Caris Coleman LeVert (born August 25, 1994) is an American professional basketball player for the Brooklyn Nets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played college basketball for the Michigan Wolverines. As a freshman for the 2012–13 team, he nearly redshirted but earned a key role off the bench as the team went on to reach the championship game in the 2013 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament. As a sophomore for the 2013–14 team, he became a regular starter and was selected as a second team 2013–14 All-Big Ten player for the outright Big Ten regular season champions. His junior and senior seasons were interrupted by injury. LeVert is related to Eddie Levert, Gerald Levert and Sean Levert.
LeVert grew up in Northeast Columbus but moved to nearby Pickerington in second grade. As a high school senior, he led Pickerington High School Central to a 26–2 record and the 2012 OHSAA Division I state championship. LeVert was a 2012 Associated Press All-Ohio Second Team high school basketball player and the 2012 Columbus Dispatch Metro Player of the Year for Pickerington High School Central. He was not heavily recruited in high school and his only official visit was to Alabama State. He committed to play basketball for John Groce and the Ohio Bobcats men's basketball program in November 2011. Meanwhile, when future teammates Mitch McGary and Nik Stauskas joined Glenn Robinson III by committing to Michigan in November 2011, Michigan became the fifth best recruiting class in the country.
When Groce got hired by Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball in March 2012, LeVert got lost in the shuffle and decided to commit to Michigan. Ironically, Groce's 2011–12 Ohio Bobcats' upset of the 2011–12 Michigan team in the 2012 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament was probably the reason that Groce was hired by Illinois and LeVert withdrew his National Letter of Intent to play for Ohio.
|Name||Hometown||High school / college||Height||Weight||Commit date|
|Columbus, OH||Pickerington High School Central (OH)||6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)||175 lb (79 kg)||Dec 5, 2012|
|Recruiting star ratings: Scout: Rivals: 247Sports: N/A ESPN grade: 87|
|Overall recruiting rankings: ESPN: 67 (SG), 11 (OH)|
The 2011–12 Michigan Wolverines men's basketball team had been co-champions of 2011–12 Big Ten Conference, but lost both of its co-captains, Zack Novak and Stu Douglass, to graduation and three players as transfers. The team was returning a nucleus of All-Big Ten players Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway, Jr.
LeVert arrived at Michigan weighing 152 pounds (68.9 kg). As a freshman, he began the year behind Stauskas, Robinson, Tim Hardaway, Jr., and Matt Vogrich on the depth chart for the shooting guard/small forward positions and did not play in the first six games as a result. LeVert was a part of an incoming class that included McGary, Stauskas, Robinson, and Spike Albrecht. Eventually, Michigan head coach John Beilein decided that LeVert had value as a perimeter defender and decided to play him rather than redshirt him. On December 1 against Bradley Beilein juggled his lineup: Stauskas made his first career regular season start and LeVert saw his first action. By late December, LeVert became the one-on-one partner for Burke after practices. LeVert made his first start on December 29 against Central Michigan, when Tim Hardaway, Jr. was unavailable. The 3 freshmen in the starting lineup—Robinson, Stauskas and LeVert—combined for 48 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists. That night LeVert tallied 9 points and 5 assists. LeVert averaged 2.3 points in under 11 minutes of play per game. He never scored in double digits as a freshman, but he scored 8 points each in conference wins over Illinois and Michigan State as well as the 2013 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament final four victory over Syracuse in 21 minutes of play.
LeVert's classmates all made names for themselves as freshmen. During the Spring and Summer semesters (the offseason) of 2013 LeVert and Stauskas trained together on the court and in the weight room. He followed fellow Columbus native and National Player of the Year Burke as a key contributor to Michigan basketball as a sophomore. After opening the season with career-highs of 17 points and 5 rebounds on November 8 against UMass Lowell, he posted 24 points on November 12 against South Carolina State. When Michigan played (#10 AP Poll/ #8 Coaches' Poll) Duke in the ACC–Big Ten Challenge on December 3, LeVert again posted 24 points, including a 7–7 free throw performance. On January 18, Michigan defeated (#3 AP/#3 Coaches) Wisconsin at the Kohl Center for the first time since the 1998–99 team did so on February 27, 1999. It was the highest ranked team Michigan has ever beaten on the road. LeVert contributed a career-high 4 steals and 20 points. LeVert posted his first double double on January 30 at home against Purdue with a career-high 11 rebounds and 14 points. On February 16, Michigan lost to (#21/21) Wisconsin, despite a career-high 25 points from LeVert. Michigan clinched its first outright (unshared) Big Ten Conference championship since 1985–86. He was a 2014 second team 2013–14 All-Big Ten selection (coaches and media). On March 11 LeVert was named to the all-District V (OH, IN, IL, MI, MN, WI) team by the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA). The 2013–14 team was eliminated in the elite eight round of the 2014 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament by Kentucky. LeVert and teammate Stauskas, joined Julius Randle, Aaron Harrison and Marcus Lee on the All-Midwest Regional team.
On May 12, LeVert underwent surgery to repair a stress fracture in his foot. He was expected to be sidelined for 8–10 weeks, but be available for the team's August trip to play in Europe. LeVert returned to action just before the team's August 15–24 10-day, 4-game trip to Italy.
Prior to the 2014–15 season, LeVert was named a first team All-Big Ten preseason selection along with Frank Kaminsky, Yogi Ferrell, Terran Petteway, and Sam Dekker. LeVert was selected by NBCSports.com to its Preseason All-American first team, by SB Nation, Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook, Athlon Sports, Bleacher Report, Sports Illustrated, and CBSSports.com to their second teams and by USA Today to its third team. In its preseason top 100 player ranking, LeVert was listed at number 13 by ESPN. He was also listed as a John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 candidate. LeVert also was named to the Oscar Robertson Trophy Watch List on November 24. He was also included in the early December Naismith Award top 50 watch list.
LeVert was named co-captain of the team along with Spike Albrecht. He opened the season with 9 assists against Hillsdale College on November 15, surpassing his previous career-high of five. On November 24, against Oregon, LeVert established a career high by making 11 free throws helping the team to a 70–63 victory in the Legends Classic semifinal game. He posted a career-high 32 points and tied a career-high 4 steals on December 6 in an upset loss to NJIT. He posted 4 steals again against Minnesota on January 10. On January 17 against Northwestern, he reinjured the foot that he had had surgery on the prior May and was lost for the season. At the time of his injury, LeVert led Michigan in scoring (14.9), rebounds (4.9), assists (3.7), steals (1.7) and minutes (35.8). LeVert was on crutches until early March and in a protective walking boot until early April.
LeVert had been expected to be a 2015 NBA Draft selection, but following his injury some felt his draft stock was impaired. Following the season, he sought advice from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee, but decided that he needed a second evaluation from them as the field of declared underclassmen became more clear with the thinking that "I don't think it really makes sense to (leave school) early and get drafted in the second round". On April 21, LeVert announced that he would return for his senior season. According to CBSSports.com's Sam Vecenie, this would give LeVert a chance to improve his pick and roll decision making, his midrange offensive game and his defense, especially against screens.
Prior to the 2015–16 season, LeVert was named an All-Big Ten preseason selection, for the second straight year. LeVert became the fourth Wolverine to earn the award multiple times in their career, following Maurice Taylor, LaVell Blanchard and Manny Harris. He was also one of five All-Big Ten preseason selections according to the Big Ten Network. He was one of three Big Ten selections to the 20-man Jerry West Award preseason watchlist (along with James Blackmon, Jr. and Rasheed Sulaimon) announced by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He was an Athlon Sports Preseason All-American 3rd team selection. In preseason top 100 player rankings LeVert was ranked 16 by ESPN and 23 by NBC Sports. He made the initial 50-man John R. Wooden Award watch list on November 17. On December 2, Levert earned recognition on the 50-man Naismith College Player of the Year watchlist and 33-man Robertson Trophy watchlists.
After being sidelined for the final 14 games of the prior season for the 2014–15 Wolverines, LeVert began the season with a game-high 18 points and 5 assists as a starter against Northern Michigan. On November 16 against Elon, LeVert tied his career high with four steals. On December 5 against Houston Baptist, LeVert made his first start at point guard while Derrick Walton sat out due to a sprained ankle and posted 25 points and 8 rebounds. On December 8, Michigan lost 82–58 to (19/-) SMU as LeVert slumped on 1–13 field goal shooting and 3–6 free throw shooting. On December 15 against Northern Kentucky, LeVert posted 13 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, becoming the fourth player in Michigan program history to record a triple-double, and the 49th Wolverine to eclipse 1,000 career points. Based on his triple double against Northern Kentucky and a 19-point effort against Youngstown State, LeVert earned Co-Big Ten Player of the Week honors (along with Malcolm Hill) on December 21. On December 30, Michigan defeated Illinois 78–68 in its Big Ten Conference opener as LeVert posted a 22-point, 10-assist double-double. LeVert missed the January 2 game against Penn State with a lower left leg injury. At the time, he was the team leader in points, rebounds and assists.
On January 13, LeVert was one of four Big Ten athletes (along with Melo Trimble, Jarrod Uthoff and Denzel Valentine) among the 25 players included in the Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 Watch List. On the eve of LeVert's sixth missed game, head coach Beilein finally clarified that LeVert's left leg injury was not related to the two previous left foot stress fractures that LeVert had endured. On February 2, LeVert was one of two Big Ten athletes (along with Malcolm Hill) named one of 10 finalists for the Jerry West Award, despite having missed the last 8 of Michigan's 22 games. On February 10, Brendan F. Quinn of MLive.com broke the story that LeVert had been cleared to play. On February 13, Michigan defeated (#18/16) Purdue 61–56 with LeVert recording five rebounds and one assist in 11 minutes after missing the previous 11 games. On March 1, the team announced that the injury would end LeVert's season and collegiate career. On March 22, LeVert had a third surgical procedure in 22 months performed on his left foot in New York City by specialist Dr. Martin O'Malley. By late April, the draft stock of LeVert had slipped to the second round. According to the Michigan Basketball Twitter feed, he attended graduation in crutches at the end of April. He was invited to the May 11–15 NBA Draft Combine. While still on crutches at the combine, LeVert clarified that his injury was a Jones fracture of the fifth metatarsal and that Kevin Durant who has the same agency and used the same doctor had called to offer him encouragement.
Brooklyn Nets (2016–present)
The day before the 2016 NBA draft, LeVert authored an open letter to NBA general managers to assure them of his resiliency in the face of all of his doubters due to his injury. On June 23, LeVert was selected with the 20th overall pick in the 2016 draft by the Indiana Pacers. He became Michigan's fifth first-round draft selection since 2013 and the fourth player drafted from Michigan's 2012 entering class. His rights were later traded to the Brooklyn Nets on July 7, in exchange for Thaddeus Young. Dr. O'Malley, who had performed LeVert's most recent foot surgery, was on the Brooklyn Nets medical staff at the time of the trade. On July 14, he signed his rookie scale contract with the Nets. LeVert missed the 2016 NBA Summer League as well as preseason and resumed practicing near the beginning of the regular season. He began the season sidelined and still rehabbing his injury. He was cleared to play on December 4. He made his professional debut on December 7 against the Denver Nuggets. Although he went 0-of-3 from the field, he posted 4 rebounds and 3 steals in 9 minutes of play, becoming the first Net to post 3 steals in his debut since Chris Childs in 1994. Levert entered at the start of the second quarter and posted 3 steals and 3 rebounds in 5:15 of play before halftime. LeVert scored his first NBA points on December 10 against the San Antonio Spurs on a back door reverse layup assisted by Brook Lopez. LeVert posted double digit scoring for the first time with 12 points on December 30 against the Washington Wizards and former Michigan one-on-one training partner Burke's season-high 27 points. On February 3, Levert made his first NBA start against former Michigan teammate Robinson and the Indiana Pacers. On April 6 against the Orlando Magic, LeVert posted his first 20-point performance. Despite missing a large portion of the season, LeVert almost made the NBA All-Rookie team, finishing 12 in the voting for the 10-man team.
When Jeremy Lin was sidelined for the 2017–18 NBA season after the first game, it opened up playing time. After Allen Crabbe started game 2, LeVert entered the starting lineup for game 3 on October 22 against the Atlanta Hawks, posting 16 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. Coming off the bench on November 6 against the Phoenix Suns, LeVert posted a 5-steal performance, while locking down Devin Booker so well that he frustrated Booker into fouling out.
NBA career statistics
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
LeVert is the son of Kim and Darryl LeVert and has one sibling, Darryl, who is his junior by 11 months. His mother is a Columbus City Schools first grade teacher. His father, who was a graphic designer, died on April 4, 2010 at the age of 46. As of February 2014, his brother, Darryl, played basketball for Connors State College. LeVert comes from a musical family as he is the third cousin of Eddie LeVert, the lead vocalist of the O'Jays. Eddie's sons include singers Gerald LeVert of LSG and LeVert (along with Sean LeVert).