The boys will be taking off shortly for the Euro-Trip and UMhoops.com was kind enough to record nearly 8 mins of practice in a video that debuted earlier this week on MGoBlog.
Here is what I gathered from player to player on the video and over the summer in general.
Derrick Walton- Looks very "quick-twitch" and improved atheletically. (37.5 inch vert) Also seems to have improved his jumpshot. It looks cleaner and more consistent. I fully expect him to blossom into a top 3 B1G point guard and build off of his solid 2013/2014 campaign.
Zak Irvin- Zak looks like a whole new man honestly. He might be the next affirmation of the 2nd year "Beilein jump". His shot looks cleaner. He looks bigger and toned physically with a much improved "bounce". Zak could really blow up this year and we may need him to. I think Zak makes a push to a double digit scoring average and becomes a leader on this squad.
Caris Levert- Caris looks primed for a huge season point blank. He has put on nearly 20 more pounds. (somewhere in the ball park of 190) Caris is a seasoned war veteran when it comes to big time basketball and he will be the most rounded offensive talent in our arsenal. Caris will have the green light and with his improved strenght I can see his drive game soaring to new heights. Caris will average 15ppg or better this year and be a B1G POY candidate.
Mark Donnal- Mark looks like a fluid big around the basket and the word is that he can shoot as well from a good distance. He has also gained legitimate size and looks the part of a B1G. His maturation and development over the next 3 months will be crucial as he will be leaned on to be our starting Center. I think Donnal will work out nicely against most opponents. It remains to be seen how he will fair against "bully ball". The MSUs....Ohios and Wiskys of the B1G will definitely test his mettle.
Kam Chatman- Kam is a West Coast Blue Chip that seems to be right at home in Ann Arbor. He has an advanced game at 6ft8, with handles and a consistently improving shot that ranges out to 20+ feet. He is definitely a freshman to be excited about. His game seems much more polished and applicable than Zak Irvin's this time last year. He moves well defensively and seems to have a bit of "back alley" in his game which I personally love. Swagger and attitude has become a staple in our program and it's very important that we continue recruiting those type of players. (Trey, Tim, Nik, Glenn, Mitch, Jordan, Derrick, Caris, Spike) I expect Kam to be an impact player on this team and average 8ppg+. His versatility will be huge for us as he can slide from 2-4.
Aubrey Dawkins- Aubrey has elite BOUNCE. This kid can absolutely get off of the floor and rival GR3 and Pettway. Aubrey has pleasantly surprised with how his jumper is coming along and with his obvious athleticism, he figures to be Caris's back up. Aubrey provides our team with a jolt of electricity and I predict he will be a suprise contributor and get you up out of your seat at least once a game.
Ricky Doyle- Ricky is Mitch McGary sized at 6ft9 240 and has trimmed down to 12% body fat. He moves well and looks punishing physically. I'm a big fan of this kid because he will give us presence inside. His back to the basket game is advanced according to Baccari, which is something we have not had consistently in the past years. Doyle will be our most important freshman because he is one of 2 Centers on this team. We need Doyle to be better than advertised and be a sturdy rotation man. He will back up Donnal.
DJ Wilson- DJ reminds me a lot of Austin Daye. He has terrific atheleticism and a solid jump shot according to Beilein. DJ was recruited for his athleticism and shot-blocking and that is exactly what I expect him to bring. At 6ft10 220, he is still light in the shorts but he should have the tools to work around the slight build and bolster our team defensively. I doubt he will be relied on offensively but do believe he will showcase his athleticism a few times this year on the offensive side. DJ is a high ceiling type that could really become an NBA prospect by his Junior year in our program. Our 2016 Michigan Basketball team is going to be scary big.
Spike- Spike is a fan-favorite and a very solid back-up point guard. He handles the ball well and plays aggresively. He has a huge heart and doesn't back down from anyone or any situation. He will once again bail us out of a few life-less periods of play and be an intregal piece of the Michigan Basketball puzzle. Spike is part of the glue and guts of this machine. He is vital because of this.
Max Beifeldt- Max is an experienced, big-bodied defender. He is not an offensive option at this juncture. He is not overly athletic but looks to be our strongest player. There will be situations where we rely on him but its hard to see him as a starter at this time. His knowledge will be of value but it appears that the other bigs are signifcantly more talented. At 6ft7, Max will be undersized at either post position. His calf muscles will still kick all other calf muscles' asses.
MAAR- MAAR looks to be another ball handling option. He has nice quicks and looks very athletic. This will come in handy on more than a few occasions defensively. At 6ft4, he has combo guard size which gives him and us versatility in our lineups. I think he plays behind Spike as a 3 point and gets limited time as a 3rd 2 guard. His shot is still coming along but he has a very quick first step and ability to get to the cup.
*I don't feel comfortable speaking about Hatch yet because he is still recovering. The fact that he made it to Ann Arbor is special in itself and it's great to see a University stand up for what is right like Michigan did for him.
Starting Lineup Prediction.
Derrick Walton 6-0 185lbs Sophmore (12ppg)
Caris Levert 6-7 200lbs Junior (15ppg)
Zak Irvin 6-6 215lbs Sophmore (13ppg)
Kam Chatman 6-7 215lbs Freshman (8ppg)
Mark Donnal 6-9 240lbs rFreshman (7ppg)
Spike 5-11 175lbs Junior (5ppg)
Ricky Doyle 6-9 245lbs Freshman (4ppg)
Aubrey Dawkins 6-6 190lbs Freshman (3ppg)
Max Beifeldt 6-7 240lbs Senior (2ppg)
MAAR 6-4 175lbs Freshman. (2ppg)
DJ Wilson 6-9 220lbs Freshman (2ppg)
Season Prediction- Michigan will lose at least 2or 3 games before B1G season due to youth and maturation growing pains. Michigan will improve as the season goes on and finish 10-6 in the B1G. Michigan will likely be a 5-7 seed in the Big Dance and I see them as a Sweet 16 team pending on the draw. They have SERIOUS potential in the back court and promising post play, albeit young. Their bench is athletic and deep but also young. I think youth will ultimatley define this team and see them just short of the recently established standard. Caris will deserve the B1G POY but be passed up for Pettway of Nebraska. PJ Dozier will commit to Michigan and Caris in a suprise move will elect to come back to Michigan for his Senior Year. Zak will flirt with the 2nd round of the NBA but return also. This will result in Michigan featuring a starting lineup in 2015 of: Derrick (JR)-Caris(SR)- Zak(Jr)- Kam(Soph)- Donnal (rSoph). Add a seasoned bench and Beilein running the show...2015 looks like a return to the FInal 4.
I know its football season....but our basketball program is awesome and always worthy of analysis. Go BLue!