The 2015-16 campaign hasn’t yet tipped off, but the wheels are already in motion for the beginning of the Michigan men’s basketball team’s 2016-17 season. Four recruits were officially introduced Wednesday as official additions to the Wolverines’ roster next year: Ibi Watson, Xavier Simpson, Jon Teske and Austin Davis.
“All four of these young men are a great fit for Michigan Basketball both academically and athletically,” said Michigan coach John Beilein said in a statement. “They are hardworking and high-achieving kids who come from good families and really love the game. We are excited to see the potential of this class and know they have the capabilities to help us compete and win future Big Ten championships.”
Among the class’ most notable attributes is its frontcourt height. Teske, a native of Medina, Ohio, stands 7 feet tall, and is, in Beilein’s words, “a true rim protector with his shot-blocking ability.”
Teske averaged 12.1 points and 9.0 rebounds per game in his junior season at Medina (Ohio) High School.
“He is an excellent shooter as well as a passer,” Beilein said. “As he gains upper-body strength and develops physically, his game will continue to mature, and he will be able to compete and be successful as a Big Ten center.”
Davis, meanwhile, stands 6-foot-10. Michigan’s lone in-state recruit, he led Onsted High School’s charge to a 19-5 regular-season record, averaging 26.2 points and 17.3 rebounds per game.
Beilein noted in the release that Davis is young for his class, having turned 17 in July, and it’s likely there’s still room for the lengthy forward to grow into his 7-foot-2 wingspan.
Watson, meanwhile, averaged 19.0 points per game at Caris LeVert’s alma mater, Pickerington (Ohio) Central High School in 2014-15. Beilein praised the 6-foot-5 forward’s passing ability, athleticism and overall upside in the release.
Xavier Simpson, a 6-foot guard, rounds out the Wolverines’ class. He averaged 19.8 points per game last season playing under his father, Quincy Simpson, at Lima (Ohio) Senior High School.
Beilein, himself no stranger to the experience of coaching his son, noted his appreciation for the family ties.
“Being the son of a coach, he has a tremendous basketball IQ and will do whatever it takes to win, whether that is scoring, diving for the loose ball or just finding the open man,” Beilein said.
Despite the obvious upsides of Beilein’s incoming class, as things currently stand, scholarship math appears to set Michigan up for attrition.
Senior guards Caris LeVert and Spike Albrecht are set to graduate after this season, and Michigan’s roster currently boasts 12 scholarship players, one below the NCAA limit. The four-player class therefore puts the Wolverines over their scholarship limit by one next season, a likely indication the program expects to lose at least one scholarship player either to transfer or the NBA Draft this offseason.