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I had the opportunity to watch Michigan basketball commit, Nik Stauskas, earlier today. As his school, St. Mark's, won by the score of 70-33 over conference foe Roxbury Latin, Stauskas did not play much of the secocnd half (or first, for that matter). However, he was extrememly productive in the minutes he did play, scoring roughly 15 points on 3-3 shooting from behind the arc. As anyone in the stands could tell, and the players I talked to after could confirm, he can do it all. Roxbury Latin had no means of defending the 6'6" gaurd and Stauskas exploited it by taking the ball to the hoop agressively and effectively, scoring on a very pretty "and one". His length made him a tough defender. As his 7 foot tall teammate, Kaleb Tarczewski, the #6 player in the country, did not need much help rebounding the ball, it was difficult to get a read on Stauskas' rebounding ability. Needless to say, it is great to have a lights out shooter in Beilein's system for next year, and Stauskas should have a good opportunity to start, and/or play significant minutes at the 2 guard position with the departure of Novak and Douglass.
Back to back on Sunday afternoon.
Nick Stauskas plays on ESPNU at 2 PM - Friends Central (PA) vs St. Marks (Mass)
Mitch McGary plays on ESPN at 4 PM - Brewster Academy (NH) vs Tilton School (NH)
I feel really fortunate to be able to watch this UM basketball team. Much like last years' team, this team wills victory and never gives up. We have talent - young, improving, impressive talent. But I feel even more importantly, we have players that know how to play as a team, play their hearts out, and never let their will for victory slip away.
(as an aside, Team 132 was honored in the first half vs. NW -- an ugly victory that was won in overtime because the team never gave up and did all the little things that brought the victory. Hmmmm, coincidence?)
Of all the players on this team, no one has been more of a surprise than Trey Burke. After loosing all-everything Darius Morris, I really had doubts that we'd be as good as some were predicting. However, Novak's heart, THJ's skills, and others' improvements have made this team a legit B1G contender. But the one person that has really lifted us into a contender, in my opinion, is Trey Burke. True freshman and potentially the best freshman in the entire nation. What?! It's been an incredible start to his college career. He is solid in all aspects of his game, and most importantly, has run this team efficiently. To me it's almost unfathamable that we miss Darius Morris as little as we do (much love to you, Darius). This is because of Trey's maturity and hard work.
Remember last summer - who saw Trey's "Journey to Ann Arbor" work out videos (part 1 here)? I remember watching those videos at that time thinking that this kid would will himself into something very special. I was so impressed with his attitude, his work ethic, his desire to come to Michigan, and his humility. Now, when I see him play on the court, I think back to those videos and it really makes sense. This kid has earned his success.
Credit is also due to Coach B for knowing how to recruit quality players and quality people. Our team is stacked with heart working team players who have skills and improve each season.
Go Blue! Thanks for the season so far....
(Yeah, and not to get too far ahead, but imagine if all players stayed at UM through the 2014 season. Hands down the BEST team in the country:
PG, jr. Trey Burke
SG sr. THJ
SF so. Glenn Rob III
PF so. McGary
C sr. Jordan Morgan
I'm watching Minnesota, the team with the worst conference record so far, taking it to Indiana at Indiana right now. So my question is just how good is the Big Ten this year. I know it's early , but how many teams do you think the Big Ten gets into the tournament and what teams do you think it will be?