Michigan Wolverines: Mark Donnal

WolverineNation Mailbag 

January, 9, 2013
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Football season might have ended, but that doesn’t mean your questions have stopped.

In this week’s WolverineNation mailbag, we look back at the Michigan season that was, take a glance at the future and also discuss some basketball, where the Wolverines are the No. 2 team in the nation.

Have questions for the Mailbag? Email Chantel Jennings at jenningsespn@gmail.com or tweet at her @chanteljennings.

Watch: Telep likes U-M class 

November, 27, 2012

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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.

Zak Irvin makes splash in July 

August, 3, 2012
After going to more than 24 basketball tournaments and showcases in July, ESPN.com's Paul Biancardi named 2013 Michigan shooting guard commit Zak Irvin as the best player he saw in this week's recruiting roundtable.

"He has a combination of athletic ability, skill and feel for the game that helped him dominate the action," Biancardi wrote. "But he utilizes his different skill sets to operate within the flow of the game."

Irvin is ranked No. 60 in the ESPN100. The 6-foot-6 Irvin is known for his deadly shooting stroke from the wing and backs that up with his athleticism.

With Irvin and fellow commits Derrick Walton, Mark Donnal and Austin Hatch, the Wolverines' recruiting class currently sits at No. 3 in the 2013 rankings, behind only Florida and North Carolina.

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Michigan continued with its month-long variety of basketball camps this weekend -- with Friday being the first day of the team camp.

While not as intense or instructional as the college practice camp earlier this month, Michigan did have a few players in with their teams who have either already committed to the school or are a high-profile recruits.

Teams -- including one from Alaska -- competed in pool play Friday and will play in a single-elimination tournament Saturday.

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Michigan has No. 2 hoops class 

June, 13, 2012
At the adidas Nations training camp in Chicago this weekend, Zak Irvin (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern) received a glimpse of his future and it had nothing to do with the elite players he faced.

It had everything to do with one of his teammates.

For years, Irvin and Derrick Walton (Harper Woods, Mich./Chandler Park Academy) have competed against each other, running into each other on courts across the country during summer basketball. But last weekend in Chicago, the two played together and Irvin received a feel for what could come at Michigan.

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Derrick Walton Jr. found out through a vibration from his phone. Sitting in class at Chandler Park Academy on Thursday afternoon, he quickly checked the message, clicked the link and found out the work he put in over the past two seasons had panned out.

He was the No. 39 player in the country in the initial 2013 ESPN 100 and the No. 9 point guard in the nation, rocketing up 11 slots in the point guard rankings and entering the national conversation for the first time.

“A couple of my teammates were in class and they were wondering what I was looking at,” Walton Jr. said Thursday afternoon. “When I told them, they were happy for me.”

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The Michigan theme of recruiting basketball players who are fast risers in the rankings has continued.

Last season, the Wolverines had no players in the Super 60 for the Class of 2013. Now, with the ESPN 100 released Thursday, three of Michigan’s four verbal commits have made the rankings, along with a fourth player the school is targeting.

The Michigan portion of the list is headlined by point guard Derrick Walton (Detroit/Chandler Park Academy), who went from unrated in the Super 60 to the No. 39 player in the nation in the initial ESPN 100.

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John Beilein always wants to be in the Big Ten’s footprint.

As the sixth-year Michigan basketball coach discussed his recruiting philosophy during a wide-ranging conversation with reporters Thursday, he explained the states comprising the Big Ten will often be a focus of his recruiting.

“The footprint of where we are recruiting is still the Big Ten,” Beilein said. “Neighboring states are always good.”

Those neighboring states will make up much of the Michigan roster the next two seasons.

(Read full post)

WolverineNation Mailbag 

May, 9, 2012
John Beilein AP Photo/Tony DingJohn Beilein hopes to duplicate recent recruiting success by inking more players in the early period.
We're now into the months where football and basketball recruiting take precedence (though that might be true for every month depending on who you are), but we'll be here all summer to keep answering your questions and prompting discussion, whether that be about recruiting, football, basketball or desserts.

We love hearing from our readers and next week Mike will handle the mailbag, so email your questions to him at michaelrothsteinespn@gmail.com or tweet them to @mikerothstein.

But now, on to this week's questions…

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Michigan C Cites Concussions In Decision To Quit
Joe Schad discusses how concussions and a concern over long-term health have helped Michigan center Jack Miller decide not to play football his senior year.