Hatch decision opens spot for recruit at Michigan

David Goricki
The Detroit News
Jaylen Brown

Ann Arbor -- Austin Hatch's decision to end his Michigan playing career has a big impact on the Wolverines' roster.

Hatch's athletic scholarship can now be offered to a 2015 recruit.

Jaylen Brown, a 6-7 small forward from Marietta, Ga., is being pursued by Michigan. He is ranked the No. 1 player overall in the nation for 2015 by Scout.com.

Another player in coach John Beilein's sights is Kenny Williams, a 6-3 shooting guard from Chesterfield, Va.

Brown reportedly dropped UCLA from consideration on Monday, leaving Michigan, California, North Carolina, Kentucky, Kansas and Georgia Tech as the schools still on his list.

Though Brown has not set a date on which he will announce his decision, there are multiple reports suggesting that decision will come soon. Throughout the recruiting process, Brown has played things very close to the vest, so there are no known leaders in the race for his services.

Williams had been pledged to VCU but reopened his recruitment when coach Shaka Smart left for Texas.

"We're jumping through hoops in some areas, but we still have some opportunities for scholarships for next year," said Beilein.

Max Bielfeldt has one year of eligibility remaining but is likely to spend that at another school as a graduate transfer. Bielfeldt was released from his athletic scholarship by Michigan last week.

"Max is exploring his options," Beilein said Monday. "I believe in a few more weeks we should have answers to future roster (spots), but I can't tell you anything more right now."

Bielfeldt's roster spot presumably will be filled by German forward Moritz Wagner, who made a verbal commitment to the Wolverines earlier this month.

Beilein would have had one other open scholarship had guard Caris LeVert decided to enter the NBA draft; he will return to Michigan.

"I think his leadership takes an even bigger role right now, and he's got more respect than ever from his teammates," said Beilein Monday of LeVert. "He and Spike (Albrecht) -- there will be no doubt who the captains are, who the leaders are, and now they have stronger secondary leadership from Derrick (Walton Jr.) and Zak (Irvin) because they have been around a little bit and know the Big Ten.

"So that's the component besides the buckets (LeVert) gets us and the plays he makes -- there's a presence that is now all through the locker room. And, I think as everyone realizes what Spike went through last year playing injured the whole year, there's a lot of respect for those two."

Beilein expects Albrecht to be fully recovered from hip surgery.

With Bielfeldt out of the picture, 6-9, 240-pound Mark Donnal and 6-9, 220-pound D.J. Wilson will be called upon to give 6-10, 245-pound Ricky Doyle some support inside.

Beilein also expects 6-8, 190-pound Duncan Robinson, who will be a junior next season, to contribute.

"He could play anywhere but the point or 5," said Beilein of Robinson, a transfer from Williams College. "We'll be checking the progress of everybody over the summer and see how they progress before we start slotting people in."