Totally agree that the #1 issue for the team next year is finding another ball handler next to Burke. Burke averaged 36.1(!!!) Minutes this year as a true freshman and I'm sure he must have been worn out for the last month or so, contributing to the team's less than stellar play. Either a legit backup PG option emerges or if one of the SGs can handle bringing the ball upcourt at least 8-10 Minutes a game that would greatly improve Burke's (and the team's) effectiveness.
Basketball Off-season Outlook (UPDATED)
UPDATE - Since the team got a huge makeover within hours of me posting it, I thought I'd make some update in the wake of the three transfers. I've updated the table with thoughts on the transfers and what it means for the other players. At the very end I have some thoughts on recruiting needs. As for Burke, if he leaves for the NBA (an unwise decision in my mind) then you can burn this piece and ask Illinois fans how it feels to miss the NIT because that's where we'd be headed without a single ball-handler.
Brian stole a lot of my thunder with his comprehensive game recap before I could get this posted, but I think there’s enough to discuss here that the post is still worth doing.
I considered breaking this long post up into in a series of smaller posts, but I suspect that there will soon be a flood of “looking toward next year” content in the Michigan blogsphere so I might as well get it all in now to launch that discussion.
I think there are three parts to any premature basketball preview and I’ll cover two of them here – player summaries and biggest off-season questions. The third, conference outlook, has to wait until the dust settles on the NCAA Tournament and the NBA draft deadline passes. Without further ado, let’s get started - which means….
Oh boy – not another alter ego voice.
Yep, that’s right – much like Temptation without War Chant you can’t have a long diary on MGoBlog without an alter ego chiming in.
Does that also mean we need a…..
…..Chart? Yes, yes we do. Below is a chart full of player summaries that touches on two critical aspects of the 2012-2013 season: what should the player be working on over the summer and what is a realistic outlook for their role next year?
|Player||He should spend all summer.....||Next year he will.....|
|Trey Burke||Breaking a hard hedge. Ask students on campus to run a hard hedge against him while he's walking to class. Learn how other teams defeat it while it cripples Michigan at times.||
Play 90% of the time and be a contender for conference player of the year.
UPDATE - ....realize what a great decision it was to stay at Michigan.
|Tim Hardaway||Dribbling!! His shooting should stabilize and he played well down the stretch. More rebounding would be nice, but he needs to be a reliable ball handler next year to take pressure off Burke and reach his star potential.||
Be the team's leading scorer and show more consistency with his outside shot, but will still have a couple plays per game that drive fans and coaches nuts.
UPDATE: ....searching for a mid-major out east where he'll be happy. Apparently he was unhappy and struggled with the rigors of a big time program and academic institution....though this is a big loss for Michigan and a shocking one to me. He would have been the starting PF and the third best player on the team.
UPDATE: ...take a redshirt season and wonder if he made the right choice leaving an offense that was perfect for him and a team poised to make another title run.
|Jordan Morgan||Doing layups and having Mike Barwis teach him to jump from flat footed.||Get the chance to be the starter but will get a quick hook if he's struggling with McGary and Horford breathing down his neck.|
|Matt Vogrich||Dribbling with Hardaway. Someone has to be an alternate ball handler and Vogrich has one last chance to be more than a role player if he can show the ability to handle the ball.||
Reprise his role as jump shooter off the bench. He may get a chance to start early in the year but is best suited to his 7th man role where he can park in the corner and hit 3s.
UPDATE: Needs to play more with Hardaway since GR3 will spend more time at the PF spot.
|Jon Horford||Rehabbing his foot and practicing a mid-range jumper. Of the three centers in the rotation he's the most likely to have the skills to play PF in this offense.||Compete with McGary to be the back-up center, sometimes getting 20 minutes per game and sometimes playing the McLimans 5-10 minutes for rebounding and shot blocking.|
|Mitch McGary||Learning the nuances of the offense from Jordan Morgan. McGary will step on campus with significantly more skill and talent than Morgan but needs to match his ability with the pick-and-roll in order to earn significant minutes.||
Start the season as energy off the bench and will have the opportunity to get significant minutes. Some fans will be disappointed at a pedestrian freshman season, but the outlook will be bright.
UPDATE: I still see him purely as a center, but maybe JB will break out a twin towers offense without Smotrycz.
|Glenn Robinson III||Learning from Zach Novak how to be Zach Novak. GR3 has a chance to be the spark off the bench at either forward spot and will have far more athleticism than Novak, but he could use a lesson in grit to help fill the void left by the captain.||
Be a significant factor in how far the team goes. Needs to spell Smotrycz at the 4 or play the 3 at times,
UPDATE: He's now slated to start at PF unless Jon Horford has a huge off-season or Bielfeldt surprises.
|Nik Stauskas||Learning from Stu Douglas how to play the second guard spot in this offense. Much like the other freshmen, Nik will be more talented than Stu, but has to fill his role to be truly effective early in his career.||The favorite to start at the SG spot and be the second ball-handler the team needs. Could play more minutes than anyone other than Burke and Hardaway if he shows he's ready for that role….and Michigan probably needs him to be.|
UPDATE: Follow McCallum around the Detroit campus instead? The skepticism about his role in this offense was apparently warranted - hopefully he can find a better fit.
UPDATE: Enjoy his redshirt season at a smaller school.
Shooting mid-range jumpers. There's an opportunity for minutes at the PF spot for someone who can hit a midrange jumper and mix it up inside a little.
UPDATE: Needs to enter the season trying to prove he could be the starter at PF.
UPDATE: Best case he will have a Morgan-like leap as a RS-Freshman and grab the starting spot. Worst case he needs to be good enough to play 10-12 minutes per game competently.
|Blake McLimans||Learn to run the pick-and-roll. He played some critical minutes with Horford out but the offense bogged down with him on the floor. His best chance at staying relevant would be to play PF and show he can run the offense.||
Learn to enjoy the view from the bench because unless Ted Valentine and Ed Hightower ref the same game it is unlikely that we'll need a 4th string center next year.
UPDATE: May see a few minutes per game at PFsince he can shoot and knows the offense.
Learning how to swing a rally towel or working with the genetics department to reconfigure himself into a back-up point guard.
UPDATE: I guess we didn't need the genetics department to turn him into a PG, his transfer should allow us to sign one to take his spot.
UPDATE: Enjoy Division-2 basketball?
Wow – that was a lot of reading and a lot to digest. Let’s break it down into some critical team areas now.
What is the biggest reason for optimism heading into the off-season?
Simply put – Trey Burke. He will be a contender for conference player of the year and would likely be on his way to the NBA lottery if he were a measly 3 inches taller. He should fill the leadership role vacated by Douglas and Novak well and gives us a chance to win every game we play.
UPDATE: Try not to think about him leaving....it will just make you cry.
Having depth and recruiting talent will make the season interesting, but Burke will ultimately determine how far this team goes. He had an amazing freshman year, but there is still a lot of room for growth on both ends of the court. Solving the various high-screen defenses he saw will allow him to be more dominant and open up more opportunities for his teammates.
What is the biggest reason for concern?
This is a more complex thing to address, but allow me to answer in the form of a question – who is the second ball handler on the team next year?
Wait – I ask get to answer a question for a change? Okay – I’ll say…..uh….hmm….that freshman with the funny name?
Nik Stauskas is the one you’re thinking of, and he’s a popular choice. But he’s a freshman and is also 6’6” tall. When was the last time you saw a good ball handler taller than 6’4” at Michigan? Jalen Rose 20 years ago?
In my opinion, finding someone to handle the ball besides Burke is the biggest concern going into next year. Douglas (and to a much lesser extent Novak) filled that role perfectly and Michigan doesn’t have a back-up point guard stashed on its bench. Maybe Stauskas will be the answer we’re all hoping for, or maybe Hardaway and Vogrich will improve their handles well enough to fill this role, or maybe Brundidge makes a huge leap forward – hopefully someone does. Otherwise opponents will just press full court and double Burke until someone else shows they can handle the ball.
UPDATE: Did I mention that thinking about Burke leaving would make you cry?
Who is the most important player next year (besides Burke)?
Obviously Burke comes first because we’ve established that there is no other option to run the offense and he’s so sensational. It may also be obvious now that Stauskas, despite being the lowest rated incoming recruit, may be the next most important player on the team. He needs to fill the 2-guard role on both ends of the floor well enough to play major minutes given the other options. If Stauskas struggles to earn minutes, there will be a large void at the guard spot – a big problem in a guard oriented offense.
Hardaway is critical for the team to succeed, but there are other players to help when he goes into his funks. Smotrycz needs to show that he can be a consistent threat playing his natural position and be the third scoring option for the team, but he’s already shown that to some extent and there are other options if he struggles. McGary isn’t as important given the depth and experience at center. Stauskas is the one player who fits nicely into the offense as the second guard and has the biggest shoes to fill.
How excited should we be for McGary? Is this going to be like the Fisher era with Vaught, Mills, Webber, Howard, Taylor, and Traylor? (on the court, not off)
Well, I’ve personally lowered my expectations for him and I think most fans would be wise to do the same. From the videos I’ve seen he’ll be a great addition to the team with his size, athleticism, rebounding, and hustle…..but not an all-conference contender anytime soon. He looks like a bigger, better version of Jordan Morgan – which is great, but not the next Webber. I suspect he’ll be a solid contributor and play a lot of minutes but won’t stuff the stat sheet until his sophomore year.
Wait a minute – he’s Michigan’s best recruit in a really long time and you’re bashing him?
No, I think he’ll turn out to be a great college player if he stays for2-3 years but will not make the immediate impact some are expecting. There are several reasons:
- Big men take longer to adjust to the college game, even though he’s old for his class.
- He doesn’t yet have a jump shot that will make him versatile, making him purely a center in Beilein’s offense and not a power forward. But Michigan’s offense doesn’t feed the post players like MSU or an NBA team would. He’ll have to get his points like Morgan does – which is fine but limits his upside.
- He’s stepping into a crowded center competition with two guys that know the system and have contributed in the past.
I actually think McGary may have the smallest impact on next year’s of all the recruits given that both Stauskas and GR3 are better fits at replacing the void left by the seniors. McGary will contribute and be fun to watch, but lower your expectations to fully enjoy it rather than wondering why he isn’t dominant.
Speaking of McGary, how is the center depth chart going to play out?
This is going to be fascinating since Beilein only historically plays one true post player and now has three players worthy of ample playing time. Even Tom Izzo with his deep bench only plays two true centers. I think Morgan will remain the starter for a lot of next year but I like Brian’s 15-15-10 prediction for minutes with McGary splitting equal time. Let’s sit back and enjoy the ride – we’ll never have to worry about foul trouble, teams with a lot of height, or seeing McLimans or Smotrycz play critical minutes at center.
What do you think the rotation will be?
I thought about predicting minutes per game, but Brian did an admirable job of that already. Instead I’ll talk in generalities. Here’s the rotation as I see it:
- Morgan (on a short leash)
GR3 (energy off the bench at the 3 or 4, replacing Stauskas or Smotrycz)
- McGary (essentially getting starters minutes)
- Vogrich (basically the same as this year, maybe a few more minutes at best)
- Horford (the 3rdstring center still averaged 8 minutes per game this year)
Brundidge (a few minutes spelling Burke)
Christian(suddenly one of these two needs to play a fair amount of minutes at PF)
Wow – that rotation sounds like something to be excited about!
That’s a true 9-man rotation, dwarfing the deepest rotation Beilein has ever had at Michigan, and a few spare parts that are still viable options.
UPDATE: Until another recruit joins the incoming class (more below) that's still possibly a 9-man rotation if Bielfeldt steps up or McLimans plays more at PF.
Next year is going to be a unique experience for this program with the depth, talent, leadership turnover, height, and relative youth. The B1G will be as tough as always, but Michigan should be a contender once again, even if there are some growing pains early in the season.
UPDATE: So we suddenly have scholarships to offer...what should we do with them?
Obviously we should take one or maybe two guards and whoever the coaches feel is deserving of a scholarship. There has been plenty of speculation at MGoBlog or UMHoops about players who may be available, so I won't spend too much time on specific names since no one really knows and no one has an official offer.
What I will say is this - I want a true point guard in this class....and I don't care what their star rating is, how big they are, whether they have pro potential, or any of that stuff. I think every team needs a back-up PG who can play 10-15 minutes per game where he runs the offense, doesn't turn the ball over, plays good defense, and hits the occassional open shot. The kind of guy who will play four years, possibly all of them as a back-up, work his tail off, be thrilled to play for Michigan, and be a great insurance policy if the starter can't play. Everyone needs one of these types of players and we're sorely lacking one. Even if Burke stays another year, we still will only have one PG the following year and that person would be a true freshman.
I can think of two perfect examples of this - Travis Trice at MSU and Stilman White at UNC. Both were undersized 3-star recruits surrounded by higher ranked players and lacking any other major offers. Both players stepped up with a few minutes per game when their teams needed it. Both will be around for three more years being solid system guys. We need one of those.
Of all the names mentioned so far, Spike Albrectch seems like the closest fit to this role. He's a true PG who has lead both his AAU and Prep teams to a lot of success playing a ton of minutes. He's played with many of our two best incoming recruits. He can hit a three pointer if left alone. And he's essentially the same size as those two examples listed above. Maybe there are better choices out there and if so I hope the coaches can sign them. If not, I'd gladly welcome Spike to fill that role.
We've got multiple options with regards to our secondary ball-handlers, and I don't think Stauskas is what you say he'll be.
1.) He's a freshman. Morris, Harris, Stu, and Brundidge all struggled in their first years as primary ball-handlers. While Burke was phenomonal, he is the statistical outlier; freshmen usually struggle.
2.) The other options are immense and are not getting as much credit as they deserve.
a.) Brundidge should be a competant back-up at the 1 and fight for time at the 2. After all, his main skill is his ability to slash to the rim. We haven't seen it in games, but trust Belein when he says the kid can dribble. In fact, that was what he was recruited to do. And guess who evauated his talent? It was Coach B! The same man who found McGary, THJ, Burke, Novak, Dougless, GRIII, et al.
b.) Vogrich/THJ. Neither of these two guys have the best handles right now, yet that does not mean they won't have it come next season. Just like with Morris, Dougless, and Novak, the added experience in the system will be a boon. Dougless and Novak were never considered great dribblers, but look at how much they progressed under Belein! I strongly believe that both THJ and Vog can do the same. In Vog's case, its the only way he'll be able to get on the court next year, and in THJ's case, its the #1 problem in his draft status. They'll have motivation and experience.
c.) Similarly, Akunne. I don't believe he'll be playing more than 5 minutes, but 5 minutes is a lot when you've got this numbers crunch. (To specify, he'll play the minutes early in the season. When B1G season comes around, I suspect he'll return to the bench as he did this year.) My evidence? Memphis. He played very well against a pressing, althetic team. With an added year of experience, he should only be better.
Conclusion: Yes Stauskas will play a lot by B1G season. However, I don't expect his play to be necesary; we'll have multiple options at the secondary ball-handler position. A sophomore recruited to be a ball-handler, and three upperclassmen, including one good enough to get drafted in the first round.
I don't think you can say someone will struggle because they are a freshman. Manny Harris did not have bad freshman year, and Douglass and Brundidge did not have the type of talent of all three incoming players in this years class (no disrespect to Douglass and Brundidge). It actually is becoming quite common for freshman to come in and star. The three freshman in this years class will arrive on campus and instantly be the most talented player at their position.
I agree with the OP on most of his thoughts. I do think Stauskas will start from day one. However, I differ with his assesment of GRIII and Mitch McGary. Robinson brings a skill set to the table that only Trey Burke can match. Robinson is excellent off the dribble and has the ability to elevate and finish strong through the defense. Robinson also has a nice mid-range game and will instantly become our best option at attacking the basket. We will need someone to fill Novak's role as the scrapper, but I think that will be Mitch McGary, not Robinson.
McGary does have an above average jump shot at this point. The reason he dropped in the rankings is that he is not quite the athlete people once thought. I agree in that I don't think Mitch will be a star as a freshman, but I do think he will be our best post option. I'm not saying all three freshman will start next year, but I do think all of them will get starters minutes.
I think concluding what a player will be next season is setting yourself up to be dissappointed. Michigan basketball under Beilein has been full of surprises both collectively and individually.
When looking at the team as a whole, it was surprising that they made the tournament so early in Beilein's tenure. It was surprising that he was competing in the B1G without the size that everyone assumes is needed in a physical league. He recruiting was a surprise when his targets were steadily climbing the rankings of scouting services, validating his assesments, and again when his signees were among the most highly rated in the country. Finally, nobody predicted a B1G title this past year for UM. Not even diehards.
Individually there have been some great surprises as well. The most pleasant individual surprise was Darius Morris' soph year. After treading water his frosh year he proved one of the best point guards in the country and decided to go pro, both surprises. That THJ was so effective as a frosh was surprising and great but he did have the pedigree. Even more pleasant was the play of Jordan Morgan as a redshirt frosh. I thought that he must have been pretty bad to be 6'8" and 240 and needing a redshirt given UM's lack of size. He certainly hit the ground running. You could also note player development as an added bonus for Beilein as well.
Then you move to this year and hail Trey Burke for obvious reasons but THJ took a surprising step back and Morgan seems to be treading water. Call it a sophmore slump or call it what you want but we expected these two, or THJ at least, to carry the team.
The point to make here is to expect the unexpected. Who will be next years surprise? I don't know but I do expect the Burke-McGary pick and roll to be nearly unstoppable, so maybe if McGary is a sub then I'll be surprised but the surprises that I I've been refering to are the broad assumptions of the fanbase. I wouldn't worry though M fans, they're usually they are of the pleasant variety.
You nailed it Pinball Pete. Michigan has been full of surprises under JB. If things continue like they have under JB, Michigan should have another succesful season, but this time around make some noise in the NCAA tournament.
The two biggest keys to Michigan's success next season will be a second ball handler to take the pressure of Trey Burke and someone who can be effective in the low post. I strongly feel the extra ball ahndler is already on the team in Burndidge. Yeah, Brndidge struggled as a true freshmen and soaked a little during the season after it was clear Burke was going to get the vast majority of the minutes at PG. However, Burndidge is a very good handler with an explosive first step, lets also not forget he was a 4 star recruit coming out of Southfield; the kid can play, just struggled of the college game and having Burke being the man.
If Carlton can over come his freshmen blues, which I believe he can, he will be the #2 primer ball handler for the Wolverines next season. I expect him to earn 10 to 12 minutes a game playing the point and the #2 in the offense.
As for Nick Stauskas, I believe you're giving him a little bit to much credit. Having a big two guard is always nice to have, especially one that can handle the rock. (quick note: Travis Conlan was the last big PG for Michigan not Jalen Rose. Conlan was 6'5" and was the starter for three years. Currently is 5th in total assists and steals in the Michigan record books.) I just can't see Stauskas coming in and starting over Glen Robinson III. I can see JB moving Hardaway over to the two and playing and Robinson III at the three while Evan Smotrycz plays the four and McGary and Morgan rotate minutes at the five. McGary will start by B1G play, he is more atheletic, a better passer, better shooter and has better feet than Morgan.
A line-up like this gives Michigan a better opportunity to run and attack the rim, and allows players like Stauskas, Burndidge, Vogrich and Horford to contribute off the bench.
How the minutes will be broken down:
PG /SG- Burke (30-32)
SG/SF - Hardaway Jr. (30-32)
SF/PF - Robinson III (25-28)
PF - Smotrycz (25-28)
Center/PF - McGary (22-25)
Bench - Morgan at center (15-17), Stauskas at SG and SF (10-12), Burndidge at PG (8-10), Vogrich at both Forward positions (6-8) and Horford at center and PF (6-8).
Robinson III and McGary are going to get a bulk of the minutes as freshmen, not Stauskas. This Mitch and Glenn Michigan a much more atheletic team that can run up and down the court and still hurt you from outside, and the key is be effective rebounding on both sides of the court.
Remarkable that overnight we'll go from having no frontcourt to actually having depth there. Oh, for a backup PG...
Can anyone imagine how scary good this team would bein everyone stayed for 2 years? Next year (2012/13) I think we'll have some growing pains, but how awesome would 2013/14 be if THJ and Trey stuck on?
Let me be clear about my thoughts on Stauskas.....I'm not sure if he CAN be the second ball handler, starting 2-guard, and play tons of minutes - but I HOPE he can. I'd love for Brundidge to make huge strides and turn into the second ball handler so that he can get more minutes. I think that might be the best-case scenario. But I agree with Brian in that Brundidge never came close to even consistent garbage time minutes and didn't look smooth with the few minutes he did get. He has a long way to go - which maybe gives us equal concern with Stauskas as a freshman.
I agree that with JB's talent evaluation we've always been surprised - whether with CJ Lee, David Merritt, Darius Morris, Zach Novak, Jordan Morgan, or Trey Burke. Who knows what we'll see next year from Brundidge, Bielfeldt, or Stauskas.
Our best lineup would probably be with Hardaway becoming a reliable ball handler and having Vogrich or GR3 playing the small forward spot.
Saying that McGary is a better verison of Jordan Morgan is not a good comparision. The biggest reason for his sudden rise in his ranking is his play at AAU ball where he is the primary focus of the offense. He did quite well against elite competition. He can handle and shoot the ball much better than Morgan. Morgan cannot shoot beyond 10 feet which limits the offense. You have to give credit to JB for adjusting his system to suit Morgan's strength which is put-back, easy points via pick and roll and be a screener.
Glenn Robinson will be the best athlete the moment he steps on campus. I would not be surprised if he ends up as the top 3 option of the offense. His athleticism cannot be ignored and his role will be similar to Manny Harris in terms of being a slasher.
I have watched his tapes from both AAU and HS basketball<--there is a disparity. This obviously confirms the slide in the rankings.
But he's still a high 4-star! And this is after he's been playing on a team where he's nowhere near the go-to guy. I just don't understand how a guy who is the consensus #3 player in the nation (and then slides what, 20 spots?) is considered someone who will play 15 minutes. When he commited, he was the top post player in the nation. I don't think the top post player in the nation committed to a school knowing that he'd play 15 minutes a game. That just doesn't make sense to me. (I've compared other top 10 C/PFs. The average Minutes are 27 MPG.)
I just don't see how Mitch only plays 15 minutes. 25 minutes, fine. 20 minutes, stretching it. 15: not realistic.
Just my two cents.
Besides the pre-season NIT, B1G-ACC, WVU, and Arkansas, I hope the non-conference schedule is easy, especially the first part. Michigan needs to fatten up its win total, amalgamate a lot of players into their scheme, and gain confidence heading into the B1G schedule next year.
I have more confidence in McGary than either Brian or AC1997. Then again, I thought Jon Horford was going to have a break-out season this year. The most encouraging thing, though, is all of this height. It's no accident that around half of the roster was listed at 6-9 or taller during Michigan's NCAA Championship season.
Height compensates for a lot of other "shortcomings."
can't make a new thread...Smot transferring!? :(
I feel bad that this is now largely different due to today's news. But that's college athletics for you.
Good read and good analysis, though. Thanks.
I came here thinking the same thing.
Nice writeup anyway, AC!
it definitely looks like Stauskas can handle the ball (at least better than Tim), and could fit in well at the 2 guard spot. I have high high hopes for the backcourt next season, Timmy best be able to hold up his end of the bargain.
Nice post. Sorry about your timing, but such is life for a Michigan Basketball fan I guess.
Disagree on McGary. He's going to make a huge impact with his rebounding abilities. Beilein's never had a guy at UM that comes close to McGary's rebounding abilities. I'm also really impressed with his passing and energy. The guy may not be a big post scorer, but that doesn't mean he won't be an impact player.
Not applicable now. Thanks anyway for the effort. Lol
I bet Smot doesn't play well at PF for us. Just guessing here, heck maybe I am wrong.
but sadly already due for a revisit.
also, loy vaught doesn't fit among your list of 'fisher era' players. he would fall into the frieder era along with the rest of that great '89 championship team. that team was frieder's creation. although fisher was an assistant, it would be a stretch to make those players part of his 'era'.
1. IMO Vogrich will be starting over Stauskas for at least the non-conference. Yes, you will point at Trey Burke and say, "Look, he started every game but one his freshman year!" and I will say "Most players are not Trey Burke as freshmen." Stauskas I think has all the tools to eventually be a great player (All-Conference) in the future, but it will take him a little while to get used to, and Vogrich is going to be the most seasoned player on the team. Let's not forget that Vogrich was also rated as a four-star by some sites and was ranked as the best shooter in his HS class.
2. It amazes me that after four years people still cannot spell ZACK Novak and Stu DOUGLASS. They may be a bit uncommon, but it's not hard to spell them right and I think it's a small sign of respect.
One thing: Barwis is down in Arizona with Rich Rod. He doesn't work here any more