- Allison Farrand/Daily
By Lev Facher, Managing Editor
Published May 1, 2015
Jaylen Brown, the nation’s top overall recruit, committed to California on Friday night, dashing the Michigan men’s basketball fanbase’s dreams of the 6-foot-7 forward leading the Wolverines back to NCAA Tournament glory.
Brown’s commitment was initially reported by Evan Daniels of Scout.com.
With four-star guard Kenny Williams reported to no longer be considering the Wolverines, Brown’s commitment to the Golden Bears likely puts an end to Michigan coach John Beilein’s recruiting for the Class of 2015.
The Wolverines hold only one pledge for 2015-16 — that of German prospect Moritz Wagner, a 6-foot-10 forward from Berlin.
While Brown could have slotted into Michigan’s lineup at either forward position, there’s still intrigue on the wings for the Wolverines.
Though expectations for Wagner remain unclear, rising sophomore D.J. Wilson will return from a leg injury and could receive substantial minutes at the ‘4,’ and rising junior Zak Irvin likely has a firm lock on the ‘3’ position. Rising sophomore Kameron Chatman showed flashes of potential in the frontcourt late in the season that could translate into an increased role to start 2015-16.
Brown’s decision came on the heels of Michigan’s announcement that rising sophomore guard Austin Hatch’s scholarship was being reclassified as medically exempt, meaning it no longer counted against the program’s scholarship quota of 13.
As it stands now, the Wolverines will carry just 12 scholarship players during the 2015-16 season, either freeing Beilein to offer the last one to one of Michigan’s two walk-ons, Sean Lonergan or Andrew Dakich. Alternatively, Beilein could simply pursue a larger class for 2016-17. Including the spot that remains open for next season, Beilein can expect at least three scholarship spots to be available — more if players transfer or leave school early to enter the NBA Draft.