ohio state blogs will post literally anything
via UConn Athletics
After most of a decade as one of two excellent candidates Michigan apparently had waiting in the wings, it looks like Michigan has decided on UConn AD Warde Manuel:
Report: It's Warde Manuel to be next AD at Michigan https://t.co/IPMnRGmHBS
— The Michigan Insider (@michiganinsider) January 27, 2016
Who says? AJerseyGuy is Mark Blaudschun, a former Boston Globe reporter who covers UConn. While it appears that Michigan didn't plan to announce until later in the week, the Freep's David Jesse and Mark Snyder posted the news soon after Blaudschun. While Michigan did its due diligence, Manuel and Boston College AD Brad Bates were consensus frontrunners for the position going back to the search that yielded Dave Brandon. If they did Crystal Balls for ADs, Sam Webb should get epic points.
A quick take: Manuel built a football program where there was none in two locations—Buffalo and UConn—and got Michigan to fill his stadium despite Brandon twisting in the wind to get it moved to a neutral New York site. Prior to those jobs he was Bill Martin's top lieutenant, running football and basketball operations at Michigan, his alma mater. He's considered one of the best ADs nationally. Brian will share his thoughts once he's done with a super secret important matter. Some bits he's shared in the past:
Manuel hired Turner Gill at Buffalo, who briefly made Buffalo not the worst team in D-I, and then ended up hiring Kevin Ollie at UConn, though that was not much of a decision. Paul Pasqualoni was already in place when he was hired at UConn; he fired him and replaced him with ND DC Bob Diaco after taking a swing at MSU DC Pat Narduzzi. That may or may not work out but that process seems pretty sensible to me.
My take: The best possible choice since tying Jim Hackett to a chair for the next 20 years had several legal and logistical disadvantages. Among the various tales of greatness that are about to emerge, my favorite is at Buffalo he swooped in to hire the woman who successfully sued Isiah Thomas and the Knicks.
[Left: Patrick Barron/MGoBlog; Right: Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog]
Zak Irvin's transformation from unabashed gunner into complete player has become especially apparent over the last month as he's arguably become Michigan's most important player on both ends of the floor in Caris LeVert's absence. In seven Big Ten games, Irvin is averaging 13 points and five boards per contest; more importantly, the man who never tallied more than three assists in a single game until last February is doling out four assists per game over that span.
While Irvin's rediscovered outside shot has opened up the rest of his game, he's also become adept enough as a ballhandler and passer that he can make a significant impact even when he's not scoring much. That came to the forefront in Saturday's victory at Nebraska; Irvin had eight points on seven shots, deferring to the hot hands of Duncan Robinson and Derrick Walton, but when asked to run the offense he excelled, dishing out five assists—all coming off some form of screen—with no turnovers.
I went to clip highlights and ended up cutting videos of each of his five assists; while they all utilized a pick, they all took slightly different forms.
1. Cut, drive, and kick.
On his first assist, Irvin started in the far corner, took a handoff from Mark Donnal that acted as a screen, and drove hard into the teeth of the defense. This is something relatively new from Irvin: a drive clearly intended to draw in defenders to set up a pass instead of a drive directly to the hoop for a layup attempt. A couple hard dribbles towards the paint are enough to freeze the defender tasked with defending Duncan Robinson in the corner, giving Irvin an easy dumpoff that results in about as automatic a three points as you'll find in the college game.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the post.]
You will not be surprised that the Rashad Weaver decommitment set off another media/twitter/message board tempest. The guy who called Kyle Flood "real" two weeks before his grade-fixing scandal came to light has weighed in. Teddy Greenstein has resumed calling Michael Spath a hack so he doesn't have to actually address Michigan's point of view. Lawyers from Alabama have invaded my mentions.
This is not a good state of affairs. It is not the End of Integrity, as the pearl-clutching wing of the fanbase has fretted. The decommits will sign elsewhere; they won't have to transfer or take a medical midway through their careers. Finding yourself with a guy who would be better off elsewhere is inevitable and it's better to rip off the bandaid.
Michigan isn't in this situation because it's evil or untrustworthy, but rather because it's been disorganized and sloppy. There are countless examples just this year of similar decommits that were handled much better, like when Florida commit Isaiah Williams flipped to Washington State in December. Was that a voluntary switch? Not bloody likely. Did it cause a rending of garments and beating of the breast? Not at all.
Michigan took a number of early commits from fringe players, and they did so without checking up on grades. While there have been no complaints from anyone other than Swenson and Weaver, the sheer number of decommits looks bad even if Michigan has valid reasons for consciously uncoupling. There was no reason to take commits from a slew of academically questionable three stars this summer. Michigan gave them a plan to get right and they couldn't get there, which is fine. More or less dropping contact with them is not.
Meanwhile Michigan's two talent-based decommits were given broad hints but not told flat out until they did not want to take those hints. Whether or not this is how it's done elsewhere, that's the equivalent of breaking up with your girlfriend via meaningful eyebrow arcing and the occasional pursed lip. It results in confusion and people buying you gun racks.
Erik Swenson should have been explicitly dumped as soon as he did not show for Michigan's summer camp, and certainly by October, when his midseason senior film arrived in Ann Arbor. Weaver got enough of a message that he started looking around in November; his situation should have been made explicitly clear by midseason at the latest as well.
This is both ethically better and less damaging to the program. A Swenson set loose in October is both more capable of finding an appropriate landing spot and less capable of setting off a media firestorm. If Rashad Weaver simply flips to one of the four schools he visited over the course of the season his decommit is as newsworthy as that of Isaiah Williams, ie, not newsworthy except to Washington State fans.
So. To prevent further outbreaks, pick up the damn phone. By December.
Thursday, January 21, 2016
#6 Michigan 5, US NTDP U18 2 (Exhibition)
Suthers goal, NTDP
M 0 U18 1 EV 03:54 Assists: Pastujov & Walker
Walker gains possession at the top of the NTDP’s defensive zone and threads a perfect pass through traffic to Pastujov in the neutral zone. With the puck now ahead of the rest of Michigan’s defense, the US is suddenly on a 2-on-2 rush.
Pastujov does a nice job of feigning toward the center of the ice before pulling the puck across his body and skating around Cecconi. Cecconi knows there’s an open skater to his right and tries to communicate that to Piazza, as he’s decided he’ll carry Pastujov.
Piazza has his stick down in an attempt to take away the passing lane; the only problem is that his stick isn’t in the passing lane. He doesn’t switch defenders, and Pastujov’s pass hits an open Suthers.
All’s not lost, however, as Nagelvoort’s read this well and is prepared for the shot. Then he misses it. It looks like he’s square to the shooter and isn’t sunk back too far in the crease, so this one’s a little ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
[After THE JUMP: Motte does Motte things, and a scouting report of sorts]
FL DE Rashad Weaver has decommitted. He's upset after Harbaugh told him there was only a 50/50 shot they'd have a slot for him on Signing Day and will take one of the other D-I offers he received. Weaver visited Temple recently and will be at USF and Illinois in the near future.
Weaver was one of the players we were assuming would not be in the class. Setting a visit to a non power-5 school is almost always a sign that a player committed to Michigan isn't going to get to Signing Day as a commit, and Weaver set that visit way back in November. He clearly had an idea of his status and moved to do something about it.
Still, you'd hope the past couple weeks inform the staff that in the twitter era you'd better do something a little more explicit than not calling for months if you don't want unpleasant public relations flare-ups on the regular.
1 hour 2 minutes
Nebrasketball is defeated, as was Minnesotaketball. The vagaries of shooting. Zak Irvin, all-around player. Derrick Walton, strange player. Andrew Donnal, serviceable. We play with forces we do not understand and barely come out unscathed.
ACE'S HOCKEY PODCAST
Starts at 19:38. U18 scouting reports from yours truly. Some schedule talk.
INSIDE THE CROOKED BLUE LINE WITH STEVE LORENZ
Starts at 31:41. This segment got outdated somewhat more quickly than we thought it would with three guys dropping between taping and publishing.
"Across 110th Street"
uh... some other stuff