Mitch McGary was the last domino to fall, the final starter from the 2013 National Championship game to declare for the draft early. After his press conference, Michigan’s body count was five. Jordan Morgan graduated, Jon Horford transferred to Florida, and sophomore trio of McGary, Nik Stauskas, and Glenn Robinson III were headed to the NBA Draft.
Like years past, John Beilein had to pick up his recruiting late in the game. Spike Albrecht was signed as protection in case Trey Burke didn’t return for his sophomore season, an offer Albrecht jumped on, seeing as his only other offer was Appalachian State.
Similarly, Caris LeVert would have had been playing basketball for the Ohio Bobcats if Beilein had not made a late push.
So Beilein’s had some success picking up players when recruiting is supposed to be wrapping up.
Things were no different this year, with Beilein quickly signing Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman after he learned he would lose some players to the draft. However, Beilein still had two scholarships left. One he would bank for the upcoming year, and the other he would use on Aubrey Dawkins.
Dawkins is a two or three star prospect, depending on your choice of recruiting site. The 6’4 guard is originally from California. He played basketball in Palo Alto before taking a prep year in New Hampshire. Dawkins chose Michigan over Dayton, the Cinderella Elite Eight team.
Dawkins comes from good basketball stock, as his father Johnny played basketball at Duke and in the NBA. Johnny now coaches at Stanford, but his son never gave their program a serious look. He chose Michigan over Dayton because he felt a Michigan degree held more weight, though with Beilein’s ability to develop low-rated prospects, Dawkins may find himself not needing the degree–not until his NBA career wraps up anyway.
It’s not really clear why he is rated so low, having played very well in a competitive league in California and in the best prep league at his New Hampshire school. ESPN said he has an “ideal frame for the scoring guard position with excellent length.” They also noted his ability to blow by defenders.
However, they noted that he needed to improve both his jumper and his handle. A quote from Dawkins himself may illuminate his ranking: “I think my game is an all around game. I don’t think I do anything especially good. I do a lot of things well.” The key for many players is having one thing that they excel at, so it will be interesting to see how Dawkins develops. He looks to have a high basketball IQ, and being a coach’s son always helps players know the X and Os of the game.
One thing the kid appears to be selling himself short on is dunking. Dawkins has athleticism in buckets and is able to throw down some dunks worthy of GR3. Windmills, double clutch reverse dunks, and alley-oops are all in his wheelhouse. He doesn’t shy away from contact either, with a couple of poster dunks in his highlight videos.
His tapes also show a smooth jumper that often came off the dribble. Working with LaVall Jordan and Beilein will help make that a more consistent feature of his game, so worries about ups-and-downs with shots should be erased by the time he hits his second year.
His playing time is something up for speculation. Michigan’s starting five will most likely feature Derrick Walton, Caris LeVert, Zak Irvin, Kameron Chatman, and Mark Donnal. Albrecht will be the featured back up guard, with Ricky Doyle and DJ Wilson picking up some minutes at the four. It seems like Abdur-Rahkman or Dawkins may take a redshirt, unless they both turn out to be too good to keep on the bench. Dawkins may have the edge on Abdur-Rahkman right now, but summer training will show who is ready to play.
Whatever the playing time shakes out to be, look for Dawkins to be yet another diamond in the rough for the Michigan Wolverines.
For those looking to check out Dawkins’ game, YouTube his mixtape on “gonnaballtillidie.”