"It's a lot easier being a drug dealer than an AAU coach" - this guy. Tell me something I don't know. I mean, don't think but have never tried either.
Hey MGoBlog team,
Thought it might be fun to list what would reasonably need to happen on order for Michigan to have a B1G division championship season. I've got: dramatically improved interior OL play, inferior outside OL replacements that still perform above expectations, better QB decision making (fewer interceptions), adequate WR replacements for graduating seniors, improved DL play, and status quo the rest of the way. Follow up question is, what are the odds of these things happening and can we see any historic examples of these sorts of improvements in just one year? Or are we just screwed and should hibernate until basketball season?
Uh. Let me blow the dust off my optimism beanie, place it upon my pate, and spin the propellor.
I feel… marginally better. All right, let's tackle this. If Michigan's going to win the division they have to at least split their dual road games against MSU and OSU and then hope misfortune befalls the one they lose to a couple times. Oh, and beat Penn State and Northwestern and not, like, blow it against Rutgers and Minnesota.
How do they do that? Probably the same way they beat Notre Dame and nearly beat Ohio State last year: Devin Gardner playing like the baby of Denard and Tom Brady. The run game is just not going to be good enough to rely upon. Things that need to happen:
Magnuson and Braden are at least okay. Or Cole or whoever ends up playing tackle.
The interior line is not a complete shamocracy, and someone can pick up a blitz. Reducing bad decisions from the quarterback is at least 50% on reducing the number of opportunities to make bad decisions under pressure.
Gardner increments. 8.6 YPA, 450 yards against OSU, 60% completions… Gardner does not have to go particularly far to be B10 championship quality even if he has a heavy burden.
The defensive line can hold up against mean ol' OLs. The DL wasn't an enormous problem until Ondre Pipkins went down and Ohio State's terrible matchup came to town. With Henry back and still on an improvement kick and the losses eminently sustainable (Washington inexplicably did not play as much as he did as a junior and Black was way, way out of position by year's end) plus Michigan's initial DL rush starting to bear fruit, improvement here is likely.
Pass rush has to exist, in a serious fashion. I'd be more comfortable about this if Ryan was still your edge threat and Clark was bookending him. As it is, increments from Beyer and Clark plus added aggression also seem to bode well here.
A competent safety has to be found opposite Wilson. Your guess as good as mine.
Probabilities: dodgy, very dodgy, likely, likely, 50/50. If you told me the OL would be like a C+ I'd actually be pretty positive about this season… but man, that's a long way to go from an F-, down Lewan and Schofield.
Wait you think this was on purpose?
Dave Brandon isn't a terrible negotiator, he seems to get what he wants, so presumably he wanted this home schedule. Is the point so that we alternate between having all of our difficult games away one year, then having them all at home the next? That way every other year we presumably have a great run that gets us to the B1G championship? The easy early games are obvious schedule padding...
Dave [ed: not Brandon]
I am taken aback by the idea Dave Brandon is a sly fox who always gets his way. It's true the first thing he had to tackle—stretchgate—was seemingly done with aplomb, but in retrospect since the USC case the NCAA hasn't done anything to anybody of note that didn't involve 1) multiple lies from the head coach about NCAA violations or 2) horrible horrible felonies. You or I could have piloted Michigan to a slap on the wrist once the various improprieties turned out to be 15 minutes of extra stretching and grad assistants looking in on summer practices.
- Michigan hired Brady Hoke, possibly because negotiations with Jim Harbaugh went poorly. That "all that glitters is not gold" line from the press conference lingers as bitterness over those negotiations breaking down.
- Michigan gave Brady Hoke a top ten contract when he was not in demand anywhere else and said he'd walk to Michigan.
- Michigan and Ohio State got stuck in opposite divisions with a crossover game, thus guaranteeing that Michigan would have the hardest schedule in their division over time had they lasted.
- Michigan played Alabama for less than they would get for a home game. The head-staving by Alabama made no financial sense, as Michigan traded a huge TV event and a game with ticket prices that were 50-100% higher than home game tickets for an outlay parsimonious enough that bringing the band was a big problem.
- Michigan wore a series of clowniforms. Fan pushback was so severe on this that they have dialed it back out of necessity. Meanwhile, Michigan can't even get uniforms that are, you know, uniform from Adidas.
- Notre Dame cancelled the Michigan series. They punked Brandon along the way, blindsiding him and getting themselves the last home game in the series after getting the first when the teams resumed.
- Michigan gave Al Borges a 300k raise. I mean. Gotta retain that guy.
- Michigan replaced Notre Dame with Arkansas. Look at future MSU and OSU schedules, which feature Oregon and Alabama and Oklahoma and Texas, for comparison.
- Michigan got stuck with MSU and OSU away in the same year. Not only that, they get to travel to MSU twice in a row.
- Michigan couldn't get Mitch McGary's suspension reduced. OSU DE Noah Spence is going to miss three games for testing positive for X or something like it, this after an appeal that reduced the punishment from a whole year. Meanwhile, the NCAA reduced the penalty for McGary's transgression two weeks after he received it. Michigan still got rejected by the NCAA.
With rights fees negotiated by the league, Brandon's main accomplishment as AD has been to raise ticket prices. Any bro in a suit could have done this. Any time he's had to interact with another human in an effort to protect Michigan's best interest or bottom line he's either lost or not even tried. (Night games are not an accomplishment. Networks aren't like "Michigan at night… pshaw." Michigan had been actively resisting them for years.)
His biggest negotiation wins are things that are nice for the bottom line but don't actually have any impact long term. And they're probably attributable more to the capacity of Michigan Stadium than anything else: the Winter Classic and this upcoming Man U-Real Madrid friendly.
So. While it's possible Dave Brandon wanted this home schedule—after all, he is personally responsible for the Horror II—it's more likely he just got run over by the Big Ten, because that's how things go. Things make much more sense if you think of Dave Brandon as Lucille Ball than as Gordon Gekko.
Has Michigan been the victim of B.S. penalties by the NCAA more than any other program?
...at least for the last decade? Specifically, I am thinking about the two obvious instances, which are 'Practicegate' and the recent McGary clusterf---. Both of these seems ludicrously disproportional in the severity of punishment compared to the actual crime. To compound matters, you don't need to look very far to see far more egregious punishment (e.g. Jameis Winston, Johnny Manziel, etc) go completely unchecked.
Of course, the other nuance to this is that Michigan seems to be doing it to themselves. If they didn't so willingly 'play ball' and try to be as open and transparent as possible, would they even be in some of these messes? It seems to me the days of trying to play by the rules is long gone, and if the NCAA isn't even going to attempt to maintain an ounce of consistency, why would Michigan continue to get hammered while most others skate by?
But in all seriousness, has Michigan been the most unlucky/attacked program by the NCAA compared to the actual transgressions that have occurred?
In terms of proven allegations versus what appears to be the standard, USC would have an excellent case just on the strength of a recent NCAA punishment docket that looks like this:
1. Penn State, pre-softening
3. Penn State, post-softening
1,000,005. Jim Tressel lying to the NCAA at least four times about illegal Terrelle Pryor benefits
1,000,006. North Carolina not even really being a college for its students.
Michigan's stretch-gate crap was essentially nothing but bad PR. Given the way that went down and how the Freep creeps knew exactly what to FOIA it is extremely likely that was an inside job. By the time the NCAA got done with that they were specifically calling out the original article as sensationalized and inaccurate. The punishment was something like a 2% reduction in practice time and the loss of a grad assistant or two. I have no problem with the results of that investigation. It was a joke that turned up some technical malfeasance and was treated as such.
The McGary thing is just terrible luck and the NCAA being the dumbest organization on the planet. Plenty of other athletes have gotten nailed for Violating The Special Spirit Of Sport.
As to your point about not playing ball and just cheating your ass off because you'll get away with it… well, yeah. That is obviously the move. When the best team in the country is going into every year knowing they have to cut like ten guys before fall and it doesn't impact their recruiting, the way to the top is obvious: ruthlessness and lawlessness. By the book, USC probably got what they deserved. They feel aggrieved because almost literally everyone else is doing it and getting away with either nothing or minor penalties.
90% of the crap Michigan goes through they do to themselves. The NCAA is not the problem.
Hello. Ace is on vacation, so I take over recruitin' for the week.
Let's start with basketball, because things are happening(!)
Huff and Dawkins will decide within a month
The departure of Mitch McGary leaves Michigan with two scholarship yet to give in this recruiting class and Michigan seems determined to give them, what with someone blowing up into a lottery pick every year. Unusually for spring-term basketball recruiting, when things like "Michigan got a commitment from Spike who?" occur, the picture here is crystal clear.
Option 1A: CA/NH SF Aubrey Dawkins took his visit to Dayton and came back asserting that he was done taking visits($) and that he'd have a decision between the Flyers and M within a week. No offense to Dayton, but this quote seems to favor Michigan:
"It’ll really be academics… which is better from that standpoint? Which degree carries more weight?”
Some guys talk about academics and they mean having a support system that will guide them through; Dawkins talking about prestige seems like a good indicator for Michigan and its shiny rankings. Dawkins also dropped a quote about being "pleasantly surprised($)" by his visit to Dayton, which is a backhanded compliment that gives you an idea of where his mind was going into that trip. Dawkins did give a different decision criteria to the Dayton site:
"The most important thing I'm looking for is opportunity and how I can come in and contribute. Not necessarily start, but carving out a role on the team."
If Michigan can convince Dawkins of that they'll probably land him. With just fellow sleeper freshman-to-be Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman slated to back up the SF/SG spots, it seems likely they'll be able to do so.
Option 1B: Nevada SF/PF transfer Cole Huff set three visits before the McGary news, all to schools in the Midwest, and then added Michigan once their spot was definitively open. He was at Creighton yesterday, Iowa next week, and Dayton the week after. The chatter coming from Huff's camp (ie, his AAU coach Clint Parks) is positive for Michigan, to the point that quotes like this are showing up in newspapers:
“As far as Cole goes, it’s Michigan,” Parks said. “And when a school like Michigan calls…”
And that was before Huff was certain he had an offer. He is now. Huff would be a terrific add, already the top pick and pop guy in the country(!) as a sophomore coming off a year of weights and Beilein coachin'.
That would fill Michigan's scholarship allotment for the first time in a while with no seniors last year. Don't be alarmed, though. Even if Michigan does get both Huff and Dawkins they'll likely have room next year to chase the Brunsons and Colemans of the world. Michigan may not exercise their option of giving Max Bielfeldt a fifth year, Austin Hatch may end up on medical scholarship, and if LeVert continues on his current trajectory he'll be pirated away by the NBA—especially if the NBA moves to a 20-year-old minimum. The median expectation for scholarships to give next year seems to be 3, plus or minus a LeVert or Irvin or Walton.
If Michigan misses on one of the two gentlemen above, the spectacularly-named Igor Ibaka is a name that's been bandied about after announcers at older brother Serge's NBA game said he was gathering Michigan interest. Igor, a 6'9" PF currently at a JUCO as he adapts to life in the US, does not appear to be a serious target at the moment.
Nothing much is happening with 2015s, as is basketball recruiting's wont, so after the spring period resolves itself the next major event will be Michigan's annual June 15th offer spree to 2016s.
Offer watch at QB?
MI QB Alex Malzone is threw for for Nussmeier($) this week and should get clarity as to where he sits on Michigan's list. WOTS is that things went well:
I'm hearing that @alexmalzone KILLED it in his throwing session this morning! Crisp, accurate... very few balls hit the ground
— Sam Webb (@SamWebb77) April 28, 2014
If Michigan does offer it sounds like Malzone is likely to drop soon thereafter.
Most valuable hooray, not on lists boo
Kinnel got a Prestigious Invite this weekend
OH S Tyree Kinnel is one of the least touted defensive backs to commit to Michigan over the past couple years, and that's a good thing. Kinnel's a four star most places and will at least be holding his spot on Rivals after he was named the DB MVP($) of their most recent camp:
Kinnel's play during one-on-ones sealed the deal. He was very physical with the wide receivers and had very good instincts. Kinnel wasn't tricked by head fakes and knew when to sit on a route. He bumped many receivers off their route in the open field and was deceptively explosive when breaking on the ball.
Kinnel got an invite to their Five Star Challenge thing and will get an opportunity to move up. That was a Rivals-exclusive event FWIW, so don't expect anyone else to react.
Also of note from that camp are LBs Brendan Ferns and Darrin Kirkland. Ferns (Yes That Ferns) is Michigan freshman Michael's younger brother and despite being a 2016 he drew mention as a guy to watch, as he's already a little bigger than his brother and "moved very well in space." Ferns recently picked up offers from Minnesota and WVU to go with a Virginia one that kicked things off. Michigan is still evaluating.
Kirkland, meanwhile, has a Michigan offer and there was a window in which chatter had him strongly considering becoming member of the class. That should cease, as Kirkland's moving his commitment date back from May 30th to August after Texas and Nebraska offers and Michigan does not seem super high on his list at the moment:
Kirkland is prepared to narrow his list of offers to a top eight on Sunday. He previewed that list by naming Ole Miss and Tennessee as two schools who were strong contenders to make the cut. He has visited both programs, traveling to Ole Miss within the last month.
Kirkland did tell Brandon that Michigan would be in that top eight a couple weeks ago.
Also in guys getting diverted from Michigan, PA OL Sterling Jenkins reconfirmed his final two of OSU and PSU.
We are on this list at least
"I think the Michigan one went better than the Ohio State one to be honest. I felt a little more comfortable with the players at Michigan. Both Coach Hoke and Coach Meyer have a good idea of what they want to do at the tight end position. I think I would say that Michigan is the favorite right now though."
Post-visit glow is always something to be cautious of; in this case a guy coming off an OSU visit who still says he likes M better is probably meaningful. Clark's next stop is a June visit to MSU. Unfortunately, these days you can't just go "lol out of state recruit visiting State." See above.
FWIW, Clark's high school, Avon Old Farms, sent Mike Cox to Michigan.
That seems less than good
MN DE Jashon Cornell took a visit to Michigan State's spring game. Before he said there was a possibility he would swing by Michigan afterwards; he apparently did not. And the aftermath:
Five-star DE Jashon Cornell says Michigan State is his No. 1 school after his visit today
— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) April 26, 2014
Whether or not that stands up, that's a new spot for MSU to be for a big time recruit who doesn't live in Michigan. It spurred a number of 247 crystal ball folks to flip their prediction to the Spartans, including the creepily accurate Steve Wiltfong. Cornell plans a decision in August, so time is running out and officials will not make an impact. Your "guhhhhh" quote of the day:
“I noticed that defense is all world and I see myself playing in that defense in the future,” Cornell said.
MSU's recruiting profit from having 40k at Spartan Stadium for an actual game instead of a desultory 10k for 90 minutes of punting and 45 minutes of disjointed scrimmage is right there. Winning the Rose Bowl probably helps, yeah.
But not all is lost at DE
NC DE Darian Roseboro, a four-star on the fringe of the top 100 in the 247 composite, just finished a four-day(!) visit to Michigan. Articles are still pending; as a preview Sam Webb dropped a quote from Roseboro's dad in a message board post entitled($)
"The frontrunner for Roseboro?"
The answers to these questions are generally "yes"; Webb further asserted on WTKA that Michigan was now in "pole position" for Roseboro. FWIW, he's been predicted to NC State by the three people who have ventured a guess on the Crystal Ball.
A dance to the death with James Franklin
NJ OL Grant Newsome isn't announcing a top list, but it appears that Michigan and Penn State are well out in front for him. He's visited both campuses, plans to decide in late June, and wants to visit M and PSU again before that:
The four-star said he wants to see the full package at Penn State and let his mother see the campus at Michigan since she couldn’t make it when he visited this spring. Newsome said he wants to decide in late June after visiting the Lions and Wolverines in late May or early June, adding he does not plan to announce a top group prior to deciding.
Newsome also mentions M and PSU most prominently in a 247 article, with secondary mention to OSU, Alabama, and LSU.
Etc.: Further good feelings about FL WR Auden Tate from 247; if he visits sounds like it's time for a commit watch. VA DE Clelin Ferrell has Michigan in his top 10-ish($), but comment chatter from guys vouched for by 247 makes it sound like VT is the proverbial lock. Michigan offers 2016 DC OL Jauan Williams, whose only experience on a college campus is at Maryland. Wide open? The widest. They've also offered 2016 GA OL Ben Cleveland.
Name: Jauan Williams
Position: Offensive Tackle
Ht/Wt: 6’6" / 263 lbs.
Location: Archbishop Carroll – Washington, DC (2016)
Offers: Florida, Maryland, Ohio State, Clemson, Florida State, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Penn State, Tennessee, UCLA, Virginia, Virginia Tech
Rating: ★★★★★ .9960 (247 Composite)
Ranking: #11 NAT / #5 OT (247 Composite)
If you could build a prototypical offensive tackle prospect in a lab you’d probably create something that looked like Jauan Williams. Just a sophomore, Williams boasts offers from some of the top programs in the country and at 6’6” and 263 lbs., he looks more like a power/small forward-combo than he does an offensive lineman. I mean how many 6’6” offensive tackle prospects can do this (at right)?
With his frame he stands out on the football field already but he says there are other things that you would notice about him while sitting in the stands.
People can expect to see me protecting the quarterback with everything I have and taking defensive players to the bus. I’ve been told I play like The Blind Side movie, like Michael Oher.
Like Oher was, Williams is still raw at this stage in his career. His sophomore season was just the third he’s played.
With loads of potential yet to be reached, Williams will be able to go wherever he wants when he decides to make his final choice. Williams has yet to take any visits and right now he has singled out three or four schools that he will likely check out this summer.
My recruitment is coming along great. I like all 15 schools that have offered me so far. However, I will be visiting Clemson, Ohio State, and Michigan this summer. Michigan is definitely going to be in the mix because it’s a good school for academics as well as for offensive linemen. I’m going to go to a lot of schools but those three are just schools we are definitely visiting right now, no order or anything. It’s just to keep my options open. I’d still like offers from LSU, Oregon, and Texas A&M too.
With no current leader, Williams will get to see a lot of schools over the next couple years of his high school career, including his childhood favorite.
Growing up I liked Florida. They should be in that mix too, I’d like to visit them as well.
Williams doesn’t have much knowledge of Michigan outside of the fact that they are part of the great rivalry against Ohio State and with no other connections to the school, a visit this summer will go a long way with his impression of the Wolverines.
I want to check out Michigan’s IT program. I’m curious about the area and their facilities. I also want to see their cafeteria, I’m a growing boy, I love to eat! I hope to see them practice too. I’ll have to talk to my mom about all of this, but I’d like to see a game in the fall too.
Jauan had a very mature, charismatic disposition about him which I think will be well received by the players currently on Michigan’s roster, as well as by the staff. The visit to Ann Arbor hasn’t been planned yet, but he spoke about it as a top priority for this summer.
5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none
It’s really early for Williams and he is elite. That being said, he likes Michigan and a visit to Ann Arbor this summer could really put the Wolverines in a good position moving forward. Everybody and their brother will be courting him but with serious, early interest expressed in the form of an unofficial visit, Michigan will be in as good of shape as anyone for him.
Name: Ty’Son Williams
Position: Running Back
Ht/Wt: 5'11" / 200 lbs.
Location: Crestwood – Sumter, SC (2015)
Offers: Georgia, Appalachian State, Clemson, Duke, Georgia Tech, Michigan, North Carolina, NC State, Notre Dame, South Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin
Rating: ★★★★ .9036 (247 Composite)
Ranking: #254 NAT / #21 RB (247 Composite)
The Michigan coaches have offered eight running backs in the 2015 class and unless they are named Damien or Mike, most of them are somewhat unknown. Probably the most under-the-radar kid that holds an offer is Ty’Son Williams. Williams hails from South Carolina and while he’s not as known by Michigan followers as some other 2015 offered prospects, he’d like that to change.
Williams says that he’d like to hear from Michigan more often and while his knowledge of the Wolverines isn’t extensive, he’d like to learn more about the school and the program.
Williams has only visited the in-state Gamecocks and Tigers, as well as Georgia and Florida State. Thus far, his trips have been limited to the southern states, but he says Michigan is one northern school that he’d like to check out.
I’m trying to get up there. I’ve heard that the atmosphere is nice. I mean it’s Michigan. That’s the Go Blue nation. I also just want to be open through the process. I don’t want to be limited to seeing only southern schools.
As Williams tries to stay completely open throughout his recruitment I asked him about the aforementioned Georgia Bulldogs, who 247 lists as his leader.
Georgia is not my leader, that’s wrong. They have no clue where my mind is at. Georgia was my team growing up so that’s probably why they think that, but I don’t have a leader right now.
With Georgia being his childhood favorite and in-state powers Clemson and South Carolina recruiting him aggressively, the competition for his services will be stiff. However, he told me that two of Michigan’s familiar foes may actually be after him the hardest of all.
I probably hear from Notre Dame and Wisconsin the most. The recruiters for my area contact me a lot and keep in touch with me on social media too.
When you have two big-time, recently successful programs in your home-state, a traditional power not too far away, an iconic program, and a running back factory all after you like Williams does in Clemson, South Carolina, Georgia, Notre Dame, and Wisconsin, anyone else recruiting you is going to have their work cut out for them. Michigan is one of those, “anyone elses” at this point.
5 – Trending Blue
4 – Solidly in a top 2-3
3 – Contender in a top 3-7
2 – Among large (8-15) group under consideration
1 – Let’s see if he visits before we talk
0 – Passing interest or none
A lot of Michigan fans think that Damien Harris and Mike Weber will eventually commit to Michigan but if either or both don’t, the Wolverines will need to identify another running back target to pursue aggressively. I’m not sure if Williams will be that guy or not, but looking at the other running backs who have been offered, behind maybe Jacques Patrick, he’s as likely as anyone else.
ludicrous photo illustration of Donnal via the Blade.
I'm trying as hard as I can to not go on a rage bender, so let's just move on to the implications for next year's basketball team. They are not good, obviously, but it is also not the end of the world. John Beilein won a Big Ten title with a 6'4" starting power forward; Michigan will live.
Jon Horford's ever-more inexplicable decision to exit as buckets of playing time beckon leaves Michigan with the following options for tall rebounding folks:
- Mark Donnal. Freshman coming off a redshirt; reputed to be highly skilled perimeter big who certainly could play the 4 in a Beilein offense but now slides down to the five. Has a back-to-the-basket game, not that such things are at all relevant in Ann Arbor. Can be a Pittsnogle pick and pop guy; defense questionable. Supposed to be a below the rim type, though Camp Sanderson has endeavored to change that.
- Ricky Doyle. Gangly three-star freshman out of Florida now standing next to Bacari Alexander in an effort to demonstrate that he's a legit 6'10", Doyle has a decent face up game and is reputed to be your standard hard-working blue-collar rebounder. Freshman bigs, though, are not fifth year senior bigs.
- Max Bielfeldt. If only Bielfeldt's body was as large as his calves. Since they're not, the 6'6"-ish Bielfeldt just gets swallowed by actual posts. The first half of the Big Ten Championship game is the most recent example. Will have a role off the bench against certain matchups.
- Random fifth year guy. Nobody on the radar and Michigan's contingency plan in the event of a McGary exit appears to be Cole Huff, who won't be eligible next year if he does end up transferring in and wouldn't be a post even if he got a waiver.
- Random freshman. See previous bullet: Michigan's late offers have been focused on the wing. If Dawkins or Huff does turn Michigan down they would have a spot to go fishing with. Finding someone this late who is both a fit and able to play basketball is doubtful.
So Michigan's going to have to roll with what they've got, it seems: a 6'9" redshirt freshman and a 6'10" freshman plus Max Bielfeldt.
What about the four?
Irvin is not an ideal option at the 4. [Fuller]
Any thought Donnal would spend significant minutes at the 4 is out the window. Michigan's options there:
- Zak Irvin. Irvin saw the occasional stretch at the four a year ago, always when Robinson was on the bench. It seems doubtful Irvin can provide anything more than a few minutes here and there against a decent matchup, as he's far more wing-shaped than Robinson. His DREB rate was the lowest on the team, yes behind even Spike. That's partially roles and whatnot; I think it's also Zak Irvin not being much of a rebounder. Even a Hardaway-like move there does not make him the best option, which means Michigan's in a different place than they were a few years ago. Also, Irvin is going to be needed at the 3 for about 30 minutes a game.
- Kam Chatman. Chatman measured in at 6'8" at the most recent camo basketball all star debacle, so he'd actually be an improvement over Robinson in the height department despite being widely regarded as a wing player. At around 200 pounds that's understandable. Chatman would probably get beat up worse than Robinson did as a freshman, as he's taller and skinnier—going to be a lot of times he gets shoved under the basket when rebound time kicks in.
- DJ Wilson. Chatman's fellow freshman is the truest stretch four Beilein's brought in during his time at Michigan. Depending on who you listen to and what time they scribbled his weight down, Wilson's either the same 200 pounds Chatman is or a skinny-but-survivable 215 at 6'8" or 6'9". Wilson finally had a healthy high school season and used that to shoot up almost fifty spots in the Rivals rankings.
- Guy who looks suspiciously like Zack Novak wearing a fake beard and stovepipe hat. It could happen.
That seems super young
Yep. For the third straight year, Michigan projects to be one of the youngest teams in the country, with a frontcourt that is handing probably 70 of its 80 minutes to freshmen, has no seniors, and will have only one starter who's even a junior. That junior is almost as young as you can be and still be a junior. Kentucky might be older. For real.
This is not necessarily doom. The last two years Michigan has been 342nd and 330th in Kenpom's experience stat*. This did not matter much: no team in the country collected more NCAA tournament wins than Michigan whilst they were idling at the bottom of the table there.
It is something different to have freshman bigs who are not Mitch McGary, though. Bigs are long-term projects best eased into serious time lest they be overrun. Michigan can and will survive—I see Jane is tweeting out modified Forgot About Dre lyrics, which I second. "Surviving" is not what they did the last couple years, though, and we're probably in for a comedown from the highs of the last couple years.
*[Which is just an average of FR/SO/JR/SR weighted by playing time, so that a senior who plays five minutes a game doesn't throw you all out of whack.]
But I didn't want this to happen
Hey, at least the staggering hypocrisy of the NCAA chasing dudes out of school for an infraction that the legal system treats like whatever dude has a really good rationale behind it.
"Whereas the CSMAS rightly focused on the fact that marijuana and other street drugs are not performance enhancing, the committee also recognizes that the universe of sport is special, and the student-athlete is obliged to embrace the spirit of sport."
I'ma go build a lego Mark Emmert so I can hurl it off a building.
Well, dammit. McGary's out the door and in the end there wasn't even a decision to make:
The Michigan sophomore who turned down a prime opportunity to enter last year's NBA draft and paid a price has decided to declare for the 2014 draft, admitting that he failed an NCAA-administered drug test in March and faced a one-year suspension from college basketball.
The drug test he failed was for pot, which seems ludicrous. Since when does the NCAA even test for pot, let alone levy year-long suspensions? Especially of a player who didn't even play? The situation here is insane. If Michigan issues the test, they get to decide the punishment. If the NCAA does, it's pretty much a death penalty for your career:
By failing a test administered by the NCAA, rather than his school, McGary was subject to the draconian Bylaw 184.108.40.206.1, which calls for a player to be "ineligible for a minimum of one calendar year." A second offense, even for just marijuana, results in permanent banishment.
"If it had been a Michigan test, I would've been suspended three games and possibly thought about coming back," McGary said. "I don't have the greatest circumstances to leave right now [due to the injury]. I feel I'm ready, but this pushed it overboard.
"I don't think the penalty fits the crime. I think one year is overdoing it a little bit."
Michigan agreed, McGary said, and appealed the decision to the NCAA in early April. It was denied, however. Neither the university nor the NCAA would comment directly on the case or the appeal.
The NCAA is the worst organization in the world (that isn't FIFA). They just changed the penalty to a half-season—still ludicrously punitive for a substance that is heading towards legalization within a decade—and would still not relent, because think of the NCAA like a marching band full of assholes. Good on McGary for just talking about it. At least one party in this situation comes off like an adult.
Michigan's situation at the five is now pretty alarming. They've got true freshman Ricky Doyle and, now out of necessity, redshirt freshman Mark Donnal. Transfer Cole Huff now has a scholarship slot, though he would not be available next year.