spoiler alert: i linked this
With Spike's retirement, Andrew Dakich has unsurprisingly, once again, dropped his redshirt. Initially, I really didn't think much of Dakich's potential to contribute significantly and consistently to the team. Other than energy, he doesn't seem to bring much to the floor. And is energy really the key trait that this team needs right now? Probably not. But, after watching Dakich play a little bit last year and, more specifically, a little bit today, I've come to the conclusion that there are four main reasons why he has the potential to maintain the legacy that Spike has created. Do I think Dakich can or will play up to the level that Spike played? Absolutely not. But, I think he can at the very least perform up to par and make consistent and potentially significant contributions to the team.
First, Spike serving as a mentor to Dakich is crucial to Dakich's success on the court. Spike is one of the best leaders on that team. His playing abilities are matched by his leadership skills. Like he noted at his press conference, he was not afraid to hold players accountable for their actions. At the same time, he lead by example. He was an incredibly smart basketball player, rarely turning the ball over. He was a playmaker, and, when he needed to be, he was a scorer. His basketball knowledge and leadership skills make him the perfect mentor, and, assuming he works with Dakich, Dakich should be able to develop quite well under his guidance.
Second, Dakich's enthusiasm is vital for his development. While Spike is the ideal mentor for Dakich, his advice means nothing if Dakich doesn't accept the advice. However, Dakich's enthusiasm assures me that he is more than willing to take some advice. Additionally, his enthusiasm likely has a positive effect on his teammates, much like Spike's enthusiasm. In big games against tough opponents, someone needs to be the source of energy for the team, and I think Dakich will be that source. Whether he's performing one of his trademark celebrations on the bench, or getting fired up on the court (after he scored his first basket today, he could be seen/heard shouting either "FUCK YEA!" or "FUCK YOU!"), there's no doubt in my mind that his Spike-like enthusiasm can have a very positive impact on his teammates.
Third, Dakich's style of play is almost identical to Spike's, with the exception being that Spike is just a better basketball player. The way I'd describe the style of Spike is that it is the intersection of unorthodox street ball and strategic basketball. Spike was obviously not one of the most athletic players in the country, but his creativity enabled him to be one of the most versatile. While many players struggle at Spike's height, he had few problems driving to the rim and performing some of the most creative lay ups, or making some virtually impossible passes to set up teammates. He was unpredictable, and his creativity made him a nightmare for defenders. I see a lot of similarities in Dakich's style. Obviously Dakich is not even close to the level that Spike was at, but he plays with a similar street ball/strategic basketball style. Much like Spike, he spends a lot of time moving the ball, whether it be with passes or on his own (preferably the former). I noticed a lot of that today against Delaware State, where he had 4 pts, 3 ast, and even 2 rebounds. The aspect of his game that probably needs the most work is his care for the ball, as he had 2 of the teams 7 turnovers. Regardless, as his skills develop, I think he could have an impact that mirrors, though not at the same level, Spike's impact.
Finally, Dakich has a LOT of support from fans, students and non-students alike. Much like fans loved Spike, fans, at least, based on enthusiasm at today's game, love Dakich. They erupted when he scored today and when he missed, there were on the edge of their seats waiting to explode again. Having the support of thousands of people can be a major confidence booster for players, and with his personality, I think Dakich will be using that support to propel his game to the next level.
Ultimately, I do not think Spike is a replaceable player. As I said before, his style is unique and organic, and I feel that replicating that could be difficult. However, Spike is leaving behind a legacy. He went from lurking in the shadows to a national household name quickly, and had he not been plagued with unfortunate injuries, his potential was limitless. I certainly think that Spike would love to vicariously live out the rest of his season through Dakich. Perhaps I'm being way too optimistic about the situation. But, with all the petty injuries we have right now, and of course, with Spike's retirement, I think it's important to find the positives in the situation. Though Spike's legacy may be over, I think that Dakich has the potential to establish his own legacy. It probably would not be as impressive as Spike's, but I think that it would be great to see the legacy that Spike was trying to cap off with a stellar senior year be maintained by Dakich, under the Spike's guidance.
Camp Sanderson has paid off for Ricky Doyle, by the looks of this instagram pic. And for those that don't know, that's Duncan Robinson on the far right.
Sorry, don't know how to embed the pic.
As recently as 5 days ago, this kid was planning on redshirting, although he only played 8 mins tonight, they were a big 8 mins. He had a big rebound and a really nice pickpocket steal while running the point allowing Spike and MAAR to rest when needed, without a noticable drop in the flow of the offense. He looked comfortable and that is a huge reflection on how hard he works and also on the coaching staff.
Good game tonight, Andrew!
It was funny to see the tiny lineup with our 2 guards at 6'1 and tallest guy at 6'7 but, BEILEIN!
MLive has a story on Andrew Dakich and the bench show. Interesting to read about Beilein's reaction. I'd like to watch the film and hear exactly what he has to say.
I loved Ace's Dakich highlight reel so much that I felt it deserved the official "movie trailer" treatment.
This video takes the original Dakich video Ace made and mashes it up with the movie trailers for (1) Step Up 3D and (2) Step Up: Revolution ... because obviously.
Some lighter reading material for your lazy Sunday summer morning:
In a couple of days, it’s back to the grind for Albrecht. He heads to Michigan next week, where he’ll start classes and start to answer the question that everyone’s asking: Can he play like that consistently for the Wolverines?
Michigan has a highly touted point guard, Derrick Walton, who is expected to immediately challenge him for the position.
It’s a wide open competition and Albrecht is looking forward to it. He also doesn’t want to just be remembered for that one half. He didn’t score a point in the second half against Louisville and he admitted that he was a little tired.
“One of my coaches told me, ‘don’t let scoring 17 points in the national championship game be the best thing in my career,’ ” he said.
Spike will just have to prove it again.
(Also interesting that maize-and-blue were the color scheme for the kids' camp, even though his local high school does everything red-and-white. Michigan über alles Farben.)
Dan Dakich also returned to his alma mater in The Region and talked about his son Andrew choosing Michigan, among other things, delivering a couple tweetable quotes (one of which excerpted below):
Your son, Andrew, is going to play at Michigan as a preferred walk-on. How did that happen?
He always wanted to play in the Big Ten. Michigan always followed us around at AAU. I was talking to (Michigan assistant) Jeff Meyer about him at the Big Ten Tournament and he asked where he was going. I said either Purdue or Butler as a walk-on.
So they invited him to campus and he just fell in love with it. I fell in love with it. I said, “Son, if you don’t commit, I’m going to commit for you.” He said, “It’s a lot of money.” I told him not to worry about that. It’s perfect for him. Spike (Albrecht) and Mitch McGary are there. They’ve got a good point guard coming in. He might never get to play, but it’s still a great opportunity.
Why has Michigan been able to tap into Indiana so much?
Purdue and Indiana made a mistake using up all their scholarships and not taking Glenn Robinson (III). They are always there, recruiting these kids. It’s a comfortable place for them.
And a couple notes on his twitter life (no, he doesn't have Canseco's team writing them for him).