Michigan Wolverines: Keita Bates-Diop

Zak IrvinCourtesy of David DixonZak Irvin's outstanding play on the summer circuit vaulted him 39 spots in the latest rankings.
Zak Irvin said before the July recruiting period began that he wanted to become more than a shooter, to work on his ability to get to the basket. He wanted to round out as much of his game as possible before his senior season, including working with trainer Shon Bolden and some NBA players to pick up pointers.

That work paid off for the Fishers, Ind.. native during July and now in August as well. Irvin became one of the biggest risers in the new 2013 ESPN 100 rankings, leaping from No. 60 in June all the way up to No. 21 in August.

Irvin, Derrick Walton Jr. (Harper Woods, Mich./Chandler Park Academy), Mark Donnal (Whitehouse, Ohio/Anthony Wayne) and Austin Hatch (Fort Wayne, Ind./Canterbury) comprise the No. 2 class in the country in ESPN.com’s newest team rankings for the Class of 2013, trailing only Florida.

Irvin’s big individual move coincided with a summer where he impressed at every tournament he played in throughout July, vaulting him into being the No. 5 small forward in his class entering his senior season at Hamilton Southeastern.

If Irvin’s new ranking holds, he would be Michigan’s second highest-rated commit since ESPN.com first started doing player rankings in 2007. Last season, Glenn Robinson III finished his ascent as the No. 18 player in the country. At his peak last season, forward Mitch McGary was the No. 2 player in the country, but he was No. 27 in the final rankings.

Irvin wasn’t the only Michigan commit to make a move.

Point guard Derrick Walton (Harper Woods, Mich./Chandler Park Academy) also made a jump from No. 40 in the May rankings up to No. 32. He pushed his way up the point guard rankings as well, moving from No. 9 point to No. 5.

Donnal, the third commit in the Wolverines’ 2013 class in the ESPN 100, dropped from No. 64 to No. 97, but he still gives Michigan three players in the ESPN 100. He is rated the No. 24 power forward in the country.

While Michigan has no 2014 commits, three of the players it has offered are in the ESPN Super 60, led by shooting guard Devin Booker (Moss Point, Miss./Moss Point), who checks in at No. 21, moving up slightly from his No. 23 ranking in May. Forward Keita Bates-Diop (Bloomington, Ill./University) moved up from No. 43 to No. 30 and swingman Trevon Bluiett (Indianapolis/Park Tudor) entered the rankings at No. 50.

More impressively, Booker is considered the No. 2 shooting guard in his class, behind only Rashad Vaughn. Bates-Diop is ranked as the No. 5 power forward and Bluiett as the No. 17 small forward.
As Michigan basketball coach John Beilein and his staff return to the road for July's second evaluation period, he might not be able to talk with recruits but he has noticed a change.

Winning, facilities and renewed name recognition can do that.

“There’s been really positive feedback and people have great confidence we are heading in the right direction," Beilein said. "This facility and our success over the past couple of years helps that.”
Keita Bates-Diop (Bloomington, Ill./University) woke up this morning to about 20 texts from various college coaches on his phone.

Soon after, Bates-Diop also received a phone call from the Michigan coaching staff, which extended an offer to the No. 44 prospect in the Class of 2014.

“I’m humbled by it and thankful for it,” Bates-Diop said Friday. “Knowing that I have it does give me a little excitement.”

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Impressions from U-M hoops camp 

June, 9, 2012
The future, kind of, showed up at Michigan on Saturday.

Some of the Wolverines’ top future targets as well as their verbal commitments for the Class of 2013 had other things on their schedule this weekend. But other potential prospects showed up at the Player Development Center in Ann Arbor for the one-day camp to try and improve themselves while attempting to impress Michigan’s coaching staff during the College Practice Camp.

Included were some standouts and players fighting for a chance to pick up a scholarship from the Wolverines. Michigan will start offering Class of 2014 prospects on Friday.

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. -- He was almost forgotten heading into last spring, another player on a summer basketball team pushed down the bench in an environment where starters play a lot of minutes and every possession is a chance to be noticed.

Slowly, though, Amanze Egekeze (Lake in the Hills, Ill./Huntley) started to find himself even though he was the third man off the bench for the Illinois Wolves when he started playing summer basketball with the team last season. The aggressiveness Egekeze needed at the time was there, but the skills he had to have were still raw.

So he worked and he soon realized if he pushed enough, he could play basketball in college.

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Michigan coach John Beilein won’t hand out offers for the Class of 2014 until June 15, but some of the players he and his staff are looking at are starting to be recognized.

Four Michigan potential targets made the 2014 ESPN Super 60, led by guard Devin Booker (Moss Point, Miss./Moss Point), rated as the No. 24 player in the nation.

The son of former professional basketball player Melvin Booker is someone the Wolverines have paid a lot of attention to in this class. But he’s not the only one.

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Several talented basketball players have graduated from the Illinois Wolves AAU program, including Northwestern point guard Dave Sobolewski and former Ohio State standout Evan Turner.

And there's a current player on the 16U team that might be the next big thing in the Big Ten -- Keita Bates-Diop (Bloomington, Ill./University High School).

Bates-Diop is just in his second year with the Wolves, but according to program director and 17U coach Mike Mullins, Bates-Diop represents what is best about the Wolves.

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One of the prospects receiving the most attention from the Class of 2014 from Michigan basketball is forward Keita Bates-Diop (Bloomington, Ill./University), who played at the Run-N-Slam in Fort Wayne, Ind., this weekend with the Illinois Wolves.

Caught a couple of his games -- we spoke with him earlier this week for the actual story -- and here are some things that stood out about his game. He hopes to be one of the players who receives an offer from Michigan when the Wolverines start giving them out to Class of 2014 players in mid-June.

  • For his size -- 6-foot-7 -- he has really nice touch and a high release point. He also is very long, which makes it very hard for guys who would be guarding him block or alter his shot. Combine that with a good vertical and he has a great outside presence.
  • On his shot, he has great elevation and good range. He was able to hit shots coming off screens, stepping in on the trail in the offense and also was able to create his own shot when necessary.

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