Short but tough. That's what strikes me when I look at Milwaukee's incoming class.
Coach Rob Jeter brought in three scholarship players and a walk-on who could all contribute this season. This class isn't very big, but what they lack in size they make up for with physical toughness, aggressiveness and shooting. The physical toughness comes from Lonnie Boga and Michael Tyler. The shooting is covered by Ja'Rob McCallum.
McCallum's name should ring a bell to most Horizon League fans. Detroit men's basketball head coach Ray McCallum is actually Ja'Rob's uncle. Ja'Rob has an excellent feel for the game and plays like he's got basketball in his blood. His feel for the game helps make up for his lack of size, 6'0" 170 lbs, and gives him a leg up on a lot of incoming freshmen. McCallum's bread and butter is his jump shot. His jumper can carry a team when he's hot, but he can score in a variety of ways. Ja'Rob's basketball IQ allows him to get easy points from spacing and a good knowledge of how defenses are trying to stop him. He's a pretty quick player that should be able to play some point guard in a pinch. He comes from an excellent high school basketball program in Indiana and to find out more about Ja'Rob, I spoke with Bennett Summersett who coached Ja'Rob and works in the Marion High School athletic department.
Michael Tyler is an intriguing forward from Pratt Community College in Kansas. I'm not really sure how Tyler ended up there. He's originally from Milwaukee, which is always a good story, but Pratt, KS is literally in the middle of nowhere. Tyler is an undersized power forward in height only. He's already 230 pounds and put up great rebounding numbers at Pratt, averaging a double-double. He's shorter than Eayrs, Meier, and Hill but may have a âbigger' game than all three. Watching how that rotation defends and rebounds will be a key to the Panthers' success this year.
Lonnie Boga isn't small for a guard at 6"3" and 200 lbs but still plays much bigger than his size. He's an excellent rebounder for his position and should help on the glass when Meier and Eayrs are on the perimeter. He played football and ran track in high school which gives him toughness and fearlessness attacking the rim. He'll need to work on his jump shot but could be a good compliment to Tone Boyle or Ja'Rob McCallum.
Each of these players have clear strengths and weaknesses so it will be up to coach Jeter to utilize each to the best of their ability. Boga has a chance to be really good if he can get a dependable jumper and McCallum is close to bust-proof. The walk-on mentioned in the open is Jerard Ajami, a transfer from Northern Michigan. Coach Jeter has already raved about how Ajami may surprise some teams. Translation: he'll play. It's a small class in numbers and size but not in ability.
This is the 9th of 10 recruiting profiles being released on the Horizon League Network. We'll wrap things up tomorrow with Valparaiso.
Tags: Milwaukee - Men's Basketball