The Wolverine

May 2022

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 53 of 67

54 THE WOLVERINE MAY 2022 BY CHRIS BALAS M ichigan coaches still don't know how many scholarships they'll have for 2023, but they continue to make offers. Here's the latest on the big men offerees and where U-M stands, listed from most to least mutual interest (as of April 18): PAPA KANTE 6-10 • 225 • C South Kent (Conn.) School On3 Consensus No. 94 Michigan "seems to be jockeying for frontrunner position in the center's re- cruitment," reported re- cently. U-M head coach Juwan Howard watched him with the New York Rens in Orlando, Fla., not long ago and stays in touch with him. "I play hard all the time and like play- ing defense," Kante told On3. "I can score 20 points per game, but I impact the game with my defense, guarding two or three positions in some games. "I'm finishing better at the rim this season, and I've been shooting it well. I have been watching a lot of [Philadel- phia 76ers big man] Joel Embiid and his footwork, how he scores the ball." He's taken unofficial visits to UConn (several games), Providence and Rut- gers, plus Kansas, Syracuse, George- town and others have offered and are recruiting him hard. Kante averaged 7.8 points, 5.8 re- bounds and 1.5 assists per game with the Rens in the first Nike EYBL weekend in early April. He also blocked three shots. "Coach Howard texts me after every game I play — 'Good game, good win,'" Kante said in late February. "He has come to watch me play two times, and I have been watching them play a lot this season. They are probably recruiting me the hardest right now. "He loves my playing style and how hard I play. He wants me to look at [cur- rent Wolverines] Moussa Diabate and Hunter Dickinson and how they play them. They are looking at me as a four and a five. "He lets his freshmen play and make mistakes. They also play through their bigs and throw the ball inside. Coach Howard was also a four and a five, and played in the NBA." Kante wants to commit after the late- summer Peach Jam, which is just before his senior. "I will be looking for the school that shows me the most love, where I can go and develop my game for the next level," he said. "That is the dream — the next level." XAVIER BOOKER 6-10 • 205 • C Indianapolis Cathedral On3 Consensus No. 59 Michigan State seems to be the front- runner here, and Booker has visited East Lansing several times. That includes an official visit April 16. "I have a great relationship with Coach [Mark] Montgomery. We can re- ally talk about anything," Booker said. "I have a good relationship with all the coaches. I really think I fit in at that program. "They compare me to guys like [last year Spartan] Marcus Bingham a lot, and I definitely see the resemblance. They also compare me to [former MSU big man] Jaren Jackson Jr." The Spartans have made Booker their top recruit, per On3's Joe Tipton. Booker hopes to be on the Michigan campus soon, but until he does, Tipton doesn't view U-M as much of a threat. "I definitely think I could fit in there," Booker said of Michigan. "Just talking to Juwan Howard over the phone, we have a good relationship already and he compares me to [current U-M big man] Hunter Dickinson and those type of guys. He also says that he works with his big guys a lot, and I feel like that would be good for me." Booker would like to see Kansas and Virginia, but the two have yet to offer. Duke also is entering the mix. "It's been all over the place," Booker said of a decision timetable. "I thought I had it a couple of months ago, but stuff changes. I talked to my parents about it, and I think we are going to wait until the end of the summer or early school year." ZAYDEN HIGH 6-9 • 215 • SF/PF Spring Branch (Texas) Smithson Valley On3 Consensus No. 99 High was "quite possibly the most pleasant surprise of the day" at Nike EYBL Session 1 in Orlando, Fla., dur- ing the weekend of April 8-10. The No. 99 player in the On3 Consensus ratings scored 31 points and added four rebounds and two blocks in the game On3's Jamie Shaw watched. "After hearing of his 27-point game Friday night, I had to go check this guy out," Shaw wrote. "The 6-9 forward did a little bit of everything Saturday. Whether that was knocking down catch-and-shoot threes, driving to the rim and finishing through contact, blocking shots, etc. You name it, Zayden High did it. Buy stock now." TCU and Kansas State both offered him Papa Kante, a 6-foot-10, 225-pound center from South Kent (Conn.) School rated No. 94 in the On3 Consensus, said "Coach [Juwan] Howard texts me after every game I play." PHOTO BY JAMIE SHAW/ON3.COM BASKETBALL RECRUITING The 2023 Big Man Offers And Where Michigan Stands

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