At this point, we're a top 3 big ten team every year until Beilein proves otherwise.
1. Wisconsin 2. Ohio 3. Michigan 4. Nebraska 5. MSU 6. Iowa 7. Minnesota 8. Illinois 9. Indiana 10. Maryland 11. Northwestern 12. Purdue 13. Penn State 14. Rutgers
There's been scattered discussion in a number of threads regarding GRIII and Horford and their concerns about playing out of position or in a system that doesn't fit their style/strengths.
I've been thinking about this issue a bit and wanted to make it its own topic.
Does the player's position and/or the system in which they play dramatically affect their ability to display their skills?
Did playing the PF in Beilein's system really hamper GRIII's ability to showcase what he can do? Did the lack of post-up touches really do the same to Horford?
I've attended/watched about 90% of Michigan's games over the past four years, and it appears as though players under Beilein that have the ability to impact the game are given the opportunity to do so...regardless of position played.
There's ample evidence of this. McGary is but one example. As a center, he often times led the break, handled the ball down the court and dished it off or drove to the hole. How many times did he get the ball at the top of the key and either drive to the hole or pass it off to someone on the perimeter or cutting to the basket? He also displayed some post-up moves as well as the ability to hit 15-foot fade-aways.
Novak is another player who played every position other than center and was still able to showcase his skills, impact the game and thrive.
Beilein has also adjusted his "system" mutiple times over the past five years because of the strengths of his players. The offensive system ran by Morris was adjusted for Burke...and then it evolved siginificantly again this year for Stauskas and Caris. Not to mention the major overhaul for last year's Syracuse game....when everything ran thru Mitch.
There is no doubt that GRIII contributed significantly the the team's success, but there were countless times where he'd get the ball around the perimeter, take one or two awkward dribbles, and then just give the ball up. He had many opportunities to show that he had the skills needed to be an effective SF. If GRIII had those skills, Beilein wouldn've done things to take advantage of them. Contrast that with Nik, Caris, Tim, and Mitch...who would get the ball in similar circumstances and then make something happen.
Horford also contributed to the team, but he also had more than ample opportunity to get the ball in the post and do something with it...but often times wasn't able to do so And his defense really seemed to deteriorate as the season went along.
Again, I'm not saying GRIII or Horford are without skills or didn't contribute to the team's success. What I am saying is that I think both overplayed the importance of their position and/or the team's system when evaluating their own talents and when making their respective decisions to leave the team.
Thoughts on this?
TL;DR: Does the position/system really matter? Are GRIII and Horford maybe not being honest about their skills/abilities and thus somewhat blaming Beilein's decisions/system for not allowing them to showcase skills that they maybe do not possess?
Today sucks. Mitch was a fan favorite and is irreplaceable on next year's roster. Beilein has coached and developed himself into this unfair predicament of having to start over every couple of years. He is producing really good talent at a higher and more effecient rate than nearly every other coach in America. Two 3 star 1st rounders last season and and Three 4 stars that will be selected this season. Thats the entire starting 5 from last year's Final Four.
We have now reached our new REALITY as a basketball program. We are firmly in Contender Mode and have become an NBA factory. We can no longer EXPECT kids to stay 3 and 4 years. If we are going to win a title under Beilein....it will be with squads similar to the outfits we have put out the last 2 years. 1 or 2 upperclassmen in rotation with a boatload of talented freshman and sophomores. This is simply here to stay. With that being said....let us take a gander at the 2014-2016 prospective squads. This will be fun......kind of.
Walton (so) Spike (jr)
Levert (jr) MAAR (fr) ??Hatch (fr)
Irvin (so) ??.....Dawkins (fr)
Chatman (fr) Biefeldt (jr)/Wilson (fr)
Donnal (fr) Doyle (fr)
notes: This team features GREAT perimeter potential. If Chatman is the real deal and Wilson is physically ready to contribute we could be in a great spot 1-4. Donnal is rumored to be very good and Doyle looks the part of a reliable B1G post presence. The question is what returns will we get on these investments in year 1?
Predictions: Top 5 B1G finish and Sweet 16. Caris runner-up to Kaminsky or Pettway for B1G POY. Caris enters draft as a lottery guy. Irvin flirts with NBA and then comes back in a mini-miracle by Michigan standards lol.
Walton (jr) SPike (sr) or Brunson (fr) *Spike likely transfers if we get Brunson
Irvin (jr) MAAR (so) / Freshman recruit..
Chatman (so) ??Dawkins (fr)/ Freshman recruit
Donnal (so) Wilson (so)
Doyle (so) ?????
***with a Cole addition.
Walton (jr) Brunson (fr)/ Spike (sr)
Irvin (jr) MAAR (so)
Cole (so) ??Dawkins (so)/ Freshman recruit
Chatman (so) Wilson (so)
Donnal (so) Doyle (so)
Predictions: Top 2 B1G finish. Legitimate Title Contender/ Final 4. This squad features depth at 4 positions with SF still up in the air. No freshman in the starting lineup and seasoned bigs all over 6ft8. We would be one of the tallest and most athletic teams in college basketball with this squad. Sprinkle in some Austin Hatch and our chi would on some CUDI level of un****withable.
BOTTOM LINE: I think this upcoming season will be a bit of a roller coaster. We have some very dangerous potential on the wings but we are SUPER green down low. Too much is predicated on unknowns at this point to properly gauge our potential. I don't think we are in danger of missing the Tournament but it's hard to see us going 30-8 again. We are in a very peculiar place nowadays. We churn out NBA talent at an astonishing rate...maybe even superior to that of the Blue Bloods. We still however, do not get the recruits that the Blue Bloods get and this makes our plight very difficult in terms of contending every year. Eventually the mass exodus(es) will catch up. We live in a fairly harsh REALITY of today's college basketball. John Beilein has his work cut out for him, but i think he can pull off a successful season next year and be special again in 2015/2016. Go Blue!
Here's a bit more positive news: Austin Hatch did indeed make it to Ann Arbor for an official visit, which occurred over the last couple of days. He posted a couple of tweets earlier today:
Official visit last 2 days; great time & very informative.. If it would've been any better, I'm not sure I would've been able 2 stand itThank you @SpikeAlbrecht for being a great host as well. It's going to be a amazing four years in Ann Arbor! #GoBlue