...says Denzel Valentine of Big Ten Tourney favorite MSU, which is 5-7 in its last 12 games. Cumong, man.
FoxSports attended the Michigan @ Illinois game as part of their College Basketball Road Trip. Due to the annihilation, the writers decided delve deeper into the background of Michigan's players from the media guide and found them to be the most interesting team in the world. Most of the stuff in the article is already known to most Michigan fans, but I never knew this one: Caris LeVert is the third cousin of Eddie LeVert, the lead vocalist of the O'Jays.
Google search for Eddie Levert's twitter and you find this tweet from a week ago:
Well!!!!MY COUSIN BE BALLIN FOR MICHIGAN LOOK OUT LEBRON GOTTA SHARE THE THRONE WITH A LeVERT
I know there's a snowflake thread, but this is a legit topic that would otherwise get buried there. I'll be providing some mini-analysis as well, so hopefully this is not deemed "repetitive."
I saw a couple people post things like 'What's the deal with Morgan?" and "McGary had a good game," and then people wonder why Beilein didn't run with one player or the other.
From what I see, we have two players that are defensively raw (McGary and Stauskas). Let's start with McGary:
In the first half, OSU really pushed their lead up in no small part due to McGary's poor hedge of ball screens. McGary came into the game with 15:20 to go in the second half. The score was 9-3 OSU. The defensive possessions went as follows:
- Aaron Craft scores on drive off of ball screen. McGary fails to hedge and fails to stay in front of Craft. (11-3 OSU)
- 4 seconds into the shot clock McGary again fails to hedge and lets Craft get into the lane. This time he's nowhere near the ball screen . (13-3 OSU, 13:55)
Michigan calls a timeout and McGary is pulled for Jordan Morgan.
For the almost the rest of the game, whenever McGary was in the game, we went into some kind of zone. In the second half Jordan Morgan defended the pick and roll excellently. He is great at hedging the screen and forcing the ball handler into a tough split/pass or just backing out of the screen. I know this is not sexy, but the dude is great at it and that is why he is such a valuable player.
McGary has a way to go defensively. A long way. He's said things like "I had never stepped foot in a weight room before getting here" and I bet he really hasn't had to play tough defense either. It will come, but it will take time.
Stauskas is the other defensive liability at the moment. I'll admit I naturally pay more attention to the big men, but it would appear that Stauskas troubles are two fold (feel free to correct me or expand if you've paid more attention). Stauskas does not have the foot speed to stay in front of smaller 2s/3s. This problem seems to be compounded by his tendency to have incorrect defensive spacing - he often comes over too far on help and can be late on rotations.
Of course, Stauskas' shot selection didn't help to keep him on the floor. If he's taking poor shots and not converting, LeVert is clearly the better defender.
I love games like this because if you know a little bit about basketball you get some insight into how good John Beilein is at his job. He got creative to find ways to keep McGary on the court even though he was a defensive liability in defending the pick and roll. He played the defense for offense game late and I think we have a clear idea of the game plan going forward with Morgan/McGary and Stauskas/LeVert. Of course, Horford is a wildcard in there. It will be interesting to see how the freshmen develop over the course of B10 play.