. He's rated a five-star by ESPN, who lists him No. 8 overall, one spot behind Houstan, while Bufkin is No. 47. Michigan was the only school in the country to have three of its com- mits/signees selected to the annual game (though no actual game will take place this year due to COVID-19 concerns). Duke and Kentucky were the only other two programs to have multiple inclusions, notching two each. Houstan, Diabate and Bufkin be- come Michigan's 21st, 22nd and 23rd McDonald's All-Americans in pro- gram history and are the first to earn the national honor since guard Daniel Horton in 2002. The haul also marks the fifth time the Wolverines have had multiple players in the same re- cruiting class selected, joining Louis Bullock, Robert Traylor and Albert White in 1995; Willie Mitchell and Jerod Ward in 1994; Juwan Howard, Jimmy King, Jalen Rose and Chris Webber in 1991; and Terry Mills and Rumeal Robinson in 1986. Howard, of course, is now Michi- gan's head coach, and he couldn't have been prouder when asked about his All-Americans. "To be honest with you, I haven't really had a chance to really recruit," he said after Michigan beat Iowa at home Feb. 25. "I've been so locked into this Big Ten season. When the season is over, then we can get onto a lot of those different topics and con- versations … not saying I haven't spoken to any recruits. "But I'm very proud of the recruits we've signed, with the three young men who are the 'Burger Boys' … so happy for them! It's well-earned." Despite former coach John Beilein reeling in three five-stars during his 12 years in Ann Arbor (Glenn Rob- inson III, Zak Irvin and Ignas Braz- deikis), none of his signees were ever selected as McDonald's All-Ameri- cans (though, in hindsight, Beilein's recruiting prowess was more than proven by the several prospects he put in the NBA). And whether or not this group, which currently ranks No. 1 nationally, stays at the top and has similar success remains to be seen, but it is on pace to eclipse Beilein's 2012 haul that finished No. 7 in the nation, the highest any of his classes finished. Howard made it clear his "Burger Boys" weren't the only members of the 2021 class he was excited about. Point guard Frankie Collins (6-1, 175, No. 67) of Henderson (Nev.) Coro- nado, shooting guard Isaiah Barnes (6-6, 180, No. 102) of Chicago Simeon and Stewartville (Minn.) power for- ward Will Tschetter (6-8, 225, No. 133) have also had great seasons and will arrive on campus this fall. "Those young men, they're in the midst of their season, and they're having a great, healthy season," Howard said. "They're a part of our family, and looking back to the text I received earlier today before the game from Frankie Collins, he was so pumped up, ready for this game, looking forward to watching it. "It was just so special to know that we have some beautiful people that are involved in this program. I'm so happy to be a part of their journey." SIGNEES KOBE BUFKIN AND ISAIAH BARNES DEALING WITH INJURIES Kobe Bufkin's McDonald's All- BASKETBALL RECRUITING Trio Of 2021 Signees Earn McDonald's All-America Honors Five- star small forward Caleb Houstan is one of three McDonald's All-Americans in Michigan's six-man 2021 class, a group ranked No. 1 in the country by PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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