The Wolverine

September 2016

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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68 THE WOLVERINE SEPTEMBER 2016 BY CHRIS BALAS M ichigan closed out its 2017 class — at least for now — with two pledges this summer, and both ap‑ pear to be great fits for head coach John Beilein's program. Spring Grove (Pa.) High combo guard Eli Brooks (6‑1, unranked) came out of nowhere to earn of‑ fers from Villanova, North Carolina State, Ohio State and others before choosing Michigan in July. Kalamazoo (Mich.) Central power forward Isaiah Livers followed in early August, picking the Wolver‑ ines over Michigan State. Livers initially caught analyst Eric Bossi's eye last summer. "Somebody from Michigan tipped me off about him, and said I needed to take a lot longer look at this guy," Bossi recalled. "I saw full game film on him of his junior season in high school and said, 'I think I need to rank him. He's a high major.' "When I went out and saw him this spring, that's when I knew he was a high major." The 6‑8 Livers is now the No. 114 overall player in the country, a three‑star prospect on the cusp of four stars. He is the first in‑state commitment win for Beilein against Michigan State's Tom Izzo, though U‑M point guard Derrick Walton Jr. was expected to receive an MSU of‑ fer before deciding to pledge to the Wolverines four years ago. "He seems to be a pretty good fit for what they do — a four man who can step away and shoot the ball a little bit," Bossi said. "With his body, he can bulk up quite a bit and it won't impact his game. He's athletic enough, but doesn't rely on athleti‑ cism to score. "You're always worried with what's going to happen when kids get in the weight room … are they going to lose flexibility? I don't see that issue with him. He's got the right body type to add good weight. "By Big Ten standards, he's a good athlete. I wouldn't consider him a high riser, but he is certainly plenty athletic for the Big Ten and a high major. He doesn't have overwhelm‑ ing size, but he's not small, either." Livers averaged 16 points and 11 rebounds for Central last year and 9.7 points and 5.5 caroms for a loaded MeanStreets AAU program on the Nike EYBL (Elite Youth Bas‑ ketball League) circuit this summer. He shot 40.5 percent from three‑ point range for MeanStreets and should fit the stretch four role at Michigan. "He's a good shooter," Bossi said. "You don't want to leave him alone on the elbow or the baseline. More often than not, he'll make you pay. "Structurally, he has a good re‑ lease point. A lot of jump shooters don't jump at all, but he does a de‑ cent job getting his legs into it. He's a good, not great rebounder right now. He's a guy that should turn out be a good player at Michigan." Bossi has yet to see Brooks, but locals call the standout a heady point guard who can score and run a team. He averaged 24.7 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.8 steals and 2.3 as‑ sists per game as a junior in leading Spring Grove to its first state tourna‑ ment appearance in school history. "He's very smooth. He's not phys‑ ically imposing, but he's very quick and, at least locally, he dominates games, as he should be doing,"'s Patrick Strohecker said. "He'll need to put some weight on at the D‑I level, but right now he has no problem taking over games and dominating them." His improved jump shot was one big reason he received his offer, his dad and coach, James Brooks, reported. "He really worked on coming off screens, pick‑and‑roll action that freed him up to shoot the jump shot," he said. "If people give it to you, you have to take it … and you have to make it. "Eli really has the foundation of doing it the right way, playing hard and really being committed to some‑ thing. To move up to the Big Ten — that's pretty exciting." U-M IS FULL FOR 2017, BUT WILL KEEP OPTIONS OPEN Circumstances tend to change quickly on the recruiting trail, so while Michigan is technically full (13 scholarships accounted for) and   BASKETBALL RECRUITING Newest Pledges Are Great Fits On And Off The Court Lincolnshire (Ill.) Stevenson four-star wing Justin Smith, who lists Michigan among his seven finalists, could end up being an option for the Wolverines in the spring. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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