The Wolverine

Sept 2023

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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56 THE WOLVERINE ❱ SEPTEMBER 2023 BY CHRIS BALAS M ichigan is still looking for talent to complement three-star guards Christian Anderson and Durral Brooks in the 2024 class, and the coaches have several candidates. Juwan Howard and Co. will bring many prospects in for football weekends this fall, and they've already started to line up. One is Khani Rooths, the No. 22 player in the 2024 On3 150. A 6-foot-8 wing out of Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy, Rooths av- eraged 15.6 points this summer with his New World program on the Adidas 3SSB Circuit. He has already taken offi- cial visits to Georgia and Mississippi State, while trips to Virginia, Georgia Tech and Michigan are on the books. He is talk- ing to Maryland and Mi- ami, and also wants to see Florida State. "Michigan just put two wings in the draft with Jett Howard and Kobe Bufkin," Rooths said. "Coach Juwan has been call- ing me a lot, and we've been talking. They have made it really clear that they want me and that they like me. "I just have to figure out what their game is and their system for how they play." A former IMG Academy wing now at Baltimore Bishop O'Connell, Bryson Tucker, is also planning a Michigan visit. The 6-foot-7 standout doesn't play AAU ball, but On3's No. 12 overall player na- tionally did average 19.2 points on 64.3 percent shooting at the NBPA Top 100 Camp. "I like to play defense; it starts on that end," Tucker said. "But I can score it, get into the mid-range, knock down jumpers, get to the rim." He visited Michigan State in June and loved it, but said he's hearing the most from Michigan and Iowa. "Michigan has stayed in steady contact, and we are growing our relationship," said Tucker, who is also considering the G- League. "… Coach Howard was a pro; he has been there, played there, coached there. He could help teach you what you need to do to be a pro. We have had great con- versations, and I just keep learning from him as we keep talking." Finally, wing Dar- rion Sutton, the No. 77 overall player nationally in the most recent On3 update, is another wing planning a visit to U-M (Oct. 13). The 6-9 for- ward and self-described "playmaker" played at Denver Accelerated Way last year and continues to pick up offers. Creighton is the other school he's planning to visit, but Michigan is off to a good start here. "My relationship is good with Juwan," Sutton said. "I really like him, he's a great dude. They really like versatility, guys who can do multiple things on the floor, not just be stuck doing one thing. They tell me that wings like me fit perfectly with how they play." Kansas, Texas, Oregon and Florida State have all been talking to him, while Ohio State, Penn State and Butler are his most recent offers. He's currently plan- ning on signing in the late period next spring. In other news, big man and Michigan target Flory Bidunga of Kokomo (Ind.) High committed to Kansas over U-M, Auburn, and Duke, while four-star wing Marcus Allen of Miami Norland chose Missouri. MICHIGAN TIES MIGHT HELP WITH 2026 OFFEREE The first time we heard Jonathan Sand- erson's name, he was 6 or 7 years old and putting on a show for players like Michi- gan standouts Trey Burke and Nik Staus- kas before or after John Beilein's practices. He was already learning how to shoot floaters with his opposite (left) hand, put- ting on dribbling displays advanced for his age, and in love with the game. Part of that is going to happen natu- rally when your father is a former Ohio State and Ohio University starter, now Michigan strength coach Jon Sanderson. Already 6-foot-2 and able to bully smaller guards as a lead guard who can play on or off the ball, Jonathan Sanderson might have several more inches left to grow. Even if he doesn't, it's clear he's got a fu- ture in the game. He has already been of- fered by Iowa, Illinois and several others. "Iowa is one of those schools that as I got older, I could see what a great bas- ketball school it is," Sanderson said of his first big offer. "Their playing style fits my game. They let their guards shoot it, get up and down the floor, and they like to run. I like that." It certainly suits his game. Sander- son finished his freshman year at Saline (Mich.) High as an Associated Press sec- ond-team all-state selection after aver- aging 19.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.0 as- sists and 1.5 steals per game. He shot 91 percent from the free throw line and 46 percent from long range, many of them NBA bombs or off the dribble. It was after a 39-point outburst in a win at Chelsea (Mich.) High last winter that folks in the state really started to learn how special he was, and he's only gotten better this summer. Sanderson picked up his Michigan offer in July, and it was a big one for him. But he's wide open and will continue to go through the process. "I've been around Michigan my whole life. Everything about it is awesome," he said. "I love it … no 'buts.' Michigan is great, and the coaches are amazing. Right now, though, I'm searching for options and trying to figure out what's the best for me." He's only 15 years old, after all, and his recruitment is just getting started. And more offers are definitely on the way for a team-first kid who has the pedigree and the skills to be special. ❏ Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy 6-foot-8 wing Khani Rooths, On3's No. 22 overall player in the 2024 class, picked up an offer from Michigan in August and plans to take an official visit to Ann Arbor this fall. PHOTO BY THE HOOPHALL WEST TEAM ❱  BASKETBALL RECRUITING 2024 Prospects Starting To Line Up For Michigan Official Visits

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