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Archive for the ‘Recruiting’ Category

Jim Abbott continues to inspire

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Jim Abbott header

Jim Abbott led Michigan baseball to the Big Ten title in 1986 and 1987 and was named Big Ten Athlete of the Year his senior season. He led the United States to Olympic gold and was named the nation’s top amateur athlete before being drafted by the California Angels in the 1988 MLB draft. During his Major League Baseball career he pitched a no-hitter in Yankee Stadium and played for four different teams before retiring in 1999. Oh, and he did it all despite being born without a right hand.

When is baseball career came to an end, Abbott became a motivational speaker. I spoke to Abbott for BTN LiveBIG about his motivational speaking career.

How did you manage the transition to life after baseball and becoming a motivational speaker?

Abbott: It’s a pretty difficult adjustment. You do something your whole life and you have all your eggs in that basket, and all of the sudden it’s over. For me, it ended a little bit earlier than I had hoped.

There’s a transition period that’s really difficult. You’re most comfortable in that uniform, on a baseball field, and all the sudden you’re spit out into this world where you have to find a niche for yourself. You miss it a lot – the structure of that life, the routine, the camaraderie, and the competition. That is a tough thing to replace. But I found different things that helped me replace that.

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Jalen Rose Q&A: The Jalen Rose Leadership Academy (Part 2)

Saturday, March 15th, 2014


Yesterday we brought you part one of of a Q&A with Jalen Rose bout his Jalen Rose Leadership Academy. Here’s part two of the interview which is featured on BTN LiveBIG.

You left Michigan early for the NBA, but went back and finished your degree. How important was that to you and what does it show these kids?

Rose: It’s that ‘do as I say, not as I do’ mentality and it’s hard to continue to be the message. It’s almost like college coaches right now. At ESPN we have a segment called Angry Coaches on Outside the Lines. They’re leaders and talking to their teams about having poise and having discipline under pressure, the way they need to behave during the game. But also the coaches are just basically doing the opposite. So it’s that mentality. When they know you’re invested, they know that you care and they know that you’re genuine. Kids don’t care how much you know as long as they know how much you care…

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Jalen Rose Q&A: The Jalen Rose Leadership Academy (Part 1)

Friday, March 14th, 2014


Last week we brought you an exclusive Q&A with Jalen Rose about the current Michigan basketball team, the program’s recent success, his thoughts on John Beilein, and more. Today, we are pleased to present part one of a Q&A with Jalen about his Jalen Rose Leadership Academy.

With graduation rates at Detroit public schools just 62 percent, dropout rates 19 percent, and jobs fleeing the city, Rose decided something needed to be done. So he opened the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, an open enrollment public charter school, just two miles from where he grew up.

The school started with a ninth-grade class in 2011 and has added a new class each year. Currently in its third year, over 300 students attend the JRLA, which has a lofty goal of graduating 85 percent, enrolling 85 percent in college, and graduating 85 percent from college.

LiveBIG spoke with Rose about the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy.

At what point in your life or career did you realize you wanted to start the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy?

Rose: I was always passionate about education. In high school I was an honor roll student. At the University of Michigan I was fortunate enough to make the Dean’s list. I never wanted to be considered a dumb jock. I hated that term, wanted to be everything that was the opposite representation of that…

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Jalen Rose dishes on Michigan’s success

Friday, March 7th, 2014

Jalen Rose

The Michigan basketball program has had some great teams and great moments since 1986, in addition to some lean times. The Wolverines won the national championship in ’89 and made it to the title game in ’92, ’93, and last season. But none of those great teams or any other in between accomplished what Michigan did on Tuesday night when it captured the outright Big Ten title.

Perhaps the most outspoken player on the most iconic team during that span, Jalen Rose, took the time to chat with Maize and Go Blue about the success of the current team, why coach Beilein is so successful, who would win a one-on-one matchup between sophomore Jalen Rose and sophomore Nik Stauskas, and much more.

Maize and Go Blue: How happy are you with the recent success of the Michigan basketball program?

Jalen Rose: ”I’m a huge fan of John Beilein, not only the way he carries himself as a man, but his leadership over the basketball team and over the program, how he continues to bring in players from their freshman year who you can tell how they continue in their work. I use (Caris) LeVert as an example, I can use (Nik) Stauskas as an example, how he’s developed a style of play, he’s developed a system and he recruits to that system, and therefore, it allows him to get the results that he’s had — winning the outright Big Ten for the first time since ’86, making it to the national championship game last year. I mean, the program is definitely trending up and it starts with his direction. And I’m really happy about that.”

M&GB: How is Beilein able to identify unheralded players and get the most out of them?

Rose: “It kind of gets overstated but he recruits to his style of what he wants to get accomplished. If you notice when you watch Michigan’s team play, especially without (Mitch) McGary, there may be times where there are four guys on the court that are 6’6” and below that can all shoot threes. He’s recruiting to his style of play. So when he gets those guys on campus, he gets them in the weight room, gets them in the gym working on their skill work and their drills, he does a good job of having them work on things that they can actually implement into their game. Now, once the game starts – look at a player like a Zak Irvin, the way he shoots the basketball – he was recruited to play a style.

“So I really enjoy watching this team play. The development of Glenn Robinson III has been awesome also. And hopefully they can continue to have success in the conference tournament and the NCAA Tournament where they’re ultimately going to be judged.”

Jalen was proud to support his Wolverines at last year's Final Four and they'll continue to have his backing

Jalen was proud to support his Wolverines at last year’s Final Four and they’ll continue to have his backing

M&GB: Would you have enjoyed playing in John Beilein’s system?

Rose: “I would have. But obviously, you can’t knock the success and the system that I got a chance to play for in Steve Fisher, when I would venture to say since he’s been at San Diego State they’ve probably been ranked in the top 25 more weeks than Michigan.”

M&GB: What was it like for you returning with the rest of the Fab 5 to watch the team in the Final Four last year?

Rose: “It was awesome. I’m mad we didn’t win, but it was awesome. I promised Tim Hardaway and Trey Burke, who I was in contact with the entire season, I was going to make sure for only the second time since 1993 that the Fab Five would be in the same place at the same time for support.”

M&GB: Will you be there again this year if they make it that far again?

Rose: “Absolutely. With the same dumb hat I had on last year.”

M&GB: How do you assess the balance of power in the state of Michigan right now?

Rose: “It all depends on if you’re talking about a marathon, then it’s not close. Since Tom Izzo has taken over the program at Michigan State it’s not close. But Michigan at this point is trending upward. As a Michigan fan I was happy that we got a chance to play them without (Adreian) Payne, with a hobbled (Keith) Appling, without (Branden) Dawson, but they’re starting to get healthy now. They’re going to be a tough out in the conference tournament and in the NCAA Tournament. I think when healthy, overall they’ve shown that they, probably along with Florida, to be the best teams in the country – on paper. But the games aren’t played on paper. And I’m happy we still beat them twice this year.

“But don’t be surprised, I’m kind of watching the tea leaves with Tom Izzo and seeing that his team has gotten older, maybe he gets that itch to try to go to Auburn Hills and coach.”

M&GB: Are there really are any legs to that?

Rose: “Stay tuned.”

M&GB: How far do you see this Michigan team going in the NCAA Tournament?

Rose: “Shooting is a tricky thing. You get hot and you can really roll a couple of weekends. If your three-point shooting goes cold or teams do a good job of defending it or going inside and getting to the free throw line, then that creates a different game – a slow-down game. At this point, it’s all about seedings. It’s all about who you get matched up with.”

M&GB: Michigan has ranked outside the top 50 in adjusted defensive efficiency all season. What’s the most important aspect that needs to improve for a deep run in the NCAA Tournament?

Rose: “Well, that’s the sacrifice that I was talking about. When you decide to play small, you give up size. And you have to with Mitch McGary out. They’ve got to play to the strength of the roster that they have. So while they’re shooting threes and they’re going in it allows us to win games. But when we’re not shooting the three well and teams are driving it to the basket, transition, and really pounding us on the offensive boards that’s when it’s an issue. You hope you don’t get matched up against those teams that like to play two and three bigs up front.”

M&GB: What player is Michigan’s x-factor in the NCAA Tournament?

Rose: “It’s clearly Nik Stauskas. He’s had his single-digit games. Indiana comes to mind and I think at Iowa where the team really struggled and really lost. He’s got hot in some games and before you know it we won the outright Big Ten title. So I think he’s the key along with Glenn Robinson III.”

M&GB: What impresses you the most about Stauskas’ progression from fourth option last year to go-to guy this year?

As much as Jalen loves John Beilein, he's rightfully protective of Steve Fisher's legacy (USA Today archive photo)

As much as Jalen loves John Beilein, he’s rightfully protective of Steve Fisher’s legacy (USA Today archive photo)

Rose: “He continued to work on his game. We knew he was a shooter, but also he improved his ball handling and his ability to drive to the basket, ability to finish at the hoop.”

M&GB: Is Stauskas an NBA lottery pick?

Rose: “That’s a tricky question because I don’t know who all is coming out, but I definitely see him as a first round prospect. I remember telling people that Tim Hardaway Jr. was going to be a good pro. I remember talking about it during the actual draft when I was naming people that were getting drafted and his name was still on the board. Now, all the sudden you see him playing with the Knicks and if you’re one of the three people that actually still cares about what the Knicks are doing this year, he’s still being a productive player. So I hope that Nik Stauskas can kind of trend up the way he did.”

M&GB: If sophomore Jalen Rose played sophomore Nik Stauskas one-on-one, who would win?

Rose: “I want to take the humble route, so I think it’s smart for me to go ahead and say he would win.”

M&GB: Can Caris LeVert lead the team next season if Stauskas and Robinson III go pro?

Rose: “I think he can. You get Derrick Walton back, another year of LeVert, Irvin shooting the ball, you get Mitch McGary back in the lineup. I think that’s very formidable.”

M&GB: Entering the season most expected Glenn Robinson III to be Michigan’s top scoring option. While he has had a good season, he hasn’t been the go-to guy most thought he would be. How do you evaluate his season so far?

Rose: “He’s one of the best players on a team that just won the Big Ten title. He’s one of those players that plays within the team concept. He doesn’t really force shots, he doesn’t thump his chest, he has a very stoic demeanor whether the team is struggling or he’s playing well. That demeanor sometimes gets taken for granted. I actually really like that about him.

“The one thing about this journey is, as a player, you have to approach it like this: what’s happened up to now still means nothing. You still want to win the conference tournament. More importantly, you get to the NCAA Tournament and there’s 30 teams that won their conference tournament. That’s not breaking news. People in the SEC don’t care who wins the Big Ten. People in the Pac-12 don’t care who wins the Big Ten.”

M&GB: In your opinion, which players on the team should go pro after this season?

Rose: “We’ve got to see how this plays out. There’s still some work to be done. You’ve still got to ball in the conference tournament. You’ve still got to ball in the NCAA Tournament. You get bounced in either one of them and that performance is your lasting memory. At this point, it’s only 33 percent of the book. Look at Marcus Smart for example. He had a terrific season – All-America-type season – last year and got bounced in the tournament and had to come back to school.”

M&GB: What did you think about what Ray Jackson said yesterday, that — no offense to Steve Fisher — if Beilein was the coach of the Fab Five you would have won a national title.

Rose: “I didn’t know he said that. He’s just excited about watching the team and the 20-year alumni. They’re both great coaches but when you look at the bottom line, I think the things that Beilein wants to get accomplished are things that Steve has already gotten accomplished. They may not have a picture or banner of him up in Ann Arbor, but he did make it to three national championship games and won one title. For a school that has only been there seven total times. It’s not like Michigan goes to the Final Four every single year.”

National Signing Day: Visualizing Michigan’s 2014 class

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

2014 Class Visualization

Michigan basketball signs four

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

While the Michigan football program missed out on a verbal pledge from its top target this afternoon, the basketball program officially announced the signing of its four commitments during the early signing period. Below is the full release.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — University of Michigan men’s basketball head coach John Beilein announced today (Thursday, Nov. 14) the signings of 6-7 guard Kameron Chatman (Portland, Ore./Columbia Christian HS), 6-9 forward D.J. Wilson (Sacramento, Calif./Capital Christian School),  6-10 center Ricky Doyle (Cape Coral, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) and 6-6 guard Austin Hatch (Pasadena, Calif./Loyola HS) to National Letters of Intent to join the Wolverines for the 2014-15 academic year.

“I love the potential of this recruiting class,” said Beilein of the four-member class. “They are outstanding young men who love the game and all bring something different to our program.”

Kameron Chatman is a consensus four-star recruit ranked in the top 50 nationally

Currently a senior at Columbia Christian High School, Chatman did not play varsity basketball during his junior season after being ruled ineligible following a transfer to Long Beach (Calif.) Poly. Despite not playing on the varsity team, he averaged 25.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists playing 14 junior varsity games. Prior to his transfer to Poly, he played two seasons at Jefferson High School in Portland, Ore. As a sophomore, he averaged 9.4 points, 9.7 rebounds and 4.4 rebounds helping the Democrats to a 15-11 record.

“Kam has a unique ability to play either guard or forward because he is both an excellent rebounder and passer,” said Beilein. “His versatility and ability to see the floor gives him the potential of being an excellent playmaker, scorer, and defender for us at many different positions.”

Wilson, who has a 7-3 wing span, is a senior at Capital Christian School, who has gone 52-11 and shared the Golden Empire League title over the last two seasons. As a junior, Wilson averaged 9.7 points and 4.6 rebounds helping the Cougars to a 26-5 record. As a sophomore he tallied 8.6 points and 5.8 rebounds leading Capital Christian to a 26-6 record.

“D.J. is just oozing with potential,” said Beilein. “He is very skilled and can become an excellent combo forward for us. He has great length and can play above the rim because of his athleticism. As he fills into his 6-9 frame his outstanding work habits will be a great asset to him in his development.”

Doyle, who has a wing span of 7-2, has helped Bishop Verot to three straight 4A District 11 League titles and regional finals in 2011 and 2012. Despite missing 20 games with a foot injury as a junior, he averaged 21.7 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. As a sophomore he averaged 15.2 points and 8.6 rebounds and guided the Vikings a 25-5 record and the Class 4A Regional final.

“We love that Ricky can play in both high and low post,” said Beilein. “He has a tremendous feel for the game whether he is on the perimeter or with his back to the basket. He loves contact so he is a great fit for Big Ten basketball. Our fans will love Ricky’s ‘old school approach’ to playing the game.”

Hatch, who originally hails from Fort Wayne, Ind., is spending a fifth-year at Loyola High School in Pasadena, Calif., as he did not play basketball in 2012 and 2013 due to injuries sustained in a 2011 plane crash. As a sophomore, Hatch helped Canterbury to a 17-5 record averaging 23.0 points and 9.0 rebounds.

“Austin is a consummate, high IQ player, who is an excellent shooter,” said Beilein. “He sees the floor and his teammates well and has great leadership capabilities. We are excited to have him back and playing basketball again. We expect Austin to be an important part of Michigan Basketball during all of his years at Michigan.”

Michigan loses just one player from the roster due to graduation — fifth-year senior Jordan Morgan (Detroit, Mich./University of Detroit Jesuit), who will complete his master’s in manufacturing engineering.

While it’s not as highly-ranked as last year’s class (ESPN ranks it 28th nationally), it fills needs and gives Beilein some more versatile, lengthy players to plug into his system. Read our commitment posts on Chatman and Wilson.

New in Blue: DJ Wilson

Sunday, October 6th, 2013

DJ Wilson – SF | 6-8, 205
ESPN: 3-star Rivals: 3-star, #135 nationally 247: 3-star, #162 nationally Scout: 3-star
Other top offers: Gonzaga, USC, California, Colorado, Boise State, Harvard

DJ Wilson is Michigan's second commitment in a week

John Beilein added another piece to the 2014 recruiting class Sunday when three-star forward DJ Wilson committed to Michigan after spending homecoming weekend in Ann Arbor.

Wilson’s official visit came after trips to Columbia and Gonzaga. The 6’9″ big man underwent a quiet recruiting process due to a back injury that sidelined him for six months. Wilson received offers from many mid-major schools before catching the eye of Beilein in AAU ball. He also had offers from USC, California and Nevada.

The latest addition to the 2014 class fits the mold of a typical Beilein forward. Wilson is a lengthy shooter that can handle the ball pretty well. His value comes from his size, as he can get his jump shot off from anywhere on the court but prefers to do so from beyond the three-point line.

On defense, Wilson’s strength could use some work, as he gets pushed around by bigger offensive players inside. Though that keeps him from being an elite rebounder, Wilson’s length makes him capable on the glass and he has shown the ability to block shots.

Wilson joins a recruiting class that features Austin Hatch, Ricky Doyle and Kameron Chatman. The commitment won’t make as much of a splash as Chatman’s, but Wilson’s upside is tremendous and his elite jump shot gives him a chance to see the court immediately in Beilein’s offense.

Michigan still has two five-star recruits on its board in Indiana decommit James Blackmon Jr. and Devin Booker. Booker took his official visit to Ann Arbor this weekend and will visit Kentucky and Missouri before announcing his decision.

New in Blue: Kameron Chatman

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Kameron Chatman – SF | 6-7, 197
ESPN: 4-star, #49 nationally Rivals: 4-star, #29 nationally 247: 4-star, #36 nationally Scout: 4-star
Other top offers: Arizona, Oregon, USC, UConn, UCLA, Memphis, Washington, Washington State, Oregon State

Michigan’s long basketball recruiting drought is over, as forward Kameron Chatman became the latest addition to the 2014 class on Tuesday evening. John Beilein, who has had a surprisingly quiet offseason after the team’s Final Four trip, broke his cold streak that extended back to March when the prized recruit announced his decision on Twitter just before 10pm Eastern time.

“(It’s) been a long Recruiting Process but im proud to say i will be a Michigan Wolverines next year #GoBlue,” Chatman tweeted.

Chatman is a consensus four-star recruit according to,, 247 and ESPN. He joins Austin Hatch and Ricky Doyle in a 2014 class that has several other major targets like Devin Booker still undecided.

The young lefty was also considering local schools USC, Oregon and Arizona, but committed to Beilein after two visits, including one at the Big House when the Wolverines beat Notre Dame in the second Under the Lights game last month. Michigan fans were unsure if Chatman would leave the West Coast after playing high school ball in both California and Oregon.

Chatman averages nearly 16 points and 10 rebounds while playing on the Nike EYBL circuit, a very well-respected league, this summer.

As a stretch comparison, Chatman’s game resembles that of Michigan sophomore Glen Robinson III. He is a lengthy rebounder and prefers to take the ball to the rim on offense. The jumper is a work in progress, but he has a solid mid-range game with the potential to stretch the floor once Coach Beilein gets hold of him.

Fortunately, the natural ability is off the charts, as Chatman’s big frame and toughness makes him one of the top rebounders in his class. He does most of his damage off the offensive glass in high school which shows his willingness to scrap inside.

This is the most promising news for the 2014 class so far, as Michigan fans hope the Chatman commitment has a domino effect on targets like Booker and James Blackmon Jr.

An interview with 2013 hoops commit Zak Irvin

Monday, April 15th, 2013

I recently had the pleasure to talk with Zak Irvin, one of the crown jewels of Michigan’s 2013 recruiting class, about the season that just ended, what his plans are for this summer, a little bit of Twitter fun with an old teammate, and much more.

Irvin was recently selected as Indiana’s Mr. Basketball award recipient, becoming the first ever Michigan signee to win the highly-coveted award. He follows last year’s Indiana Mr. Basketball winner, Gary Harris, to the state of Michigan and to the Big Ten, but looks to be his rival on the court next year should Harris return to East Lansing. Here is what Zak had to say:

Maize & Go Blue: First things first. Obviously Michigan’s season just ended in the National Championship game on Monday, but give me your thoughts on the year they had?

Zak Irvin: You know, I thought they had a great year, had a great start and ended up being the (second-to) last team left. When they got a four-seed, a lot of people didn’t think they’d go as far as they did, but they made a nice run. Overall they had a great season.

M&GB: Do you think the team’s success this season adds any pressure for you guys coming in next year?

Irvin: You know, I think it does. Them going to the national championship puts a target on our back, but I think we’ll be ready and we’ll play great together next year.

M&GB: You were in Atlanta last weekend along with Derrick Walton for a high school three-point contest. How did things go there?

Irvin: I definitely had a lot of fun, especially with Derrick as my roommate and who will be my teammate next year. There were a lot of great shooters there and we all had a great time. (Neither Zak nor Derrick won the contest, however.)

M&GB: Did you and Derrick talk about next season at all or meet up with Mark Donnal?

Irvin: No, I didn’t see Mark, but me and Derrick are always talking about next year together.

M&GB: Were you able to stay down in Atlanta for the Final Four games?

Irvin: No, I came home Saturday morning.

M&GB: Have you seen Austin Hatch at all recently?

Irvin: The last time I saw him was at the Michigan-IU game. It was great to see him cause I don’t get to see him that often, but we are real close with each other.

M&GB: A few players on this year’s team, notably Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway, Jr., Glenn Robinson III, and Mitch McGary, and other Big Ten teams, including your former teammate Gary Harris, have big decisions to make regarding their future careers. How do their decisions impact you and next year’s team?

Irvin: Just from playing with Gary three years in high school it definitely impacts me a lot, he really helped me to improve as a basketball player. Just watching Trey, Tim, and Mitch I just see myself, envision myself like them. I watch them and I’m just going to play hard and be the best that I can.

M&GB: Your own season ended with an early exit in the Indiana state playoffs to North Central, but how did you feel you played as a team and individually?

Irvin: As a team, we had a great regular season, finishing 17-4 when a lot of people didn’t expect that because Gary left. For myself, I received the Gatorade Indiana Player of the Year and Mr. Basketball awards so I thought I had a great year.

M&GB: What were your final numbers on the season?

Irvin: I averaged 25 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 assists per game.

M&GB: You mentioned that you won Indiana’s Mr. Basketball award last week. Over the last seven years, the winners of Indiana’s Mr. Basketball award have been Greg Oden, Eric Gordon, Tyler Zeller, Jordan Hulls, Deshaun Thomas, Cody Zeller, and Gary Harris. What does it feel like to be in the company of such great college and NBA players?

Irvin: It’s an honor just to have my name in the same category as those players. I’ve been blessed that all the hard work I’ve put in is paying off.

M&GB: When will you be moving up to Ann Arbor for summer classes and summer ball?

Irvin: I have to be in Ann Arbor on June 22.

M&GB: Do you have any plans as to what you want to study at Michigan yet?

Irvin: I want to study something with business, so I think maybe Sports Management.

M&GB: Have any of the Michigan coaches been in contact with you since Monday?

Irvin: No, I haven’t talked to any of them since then.

M&GB: What have the Michigan coaches told you to work on individually this summer as you prepare for college basketball?

Irvin: Definitely getting stronger because Big Ten basketball is so physical, so that’s a key thing I’m working on, just getting stronger in the weight room, and I’m always working on ball handling and shooting.

M&GB: What would you consider to be the strengths and weaknesses of your game right now?

Irvin: I’d say my biggest strength is being able to mix it up, I can shoot a jump shot or take it to the hole. My weakness was getting down when a game is not going well, but my senior year I really worked on keeping a level head no matter what and really improved that my senior year.

M&GB: Lastly, what played the biggest factor in your commitment back in 2011 to play at Michigan?

Irvin: The coaching staff. The first time I stepped on campus the coaches made it known that I was a priority at the University of Michigan and I just have a great relationship with all the coaches there.

M&GB: Can you tell us about that picture of Gary Harris that surfaced on twitter of him wearing a Maize Rage t-shirt?

Irvin: (Laughs) As a matter of fact I was just talking with him about that a couple hours ago but that was from last year. When Michigan played Michigan State we had a bet that whichever team won, the loser had to wear that team’s shirt to school the next day, and Michigan won so Gary had to wear a Michigan t-shirt all the next day.

National Signing Day: visualizing Michigan’s 2013 recruiting class

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Stay tuned in the coming days as we profile each of the 27 members of Michigan’s 2013 class.