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Posted on Tue, May 11, 2010 : 7 p.m.

Michigan basketball team picks up commitment from forward Colton Christian

By Michael Rothstein

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.

Christian picked Michigan over Penn State and California and joined forwards Evan Smotrycz and Jon Horford along with swingman Tim Hardaway Jr. in the Wolverines’ class of 2010.

“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.”

Michael Rothstein covers University of Michigan basketball for He can be reached at (734) 623-2558, by e-mail at or follow along on Twitter @mikerothstein



Fri, May 14, 2010 : 8:54 a.m.

its funny everyone wants the 5* recruits when those titles are nothing but someone elses opinion of what the player MAY turn out to be... look at the championship game how many 5* recruits played significant roles in that game, if im not mistaken maybe 1 (one of the plumlee brothers; i dont think singlar was a 5*, nolan smith wasnt as well) look at the two teams with the most all americans Kentucky and Kansas where were they, at home BEFORE the final four even was decided so there is the proof that having the best players doesnt always equate wins as well... the issue with U-M hoops is that they are in a precarious position, their recent reputation isnt strong enough for the all american recruits but now the 75-125 rated players are now opting to play for smaller schools where they are realizing they have a shot at exposure and a long tournament run (thanks to the northern iowas, gonzagas, butlers of the world) remember they did recruit summers, green, ju johnson, and even gordon heyward at butler... the guys just decided to go elsewhere I think more than anything chemistry is key, and thats what U-M sorely lacked last season but had the year they went to the tourney. Leadership is key and despite their lack of basketball skills the two seniors were leaders, whereas last year sims and manny were NOT. The younger guys deferred to manny and he just couldnt cut it (but its not an indictment against him, not everyone is cut out to be leaders) i remember the last time U-M got that high level talent, and just like with kentucky/kansas last year they didnt do much with it (for those who forget the 95/96 season when they had the national player of the year in jerod ward, mo taylor, traylor, willie mitchell, al white and a couple other high level players) lastly look at beilein former team WVU with some of his players still on the roster (who werent top level recruits either) they were able to make the final 4 due to the TEAM concept... if anything the one thing i do hope for u-m is a more tougher team, this soft play wont cut it


Wed, May 12, 2010 : 3:35 p.m.

The coach says he reminds him of Sam Young, sam webb said scouts he talked to say he reminds them of Joe Alexander. I'm hoping for more of a Young comparison as Young was a solid athlete and scorer at Pitt. Hoping this is a diamond in the rough but i doubt that he will play his first year.


Wed, May 12, 2010 : 1:19 p.m.

Good point, Engineer. Beilein absolutely hates talented players, or at least those that are regarded as such by other coaches and ranking organizations. When Beilein was recruiting Trey Zeigler and Casey Prather, he was really just doing this as a motivational device to get Josh Bartelstein to work harder in anticipation of his future starting role. Likewise, when Michael Gilchrist visited campus, Beilein was really just bringing him in to show others in the organization an example of the kind of one-and-done superstar that he absolutely does not want on the team. Beilein also hates tall players, but I'll save my thoughts for another comment.

A2 Rez

Wed, May 12, 2010 : 7:20 a.m.

Taking a recruit and his father to The Chop House for dinner? If nothing else, Colton knows the finest dining spots in Ann Arbor.


Wed, May 12, 2010 : 7:16 a.m.

Beilein will be long gone before this kid ever starts for U of M


Tue, May 11, 2010 : 9:53 p.m.

I will be glad to see him come here and play. When a player really wants to play height helps but so does desire, smarts and skill.


Tue, May 11, 2010 : 7:18 p.m.

One can only hope that Mr. Brandon moves to a staff that wants to and lands 5 star recruits with regularity. Michigan continues to not make the tourney despite JB having more than enough time to land 7 or 8 top recruits with the ability to take Michigan deep into the tourney. Instead we have one year in with one win and then nothing the next. I am sure next year the excuse will be we are young. Then the following we will hear how with the new practice facility better recruits will be just around the corner. This staff is raking in big bucks and delivering little. Time to cut our losses and move on.


Tue, May 11, 2010 : 6:50 p.m.

So... due to my own curiousity... I entered his name on Rivals website. Evidently he got offered by Tulane (where he committed/decommitted) and get this... APPALACHIAN STATE! He's a quality 2 star recruit. I'm guessing with a recruit like this in the fold... UM might fight for that coveted 4th place Big Ten finish that Rothstein is predicting for MSU. Tater... not sure this is what JB wants. I'm guessing it's more of what JB can actually get.


Tue, May 11, 2010 : 6:23 p.m.

I hope this kid ends up being a diamond in the rough. But, several people commenting make a point - Michigan needs to be getting more blue-chippers to return to the top of the Big Ten. Granted, Beilein is facing an uphill battle given Michigan's absense from the NCAA's for so many years. But, he needs to crank his recruiting up a level or two soon: particularly in finding bigger players inside.


Tue, May 11, 2010 : 6:17 p.m.

Not sure why Tater is bringing up the size of a team from 20 years ago. The college game has definitely evolved since then, many teams today play the equivalent of three guards, a wing player and a power forward as their starting five. How many NBA type centers have played in the Big 10 lately, other than the bust from OSU (Oden). I think Cotton is a good pickup, you don't usually get prime time players this late in the game. Besides, what blue chipper in his right mind would come to U-M right now?


Tue, May 11, 2010 : 2:44 p.m.

This is big news Rothstein? While State is picking up BLUE CHIPS, um deals with guys they beat out Montana, Sacred Heart and St. Anselm for? If you want to through Tulane in, feel free, but Tulane won, and only lost later because of coaching change. And this is big? UM needs real big names to stop being Weasels and again become wolverines. Thank god State ran out of spaces, that's the only reason Jon Horford isn't there. Him and Evan are the only big names we got this year.


Tue, May 11, 2010 : 1:41 p.m.

I apologize if I am underwhelmed by this announcement. It appears that Michigan beat out Montana, Sacred Heart, St. Anselm, and Tulane for Christian. This is the problem in a nutshell: we're beating out the Montanas and the Tulanes when we need to be beating out Ohio State and Michigan State. 13 and 10 from a guy who is 6-7? Unless he's playing against D-1 competition every night, these are average numbers for a guy that big and (supposedly) athletic. Sounds like a nice kid; won't get us to the tournament unless the field is expanded to include everyone.

Michael Rothstein

Tue, May 11, 2010 : 12:21 p.m.

Tater, When your tallest returning player who actually played in a game is 6-foot-5, 6-7 is height/length. Think Christian could end up being an underrated pickup for Michigan.