After several misses on the recruiting trail for the past three years and having to suffer through the bemoaning of John Belein critics in the mean time, Michigan not only finally got contact, it hit a home run.
In unexpected—though pleasant—news, 2016 shooting guard Tyus Battle announced on Twitter he would officially become a Wolverine. Battle not only provides a morale boost after missing out on Jaylen Brown, but it provides momentum for the 2016 class. As of now, that class ranks No. 1 in the nation, though it’s way too early to celebrate that fact. The class also boasts three top 100 players with room for at least one more.
Battle is Michigan’s first five-star recruit in three years. He’s also the highest rated player nationally (No. 12) since Glenn Robinson III. Further, he could become the first McDonald’s All-American signing of Beilein’s career. Needless to say, it’s a major win for the Michigan basketball program.
What it means
Battle held 25 offers from the likes of Duke, Connecticut, Syracuse and Louisville. He was considered a strong Duke lean for months, so you can see why this Michigan commitment was such a surprise to many.
Bottom line: This is a huge pickup for Beilein and the Michigan program. Excluding this past season, Michigan has had success on the court for the last few years, but the Wolverines have struggled to cash in on that success on the recruiting side. The Battle commitment not only ends that hitless streak, but it could possibly add more momentum on the recruiting trail. It also proves that this coaching staff not only develops talent, but they can reel in big impact players as well.
Beilein and his staff do things differently when it comes to recruiting. They don’t badger recruits like other coaches may. They do things the right way and it paid off for them this time around. Nice guys don’t always finish last.
What Battle brings
Battle has the intangibles to succeed in the college and pro game. He’s currently listed as 6-foot-6, 205 pounds, though some sites have him at 6-foot-5, 180 pounds. He is the prototypical Beilein guard. He’s a great ball handler and has a high IQ on the court. He’s also a good outside shooter, which will work well in the Beilein system.
Last year Battle averaged 10.7 points per game. He shot 38 percent from the field, averaged 3.8 rebounds per game and had a total of 84 rebounds for the year. He also averaged 1.5 assists per game. His defense is much better than previous guards who have gone through the Michigan program. When you watch his tape it is easy to see he’s a solid five-star player and will live up to that potential. The Beilein offense will allow him to flourish as the primary handler, just like we saw with Nik Staukus in his sophomore year.
Battle not only shoots the ball well, he can be explosive. If you watch his tape, you will see a lot of athleticism in him. His athleticism is very comparable to Glenn Robinson III. Battle will help make the transition seamless once Caris LeVert goes pro. Beilein has been known for his development acumen and gambling on projects. Though those gambles have paid off so far, he won’t have a gamble on his hands with this guy. Battle won’t be a project. They are getting an immediate impact player.
Assuming Battle sticks with his commitment until signing day, Michigan will be talented at every position on the floor. They’ll also have experience across the board.
The Battle commitment is big for many reasons, but another positive is the potential momentum that it will bring in recruiting. Michigan has been in an in-state battle for Cassius Winston for well over a year. The thought of teaming up with Battle in the backcourt may be an idea Winston can’t refuse. If they pick him up, it will provide great point guard depth and a replacement for Derrick Walton Jr. The Wolverines have had to deal with youth and inexperience for much of Beilein’s time. Michigan has succeeded with young teams. For the first time, Wolverines fans will watch a team with depth, talent and experience in 2016. That’s something that everyone should be excited about, as the potential for a deep tournament run will be very likely with that type of roster.