The Wolverine

March 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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MARCH 2018 THE WOLVERINE 87   BASKETBALL RECRUITING some of these other schools that have been lurking — 'Oh wow, if Beilein offers, it's legit.'" Girard plans to take more visits, but he'll be one to watch closely in the months to come. 2018 SIGNEE UPDATES Michigan freshman forward Isaiah Livers of Kalamazoo (Mich.) Central won the state's prestigious Hal Sch- ram Mr. Basketball Award last year, and U-M has a good shot to make it two in a row. Detroit East English Village stand- out point guard David DeJulius (6-0,'s No. 118 prospect in the country) and East Lansing (Mich.) power forward Brandon Johns (6-8,'s No. 64 player nation- ally) were two of the top contenders for the award as of Feb. 15. DeJulius was averaging 28.3 points per game and Johns 28.5, and both have had several huge games. DeJu- lius recorded back-to-back games of 40-plus points in January, and Johns posted a 51-point outburst earlier this season. Further north, Mono (Ontario) Orangeville Prep's Ignas Brazdeikis (6-7), another signee, had eclipsed 40 points a number of times, and was averaging 31 points, 10 rebounds and five assists per game to earn five-star status in's updated Janu- ary rankings. Down south, 6-11 Daytona Beach (Fla.) Father Lopez signee and big man Colin Castleton ('s No. 127 senior nationally) was aver- aging 22.8 points and 11.5 rebounds per game as of Feb. 15. Oakville (Conn.) St. Thomas More's Adrien Nunez is the signee who's gotten the least acclaim, but he con- tinues to play well in a very tough New England Preparatory School Athletic Council. He was averaging 15.3 points per game as of Feb. 16, including games of 24 points in a tight loss to Brewster Academy and 27 in a win over Naval Academy Prep. Nunez didn't start playing basket- ball until he was in his teens, so he's still learning nuances of the game. But he's a lights-out shooter, is hit- ting shots against high-level com- petition and is making strides in the other parts of his game. "First off, he's such a good kid. He's an outlier story … the kid doesn't even play hoops until he's 14 years old," St. Thomas More post- graduate head coach Jere Quinn said. "His dad showed me video and how he has restructured his body. Who he is as a student-athlete is incredible. His work ethic is off the charts. "He didn't play loads of minutes in high school and was the third or fourth option. He's a top option here, we're putting some responsibility on him, and he's reacted wonderfully. He's handled it well." His range extends well past the three-point line, where he's shoot- ing better than 40 percent this year, Quinn reported in early February. "He's had games where he's been outstanding, and he's played through growing pains in other games," he said. "At this level, there's never a night off when you're not playing against a high-major person. "He's been our leading rebounder a few times — he's is a big, strong kid who's got to learn to do a bunch of things. Like all young kids, he'll go back to what he's good at [shooting the ball], so we'll open other doors and say, 'Try this,' or 'try that.' "I joke sometimes that he's too stiff … 'Do you dance at all? We need to get some rhythm in you.' But he's interested in getting better, and the effort is always there. "He wants to learn … he wants to get better." Beilein is the guy to help him at the next level, Quinn said, given his track record. "In certain areas he's very athletic, in others he needs to improve, but he's a Division I athlete," Quinn said. "He's just got to be taken to the next level. He keeps it simple on the court, looks to shoot, and when he pen- etrates he's looking to score more. There are times he needs to learn to kick it out. "But he's not the kid who was playing ball growing up at 7, 8 or 9 years old. He was doing those things at 14, 15 and 16, so he's still develop- ing that feel for the game. I tell him to go to the parks and play as much basketball as he can [in the offsea- son], too, some three on three, driv- ing left, driving right." He might not star right away in college, but Beilein will make him his project, Quinn noted, and he's excited to see how Nunez progresses. ❏ As of mid-February, Ignas Brazdeikis was aver- aging 31 points, 10 rebounds and five assists per game for Mono (Ontario) Orangeville Prep. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM Adrien Nunez of Oakville (Conn.) St. Thomas More was averaging 15.3 points per game as of Feb. 16. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM For regular reports on Michigan basketball recruiting plus videos of U-M commitments and targets visit MOBILE APPS AVAILABLE FOR IPHONE AND ANDROID!

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