Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/3/11

How does a program on the rise make a statement that it is officially back? You outsell Duke, Florida, and North Carolina and earn the commitment of a national treasure. That’s how.

Mitch McGary has finally made official what a lot of people in and around Michigan basketball thought he would. The #2 prospect in the nation is going to be a Michigan Wolverine.

Mitch McGary

McGary is the most highly rated recruit to touch down in Ann Arbor in about 2 decades. Landing the 6’10’’ power forward/center with all the tools marks a changing of the guard in the world of Michigan basketball recruiting.

No longer will John Beilein be forced to find top-end talent before anyone else is smart enough to identify it. He likely still will, but he won’t have to. Landing a marquee recruit has a funny way of making other blue-chippers fall in line behind him. Former Wolverine Juwan Howard knows a thing or two about that.

Michigan’s 2012 recruiting class is stacked with McGary, Glenn Robinson III, and Nick Stauskus. All three are ranked well within the top 100 with GR3 and Stauskus on the rise. Beilein jumped on the latter 2 players on this list before the major schools really took notice. And that has been the blueprint that the venerable coach has been forced to use since his arrival from West Virginia.

Tim Hardaway, Jr. was operating below the radar when Michigan locked onto him. By the time other teams realized what they were about to miss out on, it was too late. Much the same can be said for Freshman Trey Burke. The college basketball world is about to realize just how good this point guard really is.

Speaking of radar, Sophomore Jordan Morgan wasn’t even a blip when Michigan came calling a few years ago. The story goes that when Beilein called to offer, Morgan’s mom told him that Coach Beilein was on the phone for him, and Morgan asked, “What does he want?” But the coach saw something in him that others didn’t.

Morgan concluded his redshirt Freshman season last year as the Big 10’s field goal % leader and has double-double upside in terms of seasonal averages in points and rebounds.

But now things are different. Now Michigan is back on the map. They have name power. Star power. Facilities power. The only thing that still needs work are the shelves in the trophy case.

Not to ignore the potential of the current roster but imagine a 2012-13 playing rotation that looks like this:

Guards: Tim Hardaway, Jr., Trey Burke, Carlton Brundidge, Matt Vogrich, and Nick Stauskus

Forwards/Centers: Mitch McGary, Jordan Morgan, Evan Smotrycz, Jon Horford, Glenn Robinson III, and Max Bielfeldt

Not only is a lineup like that incredibly deep, but the overall talent level is off the charts. An 11-man rotation of that caliber could easily contend for a Big 10 Championship or two, not to mention a Final Four.

In as much as McGary’s commitment to play basketball at Michigan earmarks the beginning of a new day, it also signifies the end of an era.

You can follow me on Twitter @isportsJoe

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