The Wolverine

June-July 2012

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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claimed the lives of his father and stepmother (see box), and while his college basketball future may still be in doubt, he's maintained a positive outlook. which he averaged 24 points per game for a team that advanced to the state quarterfinals, hasn't rested on his accomplishments. He continues to fill out his body and plays with a confidence beyond his years.'s Bossi caught Walton in Las Vegas in April and was im- pressed by his progress. "I thought he looked really good, as expected based off what had been passed along to me about his im- provement," Bossi said. "It was not just his floor game, which was al- ready strong, but his overall ability as a scorer. He's a strong athlete, and he's shown great improvement." Walton's game has taken off since CONTINUES TO BLOSSOM Walton, coming off a season in DERRICK WALTON progress. "I've gotten more mature and more savvy, and I've worked hard to im- prove my body and my game," Wal- ton said. "I want to be more polished and efficient." Scout's Take: "To me, Derrick's Walton, too, is happy with his the humble Irvin said in May. "I'm rebounding, and my shot is falling. The most important thing is that my team is winning championships." Michigan coaches advised him to "I think I'm playing pretty well," more a drive and creator than shot maker, though he's not a bad shooter," Bossi reported. "There's not a weakness or concern with his game. He's not a jumper shooter, but he's a perfect fit for that offense because he'll have jump shooters around him. He's the penetrator, the creator, a guy that can break down defenses late in shot clock situations." playing with the United States squad at the annual Albert Schweitzer tour- nament in Germany March 22-29. He averaged 8.0 points and 3.3 assists per game and saved his best for last, scoring 20 in an 87-81 victory over France to give the U.S. a seventh- place finish in a loaded field. "Since he got back from Germany, he's been phenomenal," Michigan Mustangs AAU coach Damon Alli- son said in May. "He's reading the floor, making the passes and helping us win games. "I think he's a lot stronger. He's player in the state of Indiana last year. He wasn't even the top dog on his team, a distinction designated instead to class of 2012 shooting guard Gary Harris ('s No. 25 senior). The way he's playing, though, he Ratings-wise, Irvin wasn't the best ZAK IRVIN IS BECOMING ONE OF INDIANA'S BEST work on one aspect of his game more than any other this summer, and he's heeded their words. "It's definitely rebounding," Irvin said. "I'm really trying to get on the boards and become more of a com- plete player." Internet rumors surfaced in early March that Irvin might open his re- cruitment, but there was never any credence to them. Irvin reconfirmed his pledge at the time and has since reaffirmed the strength of his com- mitment. He watched the Wolverines closely last year in anticipation of the day he'd join them. "I didn't really hear the rumor un- might now be the Hoosier state's best. Irvin averaged 19 points per game last season and has had an out- standing early showing on the AAU circuit. til I saw it on Twitter. I'm happy to be a Michigan Wolverine," he said. "I can't wait to get up there and play. They had an overall great season. Co- Big Ten champs." The Indiana Basketball Coaches Association chose Irvin as a mem- ber of the 2012 Indiana Junior All- Star team. He will play with the core group of six and take part in exhibi- tions against the 2012 Indiana All- Stars, a collection of the state's top seniors that includes U-M class of 2012 signee Glenn Robinson III. The senior all-stars will play a mentally tough. He takes the game more seriously. He focuses on the things that will help us win, and he'll come over to the team at halftime and try to be the coach, have differ- ent ideas and help us adjust to what they're doing. "He's becoming a student of the game." Being a great teammate and win- ning are more important to him than his numbers, Allison added, adding to Walton's value. Walton said while it was nice being two-game series against all-stars from Kentucky June 8-9, while junior squads from the two states will face off June 15-16. He's a self-reported 6-6, 190 pounds and in the best shape of his life. Scout's Take: "Zak's just a bal- recruited by several of the nation's top programs, he's happy to have his decision behind him, knowing he made a good one. He talks to Michi- gan assistant Bacari Alexander five times a week and often catches up with future teammate Irvin. anced, all-around scorer on the offen- sive end," Bossi said. "He can shoot the three, and he has one of the best pull-up jump shots in the class of 2013. He's a physical kid and doesn't mind playing that way, and he's a pretty good athlete. He looks better every time you see him. He's not one of those guys who looked awesome as freshman, then two years later looks exactly the same." Irvin, a 6-6 small forward, averaged 19 points per game last season, and he is ranked the No. 64 player overall in the class of 2013 by PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM Donnal knew what he was looking for when schools first started recruit- MARK DONNAL IS APPROACHING FOUR-STAR STATUS JUNE/JULY 2012 THE WOLVERINE 25

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