I'VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF YOU SONNY
I've recently been seeing criticism on mgoblog of Coach B's offense generally and of Darius Moriss specifically. In consideration of this criticism, I've taken data from the most recent game to give a glimpse into the inadequacy of this criticism.
Here's a link to umhoops.com and its "5 Key Plays" in the win against sparty at the Breslin Center (first win since 1997). 4 of the key plays show Michigan winning the battle with one of them showing the opposite. Play 1: Novak's 4 point play early in the game; Play 2: C. Christian beats the shot clock for 2 pts.; Play 3: Draymond Green scores 3 pt. play in transition for sparty; Play 4: Novak for a long 3 pt. shot; Play 5 (2 plays actually): Stu Douglas hits 2 pt. shot late in the game and Douglass hits 3 pt. shot even later in the game. Here it is for viewing (note Stapleton's statement):
"Please let us know in the comments if you think we missed one. It seems weird that Darius isn’t explicitly featured in any of these."
I can think of one commenter in this mgoblog community who feels it necessary to criticize DMo w/o any real support for that criticism--something about ball-hogging or not passing or not being a team player. I can think of many users who criticize the offense/defense Coach B uses or the talent he recruits. My responses:
1) Of the four--really five since Stu gets two plays in his one video clip--plays resulting in Michigan's favor, DMo assists on the play or does more. Play 1: DMo draws a double team and makes a skip (no look which freezes the defense) pass to Novak in corner who's open b/c his man dropped down to help on the open post guy b/c of the double team on DMo; Play 2: DMo drives--and draws an extra defender sufficiently away from Christian --and assists on the made shot by Christian; Play 4: DMo gets the rebound (offensive rebound!) off someone else's shot and then assists on a 3 pt. shot to Novak; Play 5: DMo assists on Stu's 2pt shot (admittedly Stu created that shot, but DMo still had to recognize Stu's comfort at that place on the floor in that situation to make the pass) and DMo draws a second defender again to hit Stu for the open 3 pt. look to clinch the game.
Yes, DMo also made the turnover in Play 3 that led to Green's score and 1. But that only leads me to my next point (made ad naseum by many against the trolls and ignorant critics of the bball team): YOUTH. DMo is a sophomore starting full-time for the first time. He will make mistakes, but he does--at least on this night in front of an Izzone and meatheads wearing numbers crying insecurity--make more positive plays than negative ones. He will--if he hasn't already--have struggles with ego/maturity and a learning curve.
What about the five freshman who rotate in regularly with 3 of them starting?
2) Coach Beilein has a young but talented team. As a group, the team will play down to competition (hopefully not Iowa today, but I wouldn't be surprised). But we've seen it play up to competition all season long too. The latter is not a given with just any team full of two juniors and the rest underclassmen. Coach B should get praise for this part, for which he seemingly does not. With maturity (and patience from us), Coach Beilein will show the fruits of his progress. And please remember this tidbit from the detnews today:
In 2009, his second season at U-M, Beilein guided the Wolverines to a 21-14 record and back into the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 11 seasons, with a first-round win over Clemson. Michigan's 11-win turnaround tied a school record for the largest single-season turnaround.
From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20110129/OPINION03/101290383/Victory-takes-some-of-the-pressure-off-Michigan’s-John-Beilein#ixzz1CXQiapcD
I am curious about your thoughts as to what the current biggest rivalry game is for the men's basketball team . . .
Back in my day (1993-97), I think the majority would say that the Duke game in December was the biggest rivalry game. (It seemed to get the most attention and draw the biggest number of students sleeping out and lining up to get first-come, first-serve seats.) After the Fab Five left, it seems like the Michigan State games became the biggest rivalry games. Now, being further removed from the program, I'm not sure as to what the general sentiment is on campus. Is Michigan State the biggest rival? Ohio State? I'm interested in reading your thoughts.
The Michigan Basketball Facebook page has an album of photos from today's practice session. Several photos of the new guys and one of Stu's blue shoes.
Tim Hardaway, Jr.
Jordan Dumars and Asst Coach Bacari Alexander
Jon Horford and Asst Coach Bacari Alexander
bacari34 John Beilein is very intense on the practice floor! I see how he was able to get Michigan back to the NCAA's in 2009.
JohnBeilein What a great attitude we had today for a 7:30 a.m. practice......... No pillow heads in the gym!!! Go Blue!
Check out this Flint Journal article posted on mlive.com that sports several interesting nuggets from Coach Belein's appearance Monday at the University of Michigan Club of Greater Flint's annual sports dinner.
- Laval Lucas-Perry is on track to graduate in December 2010 and will be listed as a senior even though he has junior eligibility. While Beilein said, "He's going to have a bounce-back year," it looks like Lucas-Perry may be ready to hang up his basketball shoes.
- Beilein has never had a player leave his program and play in the NBA. This year should end that oddity as Manny Harris is a likely pick and DeShawn Sims has an outside chance of being drafted or being picked up as a free agent. Beilein has spoken to six teams or so about each player. Beilein remarked, “If they do not get drafted, they will get a phone call minutes after the draft is over."
- Ekpe Udoh told Coach he wanted to play forward more than center. Beilein said that's how he would have used Udoh if he hadn't transferred. He said that he advised Udoh that he should spend his transfer year working on his outside shot which is exactly what Udoh did and that, in Coach's estimation, is why he's a likely lottery pick.
- The Lavall Jordan kerfuffle with WMU Coach Hawkins was addressed and is over.
- Our redshirt freshmen big men have made big changes to their physiques, but they each had to address different issues. 6'10" forward Blake McLimans played high school basketball at 190 pounds. Now he weighs 238. 6'8" forward Jordan Morgan weighed in at 269 pounds last year. Now he weighs 240.
- Ben Cronin made the right decision to end his playing career as he's still walking with a limp. He may have a chance to stay involved with the program as an uncounted assistant coach.
- One and dones? He'd recruit one if it were the right situation.
- Beilein on twitter? Could be in the cards.
There's some other good stuff in the article, so give it a look.
[Edit: And now, Angelique is linking to the Flint Journal piece. No additional data in hers.]
In the Detroit media outlet-that-must-not-be-named (print link), we learn that Stu Douglass is spending his spring term pursuing graduate level basketball instruction.
Douglass began working out at the Indianapolis-area Champions Academy last week to refine his game.
The Academy, run by former Wright State coach Ed Schilling, has become a hotbed of Midwest talent this summer as Douglass is working alongside a number of Purdue players – E’Twaun Moore, Keaton Grant, Chris Kramer – and likely first-round pick Gordon Hayward among others [including likely first round draft pick Patrick Patterson from Kentucky].
Stu's attendance is an indication of his dedication to getting to the next level in his development.
The six sessions a week are intense but Douglass saw this as a chance to push him game forward and it didn’t take much convincing to have his parents pay for it.
The program is supposed to last a month but Douglass said he may continue there until it’s time to return to school near the end of June, he said.
“Last summer I was coming into it and I wanted to work out more, but it wasn’t enough,” Douglass said. “I’m self-motivated but this is really helping me as well. They help you develop toward your goals. There’s a couple drills that are really easy to bring with me and I can show them to some of the guys. Everything from ball-handling to anything else.”
And how is he showing?
“He’s really made a commitment,” Schilling said. “It’s really hard and physically challenging for anybody. He’s going through it through two a days, 4-5 hours a day.” With the Academy only a 20-25 minute drive from his Carmel, Ind., home, Douglass is making the most of his time away from Ann Arbor and making an impression.
“Oh my goodness, he’s not even the same player,” Schilling said. “Out of high school I knew he could shoot, but honestly may have been a little bit of a stretch play in Big Ten, getting quality minutes as a freshman and sophomore. To see the difference between last year and this year is night and day. People are coming in to watch (the potential pro players) and they ask who that guy is. He looks like one of the guys who’s going to play professionally. He’s now able to create, shooting off ball screens, guarding people. He’s really worked on his game from the time the season ended.”
Some times it pays to click on a link that takes you to the dark side.
RichRod talks about the quarterback competition at the Big Ten meetings.
Michigan’s quarterback battle seems destined to drag late into fall practice, and coach Rich Rodriguez doesn’t mind the competition one bit.
“It’s wide open, it’s not just coach speak,” Rodriguez said. “Denard and Tate are right there battling for it. Denard made a lot of steps in the spring and then Devin (Gardner) coming in for the first time did pretty well. He’s still behind the guys, which you would expect because it’s his first spring. But it’s going to be an interesting battle.”
“I thought they did a pretty good job as true freshmen, but our expectation in their second year are a whole lot higher,” Rodriguez said.
So how does Rodriguez see the quarterback battle shaking out?
“I don’t,” he said. “What I hope it does is elevate all of those guys, and if all of them get elevated because of the competition within each other but still understand the team concept then it’s all win-win.”
Prediction based on flimsy evidence: Coach Rodriguez will employ a more deliberate quarterback rotation system in 2010 to get Tate and Denard a more equal number of snaps.
Meanwhile, Coach Beilein put out a little more information about a possible European tour this summer for the men's basketball team. Beilein said:
...he expects to make an overseas trip with his basketball team this summer.
"We’re working through some of the possibilities there right now," Beilein said from the Big Ten spring meetings. "We can get games, it’s where we can get them because the Italian leagues are just finishing, the German leagues are just finishing, the Belgian leagues are just finishing. It’s hard to get a coach to make a commitment for Aug. 23, so we’re working. That’s what we would like to do."
Beilein said Michigan would have to travel overseas the week of Aug. 22, after summer semester classes are finished but before the fall term begins.
Prediction based on flimsy evidence: LLP does not get a fifth year and Michigan signs a European player in the 2011 recruiting class.