Yes, there are people out there who doubt the wisdom of Indiana signing 7-1, 265-pound junior college player Guy-Marc Michel.
They wonder if he is another project in the mold of seldom-used Tijan Jobe and Bawa Muniru, if he too will get lost in coach Tom Crean’s system, if he can adapt to the rigors of Big Ten basketball despite having played basketball for just five seasons.
The truth is no one knows until Michel gets to Bloomington, practices and plays a few games. This past season at North Idaho he averaged 7.1 points and 7.3 rebounds. He led the Scenic West Athletic Conference in blocked shots and ranked 16th nationally among junior college players by averaging 3.1 blocks (the advantage of having a 7-8 wingspan). He led the SWAC in blocked shots both seasons at North Idaho.
Oh, yes. He helped lead North Idaho to a 27-5 record. Being a winner is among the attributes Crean values in his players.
Michel also was a member of the under-20 French National Team as a native of the Caribbean island of Martinique. According to the official IU release, he was “widely considered to be one of the top prospects in Europe.”
Finally, Michel was an honors student at North Idaho and speaks three languages.
So what does Crean think of Michel, who is the third player to sign with the Hoosiers (the others are guards Victor Oladipo and Will Sheehey?
“We feel fortunate to add a student athlete with the presence and size of Guy,” Crean said in a university release. “He automatically upgrades our program on the defensive end with his shot blocking and post defense. We also feel he will help us with defensive rebounding and help defense.”
As far as concerns about Michel’s offense, Crean wasn't publicly worried.
“Offensively he wants the ball with strong post-ups. I also see him being able to pass out of double teams. We feel he can shoot it up to 15 feet. His upside is exciting. Once he gets in top shape, I think he will be prepared to help us.”
New assistant coach Steve McClain was instrumental in signing Michel. As a Colorado assistant coach, McClain recruited Michel to come to Colorado. He kept up the recruiting after being hired at IU.
“I am glad Steve is the relentless recruiter that he is because this is another example of him going against the grain to find a real prospect,” Crean said. “I know how excited Steve is about Guy. We all feel the same way.”
Of course, it’s easy to say that in May. We’ll see if the Hoosiers still feel excited in, say, February.