Rumors out there Gary Harris may return. If he and Dawson are back I'd put MSU as that 4th team. Wisconsin has the potential to be unreal (as I guess we do but JB doesn't have the same wizard spells that Bo Ryan has to keep all players while cloning them).
The Future, Basketball Edition
ESPN just tweeted out something about how true freshman Mason Cole was looking very good and "competing for the starting left tackle spot," so you'll forgive me if I take one more day to think about basketball before pivoting towards what will be a never ending supply of quotes about toughness that no one is going to care about until they actually see something on the field.
But first, a glimpse into what the next basketball seas-
At Michigan, toughness -- and new offense -- drive offseason
-on might hold. Michigan loses defensive keystone Jordan Morgan from what was statistical-
Remember when Michigan had trouble controlling the line of scrimmage?
“That's a toughness thing,” Hoke said.
-ly Beilein's worst at Michigan, and then the NBA draft-
Or what about not finishing, losing four games by a combined 11 points -- and leading three of them entering the fourth quarter?
“Toughness,” Hoke said.
JUST ONE FRIGGIN' DAY OKAY. JUST ONE. Jeez.
Anyway. Beilein loses defensive keystone Jordan Morgan off a unit that slipped to 101st after the Kentucky game; everyone else returns save those who will set sail for the NBA draft. So…
The NBA Draft
Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III, and Mitch McGary will all have options. McGary and Robinson returned as a unit with the idea they would rip things up this year and then depart; McGary's injury and a bit of stagnation in Robinsons game interfered with that plan. Stauskas just plain blew up.
All available tea leaves point to Stauskas's departure. The feeling anyone in the building got when Michigan cut down the nets to celebrate their outright Big Ten title was that he was out. While Stauskas shot down his father's overly honest take as to his future, one of those things is PR and it's not hard to figure out which one.
Stauskas is solidly in the first round anywhere that bothers to rank prospects—17th at Draft Express, 15th to Gary Parrish, 21st to Chad Ford—and just saw two teammates drop in those rankings from the spot he's at right now to second round grades. It would be a Lewan-level upset if he came back.
The fates of Robinson and McGary are murkier. Robinson has alternately sounded like a guy open to a return…
"There have been times this year when I thought about it and heard a lot of talk and everything," Robinson said. "I just want to make the best decision, the best decision for me, because I want to play this game for a long time. So if I'm not ready, I'm not ready."
…and a guy headed out the door…
“At the beginning of the season, things weren’t going right,” Robinson explained on Saturday. “I was going to play the three and coach decided he wanted me back at the four when Mitch got hurt.”
The move was tough on the 6-foot-6 sophomore.
“I was kind of upset a little bit about that,” Robinson admitted. “I was kind of questioning my decision to come back.”
…depending on the context and question. Generally in these situations the out-the-door thing is more likely, but Robinson's stock has fallen to the point where he has a tough decision. Most places have him a second rounder—one in the range that Tim Hardaway Jr was last year before draft workouts saw him leap into the first round. DX has him 37th, Parrish 39th, Ford 32nd.
It's clear that Michigan sold Robinson on the idea of playing the three, his NBA spot, when he returned. They would have to do that again, presumably by promising a lot of McGary/Donnal frontcourts with Robinson on the wing.
And then there's McGary, who parlayed a brilliant six-game run in the tourney into a mid-first round grade, annihilated various camps in the summer, and came down with a back injury that lingered until it required surgery. What is an NBA draft executive supposed to do with that information attached to a guy a year older than his class? Guess wildly. McGary is also universally hailed as a early second-rounder; in his case the motivation to return seems obvious. A healthy year of McGary should make him an easy first-rounder once again.
If I had to guess I'd say Michigan gets one of the three back and that's Mitch. But nothing would shock me… other than a Stauskas return.
So Then What
Assuming the scenario in the last paragraph plays out, these are your 2014-15 Michigan Wolverines:
- PG: Walton (So., 30 min), Albrecht (Jr., 10 min)
- SG: Irvin (So., 30 min), Chatman (Fr., 10 min)
- SF: LeVert (Jr., 35 min), Chatman (Fr., 5 min)
- PF: Donnal (Fr., 30 min), McGary (Jr., 10 min)
- C: McGary (Jr., 20 min), Horford (Sr., 20 min)
That's an eight man rotation. Michigan also has Ricky Doyle and DJ Wilson coming in. If McGary returns they can definitely redshirt one and maybe both; if he returns they have to play one and maybe both. Michigan will be in the market for any LeVert-like spring risers in this scenario; they could also take a transfer.
That looks… wow. I am shocked at how good that looks given that this hypothetical scenario has bombed three NBA draft picks off the roster. (Trey would hypothetically be a senior if he was not Trey.) Michigan returns LeVert, who is improving nightly and still has buckets of upside since he's a year younger than most guys his grade. They have two top-50 recruits who turned in promising freshman years and promise to blow up themselves. They're guards entering year two under Jordan/Beilein. A veritable leap beckons.
What if Glenn's back?
You're an optimistic scallywag this afternoon. Robinson's return would probably chop five to ten minutes off of four players' time: Horford, Donnal, Chatman, and Irvin.
What if Mitch is gone?
You are a nasty pessimist this afternoon. McGary departing would likely force Ricky Doyle to pick up 15-20 minutes a game with the rest of the vacated post minutes going to Donnal and Horford; there would be more of those worrying small lineups with Irvin at the 4.
What kind of team is that one above?
Uh… well… I mean I know they'll have just spit out a bunch of guys to the NBA but doesn't that look like another protected seed? Obviously there's a large range of possibility there, ranging from another two to a four, but if you look at that lineup the one question mark is Donnal, who is Beilein's first true stretch big in his time at Michigan.
How did this happen?
I don't know man.
I hesitate to make any strident proclamations after Nebrasketball happened this year. Persist we must. Next year's Big Ten looks like a race between four teams: Michigan, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Surprise Team To Be Named Later That I Will Say Is Iowa, After Which Everyone Will Shake Their Heads Softly And Wonder What Is My Deal With Iowa.
Michigan State isn't going to drop out of the tournament but in the likely event of a Gary Harris departure they lose him, Payne, and Appling and haven't brought in the level of talent those gentlemen represent in a few years now. Travis Trice, starting point guard, says it all.
Michigan probably isn't going to have the best offense in the Kenpom era and win the league by three games again. Probably.
At the bottom of the league, Purdue and Penn State figure to be less annoying thorns in the side of teams up the ladder after the departures of all Johnsons from the Boilers and Tim Frazier from Penn State. Penn State is going to lean heavily on DJ Newbill, as they did a year ago. Purdue is going to turn to… Bryson Scott? This figures to be Matt Painter's last year in West Lafayette.
Also, Northwestern turns over more of the offense to Sanjay Lumpkin.
Who's about the same?
You'd think Ohio State would take a hit with the losses of Craft and Ross, but they were already 10-8 in the league last year. They've added Temple fifth-year transfer Anthony Lee to their frontcourt, get SG Kam Williams off a redshirt—although that redshirt does invite one to wonder about how good this dude actually is given the state of the OSU offense—and bring in an excellent recruiting class featuring next year's Guy You Wish Beilein Had, Keita Bates-Diop. They'll probably be the same middling Big Ten team that doesn't have to worry about the bubble next year.
Davis (#15) might be Indiana's starting 5 next year, and he is basically Will Sheehey
Indiana brings in some talented recruits with poor decision making skills. They lose Noah Vonleh and Jeremy Hollowell in the middle. The only guy taller than 6'7" on the roster for next year is Hanner Mosquera-Perea, who Indiana just about refused to play even before his DUI incident. Can a Big Ten team featuring Devin Davis at the 5 make the NCAA tournament? Looks like bubble at best.
Minnesota loses Austin Hollins and no on else of significance; will remain Minnesota until such time as they are not a .500-ish Big Ten team that barely misses or makes the tournament.
As appalling as this is to consider, unless Sam Dekker takes his talents to the NBA there's no reason Wisconsin should take a step back. If anything they should charge forward with a senior Kaminsky. Their only loss is Ben Brust, a highly effective outside gunner who Bo Ryan will replace seamlessly because that's how he do. As long as someone shakes Traevon Jackson and tells him he's not Trey Burke every 30 seconds, they have to be the league favorite.
On the opposite side of the spectrum that runs from Bo Ryan through Stalin to Rainbow Dash and ends at Tim Miles, Nebraska exists. Their only departure from a breakthrough tournament team is Ray Gallegos, who was marginalized as a senior because he was a Designated Corner Gunner who hit 33% and Nebraska no longer thought that was their best option. The Pitchford/Shields/Petteway core is all sophomores who will be around another two years, and this is a team that went from 8-8 to 19-11 to end the regular season. Second-half Nebraska is a league contender.
And I will put my hand in the fire again: it's Iowa's year, baby! They lose the talented but inconsistent Roy Devin Marble, generally inexplicable Zach McCabe, and Melsahn Basabe. They return a pile of enormous dudes: White, Olaseni, Woodbury, and Uthoff all go at least 6'9". Aging big men put it together and Iowa's got senior White, senior Olaseni, and junior Woodbury on deck. If they can find some shooters they'll be much better than they were a year ago.
Illinois found something at the end of the year and loses only Joseph Betrand; since one of the things they found late was "maybe we should play our freshmen" the future bodes well. Or at least better than 7-11 in the league. Meanwhile, incoming recruit Leron Black is described as a "junkyard dog"—exactly what the Illini need at the 4 next to the uninspiring rebounding of Nnanna Egwu.
How About A Stupid Prediction?
Going to have to wait until draft declarations are made.
be doing Izzo a massive favor if he did. State is not going to go down the toilet even if he does leave. Trice basically played more, and better, than Appling this year, Valentine is better than I thought even though I really, really do not care for the gentleman, and Dawson will return. Their "weird" guys did get some good experience this year, and they will certainly bring somebody in, possible a transfer. I think they may be the 4th team even if Harris does not come back. All this being said, I think Izzo is going to take the Pistons job, and if that happens, all bets are off.
how much "attention" went to Appling. If you mean people watching and saying "this guy has no game" then I get you. And while Valentine and Trice certainly benefited from other players on their team, that does not mean that they will not grow next year. Valentine is going to become(and actually already is) a frustratingly good player. I don't see State missing the tournament next year. I see them going like 22-11ish and getting about a 7 seed.
My friend. It is going down.
talks to these guys about their prospective draft positions? I know the NFL has a committee which allows them to investigate their options first before declaring - but I admit I am not as up on Basketball as I should be.
Bad cowbell! Bad!
describing what happens.
Awesome article! Makes me thing Mitch and GR3 may come back more than I originally thought due to the committee's conservative feedback. If GR3 gets mid 2nd-undrafted maybe he realizes that 1 more year could turn that into mid 1st round to late first round.
if this doesn't show that the NCAA eligibility rules are totally out of step with reality then I don't know what does.
It's possible but I would have to wonder why. He has shown enough to be a top 20 guy IMO and probably isn't going to get much higher than that unless he really blows up offensively and honestly that just isn't going to happen with Izzo. If Harris can't shine with Appling and Payne taking the offensive pressure off him a bit, I doubt he takes a big step forward. Plus Harris has had health issues and if he's unhealthy next year, his stock likely drops.
Dawson probably should stay as he is just an athlete and rebounder at this point.
I'll be definitely annoyed if Izzo somehow gets another year out of Harris. That guy was ready for the pros a year ago. I can't imagine he'll stay another year once the emotions of the UConn loss die down.
if harris won't submit his nba papers, i'll do them for him. no reason for that dude to return.
Tom Izzo's press conference today. Izzo said Gary is torn but leaning towards NBA.
But Izzo says Harris is "torn" because he loves MSU, loves his teammates.
Tom Izzo is a fucking liar, trying to pretend like he's giving sage advice, when privately he's been told Harris is long gone.
Gary Harris is torn my ass. And I set Kate Upton free. If it was meant to be, I'm sure she'll come back to me.
Looks like Harris is going Pro.
MSU’s Gary Harris will, barring a surprising change of plans, enter the NBA Draft, sources told
It's great to say you love the team, but he would be putting a lot of money at risk if he returns. Stauskas would at least be returning to a very talented team. Harris would be returning to a team with a lot of question marks.
don't see the decisions as that much different. State would be losing Payne and Appling, we would be losing Morgan and likely somebody else to early entry. Both would return 3 starters. Both are coming off Elite 8 campaigns. How are their decisions that much different.
Harris was a lottery pick LAST year. The only issue was his shoulders which popped in and out of place like legos. Now he has proven his durability. If he came back he'd be the only guy I ever heard of who turned down lottery pick status two years in a row. Frankly I cannot remember anyone who turned down lottery pick status even once in basketball - I am sure there has been someone out there but it's rare. To do it 2 years in a row would be unheard of.
Tim Duncan turned down lottery status (a couple of times).
Joaquin Noah was projected to go #1 overall, I believe, after his first national title with Florida and came back to win one more. Dropped to like 9th the next year if I'm remembering right but it's not like that ruined his career. I'm guessing he was happy with his decision even though it hurt his draft position some.
is strong, but I don't think it's that strong.
I guess he could return if he thinks it will help his stock, but after such an up-and-down season I figure he'd want to strike while he's still a 1st-rounder.
But yeah, they are still not a major contender with the losses.
stays while our 2 likely 2nd rounders go. Izzo must have some magical potion that keeps his players there longer.
He just calls them "weird guys" and it takes the confidence level down a notch.
at 2 for leaked empty apartment photos suggesting departure for all three sophomores.
What the hell is happening behind Will Sheehey? The combination of the eyes closed, mouth open, tight grip on pants, and closeness to Sheehey makes this a very captionable picture.
look a little Brokeback doesn't it?
I miss your scent. I miss your musk.
Whose hand is on Sheehey's right hip? His: okay. Eyes closed striped pants dude: there's nothing wrong with that.
Donnal is a strange case for me. Apparently he has been hitting the weights hard all year and put on 10 pounds of muscle to get above 240, but he still looks like a 16 year old...
Running out to the driveway and dunking on short rim to break the tension during Michigan's regional final win over OSU. Of course I was 6'1" 130 instead of 6'9" 230.
He'll get there. It's hard to put on weight at that age.
I know...I know...wait til he gets older.
He said all the players are telling him how good Donnal is. The way Sam talked he will be ready next year.
Don't know why, but people forget that he was a consensus 4-star, top-100 player.
Last year, all the players talked about how good Caris was in practice.
Also before this season, Nik put out a video of him throwing down some of the same dunks Donnal displayed in the clip posted above.
I will modestly predict he matches the combined contributions of those two players next season.
I have to imagine Donnal has used stairs before
Mark Donnal will win the Naismith next year
I believe the quote was "country strong".
This is what Beilein does, he goes after the late bloomers who are already good and thus become great when they 'bloom.'
That's nice and all but most other bigs in the B1G can do that as well.
I like our chances if they FINALLY allow the off the wall pass in college basketball.
He looks like the smiley guy who is going to dunk on you.
I know it's Wisconsin, but if there is chatter or openness to Dekker leaving, why is everyone assuming Kaminsky is coming back? If I were him, I'd parlay this Final Four run into a lottery selection and head to the NBA.
Yeah, I don't get that either. To me, Kaminsky has much more to offer than Dekker who looks too awkward for the 3 and not strong enough for the 4. Kaminsky may not be the "athlete" that Dekker is but is a much better basketball player IMO. Kaminsky is either a very large 4 (with good range but may have to get a bit quicker) or a 5 with great range (that needs to get stronger). Either way, he looks like Dirk v2.0. I can't see why he would not be a top-15 pick.
One of the sites ranked Kaminsky as the #48 draft prospect. I don't understand it either. He's seven feet tall, a decent athlete, and seems to have a complete offensive game.
Agree. It's not like he had a bad regular season either. First team all B1G. How can the draft guys not love a 7-footer that can drill 3's? Plus he was good defensively vs Arizona.
I saw that same ranking for Kaminsky. If Wiscy should beat KY and Kaminsky contineus to play the way he has of late, why wouldn't his stock rise just like McGary's did last year. McGary wasn't on anyones radar until the NCAA tournament and in a series of six games, he became all world.
One difference between McGary and Kaminsky is McGary's physical presence. Kaminsky is 7"0' and 235 and Mitch is 6"10 and 255. I can't remember that poor kid who ran into Mitch last year but it was like watching someone unsuspectingly walk into a large oak tree.
He could use some extra bulk, but he seems to have the frame for it. I wouldn't pass him up because of it.
Kaminsky could put on 10-15 lbs easy over first 2-3 years of NBA. He is a lot like Payne right now - similar body, similar games. Payne is being slobbered over but Kaminsky is not - RACISM! ;) No on a serious note, I guess it is his defense but cmon now he looks like a poor man's Bill Laimbeer in terms of offensive game and that guy turned out ok.
He's been a 2nd round pick for most of the year...
He just has more hype because people knew his name last year...Frank The Tank will have the same hype going into next year if he returns.