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Old 08-03-2011, 05:36 PM   #1
beez   beez is offline
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Anyone as excited as me? I know Death Roh's feelin it. Really love the way they've recruited and am hopin that Trey Burke fills the D-Mo void this year. It seems like an understatement to say Michigan is heading back in the right direction under Coach JB.
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Old 08-03-2011, 08:23 PM   #2
Mitchrapp   Mitchrapp is online now
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I didn't watch much last year. So what's the scoop, any good?
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Old 08-03-2011, 09:21 PM   #3
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In a word, yes. More details to come tomorrow.
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Old 08-03-2011, 11:22 PM   #4
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yeah i'm looking forward to this year. Losing morris will hurt but a lot of experienced players return.
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Old 08-04-2011, 09:51 AM   #5
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The future for the bb program is looking great for JB. We all should feel very confident with the 2012 and 2013 class.
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Old 08-04-2011, 11:13 AM   #6
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Yeah, Beez and I BS about UM basketball on pretty much a weekly basis, so he probably has a feel for what's to come...


******** 2010-2011 in Review *********************



To give a little primer on UM bball we should probably go back prior to this past season. Michigan was coming off a terribly disappointing year, finishing 2009-10 with a 15-17 record, dashing the high expectations that many fans had after reaching the tournament the previous season with stars Manny Harris and Deshawn Sims returning. But things just didn't work out with that team, and it really did leave the future of this program under John Beilein in doubt.

The optimists among us were hoping to follow that up with a .500 record...seems reasonable at first glance, but when you consider the team's leading returning scorer was Zack Novak at 7.4 points, and the team had zero scholarship seniors, and only two juniors...well, you can't blame people for being pessimistic. But the hope was that Beilein would have more success fully implementing his system now that all of the players were his recruits, a seemingly natural leader like Zack Novak would be able to fill the leadership role that never really developed the previous year, and that the incoming freshmen would be able to add some needed scoring punch.

Check, check, and check.

The freshmen I referenced were Evan Smotrycz, a 6'8" offensively skilled player who was a consensus top 100 recruit, but needs to develop more physically; Tim Hardaway Jr, 6'5" wing who's the son of <s> Mitch Richmond </s>Tim Hardaway, who somehow flew under the radar as a recruit before gaining some respect late, an athletic scorer who led the team during their offseason European trip; Jon Horford, brother of Al, son of Tito, a 6'9" post who was a generic 3 star to the recruiting sites thanks to being rail thin, but who definitely has some skill and rebounding instincts; Colton Christian, a 6'6" last minute addition to the class who looks to bring hustle and defense; then two red-shirt freshman, Jordan Morgan, a 6'8" 240lb bruiser who was another low 3 star recruit, and Blake McLimans, 6'10" and skinny, but brought in as a project in hopes that he could fill the outside shooting "big" man role for Beilein.

The season started out with wins over a few scrubs before Michigan participated in the 2010 Legends Classic. Definitely not a high profile tournament, but they'd go on to face decent competition in #9 ranked Syracuse and UTEP, but unfortunately lost both games. The Syracuse loss was easier to take because of their ranking, their great size advantage, and the fact that UM hung in there tough, but the UTEP loss brought on plenty of consternation from fans who were already envisioning a collapse like the previous year.

But no rest for the weary, as they followed up the weekend tournament with a trip to Clemson for the Big Ten-ACC challenge. This was a rematch of the first round victory for Michigan in the 2009 NCAA tournament, although the Tigers were breaking in a new coach this time around. Michigan rebounded and put together a solid overall game to win 69-61. That started a run of 8 straight wins leading up to the Big Ten schedule, with key victories over Harvard (it was key), Utah, and Oakland.

To this point the clear highlight and surprise of the season was the emergence of Darius Morris. He was by far the biggest recruit Beilein had landed at that point(in the 60-80 range overall), but spent most of his freshman year aimlessly floating around the court while Manny Harris dominated the ball. Right from the start of this season you could see that had changed. He was nearly unguardable with the ball, and turned what looked like a very ugly shot the previous year into a....well, ugly shot, that was nonetheless lethal from within 15 feet. At this point in the season he had already topped 10 assists five times, and was averaging 15.4 points to go on to season averages of 15pts, 48.9fg%, 6.7ast, 4rb. He had a great overall season, was the offensive catalyst, and the clear MVP of the first half.

So, they're 9-2, slightly exceeding expectations...but that was the non-conference. People were itching to make bball and football comparisons, and the "Can they win in the Big Ten??" chorus was loud and clear. Well, they started it out with a blowout loss to Purdue, a win against Penn St, but then faced a murderers row stretch of @ Wisconsin, vs #3 Kansas, and vs #2 OSU. The Wisky game was another blowout [edit: played them very tough in the first half, but it got away from them], but they took Kansas to OT, only to lose by 7, and fought OSU very hard, but lost 68-64. Most fans found plenty to be encouraged about as this young team was showing they weren't afraid of the spotlight, but what followed caused a collapse in faith for all but the most ardent supporters. The team suffered back to back blowout losses at Indiana and NW, two teams supposed to be at the bottom of the conference, and looked terrible doing it. They followed this up with a loss against Minnesota, stretching their losing streak to 6 games with a trip to East Lansing looming.

It had been 14 long years since Michigan had last beaten MSU in Breslin and though the #25 ranked Spartans were in the midst of a disappointing season of their own(just for fun, i know it came later), it didn't seem like they had anything on the tailspin that Michigan was currently in. That was about to change. Michigan came out gunning, hitting shots all game that you'd expect them to miss in this setting, with Novak leading the way with six 3's. Morris had his typically great game with 17 pts and 8 ast, while Stu Douglass hit a big 3 pointer in the last minute to seal the 61-57 win. Still, coming off that brutal stretch it was hard to get too excited, but I know I personally took this moment to celebrate my ass off, thinking this could be the lone highlight of the season (while letting the optimist in me hold out hope that this could be the start of something bigger).

I think it's time to say a little something about Tim Hardaway. During the first half of the season he pretty much just camped out in the corner and waited for Morris to kick it out to him for a three. He was getting wide open looks, but unfortunately was only hitting about 25% of them and many, including yours truly, were getting a little frustrated at his lack of diversity and his willingness to chuck it up. Well, as the season went on, ONE of those things changed, and luckily it was the former. He started using his dribble a little more to get mid-range jumpers and caught fire from three to finish out the season as possibly Michigan's best player. From the Minnesota game on he scored doubt figures in each, breaking 20 five times, and even getting up to 30 once. While Smotrycz had his moments scoring the ball, Hardaway more than provided the punch we were hoping for prior to the season. Flat out, without him this season would have been a bust.

After the MSU game the team took off. They finished the season by winning 7 out of 10, with revenge victories over NW and IU, the only losses being another well played game against OSU, and 2 and 1 point heart breakers against Illinois and Wisconsin respectively, before finishing it up with huge wins against Minnesota and MSU, the latter of which was much more of an ass whooping than the final score showed, and is where " " became a rallying cry. Entering the Big Ten Tournament it seemed like Michigan's 19-12 (9-9) record should be good enough to get them in the tournament, but a win over Illinois in the first round would seal it. They did just that, beating them 60-55, before losing once again to OSU, 68-61.

The selection committee showed some respect by giving Michigan an 8 seed, and a first round matchup with Tennessee. In possibly the most fun basketball game I've ever watched UM absolutely dismantled the Vols in the second half, turning a 33-29 halftime lead into a 75-45 slaughter. Outside of the MSU wins, this was the highlight of the season to me. Everybody got into the act and you could tell they were having a blast out there, with even Stu throwing down a ( ) two handed dunk. Next up was Duke, and what would a Michigan season be without raising our hopes only to smash them, Michigan ended up losing to them by 2. Duke was clearly the better team throughout, but UM held tough, keeping it within 10 for most of the game before going on a torrid late run. They actually had the ball, down 2, in the last seconds but Morris' 12 foot runner in the lane (a shot he had been money with all year) and it was season over.

Before we get into the offseason happenings a quick review of how the players did.


********** Player Recap *************************


Season stats can be found here. Morris and Hardaway have already been talked about at length. Amazing season for both.

Zack Novak - He definitely provided the leadership qualities this team needed, and continued to battle on the court while playing out of position at PF for long stretches. He did a solid job rebounding, leading the team with 5.8 per game, and came through in some key moments with his 3 pt shot, hitting 38.5%, and averaging 8.9 points overall.

Jordan Morgan - It's probably a crime that I haven't mentioned his performance yet, as along with Morris' breakout, it was the biggest surprise of the year. He had a couple huge games early in the season 20 and 8 vs Gardner Webb and 23 and 8 against Concordia, but while he always played tough against the better competition, he wasn't producing against them early on. That changed though as the season went on, and he finished by scoring double digits in 9 of the last 14 games, and averaging 9.2 points and 5.4 boards on the year.

Stu Douglass - He was hot and cold from three, ending up hitting on 35.8%, and while he gave it his all, at times struggled pretty badly playing out of position as the backup PG. I always try to not hold that against him, but even when he's in there as a SG he isn't as consistent shooting the ball as you'd like and sometimes makes some goofy errors, especially considering he was one of the two upper-classmen on the team. Kind of a disappointing year, but I still think he has a great stroke and could have a senior year where he finds that consistency. Unfortunately he'll likely have to do PG duties again, but we'll get into that in a little bit.

Evan Smotrycz - Speaking of inconsistency, that's the thing that defined Evan's first year. He sprinkled in some great performances against teams like Clemson, OSU, MSU, and Duke where he showed the ability to hit the outside shot as well as put the ball on the floor and create for himself when opponents overplayed his shot, along with some stinkers where he wouldn't be a factor. It was nice seeing him come through on the big stage though, the Duke game in particular showed what he's capable of...he actually looked like he belonged in a Dukie uniform, comparable to the ugly white dudes they've had in the past. Overall he averaged 6.3 pts, a couple boards, and shot 38.1% from three. I have high hopes of him having a breakout year in 2011-12.

Matt Vogrich - He has the best shot on the team, and goes all out to make up for his lack of athleticism. Somehow he'll sneak in and grab a tough rebound or block a shot when you least expect hit. Hopefully he can build on his game against Tennessee where he shot 5-5 and made some key early hustle plays. He shot 38.7% from three on the season, but usually only played around 15 minutes per game. The rotation is going to be crowded next year, but I'd like to see him get at least that much PT if not more.

John Horford, Blake McLimans, and the walk-ons had some moments here and there, but not much to note. I do like Horford's potential, and reports that he's gone from 220 to 250 pounds sound crazy, but if he can actually play with that weight he should be a solid backup for Morgan.


********** Looking Ahead ************************


Sooooo, that brings us to the offseason. D-Mo left, broke our hearts, the end. Just kidding, but not really, he did leave and was drafted by his hometown Lakers in the second round. I'm sure he wanted to be a first round pick, but IMO couldn't have landed in a better situation. I think he'll thrive distributing the ball in LA and could see him playing a part in bringing them back to the Showtime style of play.

Where does that leave Michigan? Why, without a point guard of course. Douglass will probably be asked to help shoulder the load once again, but all eyes will be on incoming freshman Trey Burke. Burke is a 6'1" PG out of Columbus (same high school as fatty at osu) who was a mid-3 star recruit when he signed with UM, but has moved up the rankings after a great senior season in which he won Mr. Basketball in Ohio. Check Umhoops.com for tons of video on him and other recruits (actually just check that site all the time for bball info, it's great), he's quick, smooth, and hit nearly 50% of his 3's his senior season. He's obviously going to be a little undersized compared to what we're used to with Morris, but the hope is that he can adjust to college basketball quicker than most freshmen PG's do.

Another incoming freshman is Carlton Brundidge, 6'2" (supposedly) SG out of Southfield that's a bull with the ball. Doesn't have a great outside shot, but he has a knack for getting by his opponent and isn't afraid to go to the rim and finish with contact. We'll see how that works in the Big Ten, but if you watch his film, his athleticism jumps out of the screen. He's a flat out scorer, and hopefully can provide a spark next year. He was a consensus top 100, 4-star recruit.

The third and final member of the 2011 class is Max Bielfeldt. He's a 6'8" 240lb guy out of Illinois who is by far the least heralded of the three. He didn't have high rankings, or many bigtime offers, but he was ridiculously productive in high school and should be able to fit in with Beilein's style of play, while also providing some toughness. There have been comparisons to Brian Cardinal thrown around, which I would obviously take.

Further reason for optimism has shown up in the 2012 and 2013 recruiting classes. Both classes are almost totally full, with only an opening for a bigtime talent if one decides to join (Mitch McGary, please). Here are the 2012 commits...

Glenn Robinson III - (current rankings: Scout-39, Rivals-34, ESPN-21, 247Sports-50) - yes, the son of that Glenn Robinson, yet another UM commit with NBA bloodlines. He's 6'6", weighs somewhere around 190, but doesn't seem to be done growing and should fill out nicely. He was another that was overlooked at the time Beilein signed him, but has absolutely blown up over the summer AAU season. He's now generally ranked in the top 50 overall with whispers that he could end up a 5 star. He's a supreme athlete who can throw them down with the best of them, and also has a nice outside shot. I CAN NOT WAIT to see him on the wing at Michigan. Sky's the limit for this kid.

Nick Stauskus - (current rankings: Scout-UR, Rivals-79, ESPN-78, 247Sports-59) - A 6'5" g/f out of Canada who is reputed to be an outstanding shooter. Not only that, but he's been getting rave reviews over the summer about his overall game. Supposedly a hard worker on defense and has some skills with the rock. He's generally been a fringe top 100 guy, but again, could see a rise in his rankings before he's done.

Now for the 2013 Commits....

Austin Hatch - You're probably familiar with his story, if not, check the thread on this board or Umhoops for more info. One of the saddest stories you'll ever hear...hopefully he can pull through and make a full recovery. He's a very talented basketball player that would be a great addition to the program, but that seems secondary at this point.

Mark Donnal - (current rankings: Scout-97, Rivals-124, ESPN-84) 6'8" post player out of Anthony Wayne, near Toledo, OH. Supposedly still growing, and shows good skills near and away from the basket. Has been mentioned in some early top 100 lists and could definitely end up a 4-star.

Derrick Walton - (current rankings: Scout-77, Rivals-87, ESPN-UR) - 6' pg out of Detroit. I'm not too familiar with his game yet, as he just recently committed, but it sounds like he's a very good overall field general, unselfish - sometimes to a fault, but has been showing more of a scoring punch this summer. Definitely a good get....Izzo was trying to secure a visit right before he committed to UM.

Zak Irvin - (current rankings: Scout-UR, Rivals-54, ESPN-70) - Out of Indiana, Zak is another versatile 6'5" shooter who has tons of potential. Like pretty much all of the recruits from 2011 going forward, he should end up being ranked in the top 100. Another I'm not all that familiar with, but the one video I watched was impressive. Like a few of the other commits, smooth is a good description of his game.

One thing is clear, Beilein is loading up on talented ball players, who - outside of Robinson - aren't supreme athletes, but are versatile enough to put pressure on a defense.

This upcoming season is a bit of a question mark with the PG situation, but they have depth, experience, and talent coming back, so it's hard to not have a good feeling about it. I'd be happy with a similar end result to last season, with an eye towards greatness for next year (depending on if THJ stays). My expectations for this year would have been through the roof if Morris would have stayed, but what are you going to do. As it is, it should be one of hell of a fun team to watch play and develop.

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Old 08-04-2011, 11:58 AM   #7
dannydiggler   dannydiggler is offline
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Thanks for the great post!
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Old 08-04-2011, 12:21 PM   #8
beez   beez is offline
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Clap.......................clap................... .............clap..............................cla p.
You did some work here man! That MSU game was absolutely great to see, while the Wisconsin game was probably the hardest loss to swallow all year. (Bank off the glass from 3). I whole heartedly agree with the Tennessee game analysis. I remember watching that game with a smile and laughter the entire time. What a show! I'll even go as far to say while disappointed, the Duke game was one of my favorites of the entire year as well. I was very proud to be a fan of a team who was extremely over matched but played so tough. There was NO quit in this team all year long and it was a great season regardless of final scores.
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Old 08-04-2011, 12:26 PM   #9
dubbsco   dubbsco is online now
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I think it's more frustrating that Michigan could have very well, and IMO, would have beaten Arizona.
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Old 08-04-2011, 12:30 PM   #10
beez   beez is offline
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Or we may have given up 65 points to Williams. lol I wont go that far but I guess with the way they hung in there against the Dukies, anything was possible.
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