"There's a certain level of confidence and composure he brings to the court," said sophomore forward Aubrey Dawkins, who played the bulk of his minutes as a freshman while LeVert sat on the end of the bench in a sweat suit. "When you know you have a player like that on your team of that caliber, it's just like, we're in his hands and he can do a lot of things for this team. It's a comfort. It's nice."
"I just really wanted to see him in a game and I loved what I saw," Beilein said. "He was active. He's got a motor. He's got some things he's got to work on. He doesn't have the strength to (play) the way he'd like to in the Big Ten yet, but that's what we're going to work on in-between (games) without inhibiting his ability to play the next game."
I remember when this guy was not just a photoshop creation but a representation of the state of the athletic programs.
At this time it may be appropriate to purchase flowers. As it tends to do, getting obliterated by Michigan State has caused no end of soul-searching about the basketball program. Example: Genuinely Sarcastic is moved to write something featuring a Dire Straits song.
I don't know. I started fast-forwarding after about ten minutes and turned the thing off entirely once Michigan ended up down 34-14, invoking a personal rule from back in the Amaker days where any game that Michigan was 20 points down was no longer something I had to pay attention to. I wasn't exactly surprised. I know why people are leaping off e-buildings in the aftermath, but that seems like a willful lack of attention paid to results to date.
Now: since this is the 2009-10 season and we are talking about a team in maize and blue, evaluating the "when can we fire this guy?" question is inevitable. Proof: some idiot on the Rivals hockey board even asked it about Red. With Beilein, I don't think he can or should be axed any time in the next two years and that a sixth year is likely almost irrespective of Michigan's performance on the court.
However, I also don't have a lot of hope that things will change for the better. This year, exactly zero players showed any improvement as Michigan backslid. The offense looked positively Amakerian for much of the year. Aimless passing around the perimeter was a major feature. Outside of a game roleplayer in Zack Novak and a possibly useful point guard (albeit one who can't shoot) in Darius Morris, Beilein's first two recruiting classes look like anchors:
The post recruits are basically Justin Turner minus the recruiting hype: how terrible do you have to be to 1) be a post and 2) get zero minutes on a team with two guys taller than 6'5"?
Matt Vogrich was 5/5 from three against D-II Northern Michigan and then looked like a slightly larger version of Reed Baker the rest of the year.
Laval Lucas Perry was on the bench behind…
…Stu Douglass, who had an eFG of 42.7 and an offensive rating of 93.9 with a 15% usage rate. If Stu Douglass was a team, he would be Southern, a 5-25 SWAC team with the same overall eFG%. And those guys have to average 20% usage. In non-tempo-free numbers: made a third of his twos and 30 percent of his threes.
It's really hard to see how this team gets better next year with or without Manny unless Evan Smotrycz is Dirk Nowitzki. I am writing this right now and I think that's irrational because Michigan will return everyone other than Sims and will finally have enough size to play a proper 1-3-1 and etc etc, but if zero players on the team improved from year one to year two, why will they improve next year? Players are supposed to have their biggest leaps between their freshman and sophomore years, and Michigan's sophomores went backwards.
Votin'. I don't know if a Facebook page attempting to get Brandon Graham on the cover of NCAA Football 11 is going to overcome the fact that Graham didn't play in a bowl, but they make weird choices sometimes and it can't hurt. I bet a dollar it's Tebow.
Talkin'. I presented a talk called 'Building the World's Most Popular College Football Blog"—which, excluding large corporate conglomerations like Fanhouse, is troof—at Ignite 3 on Thursday. The title's sort of misleading, as they often are when you come up with them before coming up with what you're going to say. It's more about what I think is a generally applicable approach to becoming the head of your own nation of racist dwarves no matter what the topic area is.
Please excuse the various ums and ahs, as I didn't get to practice as much as I wanted, and the shirt I didn't realize could have been in the "Evenflow" video until a local wag brought it up. I didn't wear totally awesome cargo shorts, at least.
I'm the first guy in the second half, but you'll have to skip to 1:20 for the part that is not the emcee.
Everyone moves. The NHL trade deadline was devoid of blockbusters but ridiculously heavy on Michigan movement:
Anaheim: traded G Justin Pogge and Boston's fourth-round pick in the 2010 or 2011 draft (previously acquired) to Carolina Hurricanes for D Aaron Ward.
Colorado: traded LW Wojtek Wolski to Phoenix Coyotes for RW Peter Mueller and C Kevin Porter. …
Columbus: traded D Mathieu Roy to Florida Panthers for C Matt Rust. Traded LW Alexandre Picard to Phoenix Coyotes for C Chad Kolarik.
Montreal: traded RW Matt D'Agostini to St. Louis Blues for RW Aaron Palushaj.
Add in Steve Kampfer getting sent to the Bruins for a fourth-round pick—totally weird trade since Kampfer was a fourth-rounder—and that's six Michigan products moving teams in two days. Los Angeles, unsurprisingly, didn't pick any of them up.
Well, okay. I spent a large chunk of the last offseason blasting anyone who dropped Rich Rodriguez on a "hot seat" list as he entered year two. Even a crappy, bowl-free season would not result in Rodriguez's termination, and that has proved to be the case. Now, though, Rodriguez is. No protests when Tom Dienhart and that coaches hot seat whatever throw him on the list.
(One item of protest: throwing Ralph Friedgen in the "inferno" section is pointless when Maryland is already planning a transition to its offensive coordinator.)
Default Big Ten expansion talk. Gary Pinkel interviewed by a few locals, topic inevitably comes up, Pinkel responds with the usual:
one of the really big problems with this league is the TV contract. Two areas of the TV contract, really. First of all, the TV contract itself. In the next five years, per year Illinois will get about $12 million more (from the Big Ten’s TV contract) for their athletic budget. Multiply that by four years for the four years we have left in our contract. So, the University of Illinois is getting $48 million more. That’s hard to understand. I think it’s about $14 million more in the Southeastern Conference. It’s hard to explain that to anybody.
Another issue we have in this league is you look at the SEC and the Big Ten, and they have revenue-sharing. They understand you’re as strong as your weakest link and that the strength of your league is important. So, you share TV revenue. Even though we’ve been on the upper side of that ourselves, it’s not the right thing, in my opinion, for the Big 12. So, there’s some issues here. Those things are out there, and that’s kind of disappointing. Other than that, they’re not going to let me make decisions anyway.
It can be a great league, but there are things financially that are absurd. I can’t even explain it.
That's not much different from the president of the university or the governor's take; Missouri is going to make noise until such point as they cannot make noise because the Big Ten picked someone else or don't have to because it picked them.
I unfortunately went to the game last night. We have no offense. I couldn't figure out what they where trying to do. Sims was open on some pick and rolls early but they never passed it to him. I am starting to wonder if Beilein's system will work in the big ten.
Beilein's coaching philosophy of "my coaching can beat your talent" hasn't worked.
MSU toyed with the Wolverines and bullied them around. Is it too much to ask for Michigan to act like it has a spine? The fact that Beilein complained to the ref's about MSU playing too tough and rough tells you all you need to know about the program right now.
COACH: What kind of offensive and defensive philosophy do you employ at West Virginia?
BEILEIN: Offensively, we try to be very versatile and resourceful in our approach. It's sort of an old school two-guard set with a high post. We pretty much run an open floor. Defensively, we continually try to change our defenses as much as we can. We play a good deal of man. But we play a lot of 1-3-1 zone that is quite unique.
One of the reasons Beilein stated for coming to Michigan was that he could recruit better talent. At the time, I believe Darius Morris was his highest rated recruit ever. I think Smotrycz is rated even higher so he is now his top recruit. He is now going after guys he wouldn't have while at West Virginia so he has shown the desire to recruit the top kids. He has missed out on most of the big fish so far but by going after them he has shown he wants the top talent that his plan is not to get lesser talent and out coach everyone.
His philosophy is a 4 out and one in system similar to what the Orlando Magic is running. This creates more space for your one post player to operate but requires a mobile 4 man that can pass and shoot. Ideally this guy is 6'7" or over and can defend an opposing 4. There were no players available that fit in Beilein's first recruiting year but McLimans and Smotrycz are the prototype moving forward. McLimans had to start practicing at the 5 due to Cronin's injury but he should be moving back to the 4 once we get another 5 to go along with Morgan.
The guys for this system are not lower rated recruits. Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis and Dwight Howard would excel in this system at the 3, 4 and 5 and they are pretty good. Once we get the right players at the right positions and get them some experience everyone will start to understand the system a little better.
Brick this comment is not directed at you but in agreement with you.
I find it amazing that you actually need to state that Beilein wants to recruit the best players he can. Make no mistake, it needs to be said because I get the idea that people around here are dancing around the idea that Beilein actually prefers to have bad players.
Let me ask a direct question or two.
Is there anyone here who actually believes that Beilein is purposefully recruiting LESS TALENTED PLAYERS? (I suspect this is what Shock is getting at also.)
Is there anyone here who actively thinks that Beilein isn't trying to get the MOST TALENTED PLAYERS he can?
The system in and of itself is not the problem. If it can work in the Big East, it definetly can work in the Big Ten. The people in the system is the problem. This quote after the game is most disturbing:
"[But] they are very long and strong, have several guys in that 6-8 category that are really strong and worked hard. They are just bigger than us. Even though they are not a huge team, they are bigger than us at the four man and even the five man, and they played bigger at times, as well. We've got to get bigger players, got to get stronger in order to match this type of rebounding team."
You could claim that Ben Cronin's hip & Robert Benzing's eligibility are the answers to what went wrong. However, those two were not going to be 6-8 and athletic. Beilein's desire to recruit well rounded basketball players (regardless of size and strength)vs. athletes he can mold into players will always put his teams at a disadvantage to the elite teams which have athletes that can also play basketball.
"Anyone who isn't confused, really doesn't understand the situation." - Edward R. Murrow
The Big East was weaker than the Big Ten when Beilein was there. I can agree with the talent issue but if you don't have the players to run your system correctly then change it! The offense requires them to be able to take on a defender one on one. We only have one player who can do it, and he does it when he feels like it. Perhaps I am still mad about spending my time to go watch that crap.
How can you question Beilein's greatness as a coach, by like pointing out the facts that players not getting better are coaching, and the future is anything less than sunshine and roses!?!?!? Who do you think you are, on this site???? And you are a fair-weather fan, and can jump off the bandwagon and not come back for not even watching the whole game. And don't even get me started on not giving Rich Rod at least six years to turn it around, unquestioned. (Sarcasm, for those really immune to the concept).
I think you've created a cult, and lost control of it...
But I love the Werewolverine. I'm stealing it... ;-)
Even for you people who dislike RR, if he gets fired (please God no) he's probably going to end up being a massive success somewhere else, as I've said before. That's the way the universe is treating us. We're given the most embarrassing situations lately.
Interesting that Dienhart calls Richt "one of the good guys." I read an interview with him a year or so ago and he did come off as a good guy who cared about his players and had his priorities straight. Not bad for an SEC coach (zing!).
Ann Arbor is a classy broad.
"Get off my plane!" - Ricky Stanzi, Air Force One 2
I really like Beilein as a person, from what I see. However, I don't understand why he goes after certain players. My specific gripe would be with Novak, Douglass, and Vogrich. Now, I understand that he had precious little time to recruit when he was hired. But in college basketball today, you just can't recruit guys 6'7" and under who don't dribble well. I love Novak's heart and Douglass seems like a smart player (and I haven't seen enough of Vogrich so far). But neither they nor Vogrich can put the FREAKING BASKETBALL ON THE FLOOR. If you're playing G or SF today, you have to be able to create your own shot. The only exception is for players who are deadly shooters (see e.g. Redick, J.J.) or big post players. How is it that players who are our G's can't handle the rock? It baffles me. Not only are their handles poor, they just aren't athletic. Not being able to dribble + not being an athlete = mediocrity at best over the long-term. Passing is now a secondary skill. This isn't 1950 anymore. Dribble penetration is now more important than pass penetration.
Beilein needs to focus on recruiting strong athletes who can put the ball on the floor, instead of being so finicky about picking players that fit a certain mold. He also needs to get a big man who can take/dish out contact. It's exactly what Izzo and Matta do, and until Beilein follows suit, we're going to continue to get our butts handed to us on a consistent basis.
Morris - He sure as hell better be able to put the ball on the floor, he's a friggin' PG.
Vogrich - Has played more than 10 minutes, and long enough to demonstrate that he is a long way from being able to put the ball on the floor against Big 10 defenders.
Hardaway/Brundidge - Again, guards. That's their job, even if they're not PG's. They'd better be able to create.
Sidenote: J.J. Redick was not all that capable of creating his own shot in college. Everyone knew that when he was playing. However, he had a very quick release which enabled him to shoot, even with a man on. Also, and fortunately for him, little known schools like Duke tend to have other players who can create off the dribble and then kick out to people like him when they're eventually double teamed in the lane. They also tend to have centers like Carlos Boozer who demand a double down as well....Also, only this year has he started to get significant playing time in the NBA. If you have paid any attention to his professional career, you'd know that. His defense has dramatically improved, and he's now starting to have some semblance of a dribble-drive game.
I think the point was that Beilein has been recruiting kids who can fit in his system, and that condemning the system by relying on cherry-picked observations doesn't provide anything meaningful.
And with respect to Reddick, sure he didn't take a guy off the dribble like LeBron or Wade, but he was better at getting his shot in college than people thought. You don't become the ACC's leading scorer just on picks and kick-outs. He was always going to be a liability in the pros because he didn't play much defense and his athleticism is lacking (though I agree that he has made some strides this year), but he has always been an elite shooter.
As to the many comments on offensive system, and the announcers' frequent comments about how well State was pressing out on our 3 point shooters: I didn't see much back-screening to create wide open back door cuts. I did see some momentarily open cuts toward the hoop, but often the passer did not seem to have a good angle to make the pass.
I am far from being a basketball savant, but I think that one of the strengths of this offensive system is that when a D overplays the 3, it gets murdered on back-door cuts. That obviously didn't happen. Those who have high level hoop knowledge - why were the perimeter and wing screens so ineffective BOTH at freeing shooters AND at creating back-door cuts? It seems that the defender should be forced to choose to fight through the screen to guard the 3 or remain below it to prevent a wide open cutter. I didn't notice that State's defenders were switching on all screens to avoid making this choice. Answers?
The lack of player development to me is more an issue of ceiling right now. I think Brian is correct in saying the biggest jump is from freshman to sophomore year. However, that requires that a player has not already hit his athletic ceiling. The problem with this season's expectations is we count guys like novak and douglass to improve from what they were last year. At this point it looks very likely that both have hit their ceiling (which is probably why they were ranked as 2 stars to begin with).
Although Manny still struggles with some very basic things, I do think he has improved greatly since his freshman year. Deshawn looked lost as a frosh and has turned into a very good player. I think the test for Beilein's development will be in the progression of players like Morris, Vogrich, Smotrycz, Hardaway, etc. If next year and beyond these players who have the talent to be legitimate D-1 performers do not develop as such then there is cause for concern. But to expect significant jumps from low ceiling guys like Novak and Douglass is a mistake and a primary cause for the ridiculous expectations that were put on this team from the beginning of the year.
I agree. I thought Sims was much better this year than he was 2 years ago, and he did seem to improve somewhat this year (he really took over some games on the block). Harris struggled, but some of that seemed like a lack of effort/focus than anything taught by Beilein. Harris missed a bunch of shots because he (a) doesn't have a reliable jump shot, (b) gets gun-shy about going to the rim if he isn't getting the calls early, and (c) he falls in love with the 3 and starts shooting them outside of the offense.
I think people read into losses to MSU too much - they basically fell apart against one of the best defensive teams in the country on their home court, on senior day, when UM had little to play for other than pride and MSU had a chance to share the B10 crown. That isn't making excuses - MSU is significantly better than UM in basketball - but MSU also went to the championship game last year and has been to more final fours under Izzo than any other team during that span. So yeah, you might lose those games. But I'm still not ready to give up on Beilein just because preseason expectations were overrated.
the Big Ten comes out looking like a conference of geniuses. (We are, aren't we?) If Delany only got one thing right during his tenure, the Big Ten Network was the best choice.
Scott said during a recent interview on ESPN Radio that the entire Pac-10 will make close to $60 million in television revenue this year. The conference does not divide television money equally, which allowed a program such as Southern Cal in a large media market with many of its games on television to rake in $6.5 million in television money in 2008 ...
In Los Angeles. $6.5 million in TV revenue. And they didn't even get all their games on television.
$22 million per school in the Big Ten.
So even when the Pac-10 adds Colorado and Utah (Utah is a slam dunk – don't tell me the Utes are going to wait for the Mountain West to get BCS consideration, although at this point in basketball the conferences may be about even), and even if they manage to make the Pac-12 Network a reasonable one, they won't be where the Big Ten is now.
And the 22-game conference schedule in basketball might be a bit much.
He deserves his time to improve the team and recruit, but his comments or apparent surprise about msu being "physical" or big or tough caught me off guard. He has been here 3 yrs, msu is a big rival team, the b10 is supposedly known for having "tough" or "physical" players/teams so I don't see or get this revelation by him in his 3rd year. Also, my biggest rant, b/c I think we all deserve a rant with a season like this, is the "aimless" passing around the perimeter plays or lack thereof, wtf?? I saw it vs. NW, psu, msu, wisc, whenever the D is tough, but did not see against Minn. Passing around, no pick and rolls, and a kinda fake I'm gonna drive, naw, I'll pass it instead.
This basketball team flat out out has no toughness. When you play in the Big Ten with big, athletic players and your team is just a jump shooting team it won't work out. Don't get me wrong I really hope Beilien can be a good coach here but I think we need to start getting more athletic players and get more toughness.
It doesn't take a genius to figure out that Michigan's basketball success will always be dependent on recruiting the state of Michigan. Clearly, Belein is not bringing in the horses from Detroit, Flint, and Saginaw. I highly doubt that Zeigler will end up in Ann Arbor!
Fire Belein and bring in a coach that can sell the University and recruit real Big Ten talent. 42-14 at halftime is unacceptable against an NBA team, let alone against your arch rival where they are gonna raise a banner on your ass. Oh wait, I forgot Bill Martin just gave him a contract extention.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR REPLY! YOU ARE PROBABLY A BEILEIN APOLOGIST WHO THINKS THAT IT IS OK THAT THE TEAM WILL NOT EVEN MAKE THE N.I.T.! THIS SEASON HAS BEEN A TOTAL DISASTER! EXPECTATIONS WERE HIGH AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SEASON FOR EVERY MICHIGAN BASEKTBALL FAN! IT HAS BEEN EXTREMELY DISAPPOINING!
DOES THIS COMMENT HAVE ENOUGH CAPITAL LETTERS AND EXCLAMATION POINTS FOR YOU LFJ75! I KNOW YOU ARE THE CHIEF OF THE GRAMMAR POLICE!