Grand Ledge forward Jon Horford keeps Michigan among his leaders
JACKSON - Jon Horford towered at least 5 inches over every Jackson High School basketball player on Friday night. There were times he didn’t need to jump to grab a rebound.
Horford’s team, Grand Ledge, lost to Jackson, 65-64 on Friday, but one thing was obvious - Horford has a chance to become a quality Division I player.
The Michigan basketball team has shown interest in Horford, the younger brother of current Atlanta Hawk Al Horford, and could desperately use his height - 6-foot-9 - to complement the array of guards coach John Beilein has recruited.
“Michigan and Providence are probably the two following me the closest,” Horford said. “I show them a lot of respect because they show me respect.”
Beilein, who can’t discuss Horford or any unsigned recruit due to NCAA regulations, has mentioned often this season Michigan’s need to recruit size. He’ll lose his two biggest post players, DeShawn Sims and Zack Gibson, after the season.
“It hasn’t changed,” Beilein said. “We’ve always been looking for that.”
Horford, though, isn’t planning on making a decision soon. He knows he can’t sign until April.
As Providence and Michigan have paid the most attention to him, Horford said there is another thing that might factor into his decision - how far from home he’ll be.
“I’d be lying if I didn’t say it made a difference because all my friends and family are around here, and it means a lot to me to be around people that I care about,” Horford said. “It’ll definitely affect my decision.”
One thing clear about Horford’s game is his defensive ability. He has good court awareness and is able to block shots cleanly - he had eight on Friday night against Jackson.
Even Horford recognizes that defense is what he does best.
“My shot blocking and rebounding,” Horford said. “I try to get the rebounds and score and do the little things. The little things are my strength.”
In the 2-3 zone Grand Ledge played the majority of Friday night, Horford didn’t have to do much and sometimes got caught looking around, but the timing on his blocks was obvious.
He scored 27 points and had 21 rebounds and usually found his way into the paint early in a possession. He also helped on Grand Ledge’s press break.
Horford was double-teamed on almost every possession, but showed the ability to kick out to open shooters and cutters as well as a good spin move to get to the glass. The three-star recruit by Rivals.com could back down defenders dribbling with both his right and left hand.
He did cite, though, his ballhandling and shooting as parts of his game that need to improve before he enters college next year.
Yet Horford’s biggest concern now is his strength. He entered the season weighing 225 and has lost weight during the season. His body has room to grow as it looks similar to Al Horford’s frame.
“I have to get that weight back up,” Horford said. “I’m trying to be at least 230 when I go to college.
“During the season, it’s hard to keep up the weight, real hard no matter how much you eat because you’re doing so much running.”
He’s got time, though. He doesn’t need to pick a college until April - and then he won’t play a game after that until at least the fall.