Michigan Basketball has legit shot at 2021 5-star Peyton Watson

Michigan basketball recently offered 2021 five-star Peyton Watson and here’s a look at the Wolverines chances.

Despite getting burned in the 2020 recruiting cycle by five-star recruits, Michigan basketball coach Juwan Howard isn’t shying away from them in 2021 and he shouldn’t.

Over the past decade, Michigan basketball has become one of the top programs in the country, both in terms of winning and sending talent to the NBA. This started under John Beilein and after a solid start last year, it looks to continue under Howard.

One thing that had fans excited about Howard’s hiring is his potential as a recruiter. He did land a commitment from five-star Isaiah Todd, who eventually decided to go pro instead.

But Howard offered another five-star this week, which was the 10th of the 2021 class in small forward Peyton Watson.

Watson is a 6-foot-7 small forward who ranks 18th overall in the 247 sports composite rankings but he is also listed as the No. 10 player in the class by 247 sports own rankings.

Watching his highlights, Watson is extremely athletic. He’s an ideal fit on the wing as a three and he’s a very active defender, with a raw but intriguing offensive skill set. His length and thin frame remind me a bit of former Michigan basketball star Caris LeVert, who came to the Wolverines as a raw talent before getting picked in the first-round of the NBA draft.

Yet, Watson likely wouldn’t play for Michigan for more than a year. He’s viewed as a future first-rounder and here’s his scouting report from 247 sports:

“Small forward with good size, long arms and plus athleticism. Still very physically immature; plenty of room to gain strength in coming years. Has been on significant upwards trajectory since start of high school career. Extremely versatile defender due to size, length, athleticism, instincts and motor. Nice feel as rebounder and weak side shot blocker. Offense has continuously improved due to progress with ball skills and jumper. Easy high major starter who should be a first round pick if he continues to improve at same rate.”

Looking at Watson’s offer sheet also makes you think Michigan has a legitimate shot at landing him. The Long Beach, California prospect has strong interest from Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas, Georgetown, along with USC, Texas Tech and Oregon.

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The good news for Michigan is that the normal blue bloods such as Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky haven’t really gotten involved yet, which gives Howard a legitimate opening. There doesn’t seem to be a favorite at this point and that’s a golden opportunity for the Wolverines.