While the spring signing period for the Class of 2012 is starting to come to a close, interest from Michigan in one prospect back on the board is starting to intensify.
Guard Caris LeVert (Pickerington, Ohio/Pickerington Central) was initially committed to Ohio, but LeVert asked for a release from his Letter of Intent after the Bobcats had a coaching change from John Groce to Jim Christian. He received it, and now Michigan has shown interest.
“He wanted a different environment academically,” Pickerington Central coach Jerome Francis said. “We were very fortunate to win the state and as we moved along our state title run our program got a lot more publicity. As far as central Ohio is concerned, having Trey Burke on your team keeps big blue nation in central Ohio.”
When Michigan received more available scholarships due to the transfers of Evan Smotrycz, Carlton Brundidge and Colton Christian, the Wolverines had something to offer. After LeVert was released from his commitment to Ohio, Michigan showed more interest and Francis said the school requested the paperwork necessary to set up a visit for LeVert.
It is an ongoing process, he said, one he hopes is resolved by the end of the week.
Michigan is likely interested in LeVert because he is a scorer. Francis said his nickname in Pickerington is ‘Baby Durant,’ and while the 6-foot-4 1/2 guard is much shorter than the 6-10 Oklahoma City Thunder star, their games are somewhat similar.
“He can play multiple positions on the perimeter as well as on the wing,” Francis said. “Very explosive scorer, can score on the bounce with the ball, can score on the catch, can score in transition and score off rebounds and passing, cutting.
“Just a dynamic scorer. A lot of lift, lot of range on his jump shot. He can shoot mid-range, on the perimeter, working on his back to the basket. Just an outstanding scorer.”
LeVert averaged around 22 points a game this season for Pickerington Central, which won the Division I state title in Ohio this year. One of his teammates was junior Taco Charlton, who is verbally committed to the Michigan for football in the Class of 2013.
So there is familiarity with Michigan already for LeVert. Besides Charlton, he also knows Burke and Michigan defensive back Tamani Carter.
Francis said other Big Ten schools and some schools in the Atlantic 10 have expressed interest in the late-rising LeVert. Assistant coach Bacari Alexander and head coach John Beilein have been the ones reaching out to LeVert and Francis.
“It’s in the process now as far as obtaining the paperwork and all the information that is needing for him to take an opportunity to visit the school,” Francis said. “We are in a premature stage for that but we are hoping before the week is out for coach Beilein and his staff to offer him a visit.”