Michigan is still in the mix for some top talent, including a 2020 who might reclassify … and its pledges are playing well, too.
Here’s a look at 2019 offerees and signees and where things stand …
Kessler had a good holiday tournament recently. He went 10 for 21 from the field, including 1 for 7 from behind the arc, in a 61-55 loss to Oak Ridge and finished with 25 points and 9 rebounds in the opener, followed by 18 points and 9 rebounds in a Dec. 28 win over Louisville Ballard.
Interestingly, Kessler has said he could reclassify to 2019, and Duke recently offered. Virginia, Tennessee and Auburn are in the mix, and his dad and uncle both played at Georgia. The Kessler name is big in Athens.
A recent scouting report from VandySports.com: WALKER KESSLER
Kessler holds a Michigan offer and had a great visit in the fall. Vanderbilt is high on his list, but U-M is right there in the mix.
Morton, U-M’s other 2019 offeree, scored 26 of his game-high 33 points in the second half as host Butler defeated North Allegheny, 72-65, in the teams’ Section 1-6A opener.
With NA’s defense focused on Morton, the star junior didn’t attempt a single shot in the first quarter.
Confronted at times by two or three defenders, the 6-foot-6 point guard showed his patience and passed the ball. But once his teammates started making 3s — including five by sophomore Mattix Clement — that stretched NA’s defense just enough for Morton to take over.
His first basket was a dunk about three minutes into the second quarter.
“He makes that whole team better,” North Allegheny coach Keith Nofts said. “If you take him out of the lineup, they’re a very average team. With him in the lineup, they can beat anybody.”
Morton went 8 for 9 shooting in the final three quarters with three 3-pointers, and converted 14 of 16 attempts from the foul line in another dominant performance for the major college recruit. Twice he scored driving layups in the fourth quarter, drew a foul and added the free throw.
Morton finished with 27 points.
Aliquippa Quips came within seconds of knocking off highly-regarded Butler in the opening round of the C.J. Betters RBA Holiday Classic, Dec. 27, at CCBC’s Golden Dome.
Butler star Ethan Morton sank a pair of free throws to put Butler up 82-80 with less than 5 seconds left in the game, and the Golden Tornadoes held on for an 84-80 win in the Blue Division opener.
Finally, Butler lost to Pittsburgh City League power Allderdice in the Blue Division title game Dec. 28. Allderice held Morton to a season-low 14.
On the signees and pledges:
Michigan’s signees and commitments continue to play well, starting with Toledo (Ohio) 2020’s Zeb Jackson. Jackson recently scored his 1,000th career point.
Jackson is averaging 23.1 points per game. He scored 21 points to lead the host Hawks to a non-league victory over Edon, 71-35 Dec. 8. He notched 20 points and 16 rebounds in a 65-56 win over Toledo Christian Dec. 15, followed up with 27 points in a 95-38 win over Northwood and scored 30 points in his team’s first loss of the season, 76-74 (OT) to Southview Dec. 28.
Wilson is averaging 20.1 points per game for 16-4 Guyer, shooting 41 percent from three-point range. He put up 13 points in the first quarter and finished with 30 points in the game to lead the No. 1 team in Texas Class 6A to a 90-76 win over 5A No. 6 Wagner at the Whataburger Holiday Tournament.
Wilson has been outstanding offensively all year.
Guyer lost 64-53 to Duncanville in the title game Dec. 29. Wilson scored 23 points to lead his team.
Bajema is averaging 21points, 11.5 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game. He’s gained 16 pounds since summer.
Bajema recently scored 37 points to lead Class 1A Lynden Christian to a win over 4A Glacier Peak, 66-60.
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