The MIihigan Wolverines just landed the most highly touted recruit of the Beilein era a few days ago, five star shooting guard Tyus Battle. Battle still has one more year left at Gill St. Bernard's in New Jersey, but he already has shown enough--despite battling injuries and a prolonged shooting slump last year--to suggest that he'll be a hell of a college player. According to ESPN, he's the fourteenth best prospect, first overall in the state of New Jersey, and the fourth best shooting guard in the country.
Battle stands 6'5, weighs 180 pounds, and is doing things that a kid his age at his size shouldn't be able to do. He has a quick crossover that he can use for both step backs (out to about 18 feet, it seems) and to attack the basket. Transition ball handling doesn't seem to be a problem for Battle either; he absolutely flies down the court and is still able to maintain good possession of the ball and keep his head up for open teammates.
He can create his own shot easily, but is also a deceptively slick passer, particularly (and encouragingly) in traffic. Michigan has lacked a true above-the-rim presence for years since the departure of Glenn Robinson III, and Battle figures to be something like Glenn Robinson III with a better handle, better court vision, and a more reliable jumper:
John Beilein's recent string of success in sending unheralded recruits to the NBA draft early means that we shouldn't try to look too far into the 2016 roster, but Battle and Derrick Walton would be a fierce backcourt.
Barring some unforeseen catastrophe, Battle is going to make an impact right away. Mitch McGary was the last recruit Michigan had that was even close to as touted as Battle is right now when the recruit committed, so it'll be interesting to see what type of offense Beilein rolls out in 2016. The pick-and-pop and pick-and-roll sets should be prominent once again in 2016 after the Wolverines had a tough time finding a suitable duo for them this year. At 6'5, Battle will be able to see over smaller defenders, giving him the option of making an easy pass or simply taking a step back and launching a three. He'll also be able to lead the break and create his own shot when necessary (a skill that is becoming increasingly rare in college basketball).
If he puts on some weight, Battle could also spend time at the three and allow Michigan to go small and stack the lineup with shooters, which is often a Beilein staple. They won't even need to hide him on defense: he has long arms, is Flash-status quick, and has the hops to protect the rim if need be. ESPN's Recruiting Nation even went so far as to claim that Battle's defense is the best part of his game, but I'm not so sure. Big, athletic freshmen with a polished jumper and ball handling skills don't come around too often, especially to Michigan.
There are two major things I see that he has to do before or shortly after arriving at Michigan. One is that he has to put on some weight, especially if Beilein ever wants to trot out a small ball lineup. Being 185 pounds at 6'5 isn't going to cut it (for context, Derrick Walton Jr., who stands a generously measured 6'0, also weighs 185). The other will be the more interesting thing to observe as an outsider: Battle has to go from being the unquestioned go to guy for Gill St. Bernard's to possibly coming off the bench to start the season. Recruits of this status often expect to step in right away and be "the guy." It will be interesting to see if Battle can step in and take his role in the lineup. If so, he could make a pretty big impact in even his first season.
In the end, Michigan ended up with their most highly touted recruit of the Beilein era and Wolverines fans should be excited for Battle's arrival on campus. Things could be setting up nicely for the Wolverines to make one heck of a run in the 2016-17 season depending on how things shake out.