Three-Point Play: Howard's wild debut; John Camden's suitors
It has been a whirlwind 12 months for Juwan Howard. In this week’s Three-Point Play, Rivals analyst Corey Evans recaps the recruiting work of Howard and his staff during their short time at Michigan, the latest on John Camden and the spring breakout of James Graham.
1. A bumpy rookie year for Juwan Howard
Juwan Howard’s first go-around leading a college program must have him thinking, “Is this how it is going to be every year?” Juwan, I promise you, your past 12 months is one of the more unique recruiting rides that I have seen a first-year head coach endure.
At first, I had my concerns about Michigan’s revamped recruiting mindset upon Howard’s hiring. The Wolverines were now chasing the very best and had unsuccessfully spun their wheels on Mark Williams, Micah Peavy, Jabri Abdur-Rahim and Jaden Springer.
In the fall, Michigan celebrated the commitment of five-star Isaiah Todd, was about to land Terrance Williams and Hunter Dickinson, while Zeb Jackson remained Ann Arbor-bound. Word then began to spread that Josh Christopher was close to committing. Michigan was in line for its best class of the Rivals.com era.
A string of days changed that last month. Todd decommitted and is headed to the G League and Christopher pulled a 180 and chose Arizona State. Four-stars Williams, Dickinson and Jackson all signed with Michigan.
Michigan was thought to be a potential national title contender next year. Last month altered that some but I will say, Howard and his staff did a great job of reshaping its roster on the go. Columbia grad-transfer Mike Smith should help, and while the jury is still out on whether Wake Forest transfer Chaundee Brown and/or Purdue transfer Nojel Eastern will play in the fall, there is a chance that one receives the waiver to play immediately.
There have been more than enough potholes to maneuver the past 12 months but it does appear as if the Wolverines will be just fine with Howard leading the program.
2. John Camden in no rush.
A few weeks back, it looked as if John Camden was leaning towards not only being the next Rivals150 junior to commit, but also reclassify into the 2020 class. That decision has now been nixed and instead, Camden is set to enjoy a national recruitment with top suitors entering the picture by the week.
One of the top names throughout the Philadelphia area for the past few years, Camden’s stock has taken off this spring despite not having a travel circuit to compete on. Within the past 10 days, he's gotten offers from Indiana, Nebraska, TCU, Texas A&M and Wake Forest, which join a collection of others that includes Florida, Miami, Penn State, Syracuse, Temple, and Virginia Tech.
Memphis has expressed great interest in him and North Carolina made its initial contact with him earlier in the month. Camden has yet to take an official visit and due to the pandemic, chances are likely that he will not only hold off from committing in the fall, but rather keep his recruitment open throughout the winter leading to a late signing next April.
Up until now, I would have said that Miami and Virginia Tech were the two to beat. Now that Camden has settled on a more prolonged timeline towards a commitment, it seems that it is anyone’s ball game for the versatile forward that can play many spots on both sides of the floor, possesses a high feel for the game and can make shots from each level.
3. Nocolet High School has another budding star
While all eyes were on Jalen Johnson’s return to the Nicolet High program this winter, James Graham was busy improving at a rapid rate. Just 6-foot-2 as a freshman, he is now a legitimate 6-foot-8 and is slated to be the next man up at the winning program in the fall.
Bringing great size and a fairly diverse package of ball skills to the floor, Graham would have been one of the top breakouts on the spring travel circuit. He is a gifted 20-foot and in big man that can score facing the basket and with his back to it. He is a strong rim runner, pick-and-pop shooter and can protect the weakside glass. Add it all up and what you have is an intriguing forward prospect in a class that is at a loss for such talents.
Despite not having the chance to show exactly how much he has improved in the past year, it has not stopped his recruitment from expanding. DePaul, Florida State, Maryland, Missouri and Rutgers are his high-major offers, all while Cincinnati, Iowa, Oregon and Vanderbilt are four others showing heavy interest.
If there is a slight leader, it would have to be FSU, who may need him should Scottie Barnes leave for the NBA after one season. A commitment is not expected this spring, but it would make sense for anyone that wants a chance at Graham to pick things up with him before it gets too late.