A statistical reason for hope, if you needed any, for basketball next season.
When Caris LeVert & Derrick Walton went down, Michigan was suddenly down 85.4% of their scoring from last season. Only Zak Irvin (15.4 minutes per game), Spike Albrecht (14.7 minutes per game), and Max Bielfeldt (4.7 minutes per game) even played meaningful minutes in 2013-2014.
Next year if LeVert comes back, Michigan will return 92.9% of their scoring from this year while adding Duncan Robinson. Consider the fact that DJ Wilson will be back, as well as the fact that he is one of 6 freshmen, and at least some of them will likely improve going into their sophomore seasons (as some of them have already shown growth) and this team will be downright dangerous next year.
I know hopes are already high for next season for most people but I was pretty surprised by numbers. Aaaaaaaand Harbaugh for football. 2015-2016 will be a good year.
We have a legitimate attrition issue at Michigan. Our kids tend to leave a year earlier than they should and we have transfers that inspire curiosity. Beilein does a very good job at doing more with less but at some point we have to stop the bleeding. We became a great program again by having a few "Program Guys" like Stu, Zak and Jordan. We complimented it with a few nice recruiting classes despite those classes being littered with 3 stars with minimal offer sheets. Our staff coached those kids into All-Americans and we won 2 B1G titiles and finished 2nd in the NCAA tourney.
The recruiting misses over the past couple of years are starting to simply catch up. Beilein has to close on recruits better. The Devin Booker and James Blackmon misses were simply catastrophic. You cannot afford to lose elite guard play if you're not getting it in the form of recruits. It baffles me why Michigan has such a hard time closing on some of these top level recruits. Given the recent track record of Michigan's annual sacrifice to the NBA Gods...you would think we'd have to beat the recruits off with a stick...but that is clearly not the case. We will likely settle this year with a D3 transfer, albeit a promising one. That's not going to cut it and everyone reading this likely knows it as well.
The recruits that we did land last year were of the rushed variety save for Doyle and Chatman. Doyle has been quality for a freshman big but has tapered off rapidly since December. Chatman has been a sizeable disaapointment. He looks a step slow and lost at times. Hopefully his sophomore year will show vast improvement because he still shows flashes here and there. We needed DJ Wilson this year plain and simple. We do not have any athleticism in our big man ranks. I think Dawkins and MAAR project well in the future from an athletic and defensive standpoint and they have turned out surprisingley well on offense. We still needed more star-power and we didn't land it.
Injuries have trashed our season. Not only are Levert and Walton our best players....they're our defensive engines. We cannot play man defense without them. Our on ball defense suffers greatly with them out. Spike is simply a defensive liability. The freshman are coming along nicely but still not ready to lock down opponents. The Wilson injury was brutal and forced us to give extended minutes to Donnal who is simply not ready for significant and consistent contribution.
The ELEPHANT in the room is the Caris Levert decision. It's very simple honestly.....if he goes we will be decent to good next year. Likely 20+ wins. The problem is that Irvin and Walton will shoulder a ton of scoring. This will put at least Irvin in line to make the NBA jump after next year. Our next deep run will come with an upper-classmen laiden squad. Levert leaving will put a serious damper in that. His foot will be healed up around Pre-Draft workouts and his decision will be interesting to say the least. If Levert came back....Michigan would be good to elite. Huge jump, I know...but Caris is a Wooden Award guy next year as a Senior. He's a shoe in for B1G POY candidacy and a top 10 draft pick in 2016 if healthy. Just take a peek at our potential lineup with Levert in Maize and BLue next year......
Walton (jr) - SPike (sr)
Irvin(jr) - MAAR (so)
Levert (sr) - Dawkins (so) / Robinson (Rso)
Chatman (so) - Wilson (So)
Doyle (So)- Donnal (Rso)
In order for us to get back to where we were, someone is going to have to make a "Program" decision. I won't rib our guys for going and getting paid but I sensed a little bit of pain and heavy thought on GR3's face tonight. I personally think he should have stayed. He would've been featured and flourished into a likely 1st round pick. I don't want Caris to make a similar mistake. Caris needs to clean up a few aspects of his game in my opinion and put on 15 more pounds to be an asset at the next level. He can obviously get drafted this year but will he be effective? Nik has learned that a top 10 selection means nothing as far as effectiveness and play time. He was paid a handsome ransome and wound up on a guard heavy team so you can argue fairness to his situation. Mitch has looked like an absolute beast as of late and he wouldv'e easily trashed the NCAA if he was still enrolled at Michigan. Caris will have our fate in his hands with his decision and he should absolutely make the decision for his best interest. It would just be nice to see a kid with his ability stay and lead us as a Senior.
In regards to tonight's ass whipping.....we gave up 62% shooting. We were out-rebounded by 8 and out-blocked 3 to 1. We lost the assist battle by 7. We were beat in every phase of the game and going zone all day against a team that is streaky-good like MSU, renders you liable to watch them have a great night shooting the basketball. We looked dissinterested for stretches of the 1st half and looked far inferior athletically. That frickin' hurts because we have been explosive and athletic the last couple of years and watching MSU swing off of our rims all night is simply not acceptable. Our team is beat up and disadvantaged but we've got to stop feeling sorry for ourselves. Guys like Spike and Irvin need to play a lot better. THis is their opportunity to lead and take this program over in Levert and Walton's absence. We need more from them. Irvin and Spike continue to disspoint defensively and that is unnacceptable from veteran guys. Bielein has a huge task on his hands to get this team to finish with some pride this season. It's going to have to start from the top though. MAAR shouldn't have to be the spark. The fresman should be playing up to match the veteran guys, not the other way around. The disparity athleticlaly was very evident tonight. I think we need to really make a focus of getting more athletic in these next few recruiting classes.
Austin Hatch will receive the United States Basketball Writers Association's Most Courageous Award at their annual luncheon during the Final Four in Indianapolis.
May not be the way he dreamed of reaching the Final Four, but it may mean even more now.
He's fallen into 5th place - we need to vote! @JohnBeilein in the Infiniti Coaches' Charity Challenge! Vote now http://espn.com/infiniti
Coach Beilein recently visited Alabama to watch guard Josh Langford play. Apparently Michigan has intensified its recruiting efforts for the 6'6" G/F, who is a borderline 4/5* player to all of the major evaluators. According to Langford's dad, the top 3 schools in the mix right now are Michigan, Michigan State, and Florida.
Here are his most recent highlights, which are pretty filthy. Caveats for level of competition may apply, but he's played pretty well on the AAU circuits too.
Big Ten Elite: 2013 Michigan Basketball is airing NOW until 8 on BTN. It covers the run to the Final Four and Championship against Lville. I know it aired last month but this is too good not to let people know.
Edit: over now but embedded down a few posts thanks to Baughlieve