The Wolverine

October 2017

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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54 THE WOLVERINE OCTOBER 2017 BY CHRIS BALAS M ichigan has one, perhaps two scholarships yet to give in the 2018 class if there's attrition (which there almost always is) after landing East Lansing (Mich.) High four-star forward Brandon Johns (6-8, 205, Ri- vals' No. 65 player nationally), De- troit East English Village four-star point guard David DeJulius (6-1, 190, No. 125) and Clarkston (Mich.) High center Taylor Currie (6-9, 205, three- star prospect). While several offered targets have committed elsewhere, a number are still on the board and have scheduled visits. The headliner is Montverde (Fla.) Academy shooting guard R.J. Barrett, the consensus No. 1 player in the 2018 class. The 6-7, 200-pound Canadian transplant has a list of five he released on his USA Today blog, and Michigan is on it. He visited Kentucky over the Sept. 2 weekend and will see Duke Sept. 15, Arizona Sept. 21, Oregon Sept. 23 and Michigan Sept. 29. "I'm really focusing on this process and getting my visits in right now," he wrote. "I don't want to prolong anything, because I know the teams, coaches and their style of play. "That's why I've got the visits back to back like this, because I want to have a decision by November. I plan on signing during the early signing period." Barrett views himself as a "posi- tion-less" player. "Coming up, my dad taught me to be versatile as a playmaker and be able to play wherever I'm needed, from point guard to playing in the paint, and that's how I play," he added. "I really don't have any po- sition, but I understand that people have opinions based off how I play. "The only thing that matters to me is knowing what I'm capable of on the court." Kentucky — thought to be a fa- vorite — impressed him, but head coach John Calipari didn't seal the deal as he has with so many kids on their visits. The Wildcats set the bar, however, and set it high. "It was good," Barrett told Rivals. "I got to learn more about the school and how they operate. I got to meet with Coach Calipari and his coach- ing staff and really get to know them better. "Coach Cal told me he can't give me an exact pitch for how I would play just yet because he doesn't re- ally know what his team is going to look like. He just knows that I am a fit anywhere and that they can help me get better." The same could be said for most of the schools on his list, of course. Duke already holds a pledge from the nation's No. 4 player, Cameron Red- dish, a similar shooting guard, but Barrett said that's not an issue at all. He's anxious to talk to Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski and see how he'll use him. He's also trying to learn more about Arizona for that visit, and he has a longstanding rela- tionship with Oregon. 'They have been recruiting me since I was in the seventh grade. The relationship is there, and it seems like all of the Canadian kids are go- ing there now," he said. "My good friend Abu Kigab [a freshman small forward] is there." Michigan has plenty to offer as well, he added. "They play with big guards, and that's appealing," he said. "That would definitely help my develop- ment to go there." Barrett led Canada to a gold medal game win in an upset of the United States squad at the FIBA U18 World Championships this summer, domi- nating with 38 points, 13 rebounds and five assists. He reportedly only played in half of the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League's four sessions this spring, missing one weekend with an injury, another for school, but he ended the regular season as the league's lead- ing scorer at 28 points per game. reported recently that Barrett is reminiscent of two NBA standouts. "On the court, R.J. has an offensive game reminiscent of James Harden when on the perimeter and of Dwy-   BASKETBALL RECRUITING Fall Visitors Lining Up The top player in the 2018 class — 6-7 shooting guard R.J. Barrett, a native of Canada who is play- ing at Montverde (Fla.) Academy — plans to visit Michigan at the end of September. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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