The Wolverine

June July 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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JUNE/JULY 2018 THE WOLVERINE 45   2018 BASKETBALL RECRUITING ISSUE 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 inter- ested in getting better, and the effort is always there. He wants to learn … he wants to get better." Quinn believes Beilein is the per- fect guy to get it out of him. There's plenty of untapped potential there, and Nunez is still in the infancy stages of learning the game. There was no question, however, that he improved dramatically from the first day he arrived at St. Thomas More. "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." With each game, Nunez said, he became more comfortable. "I don't know if the game slowed down so much, or if I just became quicker with the reads, more confi- dent with every move than I was at the beginning of the year," he said. "With my shooting, I really worked on my dribble pull-ups, my step backs and stuff like that. "Towards the end of the year I had gotten a lot better. Now I'm just hoping to add on to everything I im- proved on in the season and offsea- son." There's every reason to believe he can. He's already started working with a trainer and has gained weight, up five pounds from this winter to 205. Beilein has proven he has a way of getting the most out of his play- ers, especially potentially elite shoot- ers, and Nunez is an extremely hard worker with a great attitude. "He wants me to bring shooting to the table, but also just the defensive side of everything, which is why I think they made such a big run in the tournament this year," Nunez said. "Specifically, shooting and defense is what I hope to add to the team." His toughest assignment on de- fense this year came when he was asked to check Mono (Ontario) Or- angeville Prep's Ignas Brazdeikis, his future Michigan teammate. The two went head to head at the February National Prep School Invitational in Rhode Island, with Brazdeikis scor- ing 26 to earn Most Outstanding Player honors. Nunez, giving up three inches and roughly 20 pounds, did his best, but acknowledged Braz- deikis was practically unstoppable. On the other end, Nunez scored 18 points in the loss, and the two shared a laugh about the meeting after the game. Three months later they're both preparing for Michigan, and it's only a month from reality. It finally sunk in during early May, when Nunez got a text from back home. "I just got my Michigan acceptance letter," he said. "I was up at school when my parents sent me a picture of it. That was the moment when I real- ized, 'A month and a few days from now I'm going to start this journey.' I'm excited." Especially knowing Beilein's track record as a teacher. Nunez is still just scratching the surface of his poten- tial, and he's intent on taking another huge step this summer. Many expect him to redshirt, but he won't concede anything. "Towards the end of this season, I felt like a different player," Nunez said. "In the offseason I've pro- gressed a lot. Every summer I've been a completely different player than I was heading into that summer. "It happened last summer and the summer before, and I hope it will happen again." So do Michigan fans. They've got- ten used to deadly shooters during Beilein's tenure and are always anx- ious to see who is next. ❏ Nunez' prep school coach noted "He's a Division I athlete" and the three-star prospect has proven his shooting prowess, but there is still plenty of untapped potential to make another John Beilein-developed overachiever out of him. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM Nunez "Towards the end of this season, I felt like a different player. In the offseason I've progressed a lot. Every summer I've been a completely different player than I was heading into that summer. It happened last summer and the summer be- fore, and I hope it will happen again."

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