no wonder we hired Hunter Lochmann
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- Thank you for clarifying how you're splittling out the 3 and 4....which is as good as any other method I've heard. I always see Dawkins emulating GR3 while Irvin has enough ball skills to dabble even at the 2 if needed. But for defensive purposes, yours makes sense.
- I would love to see the minutes stay around 30 at most except in very critical games where things dictate it. Doubt it happens though.
- As much as I like MAAR, I agree that it will be hard to find minutes for him next year with Walton, Spike, Levert, and Irvin on the roster. I do think he could find 10mpg as a defensive stopper though.
- I love the idea of a crunch-time defensive lineup of Walton, MAAR, Levert, Irvin, Wilson
- Given the enormous depth on the roster (a fun change from recent years) I could see Beilein talking to MAAR, Chatman, and Wagner about taking a redshirt. I could also see Spike sitting out if he isn't ready to play, giving his minutes to MAAR. It is unlikely that anyone other than Wagner maybe would do it, but it would help the team and their careers probably.
- Here's my take on Robinson next year.....even if you assume his DIII school was essentially the equivalent of a prep school - how many 6'8" high schoolers put up those shooting percentages, rebound numbers, and then get to take a redshirt year for Beilein? As the equivalent of an incoming recruit with that pedigree and ideal fit to the offense I have to assume he'll find a role in the rotation. I picture him playing 10-15 minutes off the bench depending on if his shot is falling that night.
- Brandon Graham - I know he's had a long career and did get paid, but considering his dominance as one of our best pass rushers of all time I was expecting a better NFL career.
- Chad Henne - Much like Henson, I figured Henne would have a more stable NFL career. Playing for the Jags probably hurts, but he's been a very poor starter and more of a replacement level back-up. His UM career set all sorts of records and he hasn't looked that good in the NFL.
- Glen Steele - He was one of the best DL of the late-90's Michigan teams and almost didn't get a sniff from the NFL.
- Alan Branch - He's hung around some rosters for a while, but never had an impact.
- Jay Feely - I don't even remember his Michigan career and yet he had a really long and successful NFL career at a highly competitive position.
- Tommy Hendricks - In the same situation as Brown, Mundy, and June is Hendricks. He was a very mediocre strong safety for Michigan and had a decent NFL career as a linebacker.
- Chris Calloway - When he was at Michigan he was often the second guy mentioned after one of my favorites Greg McMurtry (the #1 jersey wearer that is often forgotten despite a good career). He carved out a very long and successful NFL career.
- I'm not sure they're going to sign another player, so I'll avoid jinxing it by saying anything and working off the roster we have now.
- I'm assuming Wagner makes it on the roster and won't redshirt.
- I'm expecting a dog fight between Chatman, Robinson, and Wagner for minutes at the PF spot. I am higher on Robinson because of his height, shot, and year on the roster...but for now I'll assume it is even.
- Rahk will move down the bench but will get 10 minutes per game going all-out defensively.
- Walton and Levert shouldn't be playing 35 minutes per game.
- Donnal and Wilson will both play at back-up center, but there are tons of minutes to be had there that they will fight for.
- Point Guard - Walton (20), Spike (20)
- Shooting Guard - Levert (25), Walton (5), Rahk (10)
- Small Forward - Irvin (25), Levert (5), Dawkins (10)
- Power Forward - Dawkins (5), Irvin (5), Robinson (10), Chatman (10), Wagner (10)
- Center - Doyle (20), Wilson (15), Donnal (5)
My theory, without any evidence, is that Irvin struggled with thinking too much this year when on the court and that affected his shot and confidence for a while since he was trying to be "more than a shooter". But more than that I think he felt the struggles of the entire team. The PF spot was a black hole until Dawkins played well late. The C position was highly variable and even at its best wasn't a ball-screen-machine like we've seen. Michigan was clunky on offense and easy to defend. The threes weren't wide open like last year as a result.
- I would LOVE to see a stat or a shot-chart from Irvin that focuses only on his finishing at the rim. I was keeping an unofficial count during the first half of the B10 season and I honestly think he missed or was blocked on a staggering 12 layups. He improved late in the year as he added a pump-fake to his game and was getting better looks within the flow of the offense, but for most of the season he was horrific at the rim. If you take that 0-for-12 I mentioned and change it to a 9-of-12 that would be more realistic for those specific shots imagine how his efficiency goes up (not to mention his confidence or Michigan's 3-7 record in close finishes).
- 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.
|2 weeks 3 days ago||Robinson||
I think he is going to play and will have a few games where he is hot and will play solid minutes.
Here is my reasoning....
Even if you assume his D3 year was a glorified high school prep year, his stats were very, very good. Besides that fact, his D3 year was in a similar system, he is 6'8", and he got to learn a year on the bench.
I think he is closer to a freshman Irvin than he is bench warmer Vogrich.
|2 weeks 3 days ago||Lots of thoughts.....||
Great piece, even if I don't completely agree. Here are some thoughts I have on the original piece and some of the comments:
|3 weeks 4 days ago||Great topic....||
I like most of the names mentioned. Here are some others I thought of:
Surprised in a bad way:
Surprised in a good way:
|4 weeks 3 days ago||Insane...||
I just realized how insane that depth chart is and how hard it will be for Beilein to manage both the minutes and the egos.....especially if another recruit signs.
Here's a new thought I had. Unlike Hoke, who probably didn't even know what a red-shirt was, Beilein showed us last year that he was going to red-shirt Dakich so that he'd have an extra year of eligibility at the end of his career (until we needed another guard).
For that reason, I think you'll see Beilein tell Rahk, Wagner, and Chatman that they will get every chance this summer/fall to prove themselves but that he wants them to consider a redshirt year so that they can take charge the following year. (Wilson, Donnal, and Robinson already redshirted). They could play 5 minutes at the end of the bench or they could take the year off and come back to take the minutes vacated by Spike, Levert, and maybe Irvin.
I also think that they're going to play it smart with Spike's injury. They saw what happened with Levert and Walton last year when they struggled to come back fully healthy. I think they'll keep an eye on Spike and consider giving him a redshirt if he's not ready to play. That would suck for next year's team since Spike proved he could be a starting PG in the B10, but it would be better to have another year of him than have him limp around half the season. They could give Walton 30-35 minutes and Rahk the rest at PG, with Levert playing some point also.
|4 weeks 3 days ago||Basketball thoughts....||
Lots of basketball chatter on this podcast, which I love commenting about. So let me throw out some predictions:
Clearly we aren't going to play a 12 man rotation like I just showed....though it is fun to think about. I think Donnal, Chatman, Wagner, and Rahk are the most likely guys to lose PT as the bench shortens.
|4 weeks 6 days ago||Hatch as walk - on?||
I thought the NCAA had rules in place to prevent an athlete on scholarship from becoming a walk-on. Would Michigan have to apply for a waiver? Then again, I also remember (not that) Chris Rock walking on at OSU after leaving Michigan.
|5 weeks 3 days ago||Mixed feelings...||
In the end we will have to wait and see what happens with the roster, though I am scratching my head like the rest of you.
I suspect that some of what we may be seeing is an over correction by Beilein. When he recruited all of the recent NBA players (not including Mitch) he was not planning for them to leave. Then after the recent success he went after big names and struck out. Those two events left him scrambling to even field a team this year. Maybe he is now trying to secure good up and coming players when he can rather than waiting on the superstars to make up their mind.
I do believe that Rahk can be a solid backup PG on this team.....but we need the next starter. My wild ass guess is that they hit a snag with Wagner getting eligible and will medical Hatch.
|6 weeks 3 days ago||Former players for basketball....||
Obviously the answer to the "former player you want on the team next year is any all-time great of the past like Webber, Howard, Rice, Cazzie, Rudy T, etc. But the player I bet always wishes he got to play for Beilein is Laval Blanchard. The idea of having a PF who can shoot threes, rebound, and defend multiple positions makes me drool compared to the giant "?" that is branded on the team next year. I like the idea of Robinson, Chatman, Wagner, and Dawkins filling that spot and one of them having a break out year......but Blanchard would be awesome.
|6 weeks 5 days ago||Two more thoughts on Zak....||
Excellent piece. At first I thought I was going to read a repeat of the player reports that UMHoops and MnB are doing (which are perfectly good reading), but you put in a ton of detail that made this even more interesting.
I had two thoughts on your summary:
I feel pretty confident that he can get his 3pt% back up in the 37-42% range next year based on his track record. I also now see visual evidence that he can not just play the 3 in this system, but even hold his own at the 2 for stretches if needed. The leap to 'not just a shooter' will be next year, not this past year.
|6 weeks 6 days ago||For one year only....||
Let's assume that both players will leave after next year so this is a one year decision and not a situation where Brown says for 2-3 years. Does that change your pick? For one year I pick Levert.
I will admit that I haven't watched enough of Brown to judge his potential fairly. If he were to stay for 2-3 years then maybe you pick him. Either way, next year will be decided by how well the six guys taller than 6'6" play, not the guards and wings.
|7 weeks 5 days ago||Competition....and red shirts||
I fully expect the QB position to remain a battle royale next season and may the best man win. That may mean that Jake Ruddock isn't our starter if someone else takes control. While that would be bad for Ruddock, it might be good for Michigan. That being said, we now have a wonderful safety net no matter what.
What I do think this opens up is the possibility of future flexibility. If Ruddock claims the starting job and is in line to play well enough that he takes 90% of the snaps, I would love to see Speight as the first back-up off the bench for those few plays where one is needed. If there was a chance to get Morris a 5th year and/or get Malzone a redshirt then they should try for that.
|7 weeks 6 days ago||TE University||
I think there's a potential for Jake Butt to be one of the stars of this team. I realize that's hard for a TE to do, even the best ones, but I think if he pairs with whatever young/unproven QB wins the job and starts catching some TDs that there is potential there.
I love Lewis and think he's going to be a star.
Finally, I think the stage will be set for a RB to make a name for himself. I am less optimistic than the other two guys, but I do think the strategy, coaching, experience, and OL improvements will set the stage for someone to step forward if they really are as talented as their recruiting ratings once suggested.
|8 weeks 3 days 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).
|8 weeks 3 days 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.
|8 weeks 4 days 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.
|8 weeks 4 days 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.
|8 weeks 5 days 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.
|9 weeks 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:
|9 weeks 3 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.
|9 weeks 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.
|9 weeks 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?
|9 weeks 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.
|9 weeks 6 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.
|9 weeks 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".)
|9 weeks 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.
|10 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:
|10 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!!!
|10 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.
|10 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.
|10 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.