Since arriving in Ann Arbor, Michigan basketball head coach Juwan Howard and his staff have been doing an excellent job recruiting five-star prospects. Here’s the latest.
Last night, yet another five-star prospect from the 2021 class dropped his narrowed list of preferred schools and including Michigan basketball. This time, it’s Matthew Cleveland, a SG/SF that plays for Pace Academy in Atlanta, GA. Cleveland’s hometown is Alpharetta, GA.
The Wolverines were named alongside Stanford, Kansas, NC State, and Florida State.
247 sports internal rankings have Matthew ranked 15th overall for the 2021 class, the second-best SG, and No. 2 from his home state of Georgia, with five-stars. The composite has Cleveland at 24th overall, the third-best SG, and No. 2 in GA with four-stars.
Rivals ranks Matthew 25th nationally and sixth at his position with four-stars. ESPN also has Matthew as a four-star, but a little farther down at 34th overall, ninth positionally, and second in-state.
Jerry Meyer from 247 sports provided the evaluation:
Good length for a wing scorer. An explosive athlete with top notch body control. Slasher who specializes in making tough shots. Can keep defense honest with long range shooting but needs to improve in that area. Handles well especially in half court. Not necessarily a playmaker for others. Great potential as a versatile defender. Top notch rebounder for his position.
Watching Cleveland at Nike’s The Opening, UMHoops Dylan Burkhart ($) offered this scouting report:
Playing at The Opening, a tournament sponsored by On The Radar Hoops, Cleveland averaged 32 points per game over the weekend. Cleveland is long and athletic on the wing and looked very comfortable finishing in transition, shooting over smaller defenders in the mid-range and sticking turnaround jumpers. He’s already ranked 24th nationally, per 247 Sports Composite, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Pace Academy wing sees his stock continue to rise this summer — even with limited evaluation opportunities.
Rivals got in on the action with Eric Bossi leading the pack with his enthusiastic review of Matthew’s game-time performance.
In my best Rick Flair voice, “Wooooohhhhhhh”, rising senior shooting guard Matthew Cleveland from Atlanta (Ga.) Pace Academy was something special during two games with the Atlanta Celtics.
I have seen Cleveland show flashes of brilliance in the past and he’s always been an athletic transition finisher. I have never seen him put it together in every aspect of the game like he did on Saturday in some high-level battles while he went for a combined 64 points in two games.
Currently ranked No. 25 nationally, Cleveland was hitting shots, getting to the rim and kept the same shot out of a cannon energy all day long in what I’m told was a very hot gym. I only wish I could have seen his performance in person because if the energy came through like that on a live stream, it must have been something else on site.
If this is what we can expect from Cleveland here on out, he could be one of the top two or three shooting guard prospects in the class of 2021 and a top 10-15 player nationally.
Cleveland has a whole heap of high-level offers with Alabama, Auburn, California, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Kansas, Michigan, Stanford and many others. If I was a coach at a top 10 program who hasn’t offered Cleveland yet, I’d be wanting to get a look at his game’s from the weekend because he sure looks like he can play anywhere in America.
Not the only five-star
Matthew Cleveland wasn’t the only five-star to include Michigan basketball in their top universities this month. Chet Holmgren, the seven-foot center that can play any position on the court (think taller Kevin Durant), also sees Ann Arbor as a potential landing spot when he finally decides where he will attend.
Chet is ranked second in the class and is known to make college coaches and scouts drool when they see him play in person. Holmgren should add a few pounds before he joins the NCAA – if that ever happens – but even if he were to reclassify to the 2020 class, he would be the best player on any court.
Five-star basketball players have left a sour taste in the mouths of Michigan basketball fans with the offseason they experienced. However, that should only limit the excitement and expectations the next time a top 15 kid is predicted to join the Wolverines. It shouldn’t raise alarms and cause fans to send hate mail to Juwan for continuing the practice of targeting the best possible players available.
With that said, Howard and his staff are doing a phenomenal job obtaining the time and attention from several five-stars, not just the two mentioned. He’s casting a wide net and hoping for a bite, and so far, many have responded positively.
It may be too early to tell if Cleveland or Holmgren will ever play a minute of college basketball, but if they do, it could be in the maize and blue.