Recruiting is the life-blood of any successful college program no matter the sport. Some coaches require more game ready talent to have success, while others relish in prospects that need a little tune up before striking fear into their opponents by the time they are upperclassmen. John Beilein would fall into the latter category of coaches often mining the recruiting trail for hidden gems passed over by others. Michigan has had an immense amount of success with lesser ranked recruiting classes, but Beilein has also shown what he is capable of in 2013 with an elite recruiting class by reaching a national title.
Lets take an in depth look into Michigan’s top-15 2018 class that rivals the program defining 2012 class led by McGary, GRIII, Stauskas, Levert, and Spike Albrecht.
Headliners — Brandon Johns (6’8″ PF) and Ignas Brazdeikis (6’8″ SF):
Both of these recruits should get fans out of their seats early and often as freshmen next season. Each have interesting geographic ties to Ann Arbor with Johns fleeing East Lansing for greener pastures in Ann Arbor, and Brazdeikis heading over from Canada. Is it too soon to get the maize and blue Canadian flag out that was popularized by Nik Stauskas??? I think not! Neither player is a pure three-point shooter at this stage, but they will be serviceable enough to fit beautifully in Beilein’s offense. Michigan is going to be loaded at the small/power forward position next year with Matthews and Livers being odds on starters and Brazdeikis and Johns chomping at the bit for minutes.
Ignas is the player I am most excited about in this class, partially because his name is so fun to say, but mostly because the guy can flat out ball. I will make no bones about it, he is the type of player that could be a pro after two seasons in Ann Arbor.
David Dejulius (6’0″ PG): He is putting the state of Michigan on notice with some gaudy numbers in his senior year only to be listed as a fringe four-star. His lack of national hype only seems to fuel him as he scored 42 points earlier this season in the face of MSU point guard commit and higher rated, Foster Loyer. I love the progression of Zavier Simpson in his second year as floor general, but Dejulius has all the tools in his arsenal to be the next great point guard for Michigan.
Colin Castleton (6’10” PF/C): Much like Moe Wagner showed flashes of brilliance in limited playing time during his freshman year, I expect Castleton to contribute the same way. As is often the case with young big men, Castleton is going to need every one of his meal swipes in the cafeteria to bulk up his slender frame. He already has a college ready jump shot that must have Beilein salivating, so once he grows into his body and learns to defend and rebound, he will be a matchup nightmare for opposing coaches.
Adrien Nunez (6’5″ SG): Probably the biggest unknown of a really solid and deep class. Most of his highlight footage is both grainy and involves him hitting a lot of threes. This tells us two things: he didn’t play at an incredibly high level in high school, and he is a lights out shooter. History tells us not to sleep on these types of players in Beilein’s system (i.e. Caris Levert and MAAR). With great height for a shooting guard, in time I think he can be anywhere from an offensive spark off the bench to an NBA prospect by his sophomore year.
I am of course kidding to an extent with Nunez being an NBA prospect. That is the fascinating thing about John Beilein though — if you have the prototypical NBA size, he can turn you into a professional prospect in the blink of an eye… of course it doesn’t hurt to be able to shoot a little bit too. All of these recruits should have a tremendous amount of individual success throughout their time in Ann Arbor and we hope a few banners will be hung in Crisler before it is all said and done as well.