this may be of some local interest
The usual basketball roster juggling act will begin in a few weeks and it looks like Beilein is out scrounging for more under-the-radar talent should Caris LeVert decide to make the jump to the NBA. As reported by Chris Balas at TheWolverine.com, Beilein recently went to see 2015 Italian wing Nicola Akele. The 6'7" international is currently playing at IMG Academy under former Beilein assistant John Mahoney. Hard to tell much about Akele's game from the limited video, but he's apparently a good shooter and looks decently athletic. He's got freshman-year Caris LeVert size, though, so he'll need to eat like an American for a year or two to pack on some pounds. Video here.
There will be at least one open roster spot even if Caris doesn't leave due to the departure of Max Beilfeldt, and there may be a second if Austin Hatch is medicaled (although that doesn't seem like it's in the works and I hope it's not...I'd like to see Austin keep playing). So, there could be up to three open spots for 2015, plus any unexpected attrition. However, the staff seems intent on banking at least a spot or two in hopes of making a massive haul in the 2016 class (4* Cassius Winston, 5* Tyus Battle, 5* Josh Langford, and current commit and 3/4* Jon Teske).
This season has been the perfect storm of bad. An untimely transfer, MASSIVE draft attrition and crippling injuries to Walton, Levert and Wilson. It's certainly not a fair swing but the B!G doesn't give a s*** and we are going to have to fight for our lives to finish this year .500. 2015-2016 may be a completely different story. Much of this depends on what Caris Levert does. He has slid from the lottery to the back half of the first round. Making the jump given his foot injury is risky as hell but possible and realistic. Latest Mock Drafts have Caris at #18 http://www.si.com/nba/2015/02/17/nba-draft-big-board-rankings-dangelo-russell-jahlil-okafor or further back.http://www.nbadraft.net/2015mock_draft
http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/draft/mock/ (Levert at #29 per ESPN
Here is how I see it.....
Caris will stay because:
1. He will be the B1G POY/ Naismith Candidate and a likely top 10 pick in 2016.
2. Legendary status and true stardom awaits him as a Senior in Ann Arbor.
3. He can finish his degree which is important to his family.
4. He will still only be 21 by next year's draft which is still very young.
5. Added weight/strength in 2016 will help him be a contributor and not just a drafted guy..
6. He has a foot injury that may force his stock down leaving injury concerns. Risky jump.
Caris will go because:
1. Michigan basketball players simply don't stay in school lately.
2. Injury concerns may entice him to strike while the money is there.
3. $1-2 Million dollars a year is a lot of money.
4. He is a truly versatile player that is one of the 20 best available IF HEALTHY.
5. Michigan is not allowed to have nice things.....for very long.
That leaves us with a pair of scenarios......Caris leaves.....or the preferred...Caris Stays.
Here is what Caris does for us: 15ppg 5(rpg) 4(apg) 2(spg) 42%(fg 40%(3s) 81%(ft)
Caris Stays: HOLY DEPTH and VERSATILITY. Thank you Basketball Gods.
Walton(jr) - SPike (sr)
Irvin(jr) - MAAR (so)
Levert (Sr) - Dawkins (so) / Robinson (Rso)
Wilson (Rso) - Chatman (so)
Doyle (so) - Donnal (so) or Beifeldt (5th yr)
*hard to put Robinson in the 2 deep because he is virtually an unknown.
***This scenario gives us 6 versatile wings including Dawkins who may end up being REALLY good. Robinson finds a role likely as a spot up shooter and improves our 3pt%. The bigs get a major talent boost in DJ Wilson and Doyle will be improved. Chatman has a nice skillset along with Donnal but both need MAJOR off-season development to bring it out effectively. Beifeldt is a grinder that is better than we give him credit for. He could add really nice leadership and will get solid minutes in certain matchups. He'd be huge if we had another B1G go down with an injury. This team would be a MAJOR threat to win the B1G if not the favorite. They would also be a shoe-in for the second weekend of the NCAA tourney and likely an ELite 8 team with a Championship ceiling. This team would have a terrific blend of upper and under classmen. This is the lineup we've been waiting for honestly and Caris would be the star to lead us to the promised land. DJ Wilson would be absolutlely huge as well. This team would be OUTSTANDING athletically with 4 great athletes at the wing spots. (MAAR/Dawkins/Walton/Levert) Irvin and Robinson would provide outside scoring and maybe more...hopefully more from Irvin at least. Spike is a very serviceable backup pg. We would have depth at the 4 and 5 spot and DJ Wilson has freakish athletic ability. We haven't had that in a while and Doyle's experience this year is super valuable. Caris would also push the timetable back for Irvin and make a Senior Irvin in 2017 very possible. Donnal shoud be improved and its just hard not to honestly love the thought of this TEAM.
Reasonable predicitons for 2016: 27-5 Overall 14-4 B!G record Top 2 seed in Dance with floor of Sweet 16 and ceiling of National Title.
- Levert wins B1G POY and contends for Naismith. Becomes top 10 draft pick.
- Walton and Irvin flourish in "Batman" roles and this gives us the best "Big 3" in the B1G.
- Our "Big 3" allows Dawkins much freedom and releases his athleticism. Yes please!
- MAAR and Spike are solid backcourt subs and Spike provides savvy veteran play.
- Wilson and Doyle flourish with no double teams and become a top 4/5 tandem in B1G.
- Donnal and Beifeldt are the subs in the paint and each bring versatility. Donnal improves.
- Duncan is somewhat shelved but flashes shooting prowess on occasion.
- The SWAG is brought back to Ann Arbor and we experience major uptick in recruiting.
Caris Leaves: Much drinking ensues and Michigan makes their annual NBA sacrifice.
Walton (jr) - Spike (sr)
Irvin (jr) - MAAR (so)
Dawkins (so) - Robinson (Rso)
Wilson (Rfr) - Donnal (Rso)
Doyle (So)- Befeldt (5th)
This is still a very good team honestly. Just not elite. There is a lot of scoring here and the 2 deep in the backcourt is very solid. Dawkins seems like a guy who could blow up in year two and Robinson is a wild card. Wilson and Doyle give us a really nice front line with size and length. Donnal and Beifeldt are good backups. This team simply lacks a star despite the overall balance and chemistry that would hopefully carry over from this rough campaign in 2015. They would likely be in the top 5 of the B!G race and be a tourney team. Seems like team with a Sweet 16 ceiling. Cassius Winston and an ELITE scoring wing will be vital for the 2016 class.
Possible year 2 jump that may change our trajectory:
Aubrey Dawkins 2015 stats: 5ppg 46% (fg) 40% (3pt) 88%(ft)
*i think its a safe bet to see Aubrey get more touches next year and a Camp Sanderson year might turn him into a 12 or 13 ppg guy with that type of shooting %. He has flashed elite athleticism and great shooting ability both off of down screens and wide open. Can he creat his own shot? That will be what sets him free.
With Caris gone in this scenario, we need Walton and Irvin to improve their effeciency and consistency. If they can improve and lead effectively, this team could be very dangerous. With Caris, either Walton or Irvin would have to emerge as a star for this team to reach their ceiling.
Reasonable predictions for 2016...... without Caris. (21-10 overall and 11-7 in the B1G)
*5-7 seed in the tourney with a floor of round of 32 and ceiling of SWEET 16.
- Doyle and Wilson blossom into a very promising front line together
-Donnal and Chatman become contributors as versatile 4/5 men and 3/4 men respectively.
-Walton becomes the leader and blossoms into top 3 point guard in the conference.
- irvin develops ability to put the ball on the floor and improves shooting %s.
-MAAR devlops as a solid 6th man and builds on a surpising 2015 campaign.
- Spike grows into a savvy veteran that helps us win down the stretch/builds on consistency.
-Dawkins becomes GR3 2.0 with his athletic ability. He will likely be a top 3 scoring option.
-Duncan Robinson surprises us with his game and gives us +40% 3pt shooting off bench.
Some statistical points and areas of improvement regarding 2015:
-We only average 31 rebounds and 2 blocks per game. That seems low. DJ helps here.
- We only average 12 assists per game as a team. That is not good. Derrick helps here.
- We shoot 41% from the field and 35% from 3. That is low for a skilled shooting team.
- Our point guards shoot 36% from the floor and 34% from 3. Needs to be way better.
- Zak Irvin needs to shoot the ball a lot better. 39% from floor and 35% from 3
- Kam Chatman shoots 29% from the floor and 21% from 3. That has to change in 2016.
- Donnal needs to become an inside/outside threat. His shooting % is solid. 50%(fg) 37%(3)
* My last point will be regarding athleticism. There is no way around being athletic. The MSU game was a prime example as was the OSU game. MAAR, Wilson, Dawkins are high level athletes that can help us. All can defend, run and jump which is something we need. We need to develop them further along with Walton and Irvin and this will give us a good core of "athletes". We nearly won a National Title because of our ELITE athleticism. There is no way around it. The addition of Levert next year along with the afformentioned gives us HORSES that we can compete with anybody with. This year weve been run out of the gym several times and looked inferior athletically on several occasions. That needs to change because that is NOT Michigan Basketball. We need to recruit high level athletes. There just flat out is no way around it. Winston and either Lang or Battle will be vital to the 2016 class and settling for less is unacceptable honestly. I think that next year will ease the pain of this year with or without Levert and as long as we clean up on the recruiting trail, Michigan Basketball has a very bright future!
The Big Ten released conference opponents for next year's basketball season. Only one game each against MSU & OSU, but at least we get Sparty at home. Full opponents:
Home: Indiana, Michigan State, Northwestern, Rutgers
Away: Illinois, Nebraska, Ohio State, Wisconsin
Home/Away: Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Penn State, Purdue
UMHoops has the opponents for each conference team.
I think this is something most college bball players should read and consider before they decide to leave for "greener pastures."