The Wolverine

August 2015 Issue

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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sible booster activity. The other viola- tions found included impermissible academic assistance and services, head coach Jim Boeheim's failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance and monitor his staff, and the school's lack of control over its athletics pro- gram. The Orange lost 12 scholarships over four years, while Boeheim was given a nine-game suspension. The Syracuse head man also announced his retire- ment effective in two years, at which time assistant Mike Hopkins will re- place him. "Who moves on remains to be seen, but this will have a significant impact on the program and its depth moving forward," noted of the sanctions. Yet that didn't seem to factor in to Battle's recruitment. The Orange re- portedly told Battle they'd let him play the point — not his natural position, and not one for which he's best suited. "Sometimes people tell you what you want to hear, but it's up to you to separate what's real, what you think is real, and what is just fluff," he said in a recruiting video published by SNYTV. com. This appears to be one of those times, and Battle seemed to know it. Following his pledge to Michigan, he talked of U-M's player develop- ment under head coach John Beilein and how important that was in his decision. They showed him how he'd handle the ball like guard Caris LeVert and have plenty of opportunities to score with the ball in his hands. The track record proves the prom- ises — it was no fluff. For years we've said landing five- stars is a tough task for programs that aren't bluebloods or don't play "the game" (or both). It's almost not worth your time. First you have to establish whether a kid is recruitable. If he is, there's still going to be a ton of pres- sure on him and his family right up until Signing Day. That was what was refreshing about the Battles — they seemed immune to it. Gary Battle said all along his son wasn't for sale, and that it was going to be Tyus' decision. It was also clear in the aftermath, however, that he wasn't really sold on Michigan. He admitted liking Duke and Syracuse, and said that his wife wanted Duke. The perception was that Michigan wasn't "big time" enough, despite the recent success on the court and everything the school has to offer, which now includes a Nike apparel contract larger than any deal in the country. Nobody has done it better in terms of player development and education than Beilein. His kids graduate, they get better and they play in the NBA. The program has been arguably the Big Ten's best in the last five years, and the immediate future is bright. That will continue with or without Battle, the one who really loses out in the end through no fault of his own. ❏ Chris Balas has been with The Wolverine since 1997, working part time for five years before joining the staff full time in 2002. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter at Balas_Wolverine.

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