Michigan Basketball is in a place few of us could imagine about 4 or 5 years ago. What John Belein has done with our program is nothing short of extraordinary. It's an absolute great time to be a Michigan Basketball Fan....but could it get even better? The following are a few scenarios that could play out in the coming seasons roster wise.
*Disclaimer: I have posted absent-mindedly before and hope that this does not serve as a broken record or re-post. I apologize if these projections have been previoulsy posted as I have not seen them. Go Blue!
Worst Scenario for 2014/2015: We lose Nik, Glen and Mitch to the NBA Draft. Brief periods of grief will be practiced and the B1G will once again lick their chops....until Belein works his magic again with more underclassmen than you can throw Pre-reqs at.
Walton (so) - Spike (Jr)
Levert (Jr.)- Chatman (Fr)
Irvin (So) - Wilson (Fr)
Donnal (Fr)- Beifeldt (Jr)
Horford (Sr)- Doyle (fr)
Likelyhood= not very. Losing all 3 of these guys is not probable due to Glen and Mitch's draft stock being so low. It would be a sizeable risk for both to leave and there is much for both to improve upon. Way too many questions about Mitch at this point. This roster would be very green particularly on the bench with unproven Bigs outside of Horford. Wilson and Chatman would have to play big roles year one. Transfers could be needed to fill gaps.
B1G Projection = 11-7 possibly 12-6. Sweet 16 would be a likely ceiling.
Best Scenario for 2014/2015: Everyone stays and we form VOLTRON. Izzo would likely spend all summer crafting excuses as to why we would eviscerate the Spartans twice in the up-coming season. America does not want to see this. Please every shave their heads and wear long black socks...just once. Thank you.
Walton (so) - Spike (jr)
Stauskas (jr) - Irvin (so)
Levert (jr)- Chatman (fr)
GR3 (jr)- Donnal (fr)
McGary (jr)- Horford (Sr)
Likelyhood= Not very. Stauskas is a consistent top 20 pick who is trending in the mid teens. He has shown solid strides in his offensive weaknesses and is truly one of the most special offensive players in the country. Shoots nearly 50% from the field and has a lofty ceiling. He could come back and work on his defense and become more explosive but I don't know if we will be that lucky. GR3 needs another year to realize his potential and Mitch needs it to re-establish his stock.
* Sprinkle some Beifeldt and give Doyle and Wilson reshirts. This would be the best team on paper in recent Michigan History and quite possibly a National Champion. Preseason #1.
B1G Projection = 16-2 Final Four and possible/likely National Title Team.
Most Likely Scenario: Stauskas makes the jump and GR3 and Mitch Stick around for their Junior Seasons.
Walton (so) - Spike (jr)
Levert (jr)- Chatman (fr)
Irvin (so) - Chatman (fr)/ Wilson (fr)
GR3 (jr) - Donnal (fr) / Beifeldt (jr)
McGary (jr)- Horford (Sr) / Doyle (fr)
* This would likely leave Doyle reshirting barring injuries. We would be short a wing in the rotation and be forced to play Wilson year one. He needs the training table badly for this to be a reality.
Likelyhood= Pretty high. I think that Stauskas will have a great shot at being a top 20 selection despite his lack of defense and uber athleticism. He is simply a great basketball player. I think that Belein will help GR3 see the benefit of one more year and a chance at being "The Man" offensively. (Caris may disagree) I also think that McGary could be a Lottery guy in 2015 with a solid healthy season. That is a huge difference from where he is projected right now...which many draft boards don't even list him at all. The Junior year allows GR3 and McGary a realistic shot at graduating and leaving with a Michigan Degree which is a very underrated +. I think McGary would be very hard pressed to make the jump and given GR3's inconsistencies and fondness of his classmate....it's makes sense for both to return for an unexpected Junior year in Ann Arbor.
B1G Projection: 14-4 Final Four and National Title Contender.
*This must become McGary's team.
*Also possible for Nik and Glen to leave which would slide Donnal into the starting 4 spot and take a shirt off of either Wilson or Doyle. Don't do this to me Glen.........
Very Early 2015/2016 Roster Outlook:
Walton (jr) - Spike (Sr)/ Jalen Brunson (fr)
Levert (Sr)- Jalen Coleman or Luke Kennard possibly
Irvin (jr) - Chatman (so)
Donnal (so)- Wilson (fr)
Doyle (so) - Freshman Center ??
* We need homeruns in recruting at the Center, 2 guard and Point Guard spots in 2015. If we accomplish this....sky is the limit as you can see. Chatman looks the part of a future All-B1G player. Wilson is going to be a Belein special with added weight. Brunson and or Coleman would both be dynamite in this system and Luke Kennard would be Stauskas 2.0. Donnal could be a sleeper at the 4 spot and Doyle will end up being a post up Big that we have rarely had at Michigan. The Trifecta of upper-classmen in Irvin-Walton-Levert will be the best in the B1G and maybe the country. This looks every bit of another top 10 team in 2016 folks. The future is radiant. Izzo better pack a lunch.....
B1G projection 15-3 Final Four contender. ;
* I project that Walton-Levert-Irvin will all declare after this campaign. That will make 10 NBA players in the last 6 seasons and 8 in the last 4. Good luck recruiting against Belein.