What practices has furman missed? all of them or just some of them? I always have thought that he was going to end up being a great db.
Mailbag: Basketball Options, Hoke Philosophical Ceiling, Spring Qs, Damn It All To Hell
Already strong desire to see Amedeo Della Valle wearing Michigan electric banana yellow: incremented. Also, here's 6'7" Bo Zeigler.
What to do with the extra options.
I'm curious what you think Michigan should do with their suddenly available basketball scholarships. I realize it is impossible to predict specific names since you don't know who is really out there or how they look outside their highlight films. But from a position stand-point, what do you think?
I ask because I've had a debate with Dylan at UMHoops the past few days about it. He's of the opinion that a combo guard like Della Valle would be the best choice because we don't need a true PG with Burke and Walton. My opinion is that the end of the bench is designed for people who fit a very specific role and are comfortable being a developmental prospect so I think we need a true PG who can back up Burke and Walton and be available in case of emergency.
I think Travis Trice (MSU) and Stilman White (UNC) are perfect examples of the type of player you want to provide depth. They were both undersized, low-ranked recruits coming into a full roster with many more heralded players but both played critical back-up roles for their teams when needed. To me, that is the first priority with these available scholarships and the second priority is either a combo guard with a lot of upside or a pure shooter to groom into the Vogrich role.
Michigan could take both a PG and a combo now and a third guy besides if he's a grad-year transfer. I think the ideal situation is a grad-year PG, Della Valle, and a full-court press on Bo Zeigler and Monte Morris as Michigan tries to add to its 2013 class.
If there isn't a suitable grad-year guy out there, then it comes down to what you think of your available point guard options. Michigan does need a second point guard at some point. Do you think Della Valle and/or Stauskas can give you backup minutes if Burke stays? Do you think Spike Albrecht or other random unsigned guy can play? How do you feel about your shot at doubling up with Walton and Morris in 2013? What is your contingency plan if Burke goes pro?
I can't answer any of those questions, but I don't think you want to take a guy just to take a guy. Christian was an example of that. He was going to Tulane and had little interest outside of that before Michigan swooped in. He ended up sitting on the bench before departing, and the limited utility he provided in his sparse minutes probably could have been handled by Corey Person without much problem.
Albrecht is a walking question mark right now. There's a big difference between Travis Trice—who had offers from Minnesota, Northwestern, Dayton, and Butler—and Albrecht, who doesn't even have profile at the major sites and has Vermont fans on the fence about taking him. Meanwhile, White had a BYU offer. I can't find a confirmed Albrecht offer from anyone—his profile is a lot closer to Christian than either of your four-year examples.
Unless you think Albrecht is the sort of guy who can give you ten minutes now and could start as a senior, I wouldn't take him. If he's as good as Dave Sobolewski, the guy Sam Webb compared him to, I would. But even a low profile guy like Sobocop got three stars from Rivals and shows a number of quality mid-major offers like Harvard, Northern Iowa, and Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
In contrast, we know Della Valle has high-level suitors. If Michigan gets him they'll beat out Texas A&M, Arizona, Gonzaga, and others for him (AFAIK he does not have an official OSU offer). That's a guy you'd take any time.
This is my point guard decision matrix:
- If you can get a grad-year guy, take him.
- Otherwise, if you think Albrecht or other guy is as good as Sobolewski, take him.
- Otherwise, if Trey Burke stays just deal with 5-10 minutes a game with Stauskas or hopefully Della Valle at the point.
- If Trey Burke leaves, panic. Then reach for someone, anyone.
FWIW, A Trey Zeigler transfer—which doesn't seem to be on the table—doesn't fit well with Michigan's needs. They need another guard next year, when Zeigler won't be eligible, and he's probably more of a shooting guard. If you can get Della Valle he's preferable since he's available now.
Mmmm, roster fantasy.
I don't think it's possible...but we just think about the possibility of Burke and Hardaway staying for not one, but TWO years!?! How good could that team be assuming all the incoming freshmen stay?
[ED: This email came in before the attrition and the Burke news.]
Sure it's possible, but I'm not sure we want that to happen. If Hardaway has another year like his most recent one and Burke doesn't improve significantly they'll again be in that range of second-round-to-undrafted prospects and the calculus will dictate a return. I'd rather have Hardaway turn into a lottery pick both for roster reasons and, hey, NBA lottery pick driving team forward.
A hypothetical 2013-14 squad featuring everyone from the current roster and the next two incoming classes would be one-seed good even without Smotrycz. It would probably mean the upcoming season was a disappointment, though. I'd rather have a breakout year and deal with the consequences.
It's in the past.
So with the partnership between the B1G and PAC12 coming up in a few years to do some cross conference games some of the teams are getting a slight jump (i.e. Northwestern playing Stanford and Cal, as well as the recent announcement of Michigan State and Oregon). While I would love to see a home and home with USC, isn’t the most intriguing matchup with Arizona? It might be a lose-lose situation for us where if we win we were expected to win and if we lose then Rich Rod will have his moment of glory.
Who would you like to see?
Intriguing, yes. Annoying, God yes. I would like Michigan to stay away from any rehash of the Rodriguez era. This desire is on par with Michigan making a Rose Bowl: let us never speak of that again. Playing Arizona is like scheduling a rematch with Appalachian…
Oh, right. That.
If they zipper future matchups like they do for the Big Ten/ACC challenge (though I assume they'll do home-and-homes in this Pac-10 alliance), Michigan might not have a choice. It's hard to see the near future of both conferences panning out in such a way as to dictate the Arizona-Michigan matchup unless TV wants to get cute. I'd expect USC, Oregon, Stanford, etc. Arizona's been down forever for a reason.
On the philosophical shortcomings of the program expressed via the lens of running back recruiting.
The recent commit of Deveon Smith, which possibly excludes Ty Isaac, brought to the forefront an interesting inner debate I've had for a while. You have said that the Ohio State game is a microcosm of UM's season. I similarly have thought that Mike Hart was a microcosm of UM football in not only the late Carr years, but also the Bo years. (Disclaimer: do not read further if you think of the Bo years as the pinnacle of a college football program).
Anyway, Hart was so very good but just not quite fast enough to take it to the house after he hit the second level; often getting caught from behind. Similarly, the late Carr years, as well as Bo's years, resulted in very good teams which just couldn't reach an NC (or a very good bowl record). Obviously the leading all-time rusher in UM history is not to blame for UM's failure to win NC's, but rather a microcosm; just doesn't have that last little burst to become elite.
I see the same in Smith vs Isaac: one a more sure-fire prospect, but lacks the elite higher ceiling that great break-away speed gives (Smith), or a bigger risk in waiting for that elite size/speed combo (Isaac). I'm honestly not sure where I stand in the inner debate of whether I would rather risk a higher level ceiling (in prospects and program), or go a safer route, but with a lower ceiling that results in conference championships but not the elite national championships. I was curious to know your thoughts on the subject.
The tension here was on display in Hoke's first press conference when Drew Sharp managed to break away from the gentle grape-peeling-and-feeding session to ask a typically nasty question about Hoke's focus on winning the Big Ten, and how it wasn't a focus on winning national championships, and doesn't that make you some sort of jerk, Brady, and don't even think I'm projecting my failures on to you and everyone I write about I HAVE A VERY IMPORTANT JOB AT A NEWSPAPER.
Hoke looked at Sharp like his cool leather jacket was made out of baby skin—which, unbeknownst to him, it was—and mumbled something about how that opportunity would be there if they won the league. Sharp tried to press the point, but Hoke had already moved on to recruiting the 2015 class.
The idea that Michigan plays it safe was something I've felt as I watched good teams play in fear of what could go wrong instead of pressing their advantages and fall apart against teams they have no business doing so against. That was pretty much the only thing I thought when Hoke was hired: oh God this again, even further removed from the time period in which it was a good idea.
Hoke then set about annihilating that expectation, on and off the field. He hired Greg Mattison and brought along an honest-to-God offensive coordinator, he went for it—a lot—and told the media not to expect him to change after it didn't work out that one time against Illinois. And of course the recruiting. Brady Hoke's answer to Smith vs Isaac is "why not both?" I gingerly suggest that will also be his approach to Big Ten title vs National title. Hoke likes to win games, and tries to win all of them, and is recruiting at a level that will allow him to do so.
Wilson is needed at safety because Josh Furman's hair may be too spectacular for him to see the field.
Some Spring FB questions that so far I have not seen much about:
1) With the additions of Wilson and Clark as Free Safeties (and Dymonte in 2013) it would seem that moving Tamari Carter back to his HS position of CB would be logical given his size and our depth chart. I know there is talk of trying Wilson at CB but I don't buy it.
I haven't heard anything about Wilson at CB; I'd be surprised if he was not a safety all the way. As far as Carter goes, I'm looking at the depth chart and it seems like Michigan has three solid veterans plus a couple of true sophomore backups they liked enough to play last year. That seems like a position of less uncertainty than safety, partially because Marvin Robinson…
2) Any word on whether Marvin Robinson will get a medical red shirt for last year and also if that minor X Box spat has been cleared up? I still see Marvin as #2 on the depth chart and heir apparent to Kovacs at SS, so an extra year of eligibility would be nice. In other Red Shirt News I know it is futile to ask why we can't get a straight answer about Devin's possible wasted Freshman year... a riddle wrapped in a conundrum.
…does not seem like he's going to be a factor this year. I've gotten a report that he has not looked in shape at early spring practices. Obviously a lot of time left before fall; still not a good sign. If he's not in line for playing time Carter is one of only two guys with a year under his belt at safety. The other is Josh Furman, who has reportedly been absent for a few practices. Even if that's benign (class conflict?) it's not a good sign for potential Furman playing time. Things could go wrong a lot more quickly there than corner.
I don't know about Gardner. I've heard the opposite about the likelihood he ends up getting the extra year—e.g., it is a formality. I don't know what to believe there.
3) Is there any buzz at all about Ken Wilkins? He seems like a great possibility at SDE but I am starting to feel "Adam Patterson Syndrome" with regard to Mr. Wilkins.
Jerry In Ibiza
There hasn't been much buzz about Wilkins and the move of not one but two WDEs inside to positions he might play is not a good sign for him when it comes to seeing the field. The last we saw Wilkins he was getting annihilated by a walk-on as an undersized three-tech in the spring game; he did not surface at all last season even when the defensive line depth was whittled down to nothing in the Sugar Bowl.
He's got a shot at the rotation this year whether it's behind Black or Roh; if he doesn't do it now chances are he won't ever. If Patterson was on the sort of roster Wilkins will be as a fourth year player, he would have been buried.
Not sure if he has missed all of them, but it has been reported that he wasn't there at the last few practices.
That's disappointing about Wilkins. I won the Lombardi and Nagurski awards with him two years in a row on NCAA 11!
So Carter would be the #2 Strong Safety and Wilson #2 Free Safety. How big is Carter?
EDIT: jbizia answered it below.
I know its a little nit-picky to correct a humorous caption but.....
Carter was listed at 5'11" 175 last year. He is at best a free safety prospect as he is too slight for SS... but I still think he may get a shot at corner. FWIW they changed his designation on the roster from S to DB.
By the way I think it was on TTB that I saw the surprising possibility of Wilson being given a shot at corner - as said above I never thought it was at all likely to happen.
O.k so who would be the #2 SS?
Most likely Gordon would be moved to SS if needed as we have more bodies at FS... but we really don't want to contemplate life without Kovacs until 2013.
That's a false choice, obviously. Michigan's coaches have to load up on as much talent as they can and coach their players as well as they can just to win the Big Ten. I'd like to see an example of when/where/how they would not do their best because they're only trying to win the Big Ten.
The silly implication of linking RB recruiting with championship goals is to suggest that Hoke looked at Smith and Isaac and decided to take Smith instead of waiting for Isaac while consiously thinking that Smith is all he would need to get a Big Ten Championship. "I'll take Smith because it's not like I'm trying to win the National Championship or anything." That's insulting to Smith and Hoke, and patently ridiculous.
Considering that there is often a NC contender within the Big Ten in any given year, it would only make sense that you are going to prepare your team to beat any and all possible opponents, not "just the Big Ten."
All you can do is recruit and coach to win games. If you win all the games you play, you will win a conference championship. This does not necessarily guarantee you a shot at a (mythical) national championship. Getting into the MNC game requires things that as a coach are outside your control: getting Harris Poll voters and ELO_CHESS to like you, having the teams you played also have good seasons so your strength of schedule looks good and/or having one or two other dominant teams in conference so that the conference itself earns respect that year, having a Heisman candidate on your team (which again is as much about media hype as about how good your recruits actually turn out to be), etc. Brady Hoke more than most coaches strikes me as the kind of guy who only focuses on the things he can control.
That said, Eric is right: as far as what Michigan's coaches can actually do, there is no difference between the steps they'd take toward winning a conference championship and the steps that lead to a national championship.
Fuck you for being in Ibiza while I'm here at work
I figured Michigan would never schedule a west coast game again after the 2000 (when we lost at UCLA because Henson was injured and the officials blew a call on a Jeremy LeSuer INT that would probably have sealed the game), 2001 (when we lost at Washington because of a blocked FG and a pcik-6), and 2003 (when we lost at Oregon because all hell broke loose ). But having moved to Seattle in 2005, I am very excited about this upcoming B1G vs. Pac-12 series.
Right now I think Stanford or Cal would be the most interesting match-up. We haven't played Stanford since 1976, and we haven't played Cal since 1980. Our last game against Arizona was in 1978, but unless Rich Rod turns that program around quickly I don't see them being a strong enough opponent to make for a good game.
With the Cardinals rejuvenation since Harbaugh, I think that would be a fun/interesting matchup.
Cal would be nice too. It seems that we've played most of the other Pac10 schools at some point in the past few decades. Of course, it might be nice to get the Trojans in Ann Arbor for a change but that would really be more fun if it could be a late season game with some snow & ice.
It's interesting that M hasn't gone after Trey Zeigler (a SG they once coveted) but has gone after Della Valle (a SG they didn't originally recruit). Is it because they've cooled on Zeigler (who is practically begging for an offer) or because they just see DV as a better back-up PG next year? Down the line, at SG, doesn't Zeigler have the greater potential? He's a flawed player, sure. But he's a proven scorer.
Trey would have to sit a year because of transfer rules, so he doesn't solve the immediate need for another guard.
versus only 2.
Why doesn't Trey just go play wherever his dad gets hired. Wasn't that his original goal.
I don't know anything about the Zeigler situation, but the obvious difference from the outside is that Della Valle can play some PG.
was watching some of that Findlay Prep "The Season" last night, and he seems to rock those frequently off the court.
Also caught Findlay Prep's whole game vs. a "Las Vegas Stars" team. #1 takeaway from that video: Winston Shepard (signed to play for the Fish) and Katin Reinhardt (signed at UNLV) = wow.
On Della Valle:
On the plus side: those glasses
On the less plus side: watching him play a full game, I couldn't be sure that a Matt Vogrich senior year game tape would look all that different.
On the plus side: the kid definitely competes hard, has a nice sense for where his teammates are on the court, has a nice looking three-point shot, plays aggressively (again, though, I think Vogrich was aggressive in HS), showed a decent handle, and moved nicely into the break and on the break.
On the less plus side: with the game on the line, he got blown by multiple times by the opposing guards - like, completely blown by. But I think he knows it's an area of the game he needs to work on.
On the plus side: he shows a nice, classically "euro" ability to sense shooting openings inside the arc where he can get up and get the ball to the hole, in what is, to me, the Euro version of the mid-range game.
On the whole, I'd love to have the kid and bring some of his Euro-style into the mix.
I also feel that Trey Z. was recruited as heavily as any kid in the past many years, and he still decided to go elsewhere. Given his decision, I just don't see Michigan wanting to get in the second place sweepstakes for this kid or any other. Once the water has gone under the bridge, you say goodbye and good luck and move on to a kid who wants to be a Wolverine.
I don't think Zeigler fits as either a PG or a 2, especially in Beilein's system. I haven't seen him play but from stats he doesn't shoot well from outside (11-38 on the season) w/ 2.5 apg. He seems like a Darius Morris minus the passing ability while shooting a lot (100+ times more than the nearest teammate). Add the facts he'll have to sit out a year and chose CMU over UM to play for his dad and it doesn't make sense to go after him. Just my opinion though.
And stop worrying which 17 year old might be more awesome 4 years from now based solely on what some guy on a website says. Be happy about getting good players, sure. Definitively saying "X will be better than Y" is far cry from "guy who shows 5 star potential will probably be better than guy who shows 3* potential"...and that's hardly a sure thing. It's quite possible Y ends up being better than X, or as Brian points out, there's no reason you can't try and get X, Y, and Z.
this, pretty much. life isn't a video game. some prospects turn out to be underrated pickups.
Pretty sure we can find our share of fast guys on offense.
I think that concept of the shortcomings with Hart not having that elite breakaway speed had more to do with the lack of aggressive playcalling and a "killer" attitude at least towards the end of the Carr years both offensively and defensively.
Hoke initially made me fear the same things, but after looking at some film from SDSU and seeing how aggressive they were without elite talent/depth/experience it leads me to believe that good things are coming and that he is not afraid to let his coordinators do their work and take some high risk/high reward chances.
Getting Issac would be an outstanding addition, and I think that also getting at least one of the remaining two targeted WRs to have that elite level speed is important as well and it keeps the defenses that much more off balance. That said, Smith looks like he is going to be a beast at RB and I heard rumours Shallman played on a bad hamstring most of last year, so I am eager to see his results as a senior if that were true.
Requiring honesty in defending the pass with the ability to break the big runs is what made USC so explosive even in a pro-style offense and that is what I think Hoke is looking to do with Michigan. Given a few more recruiting classes things have the potential to be very good in Michigan again, and at certain points in the past, having a more agressive style might have added more hardware to the trophy case.
but then again I probably shouldn't have ignored the disclaimer.
Face it, there was nothing inherent in the previous system that prevented us from winning MNC's. Using Hart as an analogy is pointless too because the 2006 team easily could have won a MNC if not for bad luck.