After finally closing out this season, I thought it worthwhile to spend a few moments on the MBB seniors. There are five of them. None of them start. None of them see many minutes. How rare is that in today’s game? Think about that. Five seniors, none of them with significant minutes. And yet, they are as much a part of this team as Trey, THJ, Mitch, Jordan, GRIII, etc. Let’s look back to when they agreed to give of themselves to Michigan:
Eso Akunne: When he signed, there was broad agreement that his tank of a body would someday be filling the lane, getting to the rim, and shooting copious amounts of free throws. It was assumed he would be the future point guard. That was before we knew two years of Darius Morris would yield to two years of Trey Burke and now Spike Albrecht. By his senior year, the only question was how soon would he be launching a three?
Matt Vogrich: When he signed, everyone agreed he would be the shooter John Beilein covets and the fan base was already checking how many threes it would take to break Louis Bullock’s record. Then we learned the kid could hustle and get a few key rebounds. Now my lasting image will forever be Vogrich measuring up his three pointer as soon as he passed half court to make sure he got in the box score* against an already defeated Florida team. And all his coaches and teammate cheered when it went in. And no one felt it was running up the score.
*for the younger crowd, in the old box scores the only way you got in the box score was if you scored. They had to conserve space in these things called newspapers so only scorers showed up.
Josh Bartelstein: Let me correct that, Team Captain Josh Bartelstein. Admit it, when he joined the team and you learned his Dad was a well known sports agent two thoughts crossed your mind. 1) This has to be good for recruiting, right? 2) Please no infractions, please no infractions. I’m not sure Josh has even scored in a game. I know he has seen the floor in the ultimate clean up minutes. He’s still one of the voices of the team, in fact, he was the first person who got the megaphone when they got back to Ann Arbor after beating Kansas and Florida.
Blake McLimans: When he signed, everyone agreed Beilein had brought in some height and had his sweet shooting power forward. Could he be Pittsnogle Jr if he puts on weight? I still have visions of Minute Bol launching threes when Blake gets all those arms into shooting motion to launch a three. He got those arms coiled one more time as the final seconds were draining off against Florida, sadly, his did not go in, but the team and coaches still cheered.
Corey Person: When he signed on as part of the Kalamazoo Plan the first question was, does this count as a scholarship or did Michigan just get a free player. The second questions was, is he part of “THAT” Person clan? Because Chuck “the rifelman” and nephew Wesley could shoot it. If so, great. Moar shooters please. Corey got off a few shots over the years in garbage time.
What we thought when they arrived isn’t important. What’s important is that they came…and stayed. They came on a promise. A promise of better facilities. A promise of conference championships. A promise of beating our rivals. A promise of Tournament appearances. And yes, probably a promise of a National Championship. Thanks for staying and fulfilling the promises that were made to you.
May you five be remembered when that 2013 National Runner-Up banner is raised to the rafters of the now Crisler Center. You helped make it all happen.