this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
Not to jump the gun (but I am) - with Nik very likely to go NBA the wildcard for the 2014-2015 team is Mitch. If he does go - what would your expectation be of the squad next year?
General thoughts on conference
- Overall Big 10 will be down with only Wiscy being a "powerhouse".
- There is a vast opening by a number of teams for slot 2 thru 8 in the Big 10 - I'd place any group of these 7 teams in those slots in any order:
- UM - very thin up front, and very young overall but wing/guard talent. LeVert B10POY candidate
MSU - assumes Dawson comes back, still has core of SR Dawson, JR Valentine, SR Trice, JR Costello and sharpshooter
- Maryland - top 10 class joining a bunch of SRs and JRs but some transfers out to offset
- OSU - young team but talented freshman join some transfers in
- Nebraska - top 2 players back, no major losses. Petteway B10POY candidate
- Illinois - had a great record to begin last year, and gelled late with suffocating defense. Will be a bear to play at their home I believe - offense is their main limitation. Not sure if they get any talented freshman in.
- Iowa - big loss in Marble but a deep team with 9 guys who averaged 6 or more pts. Only lose 2 of them, msot of the others can go off on any night for 10-15. Surely coach's family issues were a distraction late in season
[I am not including Indiana despite Yogi in this tier, and Minnesota I don't see as good as the teams above]
General thoughts on team
- Great coaching but in this scenario our ENTIRE starting lineup in the NC game is gone in 12 months. That's difficult.
- 4 guard/wing offense is only option - not a biggie.
- Starters will be playing huge minutes as drop off is pretty severe after first 6.
- Defense last year was iffy and next year will most likely be worse as our best paint defender is gone and we are replacing with a trio of Doyle, Donnal, and Bielfeldt. That's scary.
- LeVert has shown enough to take next step and fill Nik role next year but will face every team's #1 defender and has to adjust to it.
- Irvin we assume can make the freshman to sophomore jump - he is a 5 star and will be playing 30+ minutes a game next year
- Walton Jr wont be playing quite as much as LeVert and Irvin due to Spike, but makes the 3rd of the Big 3 for next year. Needs to become more of a scoring threat; think he will.
- Chatman comes in and immediately needs to play 25+ minutes a game
- Donnal is now getting massive talk but he is still a RS FR next year - one who will get lost at times on defense and refs will be happy to call dumb fouls on... the kind that all college big men not named Randle get called for. Not worried much about his offense but his defense and ability to stay on floor will be issues. He will also be forced to be the "5" in a 4 guard/wing set.
- Depth after Donnal is essentially Doyle and Bielfeldt.
Playing time: 8 players
- LeVert - takes Nik's role at 35 minutes
- Irvin - takes GR3 role at 33 minutes, up from 15 this year
- Chatman - takes GR3 freshman role out of necessity, has to play 27-30ish minutes
- Walton Jr - 27 minutes this year, about the same next year unless Spike and Walton play at same time on court which will make us tiny.
- Spike - same role as last year around 13 min unless we go with a tiny 2 PG backcourt for 5 minutes a game
- Donnal - cannot be expected to play 30 minutes due to being a big man banging with JRs and SRs from other teams and picking up fouls as he learns the game. There are going to be games he gets sent to the bench with 8 left in the 1st half with his 2nd foul - it is just reality. Mitch averaged 20 as a freshman - if we get 22 out of Donnal have to be happy due to defensive stress he will face being only "big man" on court most of the time.
- Bielfeldt - have to ask him to take Horford role and go from 5 min per game to 12ish, at some 5 and 4.
- Doyle - assume he gets the redshirt taken off vs DJ Wilson due to body and position. Gets 8ish minutes a game at 5.
If Irvin and Walton make "the jump" and Chatman can be somewhere between GR3 and Irvin as a freshman and Donnal can stay on the court 20 minutes a game, it looks like a 4th to 6th place Big 10 team which is good enough to continue the NCAA streak. Depth in front court is frightening however - wings and guards should take care of themselves. Defense is going to be a major issue - we lose a 6'10 JR center and a 6'8 SR center and replace with a 6'9 RS FR and question marks in Bielfeldt and Doyle. Offense I am confident Beilein will do his magic.
Sources be sourcing.
Update: Michigan's Glenn Robinson has NOT signed with an agent but is expected to later this week. http://t.co/bzQKeqIWhy— Freep Sports (@freepsports) April 14, 2014
Michigan State sophomore Gary Harris is going to the NBA, sources told ESPN. Official announcement expected soon.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) April 14, 2014
EDIT: Refreshing. Michigan State with an actual news release with no unnamed sources making it official--Gary Harris to the NBA.
I thought about using a more provocative title, given my opinion on this, but no reason to troll on an already bad news day:
I think McGary is gone. Not based on draft stock, but on tea leaf logic. Consider:
- Horford already knows McGary's decision, but Mitch hasn't announced yet. Why wouldn't he announce right away if he were coming back? Horford says his choice had nothing to do with Mitch's decision.
- GRIII appears to have made his choice. And, if reports are accurate, it is to leave. Now, it has been thought that GRIII and Mitch are a package deal. Maybe or maybe not, but it seems like they are/were trying to reveal the news together.
- Even if that is not explicitly the case, though, wouldn't he be more likely to leave if McGary left? GRIII wants to play (and, importantly, defend) the small forward position. That has always been difficult in Beilein's system, but it's impossible if McGary leaves--GRIII would be guaranteed to play the 4 for the entire season.
I could be wrong and I hope I am. Mitch has much more to gain by coming back than GRIII did, and not as much to lose. But this all makes lots of sense if Mitch is leaving.
We'll find out soon.
Illinois was a confusing team last year. They were ranked at some point in January and somehow they failed to make the tournament. A defensive team that laid bricks, they could not score consistently enough to be any good. Towards the end of the season Illinois held a couple of really good teams, including Michigan State, to under fifty points. Illinois was a hard to project for this year as they do not lose a whole lot but they do not bring any thing special in either. They lose Jon Ekey and Joseph Bertrand to graduation. This means losing:
This really is not that bad as they return 3 starters and the rest of their bench players. Here is their projected rosters:
# Name HT WT YR POS
24 Rayvonte Rice 6-4 235 RS. SR SF
A bulldog of a player, had some trouble with his shot last year. Undersized for the three but makes up for it with his weight. The starting Small Forward, averaged 15.9 points per game.
32 Nnanna Egwu 6-11 250 SR. C
A very tall man with a very smalll rebounding rate. Uses his jump shot WAY to much. Scored 6.9 points per game last year. The starting Center, could make a huge jump this year.
13 Tracy Abrams 6-2 190 SR. PG
The starting Point Guard, averaged 11 points per game and 3 assists per game last year.
11 Aaron Cosby 6-3 195 SR. SG
The third guy off the bench, played at Seton Hall and had to sit out a year.
3 Ahmad Starks 5-9 170 RS. SR PG
A transfer from Oregon State, will get this year after sitting out last year. Back-up point guard. Probably good for 10 minutes a game.
35 Darius Paul 6-8 220 JR. PF
A good stretch four, a transfer from Western Michigan. Many of you will recognize him as Brandon Paul's brother. The back-up Power Forward.
10 Mike LaTulip 6-1 170 JR. PG
A walk-on that may get minutes in the beginning of the season. The 3rd string Shooting Guard.
31 Austin Colbert 6-9 210 SO. PF
The 3rd Power Forward, could player Center as well. More of a traditional Power Forward.
25 Kendrick Nunn 6-3 180 SO. SG
The starting Shooting Guard, started to really blossom at the end of last year. May be Dakich's new favorite player.
22 Maverick Morgan 6-10 250 SO. C
The back-up Center, will get about 10 minutes a game this year.
21 Malcolm Hill 6-6 210 SO. PF
A smaller type of Power Forward, may get passed up by a freshman later on in the season.
1 Jaylon Tate 6-3 160 SO. PG
The starting Point Guard, will not get many minutes.
Leron Black 6-7 215 FR. SF
A four star that will back up Rice, could start eventually.
Michael Finke 6-9 200 FR. PF
Once he adds weight he could be pretty good. A three star. With all the transfers they have that will be able to play right now, Finke may redshirt.
Projected Starting Lineup
Point Guard: Tracy Abrams
Shooting guard: Kendrick Nunn
Small Forward: Rayvonte RIce
Power Forward: Malcolm Hill
Center: Nnanna Egwu
Michigan plays them at home and away next year.
This Illini team will be very experienced and tough to beat anywhere. If they are shooting well, they will be very tought to beat. I project them to finish 8th in the conference with a record of 9-9 in the conference. The fact that this team will finish like this shows the depth of the B1G next year.
Next up... Maryland
Virginia Tech freshman forward Trevor Thompson is going to transfer to Ohio State. He is the second transfer forward to choose Ohio State in the last 2 weeks after landing Temple graduate transfer Anthony Lee. Thompson may be eligible next season as he may apply for a hardship waiver.
Not sure what Thad Matta is selling, but the transfers are buying for some reason even with senior starter Amir Williams returning. Indiana and Tom Crean have now struck out on two of the big time transfers they were targeting to Ohio State.
Obi is a 6'9" center. Uncertain if he would have to sit out a year. Not new but in light of Horford news could he be a fit?