rundown of Michigan's riser
A recent post about the lack of Michigan Basketball wallpapers prompted me to throw my hat in the ring. I too, am in serious need of a computer/iPad background change, so what better way than to help everyone else out at the same time?!
Full disclosure: I am in no way a graphic designer or Photoshop professional, so all you get are my basic skills. This is also my first foray into creating a wallpaper, so if anyone has tips or recommendations, feel free to share.
Have you ever wondered what our current Michigan basketball roster would look like as an old-school 1970s hoops squad? No? Me either. Until I ran across a gem of a photo in the Bentley Library archives...the 1978-79 team photo – complete with feathered hair, a wicked afro, short shorts and high socks.
It was then that I set out on a conquest to mold both that photo and our current player photos into an epic composite that makes me laugh every time I look at it.
After noting that the amount of players and coaches was almost exactly identical to this year's team, I knew I had to take a crack at it. Also, skin colors were almost perfect with the players that we currently have. There was only one extra body in the original that needed to be accounted for...the glorious man kneeling down on the right in the front row. And let's be honest – he just looks so cool that I had to leave him in.
After a few hours of work, below is the final product. I have multiple versions (desktop color/B&W, iPad) at the link below. I'd have to say that my favorite parts are Jordan Morgan with a sweet afro and Mitch McGary with blonde feathered hair. Also, Trey Burke looks really happy despite how tight his shorts are. I did not deal with jersey number changes because of all the shading and angles those entailed.
Special thanks to TheArtTheArtTheArt's football wallpaper for inspiring this piece.
So, I don't know about the rest of you, but in watching the first few games of the season, I often found myself just a LITTLE disappointed to keep seeing McGary getting the ball under the hoop with room and delivering the layup instead of playing the Mighty Zeuz and throwing down the thunder.
Unfortunately, up till last night, we saw him go up maybe once per game, at most, and sometimes pretty weakly. I found myself wondering if this was the same guy who shattered backboards in high school. I mean, he definitely was skilled. No question about that. He belonged on the floor. But where was the force? The dominance?
Last night, Mitch McGary went up strong, really strong, several times. It was at least a good portion of that display of power I've been waiting for, and I'm sure may of you have as well. But that wasn't all he did. He wasn't the big guy waiting under the basket to throw down dunks. He was more. Trying to distribute (and turning it over, but at least trying) fighting for rebounds and loose balls, and making a more substantial contribution than just taking it to the rack.
I'm no basketball player (because I suck), but I've got to imagine that for those that can dunk, it's an energy intensive process. A layup is easier, simpler, and allows you in better position to rebound or get back down court in case something goes wrong. It occurs to me that McGary doesn't play soft sometimes out of necessity, but out of skill and maturity. The guy playing above the rim isn't gonna have as much time or energy to also play down low on the hardwood. I've got to imagine that most freshmen with his power and drive are hard to corral and coach to play the smart game. To me, it looks like McGary is already there. All the same, it's nice to know that, as last night showed, when the need or opportunity arises to simply be a 6-10 ball of badass power, he's still got that in the tank.
What do you think? Do you like to see a monster who is skilled enough and happy enough to dial it back and play the smart game whenever that makes sense? Or do you just find yourself dying for McGary to pull a Blake Griffin every time you see him step on the court?
I want the Michigan team to meet all of its goals this season, but I also want the Michigan team to meet one of my goals this season: beat sparty. Not just once; but everytime we play msu. The obvious stated, I do believe that no other B1G program has the success of msu in basketball over the last 10-15 years.
Although Michigan has won 3 of the last 4, the program has a long ways to go to match the success of msu. Sparty may not be little bro in basketball, but we all known its mentality is 100% "little bro-ish" in football and probably in life. I do hope the success of Michigan basketball will bring sparty back to its natural mentality--hating on Michigan constantly no matter what the cost. To reinforce my belief that this is currently happening, I am wondering today: what player(s)--occupying comparable position/roles for each team--would you trade? When Vogrich was starting, I might have offered him for Brandon Dawson, but that doesn't seem like equal roles/positions anymore.
So, who would you trade? Any of our starting big men for Nix? Payne?
Any guards or wings for Appling? Harris? Valentine? Trice? Kearney? Byrd?
I'm currently hating my days prepping for a licensing exam, so I appreciate any comments that help me procrastinate or kill time.
With a big tip o' the cap to MGoVideo for posting highlights—and even the full game stream—from last night, here are a couple gifs from the NMU game.
First up, Mitch McGary's two-handed jam on the break:
And here's Glenn Robinson III finishing an alley-oop from Tim Hardaway Jr.:
Yeah, last night went pretty well.
Vitale had an article on the five players in college basketball that need to step up this year, and our own Jordan Morgan was on the list.
When people look at Michigan, Trey Burke is the first name they think of. I feel Jordan Morgan, the big man up front, has to raise his level of play. He was the top performer on the glass for the Maize and Blue, but he has to provide an inside scoring presence after averaging just over seven PPG.
It will be interesting to see what his role is this year, considering we actually have depth at PF/C. If he doesn't improve offensively, both McGary and Horford could pass him on the depth chart.
Here is my projected starting line-up:
PG : Burke
SG : Hardaway
SF : Robinson
PF : McGary
C : Morgan
As far as basketball goes, this upcoming season brings a lot of excitement and, let's be honest, raised expectations stemming from a co-big ten championship team in 2011-12.
I'm pretty sure the Badgers and Ohio [edit: I should not have forgotten to include Indiana here] will be there in the end, but I'm more certain our team will have to go through Sparty (perhaps more than once) to reach its goals.
Since it's summer and I'm bored, I did some research to try and determine how the teams match up for the upcoming season. I tried to state (within the parentheticals following a player's name) the position/s each player plays, with the earlier-stated position being the preference based on the player's history. For example "TREY BURKE (1 or 2)" means that he is ideally playing at the point guard 1 position, but he could play the shooting guard 2 position if needed; small forward is position 3, power forward is position 4, and center is position 5.
In general, I tried to group the guards into category A, the forwards into category B, and the "centers" (although bear in mind that there are few true centers playing in Big 10 basketball) into category C. The true freshmen have traditional lettering, while returning players have names in CAPS LOCK lettering. The bold lettering is for players expected to contribute meaningful minutes.
The matchups are below:
KEITH APPLING (1 or 2) and Garry Harris (2 or 1) and Denzel Valentine (1 or 2) and TRAVIS TRICE(1) (with DAN CHAPMAN (2) and KEENAN WETZEL (2) and JOE SWEENEY (1) in relief role)
TIM HARDAWAY JR (2 or 1) and TREY BURKE (1 or 2) and Nick Stauskus (2 or 1) (with COREY PERSON (2 or 1) and JOSH BARTELSTEIN (1) and [edit: Carl LeVert (2 or 1) and]Spike Albrecht (1 or 2) and ESO AKUNNE (2 or 1) in relief roles)
BRANDEN DAWSON (recovering from knee injury) (3 or 4) and DERRICK NIX (4 or 5) and BRANDAN KEARNEY(2 or 3) (with RUSSELL BYRD (4 or 3) and COLBY WOLLENMAN (3) in relief role)
Glenn Robinson III (3 or 4 or 2) and JORDAN MORGAN (4 or 5) and MATT VOGRICH (3) (with MAX BIELFELDT (4 or 3 or 5) in relief role)
ADREIAN PAYNE (5 or 4) and Matt Costello (5 or 4) and Kenny Kaminski(4 or 5) (with ALEX GAUNA (4) in relief role)
Mitch McGary (4 or 5) and JON HORFORD (healed from injury) (4 or 5) (with BLAKE MCLIMANS (5 or 4) in relief role)
What I notice is Beilein has only 3-6 players that can demand or expect major playing time (at least 20 minutes per game) based on previous production and/or recruiting hype. For Izzo, I think it's more like 7-9 players that could or will expect or demand that type of PT.
I think because of this distinction, Beiliein will have more freedom to operate Xs and Os with regard to changing lineups throughout the season. There's less pressure for him to spread a limited resource (minutes playing time) around. For example, he only has to give Stauskus and Spike minutes if they earn them. In contrast, the guards coming in for MSU are highly touted (by Izzo himself) and are competing against two proven guards in Appling and Trice. That group will test Burke and THJ for sure, but I prefer our team's tandem (with our freshman and uppperclassmen supporting them).
Group B is a little more difficult for me to analyze, however with Dawson still recovering, I have to give the edge to Michigan.
Our Group C is unproven and Sparty has talent and experience there. I have to give MSU the edge here. Hopefully we can close the gap with regard to rebounding and defensive shot blocking with our infusion of talent. [edit: McLimans, fwiw, is a player with length and experience.]
Both teams have 10 players that (most likely) will be able to give productive minutes. How many minutes does each player get? That's up to the coaches obviously, but there are only 200 minutes to give out in each regulation game.
Anyway, it looks like there will be some great games to anticipate. I wouldn't trade our group A and group B players for Sparty's or any other teams'. I think our group C has the most to prove though; I'll obviously be rooting for them.
I most look forward to seeing how Stauskus adjusts to the college game, and how well Horford bounces back after much time away. I have to believe by now, Horford can provide rebounding and defense, and maybe even put-backs and shot blocking.
Anyway, as I stated earlier, I'm bored, so I welcome any and all feedback on this topic. Thanks, all.