Is it me, or does Horford look A LOT like Obama? I've got a good feeling about that Mons game.
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A few updates from basketball, as I've had a couple chances to watch the team practice this week, and also talk to a few players and coach Beilein. (Images from Michigan Basketball on Facebook).
The team leaves for Europe today, and the rest of their schedule will be as follows:
The Wolverines' administrative assistant, former Wolverine Travis Conlan, was responsible for setting up most of the games. He's recently played for Mons.
Conlan said the competition will be a little bit better than your average Big Ten team. Ghent is one of the worst teams in Belgium, but the other three squads are traditionally at the top of the table. The teams are mostly composed of guys who were the best player at a mid-major school but didn't make it into the NBA.
To follow the team in Europe, log on to MGoBlue.com, where there should be several manager/player diaries daily. If you become a fan of Michigan basketball on Facebook, they're also planning to post flipcam videos as well. Stats and game recaps will be published as well.
As for what they plan to get out of the trip, Beilein said "Just seeing where we are, as far as our conditioning, how tough we are, what we have. To give them a measuring stick and give us a measuring stick."
Prior to scheduling the trip, Beilein also wanted to make the trip the culmination of a for-credit summer class on European history or culture for the players, but everything happened so fast that there wasn't time to establish a curriculum.
The main lineups from Sunday's scrimmage, in order of appearance, were the following:
Jon Horford was mostly running with the scout team (otherwise composed of walkons), but he and McLimans switched at the very end of the scrimmage. Andy Beilein tweeted earlier that the first lineup listed above, except with Hardaway replacing Vogrich, was "Just a thought." Coach Beilein said yesterday that Vogrich was likely to start in Europe, however.
The most notable thing from the scrimmage was the tempo of the offense. There was a lot of fast break. Darius Morris looked pretty good running it - he looks a lot more confident in all phases of the game. There are some factors pushing the change that won't apply during the season (playing against walkons, playing with a 24-second clock), but when asked about it, Douglass and Novak both mentioned that pushing the tempo is a point of emphasis for the team this entire year. Douglass said, "We're trying to push the tempo throughout the year, the entire year." Novak added, "I mean, that's just an emphasis for the year that we've got."
Blake McLimans needs to improve his conditioning. In a running drill on Sunday, he was unable to finish in the time limit, and he missed a couple fast-break opportunities yesterday because he was slow getting up the court. Morris and Douglass were in the center of the line for sprints, and were far faster than everyone else. Corey Person was next-fastest, for what it's worth.
Tim Hardaway Jr. and Evan Smotrycz look like the real deal. Smotrycz seems to be one of the better shooters on the team, but it also able to play in the post quite a bit. Hardaway has a pure stroke and can pull up from a lot of different spots on the floor.
Jon Horford (at right) needs to add some weight, and he's a raw prospect. However, Beilein said "We have some sponges on this team, and I mean that really want to get better. Just watching, for example, Jon Horford today, that's all he wants to do," and it seemed like he had improved a bunch between Sunday and today. Colton Christian wasn't practicing full-court either day, as he re-injured his hamstring. He'll travel to Europe, but it's possible he doesn't see any court time.
For much more on individual players, check out UMHoops.
This is a very young team, with the entire upperclass contingent consisting of two juniors. However, they seem to be developing. Being able to get 10 extra practice days in the summer and actually play some competitive games in the pre-season will hopefully help the young guys be ready to contribute, almost like spring enrollees for football.
The chemistry, camaraderie, and leadership on this team should be an upgrade as well. Though DeShawn Sims and Manny Harris were great players, they weren't the vocal leaders that a young team needs, and on-court chemistry was lacking last season.
Is this an NCAA Tournament team? Probably not. Is it an NIT team? Probably not. But it should be a fun team to watch over the course of the season, as they grow individually and as a collective.
Is it me, or does Horford look A LOT like Obama? I've got a good feeling about that Mons game.
He actually reminds me more of former Wolverine hoopster Brandon Smith (From the Ellerbe Days). I can't find any photos online.
Glad to know I'm not the only one who thought so. I was scrolling quickly and actually stopped to see why there was a picture of the prez's head Photoshopped onto a UM basketball player.
I love that Beilein is doing this.
How often can we do trips like this?
Once every four years.
I willing to predict on flimsy everything that Hardaway will be the leading scorer this season.
I also noticed in the video's that Mclimans seemed a little lead footed.
Because of the toe injury it is hard to get a feel for Smotrycz, but one thing I was happy to observe, Smot is considerably taller than Novak.
a run for it (due to his height, he may see more playing time). Hardaway said that he already has a green light to shoot. "Coach wants me to score."
Hey! This isn't panic inducing news. What gives? It feels so weird...
Breathing and heart rate normal. Not sure what is going on here...
Is this an NCAA Tournament team? Probably not. Is it an NIT team? Probably not.
isn't panic inducing news. It's either expected, or so small on the scale of bad, it doesn't matter.
It helps I've never been emotionally invested in that weird sport with the orange ball they play during hockey season. I'm much too busy watching the refs fuck us over in the Frozen Four to pay attention to a basketball tournament.
Strangely, I don't feel crushed by that statement. In fact, I feel rather calm about our team and its realistic chances. It is a young team, and one that has the potential to be pleasantly good, I think.
but after watching the practice videos up at umhoops, my anticipation for this season is decidedly unpleasant. If I had to guess, I'd say that we'll probably be mediocre defensively and catastrophically bad on offense. Here's to quick maturation.
Keep in mind that thee practices are coming BEFORE the team even starts their pre-season stuff. They don't start "normal" practice until October.
I should have clarified that I meant they have the potential to be good in the future. I agree that this season very well may be a wash, but in another year we could be decent-to-good.
First time post here.
It occurs to me that one thing their schedule does not account for is jet lag. The time difference to Belgium/central Europe is six hours (ahead) and common wisdom is that we recover at the rate of one hour per day. I've made similar trips, and worse, many times and can attest that the inevitable "hitting the wall" isn't fun. I just hope it doesn't effect their play overly much, but it probably will.
Conlan (or maybe it was Beilein?) mentioned that they're going to try to keep the layers awake all day on Sunday, and have them go to bed a 9 local time.
I've found that, as long as you don't try to cheat and take a nap, you can acclimate pretty well, if you're not there long-term, it should be a huge issue.
Good point. Midafternoon on day 2 is usually when I crash on US-EU trips. That's nicely timed to coincide with their first game. Should be fun.
I think the future is bright for M hoops.
Brundidge, 2011 recruiting class, is a scorer of great ability. Seeing Brundidge's vast maturation of his game from his sophomore season to his junior season was fantastic, this kid is going to score 30 a game in HS this season, and physically is ready for the Big Ten right now.
If Brundidge were a couple of inches taller he would be a 5* recruit.
Is not only my fav female body part, but also the name of a European Basketball Team!
Makes me glad we didn't schedule the Bruges Taint.
There once was a Nebraska football player named "Wonderful Mons"...
Manny being gone will automatically limit the head-scratching 3-pointers.
I expect this team to struggle to get 10 wins this year but somehow I am still looking forward to watching them. I think they will play as a team and work really hard. I also have optimism that Beilien will put together a really good program that will be good year in and year out before too long.
Good to hear that they are working on an uptempo game. It seemed like we were running some slower more awkward version of the Princeton weave last year. Hopefully we push the tempo and get some fast break points and open threes this year. I'm an eternal optimist and I may be setting myself up for heartbreak, but I am definitely hoping for NCAA and expecting NIT at the worst. Maybe I should change that to hoping for NIT and expecting nothing...but I can't/won't.
I believe this years team though young, will be a shadow of a John Beilein team. He is molding this group into what we have seen at WVU but hopefully even better because of better players. I am still encouraged and excited. This european trip with extra practices and games should help this young group get a jump start on the season, maybe even surprise a couple of teams. Hopefully!
This trip and extra practices are so huge for this team. I don't see us making a tournament, but giving teams a run for their money at the end of the year when all of our young guys get more experience.