The Wolverine

October 2016

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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OCTOBER 2016 THE WOLVERINE 55   BASKETBALL RECRUITING gan Stadium during U‑M football's pounding of Hawai'i. "Nobody knows for sure where he stands,"'s Eric Bossi said. "He doesn't do media at all. I have no idea where he's going to end up; I don't have a feel for it at all. "Everyone was throwing out Duke and Kentucky for the longest time, but I think that was as much because they think Duke and Kentucky are going to get everybody than tangible evidence. "Syracuse seems to be there with him, maybe Villanova, but again, no‑ body knows for sure." Bamba is wired differently, Bossi said, noting not many five‑star basket‑ ball players attend the MIT Sloan Ana‑ lytics Conference, studying sports busi‑ ness and the role of analytics in sports like Bamba did over the summer. He visited Harvard after Michigan, and some close to him have said it's not for show — he's that serious about academics and life after basketball. Bossi noted that Bamba actually reached out to Michigan when he re‑ alized the opportunity U‑M presents him both as a player and a student. "I think he's got a very curious mind," Bossi said. "He's one of those guys who likes to learn about things. No normal school kid would go to that seminar, but he went. "I'm not saying he's going to Har‑ vard, but he's not going to places like that and taking visits just to mess around. "He's never been a big talker. We've seen highly ranked basketball players and build it up in our minds that all they care about is hoops and rankings and things like that, but I think Mo is wired a little bit differently. He's got bigger interests than basketball." On the court, though, Bamba has just scratched the surface of his poten‑ tial, Bossi added. "Right now, he's more a defen‑ sive player and rebounder, runs the floor very well, is a shot blocker and shuts down a lot of the lane," he said. "People are afraid to go at him with his crazy long arms. Psychologically, that messes with people, especially guards. He rebounds so well. "Offensively, he's very much a work in progress. He's got a long way to go with his footwork and figuring out what really works with him. A lot of people like to compare him to [former UMass and NBA standout] Marcus Camby, and for defense and rebounding that's fair. But he's not near the skill level offensively. He's very raw on the offensive end. "He's a center, not a power forward. Today's power forward needs to face up and do some things, and if he's a center, he's got to get much stronger. "But this is an elite talent we're talk‑ ing about here. He scores on dunks, putbacks, alley‑oops, the occasional jump hook that is coming around a little bit. He will take face‑up jump shots, but it's definitely not his bread and butter." On his blog, Bamba said "I don't know" would be a good answer when people ask him what the perfect fit would be for him. He does want a school with a good fan base and net‑ work, he said — like Michigan's — and it was clear he was in awe when spotted at The Big House. There's a long way to go, but the list is short and Michigan is on it. "I think there is genuine interest, and we still don't know what he's really thinking," Bossi said. "For ex‑ ample, I don't ever remember him mentioning Michigan, ever. It was tough to get a list of schools out of him, but it was never, 'Hey, watch out for Michigan,' but there they are. This is clearly a kid who is about the whole experience." Another the Wolverines are watch‑ ing closely is Memphis (Tenn.) Chris‑ tian Brothers shooting guard Wil‑ liam Douglas (6‑4, No. 149 player in the country). SMU, TCU and oth‑ ers joined the Wolverines in watch‑ ing him in September, and Ole Miss, Memphis, Marquette, Florida State and others have already offered. "It's kind of slowed down since the last few offers," Douglas said. "With Michigan, one of the coaches contacted me earlier in the summer during track season to tell me they were interested. After one of my AAU games in North Carolina it picked up." Beilein has been his primary con‑ tact, he said, though assistant coach Billy Donlon also keeps in touch. Douglas has watched U‑M over the years, including the Wolverines' run to the NCAA championship game in 2013. He's familiar with a few aspects of the program in particular. "I know a little bit about Michigan … I know the offense pretty well," he said. "It's the offense we ran at Christian Brothers with four guards, one big, a lot of sharing and a lot of movement off the ball. "I think that's a fit. I'd say I'm ver‑ satile, do the little things really well. I can shoot and handle it, and can defense on and off the ball." Bossi noticed Douglas during AAU play in Las Vegas in July. "In a basketball‑crazed city like Memphis, it isn't easy for a prospect to stay relatively under the radar until the summer before his senior year. Until now, that's been the case for three‑star shooting guard William Douglas," Bossi wrote. "He is now making a nice name for himself. "Though he didn't have a huge night shooting the ball for M33M Elite [his club team] … Douglas got to any spot he wanted on the floor with ease, created shots for himself and others, and made several trips to the free throw line to finish with 13 points, three assists and a pair of rebounds in one M33M loss." Douglas listed Ole Miss and Mem‑ phis as leaders in July, but said he no longer has anybody on top. He's working on setting up a visit to Michigan and others, having only taken unofficials to Memphis and Ole Miss. "Education will be the main thing and being able to fit with the players," he said. "I know Michigan has the top business school in the country." Douglas won't sign this November, planning to wait until spring. Memphis (Tenn.) Christian Brothers shooting guard William Douglas, No. 149 overall prospect in the class of 2017, is working on setting up a visit to U‑M. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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