As we embark into the first week of football I wanted to post one last thing about the basketball team's trip to Italy. I'm sure UMHoops will have several detailed posts this week that will do a better job of summarizing the trip, but I thought I'd start a thread to get people talking about it. While the competition was disappointing and thus any conclusion should be taken with that in mind,
What did we learn about the team?
Irvin made the sophomore leap.
Before the trip I was skeptical that he could become much more than a shooter this season and that others would have to step up to replace Stauskas. Now I think Irvin will be the alpha male of this team. He shot lights out from the FIBA three point line and also was active in the paint and on the boards. He'll start at the 3 and play 30+ minutes per game.
We should be fine at center.
Mitch McGary sadly isn't walking through that door this season, but we may not miss Morgan and Horford as much as we feared. Donnal and Doyle more than held their own in Italy and each had double-doubles. Perhaps this is where the poor competition is most obvious, but they seem to be pretty interchangeable and good for a minimum of the 15/10 slash line that we hoped for last season. Considering everyone was skeptical of Doyle and wanted Donnal as a stretch-four, this is very encouraging.
Chatman will remind us of GR3.
I mean that in just about every way possible. The good news is that he should be fine as the starting 4 on this team and contribute in a variety of athletic ways. He should be able to perfom similar to GR3 from the past two years - 10-12ppg, 5-6rpg. He will also probably have an inconsistent jump shot and frustrate Brian by taking long 2s. But he seemed active at both ends and should be capable of 25-30 minutes at the 4.
Beilein knows how to find talent.
Okay, this isn't something we learned in Italy, but more evidence surfaced. All of the unheralded freshmen had exciting moments and the fight for playing time will be fierce.
What didn't we figure out yet?
How good will the PGs be?
Based on last year we know that Walton and Spike will be fine, but we don't know yet whether they will help make up the slack from the loss of so many talented players. Walton finished with a strong final game both otherwise struggled. Spike didn't play that much but also played well in the final game. Perhaps they saved their best performances for when the game was actually competitive. But whether Walton made a sophomore leap isn't clear yet.
Who is going to red-shirt?
We know that this is the deepest team Beilein has ever had. We know that historically Beilein has played an 8-9 man rotation. But we don't know who from this large freshman class will redshirt. My gut feeling was that MAAR and Wilson were the most likely candidates, but now I'm down to just WIlson. As talented as he probably is, there isn't an obvious need for him in the rotation and his injury and weight may warrant a redshirt. If I had to guess, I'd say they try to RS him. MAAR played significant minutes and showed he could be a huge spark off the bench. He may only get 10 minutes once the B10 season starts, but hard to see him sitting now. Likewise Dawkins seems to have solidified the back-up spot at the 3/4 wing positions. Doyle is playing 20mpg at center. So either Wilson displaces someone once he's healthy and drives a redshirt on someone like Dawkins, we see an Izzo-like 11 man rotation, or Wilson gets the RS.
Will Max be anything more than he has been?
With how well the Donnal/Doyle combo performed, it seems that Max is once again stuck as the emergency third center.
How good is this team?
They looked unstoppable in Italy and better at this stage than most expected....but there's a lot of work to do before they take on a tough conference and tough schedule.
Chime in with your thoughts in the comments.