"The end crowns all. And that old common arbitrator, Time, will one day end it."
In Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida, the Trojan hero Hector gives an existential twist to the Latin phrase finis coronat opus: the end crowns the work. The original is a more forgiving statement; when a task is completed, the finished product justifies the effort. Hector, preparing for a fatal battle with Achilles, adds that cruelest of elements: time. Only so much of his fate rests in his own hands, for there are forces present no person can control.
[left: Patrick Barron; right and center: Marc-Gregor Campredon]
Michigan lost at Illinois on January 11th, falling to 11-6 overall and 1-3 in the Big Ten. Their November dismantlings of Marquette and SMU had gone from promising augurs to cruel teases. The offense was merely good, the defense abominable. When the Illini's Maverick Morgan described Michigan as a "white collar" program, it rankled because it rang true.
Derrick Walton didn't spend his summer in the gym for this. He called a team meeting. When asked about the timing, the senior captain answered with his usual calm, but his words communicated a sense of urgency.
"It’s only so many games left.
"We’re hitting the mid stretch and the back stretch is coming soon. It’s time to make some noise. I feel like we are a ton better team than we’ve showed and our record doesn’t show it. I think we’re a lot better than we’re playing and guys are ready to show that."
In only so many games, Walton redefined his legacy from program guy to program legend, led a storybook turnaround, and shifted the perception of the coach whose offense he helped reshape.
[Hit THE JUMP.]
— Michigan Football (@UMichFootball) March 30, 2017
You gotta love how they’re so used to Gary wrecking things by now that only one person whoops. Also Carlo Kemp looks ready. We have mixed feelings on Mason Cole murderating Winovich. More discussion is in the thread.
Inconsistent. Shows ability to make proper rotations at times, but too often is caught stagnant and doesn't rotate at all. Needs to improve reaction time on helpside rotations, has ability with athleticism and size.
The posts include films cut up by the OP where you can see what he’s seeing. The ability is there but there’s still a lot of defensive development.
While we’re on the subject of basketball’s near future, AC1997 made us a diary trying to project who will play next year. AC’s not expecting a 10-man bench—and thoroughly demonstrates why—and challenges the reader to find two regulars off the bench from Brooks, Poole, Livers, Teske, and Davis. I’m guessing Brooks comes into minutes later in the year like Simpson did, and that we don’t see a lot of Poole or Livers. Teske and Davis will be normal backup centers, with one getting 30% of minutes and the other 10% or so.
SO ABOUT FOOTBALL: WE GON’ BE GOOD?
…Ecky Pting did some S&P+ analysis versus things we know about our opponents and it still looks like 3rd in the Big Ten East, and that or 4th in the conference. Michigan at Penn State will be the difference between an excellent season and, like, a Citrus-y one. Ohio State is on another level.
WHAT’S A 5-STAR RECEIVER?
Bones032 stole my thunder a bit since I have an article coming up on DPJ comps. But he also made my job way easier by finding every 5-star receiver since 2000 and tracking their freshman production. Conclusions:
That means 59 players played their freshman years.
21 had over 500 yds receiving
19 had at least 5 receiving TDs
21 did some return duties
Also just 1 in 5 was a freshman All-American. This seems consistent with the 5-star-to-NFL rate, which is about 50% will be pros, 20% will be 1st rounders, and that’s more than double the rate of 4-stars.
The Mathlete is working on something similar right now by % of total position starts taken by year in program. Everyone shoots up as juniors, but it does seem the larger the human, the more slowly you develop.
[After THE JUMP: everything you need to know about parenting a child to 18 hours]
NBA? Not open yet. [Marc-Gregor Campredon]
Sam is back.
- Tournament wrap: Wish we had another shot at Oregon.
- What if Mo Bamba came? He won’t but assume he does. But he won’t. But if you want to be a stretch four in the NBA? Sam has a gut feeling about something here.
- Dropping Donnal: Michigan is confident Austin Davis and Jon Teske would be ahead of him next year.
- Moe and Wilson to the NBA? Probably not because of depth—discussion of other players (e.g. Swanigan) who might come back because of it.
- What to expect from Xavier Simpson next year: Brian compares him to the last Michigan guard you might expect. Also Eli Brooks.
- The Dienhart vapid #content generator has expanded to basketball. Here’s some takes on the Big Ten next year that take more into account than whether you can read names off a roster.
You can catch the entire episode on Michigan Insider's podcast stream on Audioboom.
THE USUAL LINKS
The first of more than a few planeteam retrospectives. From BTN:
— Michigan On BTN (@MichiganOnBTN) March 22, 2017
From the blog world, Hoover Street Rag probably has an aero engineer on staff and so has all the details of what exactly happened with that plane:
The MD-83 turning onto Runway 23L at Willow Run International Airport (KYIP) would never be able to takeoff, but no one on board knew that. The right elevator was jammed in the down position, and the pilots had no chance of ever being able to raise the nose enough to lift off.
Designing and flying a safe airplane is about delicately balancing huge forces. Gravity's remorseless tug must be balanced by lift; thrust is balanced by drag. If you do this right, you get steady level flight. To turn, you have to slightly perturb this arrangement. The ailerons on the wings bank the airplane (this is called the roll axis). The rudder rotates the plane left or right (yaw). The elevator, meanwhile, rotates the nose up or down (pitch).
The tail (or the empennage, if you want to sound fancy) on most conventional airplanes consists of a vertical stabilizer, sticking up like a shark fin and housing the rudder, while the horizontal stabilizer sprouts from either side of the tail, each containing half the elevator.
And Holdin' The Rope:
After 20 minutes, Michigan trailed by two -- but it felt like it should have been much more.
After 40 minutes, Michigan lost by one -- but it felt like it should have been much less, another outcome, a different narrative track.
Various Harbaugh stories, as per usual. David Lombardi's article on Stanford assistant Tsuyoshi Kawata is interesting on its own; it will be of special interest to Michigan folks because of Harbaugh doing Harbaugh things:
Kawata could barely speak English, but he was looking for an entry point into coaching in the United States.
Kawata had thought about what he was going to say to Harbaugh before he entered his office. He told Harbaugh that he was a major influence in his football education, and that he remembered him as "Captain Comeback" from watching his games in Japan on grainy television broadcasts.
"I told him that story to make his mood better," Kawata said with a laugh.
"Do you love football?" Harbaugh asked.
"Yes, Coach, absolutely," Kawata replied.
"Come and join us," Harbaugh said.
"It was one of those deals where, all of a sudden, Jim hired him and didn't tell anybody," said Shaw, who was Stanford's offensive coordinator at the time. "So [Kawata] walked out onto the field, and it was like, 'Who is this guy? He's on the field? He's got a clipboard?'"
"Hired" in this context means "gave an unpaid internship to," but I enjoy the idea of coaches showing up at practice not knowing if there's going to be a mysterious new guy.
Also in Harbaugh is this story his brother told Peter King:
Last Memorial Day we did vacation together. My wife and I have a cottage up north in Michigan on Lake Huron. We get Jim to drive up with the kids and all that, and we have a basketball hoop in the front yard in the driveway, and we were going to play a little game with the kids, and we just started shooting around, and next thing you know it was a 4-on-4 game.
It was Jack, who is two-and-a-half, Addy, who is six, Katie, who is four-and-a-half or five at the time, Allison who is 13 or 14 and she is a little basketball player, and Jim and me and Sarah, my wife. We're playing, and you can picture the kind of game it is, right? Allison happens to hit a couple jumpers and we're playing to seven, and we're up maybe 5-1. Next thing you know, Jim starts going over the top of Allison for rebounds, he's boxing her out 10 feet away from the basket.
Next thing you know, it's 5-5 and Jim has made all the shots for his team of course. I'm like, you know, maybe Addy would like to touch the ball? Maybe Katie or Jack could dribble a little bit now and then? It goes 6-6 and a long rebound comes out the side, he goes and gets it. I see Allison happens to be over there, so I see him going to the basket, he's going to take Allison to the hole, you know, he's about 6'3", 235, so I'm going to go cut him off. I get him with my right arm bar across his chest and I'm trying to body check him into the pricker bushes behind the driveway, and he just powers his way to the basket, lays one over the top, a reverse layup off the board, and all he could talk about is how he won.
He picks up Jack and says, 'Doesn't it feel great, Jack, to win? Doesn't it feel great to win?' An hour later we were crossing paths in the backyard to go get a soda or something, and he looks me right in the eye and he says, ‘Hey John, have you won anything yet?’”
This isn't even surprising, down to the wicked burn he delivers his relatively normal brother. Relatively normal brother is a long-time NFL coach, which has a 100% derangement rate, and yet.
Theory of Kalis confirmed. PFF is revealing various draft grades they have, and while Michigan is going to have a bunch of guys picked it looks like OL won't be among them. The only one of Michigan's three graduates to even make their charts is Kalis, and he sticks out like a red, red thumb in their guard listings:
Kalis is the guy with the most red on his profile. He's relatively good at screen blocks and getting plus run blocks; he's bad to terrible at everything else. That fits with the Theory of Kalis: physically talented but error-prone.
Also worth noting: the guy on the line above him who's got a very draftable grade and a lot of green on his row is Kyle Bosch. Glad to see he bounced back after personal issues caused him to leave Michigan. Also, ugh that only increases curse level of the already-thoroughly-cursed 2013 OL recruiting class.
Hockey coaching name. Providence's Nate Leaman has turned two schools with little history of hockey success into powers. He's in Hockey East and he's taken the Friars to the tourney four straight years. Big talk that he's not available:
There aren't many jobs in the NCAA that could be better than his current situation. And there's reason to believe that any interview and offer from another program would be matched by Providence in a second.
Asked recently about the terms of Leaman's contract, Providence athletic director Bob Driscoll joked that it's a lifetime contract. To wit: Leaman will be the head coach of the Providence College Friars as long as he wants to be.
"I would never hold him back in something he wants to do," Driscoll said. "But my assumption is that he's very happy here. I believe he'll be here for a very long time."
We'll see if Michigan even pokes around with him.
“We starting with questions or…am I breaking into a speech here?”
MGoQuestion: You’re a few practices in now. Are you liking Mason Cole better at tackle or center?
“You really haven’t, uh…just playing hard, seeing who goes where as we go as an offense. As we get through the summer we’ll figure out—the first play of the Florida game, we’ll know who the starters are.”
So is the offensive line kind of a long-term project, long-term development then?
“What do you mean?”
When you say you want to take the summer to evaluate this.
“What’s beautiful about Coach Harbaugh is ever position is being challenged and every position is open and we’ll find out when we get to gametime who the guys are.”
How important is versatility on this offensive line?
“I think it’s important anytime you have players. When you’ve got guys that can do multiple things it helps. It helps alleviate stress. It helps when you can bring players along. You want guys to do a lot of things. As a player you want the versatility going forward when you’re trying to chase that NFL career.”
Have you met and talked to Grant Newsome yet? Obviously he’s got a road that he’s been on to try and get back.
“Yeah, I have met with Grant Newsome, and he’s a wonderful, great person. As far as him as a player, I don’t handle those questions.”
[Hit THE JUMP for an interesting bit about the schemes Frey has coached]
"Access to the legal system requires money; also that was holding." [Fuller]
The most interesting man in the world. Jim Harbaugh is (probably) the only football coach in history to land a Politico interview and come off more educated on the topic of said interview than most elected officials:
Politico: What was the response to the tweet when you sent it out?
Harbaugh: Mostly positive, varying to some degree of people’s awareness. There's issues that people just don't understand. One of the biggest issues that got me most fired up is how fines and fees are being used to punish the poor. I've learned how the devastating effect it can have on lives of low income Americans. I mean across the country 48 states have increased civil court fees since 2010 and they're using those fees to pay for government services and not just courts but roads and generating millions and in some states billions of dollars.
But basically the crux of it is when people can't afford to pay a fine or a fee for things like a speeding ticket or municipal violation then they get additional fees. Late fees can start piling up and these fees can double, triple, quadruple the total amount due and if somebody has an inability to pay that fine that can quickly snowball into a driver's license suspension or driver time. People aren't even able to go to work. So you can't pay a fine or a fee and then you lose your driver's license. You're not able to get to a job, and a lot of people, I mean, they’ve got to work.
Also Harbaugh quotes the Federalist Papers in this interview. It is quite an object, the interview.
Bamba (center) yukking it up with fellow BOYCOTT THIS COMPANY
A version of reality including this guy would be nice. Brendan Quinn hits up the [Boycott This Company Until There Is At Least One Ugly Person In Any Of Their Commercials Ever] All-American Game, to focus on the guy Michigan is recruiting: Mo Bamba. Nobody thinks Michigan is actually going to get this dude but MAYBE:
"There's a significant difference between greed and hunger," he said. "When you're greedy, you just want things. That's your only need. But when you're hungry for things, it's a mixture of need and want, which is more logical to me."
Bamba is a different cat, it appears, and hopefully that will take him to Michigan instead of the one-and-done factories down south. I mean, it's not going to. But maybe! But no.
If he did do the thing he isn't going to do that would be kind of good though?
With my own eyes, I saw Bamba grab a rebound near the shot clock during Tuesday's practice. I mean, I think I saw it. Watching Bamba can sometimes feel like bearing witness to Paul Bunyan swing an ax. The facial expressions of the NBA scouts sitting baseline told the story of this young man's mythology. After watching Bamba stretch, a veteran sportswriter covering the event approached me to say: "He's got joints I don't have."
Bamba sees himself as a stretch four and if there's anyone on the planet who can effectively sell his development of enormous inside-outside guys it's John Beilein. Dude has two 6'10"+ potential first round picks* collectively shooting 38% from three on his roster. Neither was as highly recruited as Bamba, to say the least.
Yes, this section has been a waste of time. Unless! But no.
Chris Collins might not be nice, but it's the system that rewards him. It wouldn't be worth mentioning except for the fact that so many people went to Medill and enjoyed telling us about pristine Northwestern being everything that's right with college athletics, usually two seconds after they slammed Jim Harbaugh. But since they exist and they did:
On February 3, 2015, the Northwestern men's basketball team somberly walked to the visiting locker room of the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska, after a 16-point loss to the Cornhuskers.
The team, now 1-8 in the Big Ten, sat down to meet, as it always does after games. Coach Chris Collins, then in his second season at Northwestern, turned to freshman point guard Johnnie Vassar.
According to Vassar and another person who was present, Collins yelled, "Johnnie, you fucking suck."
By any reasonable standard, Vassar had little to do with Northwestern's struggles. A seldom-used reserve, he had played one garbage-time minute against the Huskers. Yet, according to Vassar and another person who was present, Collins continued to berate the backup guard.
That's VICE's Kevin Trahan at the beginning of a lengthy article describing the lengths Collins took to get Vassar off his team, which took some doing in the era of four-year guaranteed scholarships but was nonetheless accomplished. It was accomplished by forcing Vassar into a demeaning "internship" that was mostly janitorial work and then juking timecards to boot him. One catch, via a D-I compliance officer:
"You can't push them off to another obligation," the official said. "There's nowhere in the NCAA manual that says anything about that. If they say, 'you need to do 40 community service hours,' no, you don't. It doesn't say anything about that." Another NCAA Division I school compliance official confirmed that analysis to VICE Sports.
Northwestern booted Vassar off the team after a year and then did whatever they had to in order to get his scholarship available again. Chris Collins seems like an incredible dick in the process. And not even a competent one:
One card spells Vassar's name wong; one has only another person's name on it (with that person's name crossed out); one says "Johnnie V" and has another crossed-out name; one is blank; and three have Vassar's name spelled correctly, but in handwriting that appears to be different than Vassar's.
None of this is news; what is news is that Vassar refused to suck it up and go quietly despite it being much, much easier to take the hint and move on. I admire that bullheadedness. Someone's gotta be Curt Flood.
The Vassar story once again exposes how the NCAA's terrible incentives force players and coaches into adversarial relationships annually. You should not be surprised if dicks like Chris Collins do well in a system that is set up to reward dick behavior. It forced John Beilein into similar last year when he no doubt encouraged Aubrey Dawkins and Ricky Doyle to find greener pastures.
A solution to Vassar's problem should be easy: allow him to keep his scholarship without impacting how many scholarship kids Northwestern can recruit. That costs money, and that's historically been a stumbling block because the SWAC and Colonial type schools without any outnumber those in power conferences; with autonomy there should be nothing stopping the Power 5 from allowing someone cut from a team to continue on scholarship, medical hardship or no.
Speaking of non-Bamba options and transfers. Per Some Guy, Michigan is on Washington PF Noah Dickerson's list of potential destinations as he transfers away from Washington.
Dickerson doesn't look like a great fit: he's not a stretch four in any way—he is 1/10 on threes in his career and his 68% FT rate last year does not suggest he's a butterfly waiting inside a pupa—and would likely have to play the 5 at Michigan, where he'd join Teske and Davis as 5-only contemporaries.
OTOH, he drew a buttload of fouls and was an excellent rebounder and interior scorer. The most fun thing about him is wondering how you have the #1 pick in the NBA draft and a dude with an 115 ORTG on average usage who pulls down rebounds at an 11%/23% rate and go 9-22. Lorenzo Romar, man.
Exit Melo Trimble. The Maryland guard is headed for the NBA draft and will hire an agent, figuring that another year under Mark Turgeon isn't going to get him solidly in the first round. The locals are a little cheesed off:
With 1,658 career points to his name, he would've had a chance to chase the No. 1 spot on the school's career scoring list next season, but he'll pursue a professional career rather than local immortality.
He probably figures that when you lose in the first round as a six seed in the NBA nobody gets on your case.