to play football, not to play trumpet
The men's basketball team defeated the Perugia Select Team, 99-60, in the opening game of their Italy exhibition tour. Zak Irvin led the way with 27 points on 10/13 (5/8 2PT, 5/5 3PT) shooting, followed by freshmen Kam Chatman and Ricky Doyle chipping in 12 apiece. Most importantly, Austin Hatch entered the game for the last few minutes, receiving a standing ovation from the crowd:
— Michigan Basketball (@umichbball) August 17, 2014
The full box score, which was compiled by hand by the Michigan staff—hence no minutes played tally—is below (click to embiggen):
Visual proof of Irvin being Not Just A Shooter™:
Postgame quotes from John Beilein, Hatch, and more courtesy of the athletic department:
Michigan Head Coach John Beilein
On the opening victory on U-M's Italian exhibition tour ... "Offensively, that first quarter was not what I was expecting. With us playing so well offensively that led to us playing so well defensively. You don't know what to expect in games like these. The first quarter was probably a little above what I thought we would do. The last three quarters were a little more predictable for a team on a trip like we are on."
On what he learned that will help going into the next game ... "We will have 48 hours before our next game. This film will be invaluable. There will be plenty of it that will coach the coaches on what we have to teach better. The second part is we will have a chance to sit down with players on the train tomorrow when we go to Verona. It will be just a great teaching tool."
On getting Austin Hatch getting into the last three minutes of the game ... "It was a special moment. Austin even led us in the fight song after the game was over. It's something he has worked very hard for. It was a great moment for our team; however, it was truly special for Austin and his grandfather, Jim, who was here in the stands."
Freshman Austin Hatch
On getting into the game ... "(long pause) As you can imagine it has been a heck of a journey to get here. Playing basketball at the University of Michigan has been my goal since I was a little kid. It was unreal to be here and to have actually played a game. I really feel like I have that game under my belt now and I really feel like a Michigan basketball player."
On almost getting an opportunity to score ... "I am not going to take a shot if it is not the right point in the game. For example if I have an open three and I have a teammate who is open under the basket, you better believe I am going to be passing it to him. Yeah, it would be cool if I made a three. It would be a good story, but I am about my team and my teammates."
On leading the team in 'The Victors' ... "It was unreal. To lead the team in the fight song after the game is a big tradition. I learned that early on in the recruiting process and watched U-M sing it a lot on my visits. I always thought to myself, 'I hope someday I am in position to be able to do that.' Just like everything else that happened today, it was just unreal to be able to do that."
Sophomore Zak Irvin
On his opening 27-point, 11-rebound game ..."I really shot the ball well today; however, I have to give my teammates credit because they were looking for me and getting me the ball. The big thing for me was getting to the hole and I was able to do that. I was able to score inside and outside. It was a great start for us, a great game and hopefully we can keep this going."
On U-M's red hot first quarter ... "We came out shooting the ball really well. That just speaks volumes for our team. We are all looking for each other and playing unselfish basketball."
On how this team progressed ... "We are a growing team. There were a lot of things that went well today, but there is plenty we still have to work on. We can do better communicating and on the defensive end. We came out to Italy and had a great game, but we also just have to enjoy and really take in everything on this trip."
On Austin Hatch getting into the game ..."It was great to see that, especially after everything that Austin has been through. To see him step out onto that floor just meant so much. I have known Austin since the eighth grade so to see him out there playing was just incredible. I hope he is able to do that a lot more during this trip and beyond."
Freshman Ricky Doyle
On playing his first game in a Michigan jersey ... "It was a lot of fun. Finally getting out there with all these guys was a great experience. There is a lot more to come. It's going to be a great year."
On Austin Hatch getting into the game ..."He has been through so much and for him to be out here with us, it is phenomenal. He is part of our family. He is one of our brothers. Seeing him going out there was just as important to all of us as it is to him."
For those of you who love basketball and don't care that it comes in NBA form, Zach Lowe of grantland.com should be required reading.
He recently posted this article about Kyle Korver, now of the ATL Hawks. The reason I draw your attention to it is the three gifs partway down the page. Do those actions make you think of anything or anyone? If you said "hey, that looks just like the stuff M ran with Stauskas," then I say "me too."
The difference, though, is who the dribble handoffer or pick and popper is. With M it was either Morford or Walton instead of a Pittsnoglian-type, as it is in the first (Pero Antic) and second and third (Paul Millsap) gifs.
Here's where I get irrationally giddy about Zak Irvin and Mark Donnal running the same stuff. If Donnal can be a credible three point shooter, that could make Irvin, who may or may not be "just a shooter," structurally lethal.
This kind of action puts the opposing big in a terrible position, because they either have to show on Irvin and then try to get back to Donnal, or if they switch, that leaves Donnal able to get a shot off on a shorter wing.
To make it more concrete, imagine Adam Woodbury, Alex Gauna, or even Frank Kaminsky trying to deal with this:
Recall that Wisconsin's strategy for dealing with Stauskas was to sag in the lane and dare him to shoot a 16-footer. If they do that this year, that leaves Donnal either unguarded or switched on to a shorter player.
Anyway, I'm excited to see what Donnal and Irvin can do this year is what I'm saying.
We learned earlier in the week that C.J. Lee would leave his position as Director of Program Personnel to join (Beilein protégé) Mike Maker at Marist, as Maker's assistant coach. C.J. Lee was in the unique position of watching the program rise from the doldrums of the post-Amaker/Ed Martin era to its current stature.
Today we have an ARTICLE from Brendan Quinn replete with C.J. Lee insights on the program and on Beilein in particular. It's worth your time to read, but here's a quote to whet your appetite, relaying Lee's observations on how Beilein has changed over the years:
“There isn’t a noticeable difference in him, but he says it to me in personal conversations all the time, ‘I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t been willing to change and listen to others,’” Lee replied. “That’s what stands out. He keeps learning and continues to develop, which is crazy. I mean, he’s 61 years old and keeps getting better.”
It will surprise very few here that Beilein was instrumental in getting C.J. in front of Maker for this opportunity.
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Caught this article on my twitter stream by Gary Parrish of CBS Sports. It essentially says what those of us who follow MBB closely already know - the development of late has been off the chart, esp the 2012 class and Burke. But it is good to see more and more of the basketball media catch onto it. Also has a fascinating stat - UM has the only 2 players drafted selected in the top 10 of the past 2 drafts who were not top 75 recruits and/or 3 year players. Lots of talk about Caris in the article too, as well as how shooting is taught. Would have liked to see some Jordan love here too though as the wings/guards development has been under his eye as well.
No, Beilein doesn't have a national title like each of those coaches do, and he hasn't put as many players in the NBA, either. But what he's done is arguably more impressive, because what he's done is help turn borderline top-80 high school prospects into top-10 picks in consecutive NBA Drafts, and he just might do it again next year, which is pretty bananas.
Of the 20 players selected in the top 10 of the past two NBA Drafts, 18 were former top 75 prospects and/or players who spent at least three seasons in college. The only exceptions? Burke and Stauskas -- both of whom enrolled at Michigan as unheralded recruits, earned Big Ten Player of the Year honors as sophomores, turned pro and were selected in the top 10 of the subsequent NBA Draft.
Beilein: What he looks for, rather, are versatile players who haven't yet peaked, and that's why recruiting rankings rarely matter to Michigan, because what Beilein cares about isn't always what analysts value.
"We try to project whether a player is on the rise or if he's already where he's gonna be," Beilein said. "A lot of the [analysts'] early projections on players, I think, are made because the players' bodies are ahead of everybody else's bodies. And if you saw Nik or Caris, back when they were 16 years old, their bodies weren't ahead of anybody else's bodies."
I thought this would be fun for a Monday morning... In Bill Simmons's "The Book of Basketball" he spends what was probably my favorite chapter on "The Wine Cellar" team. The premise is "If aliens come to earth with a time machine and demand to play basketball for the sake of the world, who do you pick?" The time machine is because you don't just pick Michael Jordan - you have to decide which vintage (like wine) of Mike you pick (Simmons took 1992 MJ over 96 MJ). The game is taking place today - meaning 2014 NCAA rules like the 3 point line length are in play.
With that theory in place, who makes your Wine Cellar Team? Does 2013 Trey Burke start over 1992 Jalen Rose? Does Tournament McGary get one of your 12 roster spots? Does Cazzie's game translate with a shot clock, 3 pointer, and 7 footers? 91 or 92 CWebb? Simmons's team was quite versitile, able to go big or small, run a press, have a lockdown 5 for defense, and able to score lots of ways.
Build your starting 5 (or full roster of 12) and defend your picks/years.
I just spoke with Coles father. He was very excited about the McGary news. He expressed that he feels bad for McGary and that "unfortunate situation" but he is excited for Cole to get that offer. He spoke with coach Jordan for about an hour last night and coach Jordan told him what we all assumed which is that with McGary out, Cole will have an offer regardless of what Aubrey Dawkins decides (it appears Cole was in line for an offer anyway if Dawkins committed to Dayton).
I told him that Cole seems like the prototypical John Belien player and he told me that Coach Jordan said Cole is what the coaching staff looks for and calls "80/40 guys." That's 80 percent from the line and 40 from 3. Coles dad expressed how it's hard not to get excited just seeing that block M with all the tradition behind it.
Coles dad said that they have only been in contact with coach Jordan and haven't heard from Belien directly yet but they understood that was because they were still not sure if Cole was getting an offer until very recently. As we know, Michigan told him they only offer in person but he will get his offer when he visits which he will now be scheduling.
There are a few other tidbits about each school and coach that I am not sure he would be ok with me sharing so I will keep those to myself but I would not expect him to commit until he has taken all 4 visits.
This part is pure speculation but after talking to Coles dad, I would say Michigan is a slight favorite once they offer.
Also, Roger is going with Cole on his visits so the updates will be sparse since he will only be at work a handful of days for the next couple of weeks.
I said this in a comment below but I thought it should go here as well. Cole does not have any interest in aquiring a waiver to play immediately. He wants to take the year to get in the wieght room and put on weight/increase his vertical, etc. Coach Sanderson is a big reason why he is interested in Michigan and I did a good deal of talking up the strength and conditioning program to Coles dad.
I'll also add that Coles dad seems really excited about the prospect of Cole going to Michigan and I think I can say with some confidence that if it were up to him, Cole would definitely end up there.