"He makes it really easy on you as a coach because he has tremendous football instincts," Michigan tight ends coach Jay Harbaugh said. "Things come really naturally to him. He doesn't have to see things too many times. He has a good sense for how things should look and feel, and he's a tough, physical guy."
Thought I'd give a quick update on the basketball banquet. Jordan Morgan showed a lot of emotion during his senior speech (pulling out his own tissue when someone tried to bring him some), and seemed genuinely grateful to his coaches and teammates for helping him to get to where he ended up. Beilein talked about how Morgan could have become discouraged or just quit last year when McGary emerged, but instead kept working.
Here are the awards I recall (funny and serious intermixed);
MVP, Most assists and likely to be the first to get married: Stauskas
Most improved: Levert (interestingly Donnal was 3rd)
Best Dressed: Robinson
Most likely to succeed in something other than basketball: Morgan
Best defender and Rebounder: Morgan
Iron Man: Robinson
There were some others that mostly went where you'd expect. Though the night pretty much was a standard awards banquet with videos, awards, speeches etc. there were a couple of funny moments. Beilein said that he asked players to anonymously vote for the year's biggest moment, with most picking beating Indiana at home and cutting down the nets. 2 guys voted for "going to Puerto Rico", which made Beilein wonder what happened there. Beilein also said, when thanking the student managers, that they "have to party on behalf of the entire team" since the players can't.
Another quick observation is that these guys seem like a really tight knit group. I was sitting near some parents and noticed players coming up and hugging not just their own parents but their teammates' families as well.
He earned and invitation to the Kevin Durant Skills Academy this summer and will probably attend the camp that takes place the end of June.
USC guard Byron Wesley will graduate and transfer.
Wesley averaged almost 18 points for the Trojans and would be an interesting stop-gap if we don't land Eron Harris. No word on his interest, and he is from CA. But he shoots the ball well inside the arc.
The Terrapins are a hard team to predict next year as they have a lot of experience along with youth. However, they did not finish all that well this year. I did not watch a whole lot of Maryland last year so I really do not know how they play. Maryland loses John Auslander to graduation. They also lose Nick Faust, Shaquille Cleare, Roddy Peters, Dez Wells, and A.J. Metz who are transferring. This means losing:
When you bring in a top 10 recruiting class, which the Terps did, it is not all that hard to replace this production. Here is their senior laden roster:
# Name HT WT YR POS
1 Evan Smotrycz 6-9 230 RS.SR. SF
OH Lobstrycz Smotrycz, I think we are all familiar enough with Evan. In his first year off the transfer Smotrycz started and averaged 11 points per game. His stellar handle and amazing defense will be tough to match this year. He is like Larry Bird but way better.
24 Jacob Susskind 6-5 200 SR. SF
The back-up Small Forward, will hold that role until Nickens takes it over. He only played in 5 games last year. This means he will be the back-up for like a game.
11 Varun Ram 5-9 150 SR. PG
The back-up Point Guard, a towering man. Just kidding, he is short. He only played in 16 games last year so a freshman passing him up is not a bad bet.
25 Jonathan Graham 6-8 220 SR. PF
The back-up Power Forward, played a limited role last year. Will most likely maintain that role.
15 Spencer Barks 6-9 225 SR. PF
Played in four games last year, will not get much more time this year.
0 Charles Mitchell 6-8 260 JR. C
A mountain of a man, the starting Center. He averaged six points and six rebounds per game last year. If he lost 10 pounds, he may be a real force.
12 Conner Lipinski 5-10 155 JR. PG
Only played in 3 games last year. Will be the third string Point Guard if it falls to that.
10 Jake Layman 6-8 205 JR. PF
The starting Power Forward, averaged 11.7 poins per game last year along with decent rebounding numbers.
4 Seth Allen 6-1 190 JR. PG
The starting Point Guard with a 13.4 points per game average last year. Will be their second go-to-guy.
35 Damonte Dodd 6-9 240 SO. C
The back-up Center for the beginning of the season. Will likely be moved down due to incoming freshman.
Jared Nickens 6-6 185 FR. SF
Their highest touted recruit, a four star that will no doubt play right away. He will eventually end up passing Susskind for his spot.
Trayvon Reed 7-1 215 FR. C
Needs to add weight but will no doubt play. Will pass up Dodd for his spot. He is a four star.
Romelo Trimble 6-3 180 FR. SG
The starting Shooting Guard with pretty polished skills. A four star.
Dion Wiley 6-4 200 FR. SG
The second string Shooting Guard, could play the two with Trimble at the one. Yet another four star.
Michal Cekovsky 7-0 220 FR. C
I say he is going to redshirt. He is an okay weight, but passing up a higher ranked center and a Sophomore is not that likely. When you can redshirt four stars you are doing okay for yourself.
Projected Starting Lineup:
Point Guard: Seth Allen
Shooting Guard: Romelo Trimble
Small Forward: Evan Smotrycz
Power Forward: Jake Layman
Center: Charles Mitchell
Michigan plays them at Maryland which will be a tough game. They are good at home, along with every other college basketball team.
This will be an experienced and talented team that may have a hard time winning on the road in the Big Ten. However, I think they will have some growing pains with the new officiating and finish 9-9 in the B1G which is good enough for 7th place.
Next up... Iowa
This is my first ever attempt at making any sort of video (and board post for that matter). Not the greatest timing in the world considering it's the offseason but I know you all love these kinds of things. It's special to me because it encompasses a lot of the highs and lows of the basketball team over the past 5-6 years (when I really started paying attention to them). Hope you all enjoy!
Truly torn as a fan tonight. I'm hurting for selfish fan based reasons as are many of you, fellow comrades of maize and blue. On the other hand I'm truly happy for both Nik and GR3 for all that they have accomplished and the awesome opportunities that await them. We make MILLIONAIRES in Ann Arbor. Nik Stauskas and GR3 meant a whole lot to Michigan and their departure will be felt extensively. Both represented Michigan on and off the court with class and dignity. Both brought excitement and "Swag" to the program and there are countless highlights and Gifs to carry on their respective memories in the Michigan uniform.
The pressing matter is where do we go from here. We are a championship level program that happens to have suffered 4 early NBA departures in 2 years. That is extreme. We don't exactly rack up All-American talent every year in the recruiting ranks so once again, Beilein and his staff with have to work wonders. Let's take a peek at what John the Wizard will likely be working with.
D. Walton (so) - S. Albreicht (jr)
C. Levert (Jr.) - 2014 late addition (will elaborate later)
Z. Irvin (so.) - K. Chatman (fr)
M. Donnal (fr) - M. Beifeldt (Jr.) / DJ. Wilson (fr).....possible shirt.
M. McGary (jr) - R. Doyle (Fr)
The obvious caveat is big #4.....I'm expressing optimism here and leaning him as not only a member of the 2014/2015 Wolverines.....but as the Enforcer and heart and soul. McGary will move mountains as a Wolverine next year. I think he knows this.
Caris will obviously be the primary scoring option and he will make a run at CPOY hands down. I genuinely see a fiery leader in Zak Irvin and if the Ohio....Sparty and Nebrasketball road games are proper indicators from last year....D. Walton is going to be one hell of a leader and floor general. (Spike isn't far behind)
The intrigue of this prospective roster is M. Donnal. I'm buying the hype. I've seen videos of his developing athleticism and hear nothing but promise and certification of his ability to absolutely own the "Stretch 4" role. If this all holds.....look out. Donnal will be a bigger body and allow us to play big without sacrificing shooting. Imagine two 6ft10's on the floor at the same time.....now get used to it and add the fact that both will be highly skilled with range. Yes please.
The BenchMob will be led by Spike, Kam and Max. Spike will only add to his legend and possibly be the best backup point in the B1G. Max will be an improved physical presence with knowledge of the system and the stones to get his hands dirty for Michigan. You need guys like Max. Now enter Kam Chatman. This kid is a Top 30 talent being coached by a Top 5 coaching staff. Kam will be Zak Irvin at minimum and likely a more rounded offensive player. I fully expect 6-9ppg from Kam next season and he will etch out a significant role in year 1. Ricky Doyle is rumored to be a legitimate 6ft10 and 235lbs. He will have a summer overseas with Michigan to get a jump and Mitch McGary to learn from. Doyle will play meaningful minutes and surprise some of you.
DJ. Wilson is a complete wild card. He is very thin.....around 200lbs at 6 ft 9. If he can make some gains in his first 4 months in Ann Arbor he could be a 2013 Caris Levert on steroids. Excellent skill level and uber athletic. Might be the best athletic shot blocker in years to find his way to AA. After analyzing this kid's film I really think he might have NBA lottery written all over him. Kids like DJ Wilson are what makes John Beilein a top 5 coach. He is going to be a diamond and he ain't all that rough. The fact that Beilein was on this kid early and snatched him up is pure genius. Just bear witness to what this kid becomes. He will show flashes of this in 2014/2015 if given the opportunity.
THE UNKNOWN........late 2014 additions. Yes please!
Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman 6 ft 4 Guard
Averaged 24 ppg this past season. He is a decent shooter and solid defender. He has a loose handle but has above average bounce and athleticism. He will be 20 in September as a freshman and will be physically ready to compete.
Tavarius Shine 6 ft 6 185lbs
Not much to add here yet. Ideal height and has scoring ability.
Ryan Taylor 6 ft 6 Wing
Scored 20ppg last year. Another player who relished the defensive end of the floor. Limited offensive analysis on him as of yet but he is an Indiana kid that knows all of our Indiana kids. Ohio is his biggest offer thus far and he has Michigan at the top of his list. If we offer....he will be a Wolverine.
Aubrey Dawkins 6 ft 4 180 lbs
Dynamic and Explosive athlete. I would venture to say that Aubrey is close to GR3 level athleticism. He is the son of Johnny Dawkins. You know what that means given our trend of NBA dads lol. Aubrey is the most "sure thing" out of these prospects and he will be good for a few posters next year. If he develops his shooting, he could be a major coup. Aubrey is going to be a priority and he is visiting Michigan in a week or so. He would be a HUGE commitment.
Class of 2015
Both Jalen Brunson and Jalen Coleman are looking more and more like the cornerstones of the 2015 recruiting class. Matt Mcquaid of Texas is trending also. Michigan will need to grab a B1G in the 2015 class. Here is a way to early depth chart....with Levert and McGary continuing the underclassmen trend of NBA departures.
D. Walton (jr) - Spike (Sr.)/ J. Brunson (fr)
Z. Irvin (jr) - J. Brunson (fr)/ J. Coleman (fr)
K. Chatman (so) - 2014 Late addition (hopefully Dawkins) or Mcquaid
D. Wilson (Fr/so) - 2015 Big
M. Donnal (So) - R. Doyle (so)
This team could be better than any we have seen thus far. Irvin/Chatman would be a NIGHTMARE. Walton will the B1G's best pg by then. Wilson will be blossoming by now. Donnal will be Frank Kaminsky 2.0 with more hops and we will have a BanGeR in Doyle to go with a solid 2015 front court recruit. This team will feature highly touted guards in Jalen Brunson and Jalen Coleman which will be quite the bench luxury. Spike if he is still here will be the best backup PG maybe inthe nation. This is a monster team right here.
Sorry for the lengthy post fellas. Congratulations Nik and GR3! You've both left this program better than you found it and in great hands. Our future is bright as **** guys. 2015 will be another great year of Michigan Basketball and a B1G banner is totally in play!