With at least three scholarships available for next season, the Michigan men’s basketball coaches are scouring the nation in search of top basketball recruits.
If the chips fell into place, however, the Wolverines’ next star might already be on campus. Then again, they might be busy.
Sophomore receiver Drake Harris and junior defensive end Taco Charlton — both standout basketball players in high school — discussed the possibility of rekindling the hardwood flame Tuesday after football practice.
“We’ve joked around about it (with the coaches), nothing too serious,” Charlton said. “I love the game of basketball. It’s something I’ve played since I was a little kid, but nothing too serious anymore.”
Charlton, who has been close with senior guard Caris Levert since before kindergarten, helped recruit Levert to Michigan and even teamed up with the potential 2016 NBA draft pick in beating a team featuring senior defensive end Chris Wormley to win the Ohio state title in basketball. Charlton’s ties with Michigan basketball are still strong today.
“We’ll have some discussion about it maybe down the road,” Charlton said with a grin. “We have friendly talks, but it’s mostly just, ‘How are you doing?’ talking about Caris always.”
Harris, who averaged 24.2 points per game at Grand Rapids Christian High School and was a Michigan State basketball recruit before switching to Michigan football, was less open to the concept after missing all of last season due to injury.
“There’s a lot of 6-foot-3 guards out there in the country,” Harris said. “I just found a passion for football after my junior season, and from there I just wanted to play football and this is what I wanted to do.
“I didn’t get to play senior year of basketball because I enrolled early — it was a tough decision.”
Both Harris and Charlton continue to play pickup basketball in their spare time, and have close relationships with the basketball team. Beilein even joked about welcoming Charlton on the team on Michigan’s radio broadcast Saturday, noting that he saw the defensive end do a ‘360’ dunk in flip-flops when he recruited Levert.
“Coach Beilein, that’s my guy right there,” Charlton said. “I love those guys. Ever since they recruited Caris, I’ve been close with (the team). I helped Caris move in, we knew each other since preschool, so it’s a relationship we’ve always had.
“Growing up, we always wanted that dream, it used to be NBA dreams for both of us, now we have our different sports … I’m just happy he’s having the success he’s having.”
Harris and Charlton are happy with their decision to stay on the gridiron, and don’t plan on changing yet. But are they retired?
“I believe so,” Harris said with a smile.