Eron Harris, who is fron Indianapolis, was West Virginia's No. 2 scorer in 2013-14 with a 17.2 average. (Andrew Ferguson / Associated Press)
Ann Arbor — Michigan had a big weekend, hosting several high-level recruits at its College Practice Camp at the Crisler Center on Saturday. U-M coaches had a chance to watch and evaluate some of their high-profile targets and make an impression on some others.
Saturday’s workouts featured five-on-five mini-games with top 2016 point guards Derryck Thornton Jr. (Las Vegas) and Cassius Winston (U-D Jesuit), and wings Tyus Battle (Newark, N.J) and Seth Towns (Columbus, Ohio), among many others.
The Wolverines also were set to have a visit from West Virginia transfer Eron Harris, who will have to sit out next season because of NCAA transfer rules. Harris reportedly had narrowed his list to three schools — Michigan, Purdue and Michigan State — but didn’t make his visit U-M over the weekend.
Harris, a 6-foot-3 guard who averaged 17.2 points and 3.5 rebounds in his sophomore season at West Virginia, still will have two years of eligibility remaining.
Several reports, including one from ESPN.com’s Jeff Goodman, pegged Harris to be heading to Michigan State and possibly announcing his commitment on Monday.
All signs pointing to West Va transfer Eron Harris heading to Michigan State. Did not visit Michigan this weekend. Also considering Purdue.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) June 8, 2014
Coach John Beilein — who coached at West Virginia before coming to Michigan in 2007 — didn’t comment specifically on Harris, but with one scholarship remaining, he’s keeping his options open for a transfer player or another prospect.
“It’s always open; it’s open until the last day they’ll admit somebody here,” Beilein said last week. “We’ll wait and see how it all goes.”
Among the head-to-head battles, the one between Thornton and Winston was one of the most intriguing.
Thornton, a 6-2 guard from California who plays at Findlay Prep in Las Vegas, is rated among the best point guards in the ’16 class and is ranked No. 32 overall by ESPN. He’s being heavily recruited by several top-tier schools including Arizona, Connecticut, Kentucky, Southern California, UNLV and San Diego State.
Winston, well known in the Detroit area, helped U-D Jesuit get to the Class A semifinals last season and continues to develop and improve on the national scene.
The two went back and forth, scoring and dishing to teammates for easy baskets, showing an affinity for handling the ball and creating better shots. Though there wasn’t a clear winner, the two seem to be battling for one scholarship, but both could be offered in the coming weeks.
Back to Vegas! ?? Had a great time in Michigan!— Derryck Thornton II (@DerryckThornton) June 8, 2014
Beilein is looking forward to the summer and getting to work with the incoming freshman class of six, including Kam Chatman, D.J. Wilson, Ricky Doyle, Austin Hatch, Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rakhman and Aubrey Dawkins.
Although Doyle already is on campus and working with strength coach Jon Sanderson, the rest of the freshmen won’t arrive until June 20 and can begin workouts the following week.
“It’s like Christmas when we go out there the first couple days of just teaching the basics of college basketball,” Beilein said. “Maybe it’s unique to Michigan and some of the things we do. At the same time, we teach them Michigan basketball and they’re even learning parts of the offense.”
It’s a new-look Michigan squad, with veterans Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III, Mitch McGary, Jordan Morgan and Jon Horford gone from last season.
“Team 99 is going to be very different because of the five losses,” Beilein said. “That’s five guys that played in every game or part of every practice. It’s not starting over but the foundation is there, and putting the bricks back in is not going to be as hard as seven years ago."