I did not make this headline up
- Member for
- 6 years 27 weeks
- View recent blog entries
- Caris Levert (if he returns)
- Zak Irvin (big leap forward late this season, will get help from the rest of the roster)
- Ricky Doyle (much further ahead than any other post)
- Derrick Walton (only this low because he has a great back-up)
- Spike Albrecht (luxury)
- Aubry Dawkins (could start at PF or be spark off the bench)
- DJ Wilson (predicting he is the zone D force in the middle at center)
- MAAR (moves up if Levert leaves, Beilein now trusts him at PG/SG)
- Robinson (there's always room for a shooter off the bench)
- Chatman (still a chance he could start at PF with a big leap, has a long way to go)
- Donnal (more competition with Wilson/Doyle and role is less clear, could move up)
Chatman = Willie Mitchell
I actually think this is a perfect comparison and I'm frightened by how similar they are. I was about the same age as Willie and remember fans yelling at him to transfer since he was such an underperformer and sulked a lot. They are very similar in their size, body type, and skill set. Willie never found that one thing he was good at and Chatman hasn't either. My hope is that Chatman is surrounded by better coaches and will be able to play a stretch-four for Beilein while Willie was trying to play a pure wing position. DeShawn Sims would be a great player to emulate, though I would love for him to come closer to Blanchard.
Robinson = Voskuil
This is a good match and they will probably be asked to play similar roles. I really don't like the comments that suggest guys like Glen Rice and Nik Stauskas for Robinson. I guess anything is possible, but those guys were all-time-great players who were good shooters. Robinson is a wildcard who is a good shooter. I doubt we're going to see him becoming a star. I picture him as a pure shooter his first year who can hopefully do a little more.
Donnal = Chris Seter
I have no idea who Seter is so I'll take your word for this one.
Walton = Horton
I considered Horton and I do think there are things that Walton can learn from. Both are good shooters and undersized. I think Horton was a bit more of a scorer and freelancer than we would expect Walton to become. I'd probably pick Burke and Grant before Horton, but it isn't a bad suggestion.
MAAR = Kirk Taylor
I don't remember Taylor at all.
Wilson = Derricks/Baston
I think the Baston pick is my favorite. Derricks was a similar player but I think had lower upside than Baston
Dawkins = Jimmy King
That's a decent comparison. I think Dawkins is a better shooter and King was a better ball handler and defender, but it is a pretty good role model.
- Irvin = 2/3 hybrid (more 3 than 2 this year)
- Dawkins = 3/4 hybrid (more 4 than 3 this year)
- Chatman = 4/3 hybrid (ideally a 4, but maybe could become a 3 eventually)
- Robinson = 3/4 hybrid (I am picturing him as a 4 initially, but no idea really)
- Wagner = No clue. He would be their third "tweener" at the 4/5 spot with Donnal and Wilson so you figure someone gets time at the 4 once they get in shape and learn the offense there. (Of course this assumes he even comes this year)
- Walton (our best defender in the first half of the season)
- Rahk (our best defender in the second half of the season)
- Levert or Irvin (long arms, quick feet)
- Chatman (came on late in the year defensively and has length)
- Wilson (athletic, quick, tall, shot blocker)
- Irvin (if Levert doesn't return)
- Dawkins (huge potential)
- Robinson (three point specialist)
- Doyle (showed some flashes of ball screen ability)
- After a WI miss there was a battle between Irvin and Frank (I think) with Wisconsin ending up with the ball and a three point make.
- On another rebound attempt there is a battle for the ball between Dawkins and one of the buzzcuts with Dawkins being called for a foul. It may have been the right call, but it could have gone either way or as a play-on.
- Shortly after that there is a loose ball out by the elbow that Doyle seemed to have, only to bobble it away to Wisconsin.
|3 days 3 hours ago||If Levert leaves.....||
Here's my list for that scenario:
I might be too optimistic on Wilson (he was awful in his cameo this year) and too pessimistic on Donnal (he was still a young freshman).
|3 days 3 hours ago||Player rankings....||
Something that might be interesting to do this off-season is a piece like Brian does for football where he picks 27 tickets for the next season. If I had to rank the basketball players mostly likely to be a significant contributor next season, here's my list:
This team's success will be determined by the progress everyone taller than 6'7" makes this offseason. Robinson, Chatman, Wilson, Doyle, and Donnal are the key to next year. Any of those guys could end up starting and playing 20+ minutes and any of those guys (except Doyle) could fade into the end of the bench.
What Michigan probably would most want is for one of Robinson/Chatman to establish themseles as a solid contributor at forward while one of WIlson/Donnal pushes Doyle for playing time and isn't just a foul magnet. I would like to see a 9 man rotation with a couple of guys told to play their butts off for 10 minutes per game on D (MAAR, Wilson) or O (Robinson). I love the idea of how flexible this team is, the defensive lineup we could throw out there, or even being more willing to play physical since fouls won't kill us at any position.
|4 days 7 hours ago||Suggestion for future posts||
I definitely think there is a need for more regular updates on former players on this blog. Some other sites (TTB, M&B) do a good job with football alums, but even UMHoops is erratic with coverage of former bball players.
My suggestion to you, however, is to back up your generic summary with specifics about their performance or at least links to their player profiles. Otherwise I appreciate the post.
|4 days 8 hours ago||4 and 5||
I agree with some of your points. I think that Irvin is a 3 who will sometimes play the 2 if Levert leaves or the 4 in some cases. I also think Robinson plays mostly at the 4 initially and Wilson is 100% a center.
What will determine how far the team goes next year is the development of the players taller than 6'7". Chatman, Robinson, Donnal, Doyle, and Wilson. The rest of the roster has proven they can play at a B10 level and will be working to refine their game. We haven't seen more than flashed or practice hype for those big guys.
|5 days 1 hour ago||Irvin position||
I realize it is not picking and irrelevant for the most part, but Brian's insistence on listing Irvin at the 4 and Dawkins at the 3 continues to confuse me. When I picture the Beilein positions I reference the national title team. GR3 played the 4 and did exactly what Brian describes Dawkins doing. Stauskas played the 3 and did exactly what Brian describes Irvin doing late this season plus some rebounding. Even if you go back to the Morris teams you had Hard a way at the 3 and Novak at the 4.
Whatever....semantics I guess. I think the forward spots are Irvin and Dawkins barring a massive improvement from Chatman or Robinson.
Speaking of Robinson, until I see him dribble I am picturing his 6'8" frame playing one of the forward spots as a spark off the bench. I also think Wilson is only a C next year and looks perfect in a zone D.
|1 week 2 days ago||Interesting thoughts....||
Let me reply to some of your interesting suggestions. Keep in mind that I was trying to find a similar player who had traits that the current player could learn from. It wasn't necessarily to say "this is the guy he is most like" it was more along the lines of "this is a guy with similar skills but who had a trait that our current player needs to mimic and improve upon".
Here are my responses:
|1 week 2 days ago||Walton vs. Burke||
Seth - I'm curious if you would have used a different comparable for Walton to research this offseason. Any suggestions?
I chose Burke because of Walton's need to develop some of those skills that he was lacking. I tried to acknowledge that it was a bit unfair in terms of expectations, but the types of things Burke improved upon were what Walton could use work with. Nearly everyone in that piece is probably a 'reach' for the existing player with the exception perhaps of Doyle (Graham Brown) and Dawkins (GR3). I was tempted to use Gary Grant since he was of similar size and a tenacious defender like Walton aspires to be without necessarily being the offensive player Burke was at this age.
|1 week 4 days ago||Lewis over Peppers||
I would always pick a lockdown corner high in a draft and thats what Lewis is. He is also proven. He would be at the top of my list along with OL and Jake Butt because those are positions without much depth. You can wait on LB, RB, and DL because of depth.
|1 week 4 days ago||DB depth chart??||
I think the DL and LB will be similar to recent years where we have plenty of depth and competence but are lacking a big play guy at any position. That is okay, just not elite.
As for the secondary, I definitely like the starters and love Lewis. But who comes off the bench? Who plays Nickel? Do they move Peppers down and bring in a safety? Does Terry Richardson still exist? Will the promise of Dmonte Thomas ever be realized in meaningful snaps? Can Stribling build on early promise and his height?
|1 week 5 days ago||Other lists of "disappointments"||
In addition to what was said, here are some more disappointments (not going to say failures):
-- Levert & Walton - While I love these guys and agree that the season turned with their injuries, the fact was that neither had progressed as much as we hoped before they were lost. Levert had some solid stats, but didn't pass the eye test. Too much hero ball, too many off balance long twos, no ball screen improvement, slow to adjust to being the primary target, etc. Walton also had not progressed. The young big men and struggles of Irvin made it harder, but still....let's not pretend the season was going smoothly before they were hurt.
-- Beilein rotation - while it totally seemed justified at the time, think about the progress that Dawkins, Doyle, Max, and MAAR made late in the season. Why did it take so long for them to get more minutes? Why were Chatman and Donnal getting so many minutes for so long?
-- Late game performance - this team went just 3-7 in games that were decided by 3 points at the end of regulation and 0-5 late in the year. Again, there are reasons, but flip that record and we are on the bubble.
-- Camp Sanderson & practice hype - I don't want to come across more than mildly critical here, but I was expecting more. Donnal was not in shape for what he was asked to be. Irvin struggled all year to make layups or elevate. Chatman got rave reviews and was lost. This off season is critical for all three big guys to get in much better shape and for Chatman also....let us hope they are able to.
|1 week 5 days ago||Scoring in basketball...||
Brian made a compelling argument that there isn't anything that has gotten worse with basketball scoring between 2002 and 2015 yesterday. But on the train this morning I was debating the Fab Five era with a buddy who argued that basketball was so much better back then because so many talented players stayed in school longer.
I looked up the "possessions per game" for every team in 2015 versus 1997 (as far back as the site went). In 97 there were a whopping 207 teams that averaged >70 possessions per game while that number drops just to 54 teams this season. So about twenty years ago the game was played at a much higher pace with more veteran stars..... I think THAT is what the main stream media is saying when they want to tinker with the current rules.
|1 week 6 days ago||Revisiting my picks....||
After reading some of the comments so far I think my biggest miss was with the MAAR-Jimmy King comparison. In hindsight I agree that it was forced. I think Stu Douglas is a better name to have included on the list due to his situational offense, ball handling, and defense.
I also agree that Doyle is close to passing Brown already in terms of skill. I was surprised when I looked up all of these players on mgoblue.com that Brown's stats were so pedestrian. I do think he had better hands and more consistent work ethic on the boards, but Doyle doesn't have far to go in order to pass him. The lack of viable big-men in Michigan's past was startling.
I will defend the Novak/Robinson comparison a little. First, we don't know much about Duncan Robinson yet. He's listed at 6'8" but that doesn't mean much. Novak never played like he was 6'4" (which would have made him the shortest guy on the court at times this season if MAAR was at PG). Novak was a good shooter who did far more to help his team by getting the most out of his size and athleticism. THAT is what Duncan should emulate - not settling for being "just a shooter". Robinson is big enough that he could play the 4 on this team and they need someone to do so. Embrace the dirty work like Novak and earn your minutes. (Also, while he might be a great shooter, I tend to downplay practice reports since they are often misleading - see "Donnal, Mark" or "Chatman, Kam" or "Hoke, Brady".)
|1 week 6 days ago||MAAR is too different from Burke||
As much as I love Burke, I don't think they are similar enough for this example. Maybe Darius Morris is a better example. Morris attacked the rim, was about 6'4", was able to lead an efficient offense without being a great shooter, and was a solid defender.
|2 weeks 3 days ago||Agree....||
I like your descriptions a little better than mine, but you ultimately made my point for me:
The other thing that this versatility does would be match-ups. I know that Beilein likes a relatively short bench and our thoughts of seeing a deeper rotation this year were dashed by foot injuries, but next year they can play the hot hand or play match-ups. Think about a 1-3-1 defense with this lineup:
Then you switch that up for some instant offense:
|2 weeks 3 days ago||The turning point...||
I'm tempted to throw some blame the refs way for the sequence in the first half where I thought they swallowed their whistles on three straight Wisconsin infractions, but I'm going to point to a different situation that I think turned the game.Late in the game with the score close there were THREE 50/50 plays that all went Wisconsin's way.
I can't bear to rewatch those plays, but I think it was like a 5-7 point swing for them and that is right when they started pulling away.
We lost because of youth, size, crappy refs, and Wisconsin being great.....but those three toss up plays could have been huge. It sort of matches the symbolism with the four OT losses that could have gone either way.
Bring on the NIT!!!
|2 weeks 3 days ago||Wagner||
Also, while i would love for Wagner to be a top-40 recruit, I think that is optimistic. There was another scouting report floating around that was giving him very generic compliments and said that he was a fringe prospect that needed work. I would have guessed him to be more like 75-100 at best.
Either way - he'd be a nice addition.
|2 weeks 3 days ago||Positions in Beilein offense....||
I am absolutely not an expert, but my understanding of the positions in Beilein's system seem to be different than Brian's. Specifically, why on earth would Irvin be shown at PF after a paragraph describing his ball-screen improvement? (Obviously Brian qualified his list with the interchangeable nature of the 2-4 spots.)
Here is how I would describe the positions:
PG - Primary ball handler, set up ball-screens, attack the rim (Morris, Burke, Stauskas-So)
SG - Secondary ball handler, runs a lot of screens too, also a shooter (Douglas, Hardaway, Walton-Fr., Levert-So)
SF - Lots of time parked in the corner for 3s, occassionally attacks/handles (Stauskas-Fr., Irvin-Fr., Levert-Fr.)
PF - Parked in the corner, rarely on-ball, attacks baseline (Novak, GR3, Dawkins)
C - Rebound, play D, set screens, make easy shots (Morgan, Doyle)
I see Dawkins at PF for sure since he still lacks ball-handling skills and will attack baseline a lot. Irvin seems like he's getting closer to the SG than the PF and thus I think he's a 2/3 next year. Robinson is a wildcard, but could even spend time at PF with his height. Wilson is a C.
Just my 2-cents.
|2 weeks 3 days ago||Luck factor played a role too.....||
Michigan was 3-7 this season in games decided by 3 points or fewer at the end of regulation. If they go 7-3 in those games then we're sitting firmly on the NCAA bubble instead of the NIT bubble.
Before the season I felt like this was a "right side of the bubble" team but still a fringe NCAA tournament team since they had to replace 5 rotatoin players (4 in the NBA) with freshmen. Losing their next two best players such that 7 of the top 9 players from last year were gone meant that they should have fallen apart. Seeing how close those 10 games were throughout the season gives me hope for next year since only 1-2 players are expected to leave and will be replaced by a transfer and redshirt player instead of true freshmen.
|2 weeks 6 days ago||Wilson = 5||
I feel that Wilson is purely a 5 on this team for the foreseable future. Maybe once his knowledge of the game improves (he was really rough in the pre-season games) there's hope for a lanky 6'9" PF but right now I think Beilein will mostly roll with him at the 5. I say that because there's obviously a need on this team for three players to play that position and because Donnal and Doyle still have work to do and I also see Wilson's skill set (shot-blocking, athleticism, height) a better fit for needs there than at PF. You could almost argue that Donnal is almost just as likely to fit at stretch-4 than Wilson based on his size and skill set.
I think the 5 is an easy way to work Wilson in slowly. I think Chatman, Robinson, and Dawkins are going to push for time at the 4. I love the idea of Wilson playing the middle of a 2-3 or 1-3-1 zone to use his long arms and athleticism to disrupt things. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'll believe that Beilein will role with a 2-man center position and Wilson will play the 4 as his primary position when I see it.
|3 weeks 23 hours ago||THE ANSWERS:||
Player #1 = Nik Stauskas
Player #2 = Aubrey Dawkins
Player #3 = Zak Irvin
The shooting percentages were all very similar and it still is amazing that Nik and Zak were top 100 players and Dawkins had no interest. Dawkins isn't able to create his own offense like Stauskas was (as evident by the FTp40), but he was ahead of Irvin in that area and dwarfed him with rebounding. The stats are even more compelling if you look at the last 12 games when Dawkins was asked to play more minutes. Dawkins and Irvin played about the exact same minutes as freshmen while Stauskas doubled them.
It will be interesting next year to see what his role is. We projected those Irvin stats into him being a borderline-star this year while we're thinking about Dawkins as being a good rotational player next year. I could see Dawkins starting at the 3 if Levert leaves (while Irvin is at the 2), I could see him keep his spot at the 4, or I could see him come off the bench as a microwave type player who dunks and bombs threes.
(I considered Burke, Hardaway, and Levert for this comparison too. Burke and Hardaway both played a ton of minutes and were very successful as freshmen. Levert's stats were actually pretty lousy as a freshmen and he didn't play much.)
|3 weeks 1 day ago||Teske is 2016||
You have to wait two seasons. And I firmly believe that Wilson is a center for sure.
|3 weeks 2 days ago||So shocking||
When we hired Beilein I was actually excited about becoming a program that develops and retains mid range recruits like Wiscy. Now we have been the opposite.
I actually would like to compare this to the Ellerbe/Fisher/Amaker time since they lost a ton of players then too and it hurt the program.....though perhaps in a different circumstances.
|3 weeks 2 days ago||Why?||
I doubt the NHL or MLB models will be adopted any time soon, but why would Calipari care? He now potentially gets his one and done guys for longer or not at all. Plus he can probably develop a shady relationship with a couple NBA teams and exploit that.
|4 weeks 6 days ago||I don't like the RB weights...||
I am concerned about the overall weight gain by the running backs. We already lacked explosiveness and now Green and Isaac have gained weight? I wonder if the transition and long period between firing/hiring allowed some extra pizzas to be consumed.
|5 weeks 2 hours ago||Freshmen & Bigs||
I thought the summary of Chatman and Irvin was right on. Those several possessions with Chatman in the first half were eye-opening. My son and I turned to each other and said "who is that?" For the first time all season I saw multiple positive things, as little as they may have been, from Chatman. And Irvin had another good game going to the hoop, if he still had a layup blocked. Progress is definitely there and against a good defensive team where he was the #1 guy.
As for the other two freshmen wings, I thought Brian's piece undersold their contributions. MAAR looked to fit the role of defensive specialist for the first time - and perhaps moreso than anyone on the roster. He showed things against an NBA guard that we've hoped to see from Levert. That is a skill which will earn him minutes his entire career. He also handled pressure on the other end well and didn't force things - with just 4 shots within the flow of the offense.
Dawkins probably had a "worse" game, but it was littered with moments of promise as well. His outside shot wasn't falling today, but that finish in the lane was great. He also had his usual 2 near-miss highlight put-backs. There was one that would have brought the house down but he just missed it. He played 35 minutes and wasn't a liability.
It was also nice to see the big guys hold their own against a more athletic team after getting abused in similar situations. They still left points on the court, but overall it was a good game for all three guys.
|5 weeks 3 days ago||Slightly misleading......but appropriate||
Part of the issue with using this to judge players is context. Even with our initial expectations we were hoping Irvin would be a strong #3 option for this team and gradually develop his offensive game. Now he's the #1 guy drawing the most attention from the opponent. The best evidence of this was the Izzo meltdown at the end of the game (when they were essentially in control). He was furious that Dawson, who is perhaps the best defensive player in the league and assigned to shut down Irvin, gambled on a passing lane and gave up an open three - which Irvin drained.
Teams can plan around Irvin and that makes it even harder for him to develop, while still acknowledging that he has a long way to go. I think he has shown definite signs of progress with his handle, his willingness and ability to drive, and even his occassional pump fake. I think he still needs to improve in many areas and I swear he's either missed or had his layups/dunks blocked about 15 times in conference play alone. Those are free points that he should have. How good would 30 extra points look considering our three OT losses and last possession loss to Indiana?
As much as this team misses Levert and how wonderful of a talent he is, I think we over-rate him as well. I think he is still struggling to find his role as alpha-dog on this team. He's never been a good pick-and-roll player and he has also had to deal with getting the opponent game-planning against him. His shot selection and inability to get all the way to the hoop or set up teammates when he drives were limiting the team when he was healthy.
All of that being said, we'll be fine next year with the guard/wing position with natural progression from Walton, Irvin, MAAR, Dawkins, and Spike (and hopefully Levert). What the team needs to take the next step is significant progress at the 4/5 position from EVERYONE that potentially plays there. Robinson will probably be good but not great. Chatman is a mess. Wilson was a mess before he was shut down. Doyle needs to get in shape and learn the nuances of the position. Donnal needs to bulk up. Max needs to grow 3-4 inches.
|6 weeks 4 hours ago||Luck evened out||
Well, maybe you could argue that the Patriots were lucky on the interception. Keep in mind, however, that the only reason Seatle was in that position was because of a miracle lucky catch that hit about 10 body parts before giving them such good field position.
I read another piece about Brady's career and how many close plays have gone both ways to help define his legacy. I think over enough time the luck and randomness even out with the number of chances they've had.
|6 weeks 4 hours ago||Sports Guy||
If you read the (admittedly biased) Sports Guy recap of the Super Bowl he believes that Belicheck avoiding calling timeout on purpose. His logic was that he felt he had a better chance at a goal-line stand and confusing Seatle by NOT calling the TO than he did at a 45 second hail-mary drive with no timeouts.
While I'm not sure I agree with him, his evidence is the chaos you saw on the field before the snap where Seatle kept moving guys around to get them in the right position and the fact that the Patriots had prepared for this play all week plus had the right defense on the field. Simmons thinks that perhaps the best NFL coach of all time wanted to shift the pressure on Seatle to make an uncomfortable run/pass playcall with the clock ticking rather than giving them a timeout to call whatever play they wanted.
(granted, had they rammed Lynch into the line they likely score anyway.....but the odds fell to the Pats this time whether it was genius or stupidity)
|6 weeks 3 days ago||Who he reminds me of.....||
On a thread like this a few weeks ago I said some constructively negative things about Chatman (namely that I can't figure out what his go-to skill is at this point and thus how he earned such high praise or rankings). One of the other posters who responded emphasized patience and compared him to MSU's Draymond Green.
Initially that shocked me.....but it is an interesting comparison. They are very similar sizes, they are both good shooters who probably didn't have true 3-point range when they were younger, neither where physical specimens or possessed leaping ability, both were known as solid passers, etc. Green played all 37 games as a freshman but never started, only averaging about 11 minutes per game, never shooting, etc. By the end of his four year career he was an all-time favorite for MSU and dominating in many ways, now playing in the NBA. It is an interesting comparison because of their similar physical and basketball traits.......but Green could always rebound. Even when he struggled as a freshman he could rebound. That was his thing.
The guy Chatman reminds me of is Willie Mitchell from the ill-fated second "fab-five" recruiting class (Taylor, Baston, Conlon, Ward, Mitchell). Willie was Mr. Basketball in Michigan and ranked in the top 30 players nationally. He was 6'8" and about 215 pounds as a freshman. He was supposed to be a star (as were most of those guys). Instead, he was a bust and transferred to UAB after his sophomore year amid boos and jeers from the fans. As I sat courtside for all of Willie's home games I can offer a scouting report since there isn't much on the web about him (other than to blame injuries for his issues). Willie never figured out his role. He could shoot.....but not from three very well. He wasn't athletic or physical. He didn't rebound. He wasn't quick enough or able to get his own shots to really play small forward. And most of all, he seemed to make a lot of mental mistakes on the court. He also let those mistakes haunt him and he'd sulk...making another one. When he left the program I thought it was best for him and for Michigan.
It is FAR too early to know Chatman's future. Maybe he could become Draymond Green and we'll laugh about our initial impression of him. But it is hard to see that right now - I just keep seeing Willie Mitchell and wondering if Chatman will ever figure out his role on the court or if he'll fade to the background.
|6 weeks 5 days ago||Worst RS....||
Thomas was the worst example of burning a redshirt on the list with Norfleet and Gedeon right on his heels. It should have been obvious that Thomas wasn't ready and it hurt his development to move him around so much. The other guys were probably ready but the coaches should have realized they wouldn't play enough to worry about it.
The one thing in Hoke's defense that I will say is that I think he expected to have more comfortable wins the last couple of years where he could have played young guys in games. Instead we were always in a dog fight (or pillow fight) and he stuck with his guys.
It would be fascinating to ask these types of questions to Hoke now that he is gone.