With Glenn Robinson III and Nik Stauskas among the four members of the Michigan rotation having moved on following a season in which the Wolverines won the Big Ten regular season title and reached the Elite Eight, a summer trip to Italy comes as just the right time. Head coach John Beilein and his assistants will be able to evaluate the returnees and newcomers in game action, with the program leaving the States on August 15.
Unfortunately for the Wolverines 6-foot-9 freshman forward D.J. Wilson will only be a spectator in Italy, as it was announced Wednesday afternoon that he’ll be out for 4-6 weeks following surgery to repair the pinky finger on his right hand.
“This is an unfortunate injury for D.J.,” Beilein said in the release. “However, we have the best training and medical staff here at U-M, so we know he is in good hands. We anticipate a speedy recovery so D.J. will be back and at 100 percent when we start our September workouts.”
With Robinson, Jordan Morgan and Jon Horford (graduate transfer to Florida) all having moved on, the play of the front court is something many will keep track of while the Wolverines are in Italy. Heading into the 2014-15 season Michigan has just one upperclassman in its front court and that’s senior Max Bielfeldt, who played just 4.7 minutes per game (19 appearances) last season.
Wilson is expected to compete for playing time alongside the likes of redshirt freshman Mark Donnal and classmates Ricky Doyle and Kameron Chatman (who’s listed as a guard/forward by the school). It goes without saying that the opportunity to see Wilson in game action would have been a positive for Beilein and his staff, but the good news is that they expect him to be ready for workouts ahead of the start of practice.
Sunday evening Creighton got on the board in the Class of 2016, as 6-foor-4 combo guard Davion Mintz made his pledge to Greg McDermott’s program. Mintz made the decision on the tail end of his official visit to Creighton, picking the Bluejays over Georgia Tech, Kansas State, Tulsa and Wichita State.
News of Mintz’s commitment was first reported by Rick Lewis of the Phenom Hoop Report, with Mintz confirming the news via Twitter shortly thereafter.
Creighton has just two seniors on its current roster in guard Jams Milliken and forward Geoffrey Groselle, but that doesn’t mean they lack for experience. Among the guards on the roster who will be around when Mintz arrives on campus are redshirt juniors Maurice Watson Jr., Malik Albert, and Isaiah Zierden, and Kansas State transfer Marcus Foster will be eligible in 2016-17.
Mintz, who attends North Mecklenberg HS just outside of Charlotte, can play either on or off the basketball. Creighton’s veteran guards should help Mintz with his transition to the college game when he arrives in Omaha in 2016. Mintz played for the Charlotte Nets grassroots program this summer.
Three days after landing one power forward in Sagaba Konate, West Virginia received a verbal commitment from another big man Sunday evening.
6-foot-11 Mountain Mission School (Gurndy, Virginia) power forward Maciej Bender became the Mountaineers’ fourth commitment in the Class of 2016 on Sunday, with the Mountain Mission program announcing the news via Twitter. Bender is a native of Poland, and in addition to Konate he joins guards Brandon Knapper and Chase Harler in West Virginia’s 2016 recruiting class.
West Virginia will lose two forwards in TyQuane Goard and Jonathan Holton at the end of the 2015-16 season, and the additions of Konate and Bender will help the Mountaineers account for those departures from a depth standpoint. Bender can score around the basket, but he’s also capable of facing up and scoring in pick-and-pop situations out beyond the three-point line.
Bender officially visited West Virginia last weekend, and he was a player the WVU coaching staff wanted to get in the fold. Other programs to offer Bender included Arizona State (teammate Jethro Tshisumpa is an ASU commit), Georgia, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss and Providence. Bender played his grassroots basketball for the West Virginia Wildcats program this summer.