January 15, 2013

Borton's Blog: The Dakich report

ESPN college basketball analyst Dan Dakich finds himself qualified to comment on Michigan basketball at many levels. He's broadcast a number of U-M games, plus he has a special connection to a future Wolverine.

Mark Donnal, the 6-9, 200-pound power forward out of Wayne High School in Monclavia, Ohio, plays AAU ball for Dakich. While Dakich acknowledges Donnal has some development ahead of him, he's convinced the Rivals.com four-star is going to be another good one for John Beilein.

"They're getting a big kid that can really shoot the ball and is really tough," Dakich said. "He's got a little ways to go in terms of post play, catching and getting the ball in the hole around the rim. It's not going to be from lack of toughness.

"His brother is the left guard at Iowa, started six games until he got hurt. Dad is a big ol' guy. Greatest family ever. You get a kid who is never going to get his head going side to side. He's always going to be going yes, up and down."

Donnal is also going to benefit greatly from time spent with Michigan strength and conditioning coordinator Jon Sanderson, according to his AAU coach.

"He's going to be a kid that, once he gets in a system like John's, once he gets the weight training and all that kind of stuff, he is going to be a phenomenal Big Ten player," Dakich insisted. "I don't know that he's going to be great his first year. I never know.

"I wouldn't have told you Trey Burke would be great. I saw him in AAU, and I wouldn't have said he'd have the explosion he has. But I know this - Mark is going to be a big-time player at some point in his Michigan career. He's going to work like hell and he's very skilled."

In the recruiting process, Dakich has seen Beilein's staff work pretty hard themselves. It's no wonder they're having the success they are, not only on the court but also in stockpiling talent, Dakich pointed out.

"Jeff Meyer, Barcari Alexander and LaVall Jordan have done a really good job of continuing what John did, whether it was at Canisius, West Virginia or wherever, of getting long guys," Dakich said. "John knows what he wants and goes after it. He doesn't really waver from it.

"I know Jeff, and worked with Jeff. He's a tireless recruiter. I've never worked with the other two, but I've seen through the recruitment of Donnal really good things. I know how hard they work. I know how diligent they are. I know how honest they are. It's really no surprise."

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