The cornerstones of Michigan basketball spent Thursday in their future homes. The 2017 Michigan recruiting class, consisting of Eli Brooks, Jordan Poole and Isaiah Livers, all took official visits to Ann Arbor yesterday. What started as a seemingly routine visit became much more interesting when one of the best high school basketball players in the country tagged along.
The longest commitment of the 2017 class has been that of Jordan Poole has pledged to come to Michigan in October 2015. The Milwaukee native is considered the top prospect in the state of Wisconsin and a top 100 player in the country by 247Sports.
Six weeks ago, the Wolverines added their second 2017 commit with Eli Brooks jumping on board. The 6’1” guard is a rising senior from Pennsylvania who chose the Wolverines over the defending national champion Villanova Wildcats. Brooks rising stock means he is not rated on many recruiting sites but is seen as a four-star prospect by 247Sports.
Livers commitment is probably the most fresh in the minds of Michigan fans because it came only one short month ago. Considered the second best player in the state of Michigan by 247Sports, Livers chose the Wolverines over schools such as Xavier, Michigan State and Notre Dame.
The fourth member of the visiting group was five star big man Mohamed Bamba. If his name does not ring a bell now, it probably will in the near future. Bamba is one of the most sought-after recruits in the nation and one of the biggest names to visit the school over the last few years.
The 6’11” big man is 247Sports third best player in the country. His offers include every national power imaginable, including Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, Arizona, UConn, Louisville, North Carolina and Indiana among others. Bamba is not just a gifted athlete, but also quite the scholar. His most recent visit prior to Michigan was to Ivy League power Harvard.
This is the first official visit for Livers, Brooks and Bamba. Long time commit Jordan Poole has taken many visits to Ann Arbor, both official and unofficial. The quartet will not be jetting back home so quickly as their visit will be extending over the weekend. All four members will be in attendance for the football team’s home opener Saturday against Hawaii.
Although standing on the sidelines in a stadium packed with over 100,000 fans will be exciting, the most important fan may be the one on the field pregame.
Michigan’s basketball recruits will have the pleasure of seeing Michael Jordan on the field before the game as he is the honorary captain for Saturday’s game. Jordan will be watching the Wolverines football dawn his likeness on their uniforms for the first time since the university signed an apparel mega-deal with Jordan brand.
Having one of the best players of all time on campus should be a powerful recruiting tool. The Wolverines will need to do all they can to make a memorable pitch to Bamba in order to sway him away from other schools. Although he is likely a one-and-done candidate with NBA dreams, he would be a difference maker in an already promising recruiting class.
Bamba will be ready to contribute in the NCAA from day one. His lanky frame will allow him to add muscle to his 207 pound body and potentially become dominant. His size and athleticism allows him to dominate offensively when facing his current competition. He can sit in the middle of a defense and score from the high post with relative ease. His body alone may not be enough to continue dominating at the next level so adding a few post moves will elevate his game.
Defensively, he is a game changer. His stature alone makes the paint look unappealing for ball handlers. Combine that with his 7’8” wingspan and the rim is nearly impossible to get to. He is an emphatic shot blocker who has future Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year written all over him.
Bamba’s visit may have taken some Michigan fans by surprise. While he may be considered a long shot to join the Wolverines, the staff could not have picked a better time to host him. As for the 2017 recruiting class, it looks to a promising one as it sits today but seeing the three commits joined by a top five player can only lead Michigan fans to dream.