The Wolverine

August 2021

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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66 THE WOLVERINE AUGUST 2021   COMMITMENT PROFILE M ichigan basketball entered the June visitation period in search of its first class of 2022 commitment to complement last year 's No. 1 overall recruiting class. The way the coaching staff lined it up, it appeared a point guard would be the first to fall — three visits within a couple of weeks from some of the nation's best. Five-star Jaden Bradley of Braden- ton (Fla.) IMG Academy came in first and had an outstanding visit, fol- lowed by Wisconsin four-star Seth Trimble. When both left without pledging, four-star Dug McDaniel (5-10, 155,'s No. 75 senior nationally) was on the clock when he arrived June 16. By late June 17, the diminutive guard was a Wolverine. Florida, Penn State and others had made him a pri- ority, but head coach Juwan Howard did, too. In the end, that's what made the difference. "Once we went on the visit, it just felt like home, so it made the decision way easier," McDaniel said. "It's just a decision me and my family made when we got back to the hotel and had time to talk it out." The Michigan staff was well pre- pared, first showing film of how they'd use McDaniel in the offense. They fol- lowed that up with another featuring former players sharing their positive experiences about the program. "There were a lot of guys, like Zavier Simpson, even guys like Duncan Rob- inson, who didn't get to play for him … they had a lot of great things to say about the program," McDaniel said. "They each made little slideshows. They had great things to say about the culture they're building. They were just saying they had to work for every- thing they got, nothing was given, and they appreciate Coach Juwan com- ing back. He could've had any job he wanted, but he came back. … "Before that, me and my mom were at the hotel, had a meeting and said we were going to do it. So, after the presentation, we just let them know we had an announcement to make, and that we were going to commit. [How- ard] yelled, 'Let's go!' really loud [and you could hear it] around the arena." McDaniel, an electric playmaker with an improving jump shot, notched 22 points and 10 assists per game for Fairfax (Va.) Paul VI High School last year. Though not big, he has no problem getting into the lane and puts up numbers against great competition — he averaged 19 points and seven assists per game with Team Takeover AAU in the spring session before pledging to the Wol- verines — and he's lightning quick. "He's unbelievably fast,"'s Rob Cassidy said. "He's one of the fast- est guards in the country, bar none." His game fits with the up-tempo style Howard envisions for his teams going forward. "He's going to make the right pass in transition, and he's pretty gifted in that he sees the floor so well," Cassidy continued. "His height is always go- ing to be the thing he's going to battle, and he's definitely restricted there, but he helps you in so many ways. "He's one of the quickest guards in the country — really crafty. He finished well at the rim for a smaller guy, sometimes really high off the glass, even though that's not his bread and butter." He'll need to improve his jump shot, he added, and get stronger to be a better defender in the Big Ten, but he's a winner, having played for one of the nation's top AAU pro- grams. Current Wolverines Hunter Dickinson and Terrance Williams also hailed from the program, giving Howard an in with McDaniel and two more voices on which McDaniel could rely for good advice. "It was definitely on the pros side of his checklist of pros and cons of Michigan," Team Takeover coach Doug Martin said. "Having some- body there that understands you, and you go about things very similar — you have very similar taste, very similar outlook on things. "Those guys being successful also lends itself to helping you get to where you want to get to in that re- gard, as well." With the recruiting pressure off, Mc- Daniel continues to work on his game in preparation for his arrival in Ann Arbor next summer. He envisions his role being like last year's point guard, the similarly sized Mike Smith, and hopes he can have the same impact. "Mainly my leadership and scoring ability, and I'm trying to extend my range from deep also," McDaniel said of what he's working on. "But the key thing is my leadership — just always being vocal, making sure guys know where they're at, at all times, making sure everybody's on the same page." He'll be doing all of it in maize and blue soon enough. — Chris Balas Lightning-Quick 2022 Point Guard Dug McDaniel Picks Michigan rates McDaniel — a 5-10, 155-pounder from Fairfax (Va.) Paul VI High School — as a four-star talent and the No. 75 overall player in the country. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM national analyst Rob Cassidy on McDaniel "He's unbelievably fast. He's one of the fastest guards in the country, bar none."

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