UPDATED: Michigan basketball team picks up commitment from forward Colton Christian
Colton Christian huddled with his father before dinner on Saturday at an Ann Arbor hotel. On his third official visit since de-committing from Tulane a month ago, Christian had just come from a meeting with Michigan basketball coach John Beilein.
Christian told his father that he’d commit to the Michigan basketball team before they left town.
Over steak dinners at The Chop House, Beilein continued the conversation started with the entire Michigan basketball staff Saturday afternoon. Beilein explained what he expected out of Christian if he came to Michigan.
Christian committed before dessert.
“I told them I could do all of that, and I could work hard, and that’s then when I committed,” Christian said.
Michigan is receiving a 6-foot-7, 220-pound forward who played high school basketball at Bellevue (Wash.) High School alongside Detlef Schrempf’s son and then played a post-graduate year at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia. Christian became available after Dave Dickerson and his staff left Tulane following the season. Dickerson now is an assistant at Ohio State.
“They are all great programs and academic schools but at the end of it I wanted somewhere where I could go for four years and that it was a good fit,” Christian said between workouts in San Francisco, where he has been training with former NBA coach Bob Hill and NBA Draft hopefuls for the past month. “When I took the visit to Michigan, at night on Saturday we were at dinner I was sold on it and I definitely wanted to be there.”
It isn’t the first time Beilein went to Hargrave for a player. Former West Virginia star Joe Alexander played at Hargrave and the Hargrave coach, Kevin Keatts, said Christian reminds him of one of Alexander’s teammates - former Pittsburgh forward Sam Young.
Young was a second-round pick in the 2009 NBA Draft.
“He’s got Sam Young qualities,” Keatts said. “At this stage, Sam Young played hard and everyone had a chance to see Sam play over the years and he had to be a little bit patient when he first got there.
“ I think (Christian’s) a guy that can come in because his body is a little bit more ready to play as a freshman. The difference with Sam Young is that when he went (to Pitt), he had guys (in front of him) who played a bunch of minutes. Colton will come into a little bit better situation.”
Michigan is in need of players with size. The Wolverines have no one on the roster who played college basketball over 6-foot-5. Blake McLimans and Jordan Morgan redshirted last year and DeShawn Sims, Zack Gibson and Anthony Wright all graduated.
Christian said Beilein told him his role as a freshman could be to guard an opponent’s forwards, rebound, box out and offensively play around the high post. According to a Michigan spokesperson, Beilein isn’t allowed to comment on Christian because of rules surrounding his national letter of intent.
Beilein’s description of what he is looking for out of Christian fits the Washington native’s game well. Both Keatts and Bellevue coach Chris O’Connor praised Christian’s rebounding ability after he averaged approximately 13 points and 9.5 rebounds at Hargrave last year.
“Really athletic,” O’Connor said. “6-foot-6, long. Fills the lanes really well, rebounds really well, can defend people on the interior and out on the perimeter. He can defend inside and out.”