how can it not be Robin Benzing?
Was giddy with excitement at the prospect of landing a skilled, Euro big man like Benzing.
I'd say it was Morris. (Manny Harris was definitely crucial to the turnaround, but it was Amaker who did most of the heavy lifting to get him, and his close friend DeShawn Sims was already on the team.) Getting a kid from California to commit to a school that hadn't been in the tournament in a decade (I believe the tourney drought was still on when he committed) was huge. Morris then went on to bridge the gap between the Harris/Sims and Burke-led teams.
A couple of other reasons I give Trey Burke the narrow edge.
Trey is probably going to be a first round NBA pick next year. The first M basketball player taken in the first round since..... Probably Jamal Crawford?
With Darius departing early to the NBA, there was a lot of pressure on Trey to perform at a high level as a true freshman, and Trey exceeded all expectations. Freshman POY in the BIG
helped us rush the court against Duke on Dec 6, 2008. Played lights out as a freshman with 14 points off the bench (with two crucial three pointers in a row in the late second half). (Deshawn Sims, an Amaker recruit, also dropped 28 points and 12 rebounds in that game.)
From freshman year to senior year, Novak inspired everybody. He was the heart and soul of the team. In 2009, he helped will M's way to their first big dance since 1998, as well as in 2010 and 2011. Breaking that tournament drought was tantamount to getting more recruits.
Willed the team to the toruney in 2009?
If you think Novak was even one of the three biggest reasons that team made the toruney you are a fool.
It was nice of Beilein to recruit a good portion of the 2010 football receiving corps in 2007.
As far as most important, I'd go with Morris. As others have said, he was a high-profile recruit from out of state when it wasn't fashionable for high-profile recruits from out of state to come to 'M', and he demonstratd the success that was possible with Beilein, paving the way for others.
The next one.
I would say Novak. He really laid the foundation and was a great leader. Without him I don't see us being a good team any of the 4 years he was here and I also don't see us improving like we have. He also pretty much single handledly dominated MSU the past few years. Not to mention, without him we probably wouldn't have gotten Mcgary(you never know though).
Its funny how some things play out, some would call it destiny....
for obvious reasons.
No mediocre player has an argument for being the best, so that automatically eliminates Novak.
I'd go with Morris.
It's tough to define important. Without re-recruiting Manny, do we have enough firepower to get that first NCAA bid? WIthout that first NCAA bid, does Beilein have enough program momentum to continue to attract talent, let alone keep himself off the hot seat? (I think Morris was a commit before the bid, FWIW)
Bottom line; it's either Manny, Morris, or Burke Hardaway is important, but hasn't been asked to carry the load as much as either of those guys. JMo was coming regardless. Novak and Douglass can make an argument, but they couldn't have possibly done it alone. New guys are fantastic but I define important as changing the trajectory of the program. Manny began the upswing; Morris and Burke prevented a downswing. The new guys just get to keep building.
Manny is the choice because he was the catalyst for it all. And because I was a Maize Rager during that first bid and it was a glorious season.
Nouglass. Those guys nursed the squad through so many knuckle-biting wins. . .
if Crisler is the house that Cazzie built, then the PDC is the house that Zack built.
Even if he doesn't grow another 8 inches in the next two years, Beilein's greatest value recruit needs a nickname...Saint Nik, Nik the Knife, Staus-skeet, eh?
Good point. Either I missed him or he wasn't on the list. I will go back and check. I almost missed Caris Levert because he was listed separately from the others in his class.
coaching staff a close second. Keeping Manny gave Coach B,cred and a rep!!
because of his killer instinct and closer mentality, Id rather have the ball in his hands over Harris or DMo...call me crazy but he's a straight up baller. Novak was also the man...
Darius Morris for sure. Even though he was only here a couple years that 2010-11 run was the most fun I had watching Michigan in a while (beating State twice, killing Tenn in the tournament and almoast beating Duke on that last runner) and he carried us in it. I would put Jordan Morgan up there too as he was our only servicable interior player/defender the last couple years. Which is funny because I remember a lot of people groaning when he originally commited.
Zack Novak by a landslide, with D-Mo coming in second.
Considering context, being able to get a vital contributor out of a class out of mostly underrecruited guys at a time when UM was about to hit rock bottom was key to bouncing back.
Also, in being able to play multiple positions, Novak helped paper over a lot of our roster deficiencies (particularly at the 4) -- given his size, he had no business being able to do that.
I think to truly appreciate what Michigan appears to have become you have to look at what JB was trying to build and who helped him build the foundation. He wanted guys who thought the game, who were coachable, who were decent students, who had the character to represent the university, who helped install his system to usher in future classes, etc. It's true, without Harris or Morris or Burke Michigan would have accomplished far less, but I think it's equally true, when it comes to all of the ingredients it takes to build a program, that without Stu and Zack's 4 years that the program would not be where it is today.
Football and BB?