Mike Lantry, 1972
Mannix nails it on the discussion of Shabazz Muhammad and how a preseason (freshman) presumed #1 can slide down.
Still, it's great that two current players are projected first rounders (one in the lottery) after having a lottery and first round pick last year! Hopefully recruits consider that along with last year's success.
Let's hope that Zak Irvin and Derrick Walton are also getting NBA attention soon
I'm so damn excited to see what Beilein does with Walton, he's easily the most talented PG that Beilein has recruited.
Looks like I'll be the first guy to say...wait for it...Trey Burke!!! You know, the National Player of the Year?
All snarkyness aside, Walton does look like he'll be quite the player, but lets have perspective when we're discussing a player who's not played 1 minute of college ball. Especially when the one freshly out the door was an all time great.
Almost half of the guys on the list haven't played a minute in college yet. That amazes me.
Edit: 8 of the top 10 are incoming Freshmen/foreign players!
When I say "talented" I mean, as an incoming freshman, Walton is further along than either Burke or Morris was.
Is he? Or he just higher rated? Remember those YouTube videos of Burke from before he got here? Remember how good he was right off the bat? I'm not sure what you're basing that opinion on.
...there's also been some revisionist history the other way. In his first game, Trey went 1-7 against Ferris State with 0 assists. He had 7 assists and 6 TOs in his first 3 games. Over the course of the year, his asst/TO ratio was 1.66 and he shot just under 35% from 3. He was bad against Ohio St. in the B1G tourney and pretty poor against Ohio in the NCAA tourney. If he'd left after 1 year, he might not have been drafted at all (and was certainly unlikely to be a 1st rounder).
Don't get me wrong, he was great for a freshman his 1st year and well-above his ranking. But he improved greatly from how he came in, a testament to his hard work, the coaching staff, and his teammates. Walton might or might not be better at the same stage, but it's not a crazy statement.
I don't recall him as being particularly good off the bat, actually. I looked at him and wondered whether he was going to be much of a force that year (it was gonna all Hardaway Jr). Then he suddenly came into his own during the Big 10 schedule
Obviously a lot of the mental stuff he still needed to grasp, but it sure didn't take him long to prove he was a Big Ten starting PG. He had up and down games as any freshman does, but he split the Big Ten Freshman of the Year award with Zeller and led all Big Ten freshmen in scoring and assists.
When I said off the bat, I meant as a freshman. Any freshman will take a few games to come into his own, especially a PG who didn't have a ton of talent around him at his disposal. Burke had a sophomore Hardaway and not much else from an offensive perspective (I loved Stu and Novak, but they aren't exactly GR3 and McGary in terms of talent).
As early as that Maui tourney he looked very good (he averaged 12 points and 6 assists over those three games which were all against very good teams). If Walton starts out that strong we will be incredible.
Mixed feelings. On the one hand, it's great to have such conspicuous evidence that you can come to Michigan and go to the NBA. On the other hand, boy it sure would be nice to have at least a few impact guys playing for three or four years of basketball for a change. The McGarys of the world are still going to be pretty rare for us, so we're going to need lots of program guys.
But I'd still rather have our '12 and '13 classes over anything else that we have had for the past decade and a half.
I was actually looking at various projections the other day. DraftExpress, for what it is worth, has McGary at 12 and GRIII at 13, and Hoopsworld went with McGary at 7 and GRIII at 13. The larger point, as someone has said here, is that it is nice to see even in projections such as these that Michigan players are rather highly thought of.
Last year I shuddered when these guys were on draft boards, but this year I don't really care. Nowadays, if you get two years out of a guy as a starting player, that's pretty good.
Tell that to this guy.
Go away NBA.