Fuller – MGoBlog
When Michigan took a flier on a 3* Ohio (yes, that Ohio) commit late in the 2012 recruiting cycle, few could have predicted that he’d grow into such a great player at the college level. Despite being as skinny as humanly possible, Caris played so well in practice that they burned his redshirt; a few months later he was getting valuable rotation minutes on a Final Four team. As a sophomore, he had a breakout season alongside Nik Stauskas as Michigan ran roughshod over the rest of the Big Ten.
With his classmates – Stauskas, GRIII, and Mitch McGary – in the NBA, LeVert’s last two seasons in Ann Arbor were derailed by injury and the Wolverines acutely felt his absence. Through the first two months of his senior year, LeVert was playing at a very high level and it appeared as if his decision to return to Michigan would help him in the draft, perhaps even giving him a shot to be a lottery pick. And then he got hurt again.
In the run-up to the draft, Caris wasn’t projected by anyone to go in the first round. His injury history was his defining characteristic characteristic as a prospect, and he wrote an open letter to GMs on the Players’ Tribune essentially to explain how many obstacles he’s already overcome and what kind of player he can be when he’s healthy. Pretty much everyone agreed that he’d be a perfectly fine second round pick – which gives a player far less certainty than being selected in the first round does – that could outperform his draft slot if healthy enough to play.
I really liked him as a prospect: it’s rare to see someone with such obvious 3-and-D potential at both ends of the floor in college, plus his passing ability and handle could allow him to play as an oversized point guard. By his senior year, he’d shown it all: 45% from three on more than four attempts per game, 32.9 to 11.8 assist to turnover rate ratio, a free throw rate of 44.0 – an offensive blend of efficiency and usage along with the most active, disruptive perimeter defense he’d ever played. The big if will always linger until he strings together a few healthy seasons, but he’s definitely an NBA player if he can stay on the floor.
In last week's draft, Caris was selected 20th overall – 2/3 of the way through the first round – by the Brooklyn Nets, a team who traded Thad Young, an established veteran, to get into the draft (as their extremely valuable first-round picks are held by the Boston Celtics for a few years as the aftereffect of a disastrous trade). The Nets were evidently comfortable with his medical reports, as LeVert’s most recent surgery was done by someone who works for the franchise.
Based on the consensus of the pre-draft hivemind, it might have been considered a reach, but most considered it to be a worthwhile gamble based on the dire future in Brooklyn and LeVert’s potential to grow into an impact player down the line. The Nets – projected to finish in the bottom three of the NBA again next season – need to gamble on upside and they did exactly that. That they were willing to essentially give up their second-best player (granted, on a terrible team) for a player who’d just suffered consecutive season-ending injuries indicates how much they see in LeVert.
There will be plenty of opportunity for him. Aside from their fluid and effective low post scoring center, Brook Lopez, the roster is really bad. After buying out Joe Johnson’s hideous contract, the backcourt rotation was miserable – Shane Larkin, Donald Sloan, Jarrett Jack, Wayne Ellington, Markel Brown. Much like the situation Stauskas stepped into in Philadelphia last summer, there will be plenty of available playing time for Caris if he’s ready to go by the start of the season.
It would be shocking if LeVert didn’t get significant rotation minutes, based on their willingness to concede Young and trade in to the draft. That LeVert is an older prospect is helpful in that regard, though there’s obviously a massive jump in quality from mostly small-conference college opposition in the last few years to facing other NBA players every night. If the transition is easier for him than for other recent Michigan draftees, he could start as a rookie and put up a lot of empty stats on a bad team – consider taking Caris as a sleeper if you play fantasy basketball.
I think Brooklyn is a pretty good landing spot for him, and – on the chance that he greatly exceeds even optimistic projections – it’s somewhere where he could quickly become a foundational asset. I’m surprised that they took him in the first round, though perhaps they were unwilling to find out if one of those excellently-run late, late first round franchises liked him a lot too.
As someone who’s closely followed LeVert’s college basketball career, it’s really hard not to root for him – that his decision to return for his senior season, a risk that didn’t work out, eventually didn’t wind up hurting him in the long run is a relief. Frequently seeing him in street clothes on the sidelines was a significant dimension of the past two years of Michigan hoops, and it’s hard not to consider him as one of the most snakebitten UM athletes in recent memory. To now see him on the cusp of a promising pro career, degree in hand, ready to sign a contract that could very well wind up paying out around six million dollars – it’s a happy ending for a career marked with such misfortune. We’ll be rooting for you, Caris.
This might be the most Harbaugh-like thing that I've seen someone not Jim Harbaugh do.
They're taking advantage of a loophole that allows you to declare and go to the pre-draft combine, if invited. Kids have up to 10 days after the combine to withdraw their name and come back to school.
You still cannot hire an agent. But you can do this up to three times.
It's legal. It's within the rules. It's something Harbaugh would do if he coached college hoops.
MLive is reporting that Jordan Morgan will join the Timberwolves as a UDFA and will play in their Summer League team.
Looks like GRIII will have some company!
Should Nik, Glenn and Mitch be selected in the first round, will that make UM 2013 team one of the most talented college teams ever? I cannot think of a recent college team that had 5 first round NBA players who started at the same time.
ESPN's Jeff Goodman released his latest NBA mock draft (INSIDER) this afternoon. His mocks are based on intel he gathers from NBA execs, and reflects the workouts that just wrapped up.
He has Nik going #10 to the 76ers which would be a little interesting since he also has them taking Wiggins at #3. And he has Mitch going to the Heat at #26 which would be a perfect landing spot for him.
He has Harris going at 11 to Denver, Payne going at 18 to Phoenix, and GRIII going someplace in the second round.
According to Yahoo Sport's Dan Wetzel Mitch to the NBA after testing positive for marijuana which netted him a YEAR LONG BAN from the NCAA
EDIT: Because some people aren't reading the article:
- Mitch failed an NCAA administered test during the tournament - schools test during the year
- The NCAA has harsher policies than schools do. Had Mitch failed a Michigan adminstered test it would have been 1-2 week suspension
- Mitch dressing did not affect his test. Had Mitch been in street clothes or in AA he could have been tested by the NCAA during the tournament
- Mitch passed 8 tests during his 2 years at Michigan, this was his only failure
Mitch McGary took a deep breath. He wanted to tell the story of why he smoked marijuana one night in March, why the NCAA suspended him for a year because of it and why the confluence of those events is helping lead him to declare for June's NBA draft. It wasn't easy, so he started at the beginning. For months, McGary had struggled to come to terms with the back injury that limited him to just eight games for the University of Michigan this season, none after mid-December.
EDIT 2: Quotes from Mitch and Beilien from mgoblue.com:
"My family and I want to thank everyone for giving us privacy and the time to make this decision," said McGary. "As you know, it was important for us to weigh all the factors that go into something like this. With that being said, I am ready to move on to the next stage in my life and enter the NBA Draft. "Being a part of a program that values integrity, it is important to let everyone know of a poor decision I recently made. I tested positive for marijuana during the NCAA Tournament. We were notified of that result after the Final Four. I regret thoroughly disappointing my family, coaches and administration. Despite all of this they have been understanding and helpful over the last couple of weeks. "I take full responsibility for this poor choice and want to apologize to everyone, especially those I have grown close to during my fabulous two years at the University of Michigan. "I love the University of Michigan and all it has allowed me to do. I have had my ups and downs, especially with my injury this season. I want to thank all the fans for embracing me. This has been the best two years of my life and I have some unbelievable memories. I know that I will be a Wolverine forever. Go Blue."