The Wolverine

February 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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FEBRUARY 2018 THE WOLVERINE 63   BASKETBALL RECRUITING ing in front of Beilein, he made nine three-pointers and earned a Michi- gan offer the same night. His recent hot streak also has his future coach's attention. Beilein in- cluded DeJulius and his coach in a recent film session before Michigan's January win over Illinois, where the future Wolverine got an early study session and some praise for his recent play. "He said, 'Wow … this is why we need you!'" DeJulius said. "It's al- ways good to hear that from him. "He just keeps everyone engaged in meetings, stops to make sure ev- eryone's attention is still there. He's very detailed and informative, gives you tips so you know exactly what to do when you step on the floor." DeJulius was at a movie with his team when the Wolverines played at Michigan State Jan. 13 (an 82-72 U-M win), a bonding moment with his group before they took on Chicago Orr in Grand Rapids, Mich. "I was looking at my phone throughout the movie," he admitted, "going back and forth between your site [at] and the Michigan basketball page. "I like watching them. They go to the bench, and there's no drop-off. Everyone is playing together, and the defense has improved a lot. "[Freshman forward] Isaiah Livers' confidence level is up, and he's play- ing at an all-time high. [Junior center] Mo [Wagner] is playing through his ankle injury, or trying to. The sky's the limit." Beating Loyer and Clarkston (Mich.) High was his way of doing his part for the rivalry, and he admit- ted it was a bit personal. He'd had a tough month, battling a groin strain that keep him out for three weeks (until Nov. 30), missed another week with viral pinkeye and more time when his grandmother passed away, but put on a show that was only the start of more to come. He's done that and more, having propelled himself to the top of many voters' Mr. Basketball lists with his play this year. Many believed the Mc- Donald's All-America Game nomi- nee should have made the team, but he had one last message via Twitter. "I thank all the people who are telling me I should've been in the McDonald's game, but when you get snubbed in life you never blame the writer or people who vote," he wrote. "You look in the mirror tell yourself, 'You must've not done enough to make it a definite decision. So then you go do more!" He's already started working on it, always with more to prove. BRANDON JOHNS IS ELEVATING HIS GAME The spin after East Lansing (Mich.) High forward Brandon Johns (6-8,'s No. 65 player nation- ally) pledged to Michigan over MSU started immediately after his com- mitment: "MSU was slow playing him and didn't really want him." Apparently, Spartans head coach Tom Izzo didn't get the memo. In a January article in The Lansing State Journal, Johns noted Izzo had been recruiting him since the seventh grade. When he called the Spartan head man to break the news that he was going to U-M, Johns noted it was very difficult. "Yeah, he went on a whole rant," Johns said of Izzo. "That was not what I expected. It wasn't easy. We had built a relationship." Izzo gave a terse statement re- garding Johns' decision, The Journal added. "If he's happy, I'm happy for him," Izzo said. According to The Journal, "Johns was raised an MSU fan thanks to his father, Brandon Johns Sr., and he said the Spartans were 'very much' in the running late. There was just some- thing about U-M head coach John Beilein that kept drawing him to Ann Arbor." "He encouraged me to go on all of my visits and see other places," Johns said of Beilein. "He told me he wanted me to think about Michigan at every stop. When I was on my final visit at Pittsburgh, he was right — I was thinking about Michigan. "I just felt like I had a better op- portunity there. Their style really fits me. It will be an easy transition from high school to college." Johns was averaging 29.7 points, 11.3 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and 2.4 steals through seven games for East Lansing (Mich.) High, which stood 6-1 overall after a loss to Grand Ledge Jan. 9, its first regular-season setback in 34 games. He was nominated for the McDon- ald's All-America Game March 28, but the reigning Associated Press Class A Player of the Year didn't make the squad. Johns scored 38 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead East Lansing to a blowout win of Holt (Mich.) High Jan. 12, and notched 18 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in a two-point win over Lansing (Mich.) Eastern Jan. 16 to continue his outstanding play. IGNAS BRAZDEIKIS IS NOW A FIVE-STAR PROSPECT Michigan class of 2018 signee Ig- nas Brazdeikis is now a five-star prospect, the third during head coach John Beilein's U-M ten- ure. The 6-7 forward was averaging 31.5 points per game this season at Mono (Ontario) Orangeville Prep in Canada as of Jan. 18 and has domi- nated most of the year. Brazdeikis, who was averaging 31.5 points per game for Mono (Ontario) Orangeville Prep through Jan. 18, is the third John Beilein recruit to earn five-star status. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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