[Photo: Marc-Gregor Campredon]

Conventional wisdom in many basketball circles is that the old-school center is a dying breed. Gone are the days in which teams are willing to spend any significant amount of time dumping the ball in the paint and allowing players to maneuver their way into low-percentage looks.

Today, spacing is king.

The notion that a more traditional big man cannot provide significant value, however, is unfounded. One need only look at the NBA level to see the value in non-shooters like Rudy Gobert and Clint Capela. A reliable three-point shot is a valuable asset for anyone, but centers can help elevate their teams’ offenses in a number ways that can positively impact spacing.

For Michigan, Jon Teske is going to have to find ways to help the offense without a three-point ball. The trick for Teske is that he doesn’t have the athleticism of the rim runners that benefit an offense without a perimeter game.

Previously, we looked at maximizing Zavier Simpson in next year’s offense, focusing primarily on how he operated within the pick-and-roll game. As the screener, Teske is a critical component to what could be the primary schematic theme for the team in the fall.

As the season progressed, Teske showed that he can benefit his teammates offensively, particularly in the screen game. Understanding angles and where to move to promote optimal spacing is a skill, and it’s one that Teske developed nicely this past year. There was clear inflection point as February came about where the game slowed down for the sophomore center. Michigan’s numbers with Teske on the court reflected that improvement (on/off stats vs. KenPom top-100 via Hoop Lens):

screen_shot_2018-04-04_at_3.10.43_am

Despite lacking both ideal athleticism and a deep ball, Teske found a way to be a productive part of Michigan’s run to the Championship Game. Perhaps more importantly, John Beilein and the coaching staff took advantage of Teske’s size, screening ability, and generally intelligent play to benefit not just Teske but his teammates as well.

In typical Beilein fashion, Michigan ran a successful offense even when they had three relative non-shooters on the floor at once:

5hdFTQr

Per Hooplens, Michigan’s offense was actually better with the trio of Teske, Simpson, and Charles Matthews, despite the fact that none could be confused for a sharp shooter. That success over a decently-sized sample is a good reminder that there isn’t just one way to score efficiently, even in today’s game. 

With that entire trio returning next season, we can look to what Jon Teske did well to gain some insight into what next year’s offense may look like.

[Hit THE JUMP for an extensive breakdown of Teske's offensive growth and potential.]

This was not the agreement, Steve

If you listened to our latest podcast you no doubt heard my impassioned plea for 24/7 to set a hard ceiling on CA RB commit Zach Charbonnet's ranking. You see, Rudy, five star tailbacks at Michigan generally fall over when whispered upon and fumble explosively a nanosecond from the ground. "Let's stay away from that," I begged, pleading for Charbonnet to top out at #51, a back-half-of-the-top-100 ranking that is in the feasibly productive range.

Instead:

image

Nuts to you, 24/7, for threatening the career of one of Michigan's running back commits before it even starts. Please find exactly 11 players you like more than him before Signing Day, or the dog gets it! I certainly have a dog! That I am threatening! With "it"!

The other back

TN RB commit Eric Gray had an abrupt left turn in his recruitment that started when someone got sidelined:

“After the camp, I didn’t really hear from Michigan because their offensive coordinator (Tim Drevno) was going a different route with running backs,” Gray said, calling his early interaction with Michigan weird. “Once he left (for USC), they started coming back.

“I didn’t think I wanted to go to Michigan because they used to not talk to me. I almost didn’t take the official, but taking it was one of the best things I’ve ever done. It really opened my eyes.”

Once Drevno was gone Michigan picked up the pace and secured a commitment. Gray remains the top back on 24/7 after their re-rank and actually slid up 11 spots, because his Opening was impressive:

“He’s the ideal all-purpose back,” 247Sports director of scouting Barton Simmons said, “with great pass-catching ability out of the backfield, really good burst and change-of-direction and big-play potential, and he was one of the top backs in attendance in Texas.”

I'm all for having a guy like Evans or Gray on the roster at all times; if Michigan does run up against a team that is good at shutting down the straight-ahead stuff the scatback provides another avenue of attack.

[After THE JUMP: even more re-rank positives.]

stargazing

Let's stare at stars [Patrick Barron]

Starting last year I began keeping track on the changes in recruiting rankings, since movement tends to tell us things about a recruit that their ratings at any given moment do not.

I was putting this together a month ago actually, but then half of the high schoolers in America committed to Michigan and this post was left in the bin. Since we have a bunch of new recruits and 247 just updated their rankings yesterday based on their scouting from various summer camps, it's a good time to check in. Anyway that's why there's the weirdness of June 15 rankings on everybody committed by then—I figured you'd prefer I leave those in.

Things to keep in mind:

  1. Recruiting gravity means rankings will slowly drop as more players are scouted and slotted ahead of them. Going from the #209 to #225 player in a month isn't a drop unless his rating dropped too.
  2. I didn't get around to taking snapshots of Rivals and ESPN in late May, and only got the new commits' data when they dropped. As this series continues we'll have more complete data.
  3. By now I imagine you're familiar with the three sites' rating systems but just in case: For 247 the 80-89 range are 3-stars, the 90-97 range are the 4-stars, and 98+ are 5-stars. ESPN is on a 100 scale, so 70s are 3-stars, 80s are 4-stars, 90s are 5-stars. Rivals uses the old National Recruiting Advisor system: 5.5 to 5.7 are 3-stars, 5.8 to 6.0 are 4-stars, and 6.1 is a 5-star. The 247 composite can be read like you put a "%" next to their regular ratings, so .9000 is the cut-off for a 4-star instead of 90.

QB Cade McNamara

Service March 17 (committed) June 15 Today
247Sports 90, #305 Ovr, #9 PRO 90, #310 Ovr, #10 PRO 90, #321 Ovr, #10 PRO
Rivals 5.8, NR, #9 Pro 5.8, NR, #9 Pro 5.8, NR, #10 Pro
ESPN 78, #296 Ovr, #8 Pro, #45 West 78, #296 Ovr, #8 PRO, #45 West 81, #240 Ovr, #14 Pro, #36 West
Composite 0.9004, #316 Ovr, #9 PRO 0.9067, #263 Ovr, #10 PRO 0.9067, #269 Ovr, #10 PRO

Michigan's (first?) quarterback of the class is climbing steadily, and got bumped to a strong 4-star when ESPN solidified their Top 300, which means he survived a bunch of other recently scouted quarterbacks moving up. On the other hand they slid a good six other quarterbacks ahead of him, including BC-bound Sam Johnson from Walled Lake Western.

McNamara's been participating in whatever the new format of the Elite 11 is, and his performance so far has crystallized the opinion of him as a four-star but still just outside everyone's Top 250.

His reported weight is up too. He's now 206 (247) or 202 (Rivals) or 203 (ESPN) lbs, up from 179.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the class]

njas 1.7

It really shows that some franchises are well run and some just aren’t, and teams that are in the lottery are there for a reason.

Aidan Hutchinson was bitten by a radioactive wolverine or defensive coordinator two years ago and is currently hulking up 

The winningest coach in program history is sticking around for a while.

buttzone

Each position gets a highlight. Or maybe a few. I had to cheat a bit. Also I probably forgot a bunch too.

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