Unverified Voracity Isn't Saying That It's Zombie Apocalypse Time, But…

Unverified Voracity Isn't Saying That It's Zombie Apocalypse Time, But…

Submitted by Brian on February 17th, 2016 at 4:13 PM

Football Booklet Cover

IT'S MADE OF PAPER UNKNOWN TO MANKIND. The Daily has a book that compiles all their Harbaugh stuff, Harbaugh-related stuff, and Harbaugh-tangential stuff from the past year. You can order it for $5 plus shipping, or skip the shipping and pick it up from the Student Publications building on Maynard. Proceeds help the Daily keep running so they can continue to pump out epic features. Someone's got to write COLUMNS that don't make you want to die.

If this is the start of the zombie apocalypse I'm going to be upset. Gotta give me at least five years of Harbaugh before the end of the world.

Apparently most of the swimming and diving team is sick and they're checking the pool for something that turns you into a flesh-eating, non-verbal lumbering horror. Sounds like they should check the press box, not the pool.

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Also please not before the MONORAIL. True story: one of the first Every Three Weekly articles ever was about an outlandish plan to join Central Campus to North Campus with a monorail. (In it, Tom Goss projected it would make money thanks to monorailgoblue.com, because Michigan had just launched mgoblue.com. Also it was on paper. I am old.) Well, IT'S HAPPENING DOT MONORAIL:

Schlissel, city envision monorail to unite North and Central campuses

Tuesday, University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel reintroduced the idea of creating a rapid transit system between Central and North Campuses, a project that has essentially been dormant since 2013.

Would I ride this just to ride it? Definitely. Let's put our town on the map.

Yes, thank you sane person. Man, has it been hard to keep the fisk in the garage after the latest and dumbest hot take explosion about Harbaugh. The main reason I haven't opened both barrels is indecision about whether I should go after Mitch Albom, Drew Sharp, or Tony Barnhart, all of whom put the literary equivalent of Skyline chili on the internet in response to Harbaugh's plan to visit IMG. Nothing has been as dumb as this, though:

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I mean… I can't put it past a guy whose version of the "Art of the Deal" will be titled "Chasing Rutgers," but cumong man. Put down the Confederate flag bong and sober up.

I may break down pretty soon here and call someone horseface, but for now Andy Staples is keeping me sane:

The Power Five leagues, including Sankey's SEC, got autonomy legislation passed so they could loosen some restrictions that other Division I schools wanted to keep tight. The new attitude in major college sports was supposed to be this: If you want to do it, do it. If you don't, don't. That lasted until several millionaire coaches got mad at another millionaire coach trying to mitigate their competitive advantage.

I'm so so done with being Meatloaf The Football Program: I'll do anything to win but I won't do that. Staples does mention that Harbaugh getting up in his players' spring break might come up during the infinite lawsuits the NCAA is fighting, but since a bunch of spring sports already do that it's likely a moot point. And as I always point out, Michigan fans should be hoping amateurism dies swiftly and comprehensively for the same reason the Yankees don't want a salary cap. I don't think Harbaugh is consciously attempting to point out the hypocrisy, but I'd support him if he was.

Meanwhile in attempts to negative recruit based on the above. Michael Dwumfour opens up about his recruitment process, detailing an ill-fated Penn State trip:

The Penn State coaching staff knew the competition it was up against. According to Dwumfour, the Lions poked fun at Jim Harbaugh’s recruiting techniques.

That didn’t sit well.

“When I was at Penn State, I heard jokes about Harbaugh and stuff like that,” Dwumfour said. “In the back of my head, I’m thinking ‘What he’s doing is working, obviously. Instead of criticizing him, you might want to take some of his techniques to try and help yourself out and get some recruits.’”

The prospect of Penn State coaches making fun of Harbaugh's sleepovers boggles the mind, but I put nothing that is bogglingly dumb past James Franklin.

Status of Bush the elder. Devin Bush Sr was long rumored to be on the verge of a Michigan job, something that he was openly hoping for in an interview with Brandon Brown:

“For me, if I was to get an opportunity, because I would love to coach at the next level, I never wanted to put it out there because I didn’t want to move my kids while they were in high school. If you get into that world you could be moving every eight to ten months. Once my son graduated, now I would be open for an opportunity because I don’t have to worry about moving kids, it’s just my wife and I.”

That sounds like a guy who is waiting for the Ts to get crossed and Is dotted. And now that Michigan's down Greg Jackson they might look at him for that job as well; Bush's profile isn't that far away from Jackson's: former NFL safety, little high-level experience. Harbaugh grabbed Jackson when he was an assistant DBs coach with Wisconsin.

Who doesn't these days? Tom Brady's agent wants to blow up the NCAA, and he's likely correct about how the edifice comes tumbling down:

This is the promise of [Don] Yee's advocacy. He is a football insider with firsthand knowledge of how a business works and the credibility to make people listen. He is exhausted, he says, by talk without much action and has reached the point of arguing for revolution: Blow up the system. Start over. Build anew. "This generation of players has more tools at its disposal than any other to be heard and to organize," he says. "If they adopted a Twitter hashtag of #disruptthefinalfour for the NCAA tournament, they would at least start a discussion. And significant change typically happens through some discussion that is too large to ignore."

All it would take is two basketball teams deciding to delay a Final Four game and amateurism is all over but the shouting. They don't even have to refuse to play. All they have to do is agree to start the game 15 minutes late, and there will be no illusions as to where the power actually resides. Yee:

"Nothing will change for the players unless they take the responsibility of becoming something more than willing victims to this system," Yee says. "At some point, you have to look in the mirror and ask yourself, 'Who am I? What am I doing? What's going on, and what am I doing about it?' These players, they have all the power -- they simply don't realize it."

That is correct. Someone's going to be the NCAA's Curt Flood, and pretty soon. Related: Sonny Vaccaro talks to the NYT, says the same things Vaccaro usually does.

I guess he's a Walverine. Michigan fans have this odd conversation about whether it's okay to be a Michigan fan without having attended the school. They do this largely because MSU fans are livid that nobody who doesn't go to MSU gives a damn about the Spartans and project this anger all around them. Meanwhile 95% of Alabamans are either Auburn or Alabama fans, and… uh… let's just stipulate that more than 5% of Alabamans do not have a degree from either institution. (Ace, at home, just screamed "BAN BOOKLARNIN'" again.)

It is good to have Michigan fans scattered about with no other connection to the school. One of them just joined the recruiting class:

“Honestly I’ve been a Michigan fan since I was little,” [Dylan] McCaffrey said. “My grandma is a big Michigan fan. She has a house about 40 minutes away [from Ann Arbor], so I don’t know why, but I just ended up loving them. I could’ve always seen myself going there, and in the end I just went back to how I felt about Michigan as a kid.”

Another person who was a Michigan fan for no particular reason: Jabrill Peppers. Let all who want to root for winged helmets do so irrespective of their degrees, and let MSU fans stew about it.

More on "floor seats". Everyone hated it. Especially people who have televisions. ESPN trotted out some poor damn spokesperson, who immediately torpedoed any sympathy I might have for her with a statement so inane it bordered on Dave Brandon Hire:

ESPN was built on trying new things and taking risks, and tonight is just another example of that.

ESPN was built on showing people athletics contests, not utterly failing to do so.

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[Eric Upchurch]

Austin Davis is looking rather different these days. Many people thought taking Davis was questionable at best when Michigan did, and it is going to be strange next year when Michigan has up to six post players on the roster (Doyle, Donnal, Wagner, Wilson, Davis, and Jon Teske). But Davis has done everything he can to prep himself:

635908046831956828-AUSTIN-020816-KD-12[1]While he was 6-10 a year ago, he was also 265 pounds. Today he is a svelte 235 and his game has benefited immeasurably.

“The big thing is I changed my diet around; I changed it pretty drastically,” he said. “And then I got on a new weight program.” …

A year ago, Davis was more of a plodder as he moved up and down the court. His teammates often had to wait for him to join them before they could run their offense.

That, more than anything, is why no major college offered him a scholarship — and U-M coach John Beilein made Davis aware of that fact.

“We had a directive,” said Eric Davis, Austin’s dad. “Coach Beilein really wanted to see him start moving better and running the court better.”

He has, and he now looks like a college post. Whether he'll still look like one in college is unknown; his 79% shooting percentage is indicative of both his talent and his competition level.

Who runs Big Ten hockey? The equivalent of Tom Anastos. Tom Anastos, hockey coach, not Tom Anastos, CCHA commissioner. Because Anastos was all right at the latter before being thrust into a role he had no frame of reference for. Ditto the folks running Big Ten hockey:

“Coming from a non-hockey background, it’s kind of hard for me to imagine a fan in the state of Minnesota who wouldn’t be excited to see a Michigan or a Michigan State come in to play,” he said. “I recognize and acknowledge that significant rivalries developed over the years in the previous leagues, and that’s fine."

Minnesota fans did not like this interview with Brad Traviolia, not one bit. I'm not much of a fan either. Nobody comes to the Big Ten hockey tournament because most fans are very far away from said tournament no matter where it is.

There is no possible solution to this problem. A neutral site Big Ten tournament is never going to draw. I have had season tickets for a decade now and I have no plans to ever go to a neutral site Big Ten Tournament, because that product sucks. It sucks being in a big empty building where hockey is going on. I am barely willing to put up with it for an NCAA tournament game. A Big Ten tourney where everyone makes it in doesn't even come close to moving the needle.

The only solution is to go to series on home ice, which four of the six schools should support since they have dedicated rinks. If Wisconsin or Ohio State don't want to host because of high school sports, they don't have to. Quit letting two schools that clearly don't care about hockey dictate to the 3.5 that do.

Hockey tourney status: don't collapse. Jim Dahl's excellent Pairwise projection site is reaching peak utility as hockey comes down the stretch here. Michigan is in barring a spectacular collapse:

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Even 2-5 likely sees them sitting in a pretty secure at-large spot, though they'd definitely want to win a game in the Big Ten tournament. Three wins and they would be all but a lock going into that tourney unless results elsewhere conspired against them; 4-3 and they're 100% in.

A one seed would require Michigan to absolutely sprint down the stretch; even a 6-1 finish most likely sees them still a 2 going into the BTT.

I have no idea how good this goalie is. The Daily's Jason Rubinstein on Michigan's poor, bombarded goalie:

After three and a half years, Racine is playing the best hockey he ever has in a Michigan uniform. Berenson named him the team’s bona fide starter more than three months ago. For his last six games, he boasts a .931 save percentage, a career high for any stretch over five games that he has played.

And this past weekend, he was the only reason Michigan managed to escape Madison with five points, rather than three. In Saturday’s contest against Wisconsin, the Wolverines won in a shootout, despite surrendering four goals.

“You should’ve seen him at Wisconsin,” Berenson said. “He stood on his head, and we had no business winning the game based on the chances we gave up.

“That was his best game of the year.”

This has got to be the strangest year for hockey since I've been paying attention. They give up four goals to a very bad Wisconsin team only because their goalie stands on his head; they are on pace for a two-seed.

Etc.: Barry Alvarez apologizes for saying innocuous, accurate thing about UW hockey. Bob Miller on incoming goalie Jack LaFontaine. Jim Harbaugh adopts a kitten. PWO Anthony Kay profiled. Incoming hockeyist Nick Pastujov also profiled.

Unverified Voracity Says Eyes Here

Unverified Voracity Says Eyes Here

Submitted by Brian on June 15th, 2015 at 1:44 PM

Never not funny. Every day is an entertaining day with Harbaugh. Bill Rapai shot the Sound Mind, Sound Body camp for us and returned with this set of photos that were taken within a few minutes of each other. Each one is magnificent. As a set…

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…they are almost a Broadway play.

A titanic clash. You really need to read Zach Shaw's account of the IM softball final between the football and hockey teams.

“The T-shirt means everything to us,” said self-proclaimed team manager and owner Jared Wangler, who redshirted as a freshman linebacker on the football team last fall. “We lost out last year in the semi-finals, and didn’t come back for second place. We’re back with a vengeance.”

Motte, who was once a standout baseball player and teammate with Michigan baseball star Jacob Cronenworth before settling for sophomore forward on the hockey team, was slightly less enthused after the loss.

“To be totally honest, I didn’t know we got T-shirts,” he said.

Good news for a change. Phil Steele's published a ranking of teams based on experience in their two-deep and Michigan is not languishing at the bottom of the list, trying not to get its face punched in. Far from it, in fact:

    Pts SR ST SR 2D JR ST JR 2D SO ST SO 2D FR ST FR 2D
1 Michigan 91 14 9 4 9 4 3 0 1
2 Navy 89 14 6 5 11 3 5 0 0
3 Utah St 87 12 9 7 6 3 6 0 1
4 Air Force 85 9 5 13 11 0 6 0 0
5 S Alabama 83 13 5 6 11 3 3 0 3
6 West Virginia 82 9 8 10 7 3 5 0 2
7 Georgia Southern 81 12 7 8 7 1 5 1 3
8 Utah 80 11 5 6 12 4 4 1 1
8 Akron 80 13 7 5 8 4 1 0 6
10 Troy 79 11 5 9 8 2 6 0 3

(As per usual with Steele if you drill down on the team you know you're going to find a few assumptions that are off or not up to date, but he's broadly accurate.)

That is a combination of Rodriguez's extreme attrition followed by Hoke's almost total lack of same, and would normally bode well. When that team is coming off a coaching change caused by whatever that was last year the route to a good season is less clear; still, a veteran and pretty good defense returns almost everybody, as does the not-so-veteran and maybe-okay offensive line. Skill positions are the big question mark.

This is both true and infuriating to Notre Dame fans. It comes from Brian Kelly:

"I think we recognized that all of my football players are at-risk -- all of them -- really," Kelly told Notre Dame Insider. "Honestly, I don't know that any of our players would get into the school by themselves right now with the academic standards the way they are. Maybe one or two of our players that are on scholarship."

ND Nation reacted to this about as well as Roll Bama Roll reacted to a camp sleeper committing to Michigan, because ND Nation believes that when a student with a 2.5 arrives on campus the magical fairy dust on ND's campus makes them into a Serious Business major.

To its credit, ND does come down much harder on malfeasance than everywhere else. Nobody else suspends five players for a whole season for academic issues, and the kind of things those guys did are at least as common around the country.

More Austin Davis highlights. This appears to be from a camp a few weeks ago:

It's not much; it does look like Davis is getting big and stronk. He has nice footwork around the basket and finishes with both hands; the Jordan Morgan vibe is strong.

Um, okay. Canadian combo guard Jamal Murray is now highly likely to reclassify to 2015. He is looking for a place to play. Michigan has a scholarship. He may visit:

“He visited Kentucky, he just visited Oregon, he’s thinking about visiting Michigan and a couple of others. Will he do that? He’s not sure. Right now, it’s a two-and-a-half horse race, Michigan being the half. If they get the visit, you have to consider them a full-fledged threat."

Murray is a potential one-and-done—Draft Express has him 21st in their 2016 mock draft—who would jam pack the Michigan roster in the same way Jaylen Brown would have. Long way to go before anything comes of that, competing against Kentucky usually doesn't go well, other rosters are probably more attractive in terms of playing time available, etc.

Another hockey exit, this one before an entrance. Michigan lost a recruit to the OHL today: Sam Miletic. Miletic isn't being hyped as an impact player after a 12-15-27 line in 58 USHL games, which is both good and bad.

The good: Miletic wasn't slated for a scoring line as a freshman and Michigan should be able to replace him without a ton of trouble. The bad: Miletic, who dropped out of the final CSB rankings after being listed 192nd—probably undrafted—in the midterms, is exactly the kind of player who should avoid the OHL like the plague. In college he'd have four years to develop and a degree; in the OHL he's going to age out after two and then face a decision between trying to use the OHL's education package (which will cap at two years for him since he's not playing four years in the league) or trying to catch on in the pros somewhere.

In a vacuum this is pretty meh. In an offseason where it seems like anyone with an option is opting out, though…

And now you're nervous again even though it seems like everyone's already left. There was a lot of speculation that the player London was going to announce today was Zach Werenski, the freshman D who is likely to be a top-15 pick. That would be the cherry on the poop sundae that's been this hockey offseason. Why would that speculation exist when Werenski would be nuts to make any move before the draft?

Zach Werenski, a potential top 10 pick, is a perfect example. The Michigan Wolverines defenceman over the weekend admitted that he’s “open” to possibly leaving behind college hockey life for a chance to play major junior.

Development is paramount in a player’s late teens and Werenski’s future NHL team will have great influence on where he’ll be plying his trade during the 2015-16 season.

Werenski said he will not sign off on a transfer before the June 26 draft.

“I was really comfortable (in Michigan) and I had a good year,” the Grosse Point, Mich., native said at the NHL Draft Combine in Buffalo. “I plan on going back as of now.”

So there you go. The tone of this article ("development is paramount") suggests it was written by a juniors honk who badgered Werenski with some leading questions. But that departure is potentially another one on the horizon.

Hockey is officially this offseason's most depressing sport.

On expansion. Eleven Warriors surveys the 14-team Big Ten one year in. I'm mostly in agreement with their take—shortsighted, ham-handed, provides money. I don't think this bit is quite right:

One thing is for sure about Big Ten expansion: it made everyone in the conference a lot of money.

The Big Ten has expanded, and there is more money. I'm sure some of that is because of expansion. How much is an open question. Certainly not as much as the article implies:

In 2009, Big Ten schools each received about $19 million a year from the conference. It was a solid total, second to the SEC in per-school revenue, but not at its max. Adding Nebraska and Rutgers and Maryland to the conference made the Big Ten a whole lot more valuable. …

When the Big Ten signs its next TV deal in 2017, revenue distribution will be at least double what it was in 2009, $45 million or more per school. Ohio State's athletic department has been swimming in money since the move as well.

In terms of relative revenue the Big Ten has not increased its lead. It may have actually lost ground.The Big 12's largest payout in 2009 was $12 million to Kansas. By 2014, full members—of a conference that lost teams—grabbed $23 million. Average payouts were 21.4 million. Those numbers do not include school-specific rights that the larger leagues have bundled into networks. In 2014 the Big Ten distributed about 27 million. The gap is smaller in both percentages and raw numbers than it was five years ago.

The Big Ten is the last conference to have its rights come up and will get a bump to ever-more ludicrous numbers; that was going to happen with or without the two additions. The Big Ten would be swimming in dough either way; any benefit the Big Ten manages to extract from Maryland and Rutgers has zero impact on the ability of its teams to compete in major sports and a panoply of negatives for fans.

Etc.: I'm just talkin' bout Moe Ways. Tyus Battle has to pass on the USA U19 tryouts. Probable return to the court in July. Early signing period is happening for a test-run. Dan Beebe tried to tell 'em. They didn't listen. Caris will be good to go July 1st.

Unverified Voracity Might Bounce

Unverified Voracity Might Bounce

Submitted by Brian on May 6th, 2015 at 12:00 PM

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[Bryan Fuller]

The extra slot. Max Bielfeldt could return next year if Michigan was so inclined. It does not sound like they are rushing to make this happen, though. Bielfeldt:

"I don't even know," the 6-foot-8, 240-pound forward said. "I've just been looking to see what else is out there. If this (situation did come up), I knew I'd have to take it for what it is. If I end up making a decision here in the next week or so and nothing pops up Michigan-wise, then I'll move on.

"(I haven't talked with Beilein about it) since the scholarship opened up."

It might be hard to kiss and make up here with Bielfeldt fielding serious interest from multiple Big 12 schools.

Harbaugh profilin'. Bruce Feldman on the man in khaki:

Most coaches will say they are much better at their jobs than they were a decade ago thanks to experience, but Harbaugh isn't most coaches. "I don't know that I am (a better coach)," he said. "Even though you've proved something before, that's the very nature of football playing or coaching. You could have proved something 1,000 times before. You could prove it again, but now that's all that matters.

"It's irrelevant no matter how many times you prove something. This is the only time that matters."

Well worth a read.

That this is a hard decision is a bad thing. Dylan Larkin is playing at the World Championships for the USA, an impressive accomplishment for any college player. He is still considering signing with the Wings. That would be far from unprecedented, except for the fact that his pro team doesn't seem to be pressing for it at all:

Should Larkin sign with Detroit, he would most likely spend the season in the AHL with Grand Rapids, a team that has consistently been successful recently under the stewardship of coach Jeff Blashill. …

From what I’ve been told, the Red Wings would be happy with Larkin’s decision either way. If he returns to Michigan, he gets to play that big role on a young team (the team had a dearth of juniors this season, so there will only be a handful of seniors next year) and he can learn from mistakes now rather than in a couple years when he’s in the NHL.

If Larkin signs when the Wings are saying "you will play in the AHL"—something they no doubt mean given the guys they've left in Grand Rapids well after they've ripened—that is a devastating commentary on the current state of the program.

Unfortunately, I don't think I would be at all surprised by that. Mike Spath is without question the most plugged-in hockey reporter Michigan has, and when Andrew Copp left he talked to various people in the program and came back with this:

A motivation for Andrew Copp to leave? Apparently his dad didn't like that Copp wasn't the leading scorer the past two seasons and blamed this on Michigan's failure to develop him to be the first-line center he was destined to be.

This is what society has become. Every parent thinks their kid is the next Crosby. Winnipeg apparently told the family he could one day lead their team in points. I like Andrew a lot but that is a crock.

There is only one person who would say this to Spath: Red Berenson. Spath probably should have kept that one under his hat, because it drew a response from Copp's father in which he made it clear that assertions about his character were way off base. A small portion:

Michael it is disappointing that as you have gotten to know Andrew over the last 3 years you should have a gut feeling about how he is as a person. Much has been made about it in the press and by the coaches over the years. Andrew is a very mature young man with character, conviction, and morals. I can tell you that Andrew made the decision to leave completely on his own. We do not parent like micro-managers, we have always raised our two boys to be independent and we support the decisions that they do make. Andrew consulted with our family during the process but never once asked our opinion on what he should do with his life nor did we give it, that is HIS decision. To be honest I don’t know what I would have said, I would have loved to see him play his senior year, see him a couple times a week and every Sunday for family dinner. As a parent you hope you provide your kids with the life skills to make difficult decisions and I am proud of how Andrew has navigated this process.

Red has always been lovably cantankerous about his players leaving before their time. This goes several steps beyond that. Copp was not mentioned at the post-season banquet. When bitterness gets that prominent it starts to seem like a reason for the team's recent underperformance.

Red is going to be back next year, and then he is likely to retire. I'm not particularly optimistic about that final year. That Copp would leave probably doesn't say much about Copp.

For Larkin's part, here's Larkin:

"Not 100 percent," Larkin told The Windsor Star when asked if he's made a decision. "I'm still in between and weighing the options. I wanted to wait until after the tournament to make a decision.

"I'll probably take some time. I mean, I'm not in a rush. The seasons are over. There's really no rush. I really feel like there's not a wrong choice or a bad option. Either way I'm still going to be playing hockey and doing what I love.

"We'll see what's best for me."

I have a bad feel. NCAA muckety-mucks are complaining about the graduate transfer rule, because obviously. They do not have great reasons to do so:

"I don't think it fits the core values of intercollegiate athletics," said Sun Belt Conference commissioner Karl Benson.

When asked for specifics on the conflict with core values, Benson said, "It just doesn't feel right."

The core values of intercollegiate athletics are what exactly? If it's about getting an education, these players have already acquired bachelors' degrees. If it's about a level playing field, that ship sailed, sunk, and turned into barnacles a long time ago. If it's about catering to coaches' whims… we should probably have more timeouts in basketball.

Pat Forde says that if the NCAA is actually concerned about their core values they'd look at the scourge of recruits reclassifying. It's not clear that such a thing is at all common—most kids who reclassify are in fact forgoing a prep year, not accelerating. And the ones who do always have the option of, like, not doing so. It's hard to see what the harm is there. Forde's attempt to conjure one is unconvincing:

A senior year of high school is among the priceless commodities in life. I hope giving that away in part because some coach needs you now is a good decision for Thornton. It certainly seems to be one more example of the coach controlling the athlete more than vice versa.

High school is nice and all but if you told me I could go to prom or start at point guard for Duke I think I might take the latter. Thornton could still pick any school he wants as a class of 2016 player; that Duke presented him with an option he found attractive is not a problem.

Then there are the academic questions. By all accounts, Thornton is a bright young man and he may have been planning his class load with this accelerated graduation in mind. But will he be ready – early – for the classroom challenge at Duke? It's not exactly like going to UNLV.

It is. It is exactly like going to UNLV because every school has easy classes for people not interested in requirement X. I was in some at Michigan. Forde probably doesn't know that college hockey was well ahead of the curve here, with three top-ten NHL picks (Zach Werenski, Noah Hanifin, and Hobey winner Jack Eichel) arriving after accelerating their studies. It seems likely that both Werenski and Hanifin will be back at their respective schools next year, which they could only do if they were coping academically.

Increased flexibility for players is generally a good thing. Let them accelerate cake and graduate transfer cake.

Don't mind if I schadenfreude, thanks. EDSBS's ERASE THIS GAME series strikes upon the USF-Notre Dame game that caused Brian Kelly to turn into Yosemite Sam. Notre Dame's next game was this one:

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If you could get in the college football hall of fame for making fanbases other than your own happy, Rees would be a holy lock.

Now when is #M00N happening EDSBS? For pants' sake.

Scouting centers. Brendan Quinn on Austin Davis and Jon Teske:

Davis: While quiet in-person, he's not shy on the floor.

Davis is aggressive with the ball, while remaining steady and methodical, refusing to rush. He knows how to work offensively on the low blocks, utilizing good hands and a soft touch. Most importantly, Davis looks to score the ball. Points to just come to him -- he shows himself well on post-ups and gets his own points.

Teske: The shot-blocking ability is abundantly apparent. Teske is a natural with instinctual patience and timing. He's does well to go up and block shots in the air instead of lunging to get shots at the point of release. That defensive prowess translates to his movements and awareness on that end of the floor. Teske seems to anticipate without guessing, and looks to make defensive plays without leaving himself susceptible to mistakes.

Interesting that MLive is getting more into the scouting/video stuff for recruits. Davis got a bump to four stars on 247, BTW. It looks like there is going to be a severe difference of opinion between the sites on him. Brian Snow has made it clear that Scout is not going to follow suit.

Etc.: Tyus Battle will visit officially tomorrow; Duke has taken a big lead in the Crystal Ball, and this one doesn't seem like guesswork. Remember when a playoff was going to kill the bowls? Speaking of coach catering. On 2016 combo guard Bruce Brown.

Unverified Voracity Inflicts Tattoo

Unverified Voracity Inflicts Tattoo

Submitted by Brian on April 27th, 2015 at 12:19 PM

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our very own MarktheNomad leads the way

Well done. The EDSBS charity challenge has completed, with Michigan once again lapping the field several times over:

image

By collectively cracking 30k, the commentariat has forced Spencer into getting a Michigan-themed tattoo. He reports being interested in some sort of wolverine-in-profile wearing a top hat. I am taking submissions, both good and bad. Load up the photoshop and do your best. Or worst! Either way.

Jeff Goodman's on the bandwagon. Hopefully this edition of the Big Ten can be as entertainingly proficient as the 2012-13 version that Indiana won (and Michigan did not win by a micron) with their Zeller/Oladipo outfit:

Not sure I'm seeing it with Purdue but otherwise, yeah. How Wisconsin transitions away from the Dekker/Kaminsky teams is uncertain—they have Hayes and Koenig back but lose the kPOY, a lottery pick, Josh f-ing Gasser, and Traevon Jackson. That latter might be their secret weapon.

I assume they'll be good, because when have they not been good under Bo Ryan, but they should be taking a significant step back. I don't know who their 6'10" guy who shoots threes and looks like the perfect player for Beilein is going to be.

I am mildly surprised at this. Max Bielfeldt is transferring and getting interest from schools that are a bit bigger than hometown Bradley:

Bielfeldt confirmed to MLive on Saturday that he made his first visit on Friday, traveling to Ames, Iowa to tour Iowa State and that he's in the process of setting up more visits.

The current list of schools that have contacted Bielfeldt and are under consideration includes Boston College, Kansas State, Iowa State, Bradley, Stanford and DePaul.

Obviously Iowa State's Hoiberg Home For Lost Big Ten Boys was going to get involved here. Due to a bizarre footnote in NCAA regulations the city of Ames will be expelled from the surface of the earth if they do not have a basketball player who used to call a Big Ten school home.

The half-dozen other power conference schools are more than I thought would knock on Bielfeldt's door. He must fit better on teams that aren't averse to running out two posts at the same time—he's a lot more plausible as an old-timey power forward than a center.

And it is possible we are doing Johnny Dawkins a solid for keeping his kid stashed in witness protection long enough for Michigan to swoop in on him.

Could this be related to last year's injuries? Michigan is looking for a new basketball athletic trainer. People move on to new jobs all the time, etc., but the timing there suggests that maybe Beilein wasn't particularly pleased with the way Walton's injury was handled. Add Spike's hips, LeVert's twice-broken foot, and Mitch McGary's general unavailability and that's a lot of injuries for a basketball team comprised of 18-20 year olds.

Your parents must be very interesting. Remember Equanimeous St. Brown, the California wide receiver who speaks several languages and ended up at Notre Dame? There is another.

image

There is apparently a third St. Brown pass-catching brother who goes unnamed in that article. The possibilities are endless. Sahara? Odin? Vladivostok? Benzene? The mind boggles.

I'm just here on name patrol but FWIW, St. Brown says he's headed to Sound Mind, Sound Body and will visit Michigan as part of that trip.

UPDATE: Ace points out the younger brother is Amon-Ra!

Scouting Austin Davis. Scout's Brian Snow took a look at Michigan's latest commitment and came back reporting something in line($) with what everyone else is saying:

When on the floor in terms of actual skill, Davis is very good on the low block. He has pretty good footwork around the rim, soft hands, and a nice touch. Most of his damage comes close to the bucket, and he is able to overwhelm opponents with size and has the skill to go with it.

He's not a jumping jack of an athlete and has to compete at the 5 with Teske since neither has the ability to guard anyone on the perimeter. There's been some chatter that Davis might take a prep year and come in in 2017 if that is mutually agreeable, FWIW. That would somewhat ease the coming logjam at center and give a developmental big some more time to develop.

Rutgers: the team that gravity remembers constantly. Land-Grand Holy Land checks in with Rutgers first season of Big Ten competition. How'd they do? Fourth in women's soccer. Not so good in almost everything else:

So to recap, not only did Rutgers fail to capture a single league title in their first season,they haven't even come close, only cracking the top four in two sports. Rutgers finished (or is currently ranked) last or second to last in an astonishing eight sports. Their football program was their best male team sport, and they didn't crack the top six of the conference. Rutgers has been uniformly terrible at nearly every level.

Plus, not only has Rutgers been awful on the field, those mid-week flights from places like Nebraska and Iowa to New Jersey are probably just awesome for student athletes, right Delany?

But hey, TV sets. Location. National brand. Enjoy those hypothetical Nielsen ratings the next time you have to watch a terrible Rutgers sporting event in the near future.

Maryland is vaguely defensible. Rutgers is just an anchor.

Sounds good. Freshmen ineligibility isn't going anywhere. There are a thousand reasons for that. Here's one: even the NCAA's president, our nation's most skilled double-talk practitioner, is pretty much like nah.

"It's a really interesting notion that's worthy of debate," Emmert said. "It has all kinds of problems. It is highly controversial."

"It has all kinds of problems." This is a person who publicly states that the NCAA itself has no problems. DOA.

They're all over on satellite camps, BTW. They'll be banned by next year.

Etc.: Lax misses Big Ten tourney. Many Big Ten fanbases have no life balance. Robert Washington's weekend commitment was… interesting. Sling TV reviewed. Brian Kelly is "the worst coach Notre Dame has ever allowed to oversee its football team for at least 65 games." Nebraska adds satellite camp. Gasaway on early entries.

Jim Harbaugh is Jim Harbaugh and will remain being Jim Harbaugh. The parable of the donut shop.

Mailbag: Worn Out Welcomes, NHL Draft Issues, Basketball Recruiting Ledge-Talking, Wigan(!)

Mailbag: Worn Out Welcomes, NHL Draft Issues, Basketball Recruiting Ledge-Talking, Wigan(!)

Submitted by Brian on April 22nd, 2015 at 12:57 PM

Two words: Jed York.

via ace

Brian,

A little confused by the notion that Harbaugh has "worn out his welcome" everywhere he has been for the past ten years, as seems to be the popular narrative.  Are there any examples of Harbaugh actually being no longer appreciated/welcome anywhere but with the 49ers?  It seems to me like he climbed the ladder like any successful coach up until the end of his time with the 49ers.

Also let's continue to wait until November to blow the whistle on Urban Meyer's Tinder account.

Thanks,
Mike

I have the feeling that either San Diego or Stanford would have sucked it up and consented to another year. Harbaugh led both to one-loss seasons in his final campaigns with those teams, whereupon he moved on to bigger jobs.

The first we heard of Harbaugh "wearing out his welcome" was a narrative being pushed to the Play-Doh NFL media for a year by Jed York and his assorted executives. Whether that is in any way more true for Harbaugh than it is for, say, Bill Belichick is unknowable. Successful football coaches are often completely nuts. It is almost a job requirement. They are inevitably going to leave offended people in their wake. Harbaugh's done that; he's also had a public bromance with Frank Gore.

Other players have taken to social media to defend him.

We don't know exactly where Harbaugh falls on the high functioning lunatic scale, but we do know what happened in the aftermath of his departure from the 49ers: they hired a barely articulate defensive line coach with no experience as a coordinator, chased off their highly successful defensive coaching staff, and lost a ton of players. Alex Boone is publicly moaning that he was being pushed too hard—an excellent sign for when Jim Tomsula, who has all the authority of a mewling kitten.

Harbaugh, meanwhile, is still being pursued by the Raiders. He grabbed DJ Durkin from heavy competition, retained Greg Mattison as a position coach, yoinked Tim Drevno from USC, hired an in-demand John Baxter, and hired a deposed NFL coordinator as a wide receivers coach.

Hhe does not care about what people think of him. Jed York is removing mentions of Harbaugh from the 49ers museum; Harbaugh barely remembers the name of the short guy with a spoon in his mouth on the West Coast. That's why he shows up on Real Sports for a piece that few other football coaches would consent to: he does not care about what happened to him in the past even a little.

That differentiates him from a deeply insecure 49ers management, and is the main reason the idea is out there. Without it there is no possible way to justify the 49ers sabotaging one of the most successful coaches in the NFL.

Hyman to fly free

What's that about you think?

-Jeremiah

Hyman had an outstanding senior year and should get a rookie max contract once he hits the open market. Florida likely offered him that, but Florida cannot offer him his pick of interested teams. Hyman can now find the team most likely to play him in the NHL next year and establish himself in the league.

This is a longstanding flaw in the CBA that I complained about way back in the day when it was instituted. It took a good long while to hit home, but when it did it really hit. Winnipeg was pushing and pushing to sign Andrew Copp this offseason largely because they didn't want to end up in the situation the Panthers did with Hyman. Any college senior can walk away from the team that drafted him; therefore NHL teams hate to see their draftees become seniors.

[After the JUMP: basketball recruiting, Wigan apology.]

Dear Diary Trusts There's Gold in Them Thar Hills

Dear Diary Trusts There's Gold in Them Thar Hills

Submitted by Seth on April 17th, 2015 at 2:00 PM

MORE THAN 8 YEARS IN THE NFL IS A LONG TIME

Boom: chart! by LSA on how long an NFL draftee is expected to last.

NFLDraft4_zpsoyfen1bn

The blip is explainable by what's been going on with NFL rookie contracts. The maximum contract for a  rookie used to be seven years (hence the peak), but since 2011 every rookie contract has been four years with a team option for a fifth on 1st rounders.

wolverine
Click for big

That CBA made rookie contracts way less complicated and appreciably more team-friendly. An unintended side effect of this has been teams trying to rid themselves of those pre-2011 agreements while holding onto more recent draftees longer than they would otherwise.

Since the rough years in Ann Arbor have now stretched longer than what's typical for any NFL career, the Michigan guys still playing are particularly old. I remember making all-Michigan teams in early Playstation versions of Madden. Try that now and you can squeeze together a one-deep plus Henne, Fitz, Will Campbell, and Cam Gordon on the bench (I 'm using Mundy for now but if you figure Stevie Brown will sign somewhere you can swap them out).

SMART FOOTBALL ON HARBAUGH

It's scheme month on the Solid Verbal Podcast so Smart Football (Chris Brown) has been on. This already is relevant to your interests. But this week's show was on Harbaugh so…

Go to the 47 minute mark to get to the Harbaugh. Dnak at the link provided the bullets for "Bo Schembechler football with Jon Gruden's playbook." Dnak also questioned the suggestion that Fisch is going to be running the offense, a prospect Chris is down on. I do think Jedd's "passing game coordinator" title is legit but Drevno is calling plays, as he did well enough in San Diego, and it's still Harbaugh's scheme and Harbaugh's plans, and Harbaugh's metaphorical nose in the huddle.

Earlier they're talking about Mariota vs. Winston and Chris is asked "In 2015 what's a Pro Style offense and what's a Spread?" and he just rips apart the labels, before using them anyway because we still don't have better to describe two slider setting extremities.

Speaking to what you do with a quarterback, until you've got a Tom Brady/Peyton Manning who in Chris's words is "seeing the Matrix", you design a passing game you can teach and your quarterback can operate. Dials include footwork (shotgun, 3-, 5- and 7-step drops), pre-snap reads, post-snap decision trees, and of course whether his feet are going to be part of the offense. Start with the knobs he's good at, and slowly turn up others as the QB adjusts.

The biggest point is "it all works" as long as your offense puts stress on the defense. The classic example of exactly what you shouldn't do then hangs in the air like a wet Borges fart. It is annoying that Brown excitedly brings up our two chief rivals as examples of cutting edge while the commentary on Michigan's offense is "this stuff may be old but it still works." May it kick ass so the smart coach-y people have to explain why.

[After jump: Austin Davis, night games and the Freekbass Quotient of invitees, why we're all A's fans now]

Hoops Hello: Austin Davis

Hoops Hello: Austin Davis

Submitted by Brian on April 17th, 2015 at 12:09 PM

AUSTIN-DAVIS-140616-3[1]large[1]

Last night Michigan picked up a commit from in-state 2016 C Austin Davis, a guy I don't think many people knew Michigan was even tracking. That, his currently-thin recruiting profile, and, frankly, his ears, have a certain brand of Michigan fan headed to Ann Arbor Torch and Pitchfork about this development.

I mean…

…stop it. If there is a place where any Michigan coach has earned public opinion leeway, it is John Beilein recruiting three-star basketballists.

GURU RATINGS

Scout Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
3*, UR 3*, UR 3*, #27 C, #5 MI NR --

Davis is on the sites' radars as a generic three star center, but only just.

SCOUTING

Davis is consistently listed at 6'10" and depending on when you get the article, at anywhere from 240 to 260—he'll come in looking more like Ricky Doyle than DJ Wilson.

He is consistently among the FG% leaders at AAU tournaments, hitting 62% at "Unrivaled" in Chicago and 65% at the "Gauntlet" in Dallas just last week. There he impressed a number of observers. SpartanMag's Paul Konyndyk after Davis put up 16 and 10 (on ten shots) against Ike Anigbogu, who was just offered by UCLA:

That performance was among the best of the weekend for Davis, who outplayed rising Corona (CA) Centennial center Ike Anigbogu, who scored just seven points against the Mustangs. …

Davis is a skilled big man with good footwork, solid post moves, and the ability to finish with either hand. It is only a matter of time before the small school standout begins pilling up major conference offers.

That performance was just a couple days ago and got a lot of major schools' attention. Vandy's 247 site said to keep an eye on him as a "highly skilled post" who was "highly effective" and that the Commodores were intrigued. A Northwestern writer also highlighted him:

“He just gets [stuff] done,” said one assistant coach who watched Davis’ 16-point, 10-rebound, three-block game against the Compton Magic.

Davis isn’t the most athletic player or elite in any one area, but he’s a productive all-around player. He showed soft hands with the ball, and good touch on his hook shots. A handful of his points against the Magic came in 1-on-1 battles against Ike Anigbogu, one of the best post defenders on the Adidas circuit. Davis flashed good footwork on a hook shot against Anigbogu, and also beat him on the block a couple times.

On multiple occasions during the weekend’s games, Davis got the ball just outside the paint and patiently worked around a defender into the paint to score. He also scored several times in in back-to-the-basket situations, putting the ball on the floor and finishing nicely.

He was just 2 of 9 from the free throw line at the Gauntlet, so that's a thing to work on.

Davis is a pound-it-inside, power-dribble, finish from the block kind of guy. Sam Webb($):

Davis is a 6-10, 245 lb. throwback big.  He is a true back-to-the-basket big man.  On the in-state basketball scene he has earned the nickname “Big Country” after former Oklahoma State and then Vancouver Grizzlies standout Bryant “Big Country” Reeves. Davis lives in the paint, is best scoring over his left shoulder but has occasionally shown the ability to score over his right, can beat opponents with a good drop step as well, and has good hands in the post.

Davis himself on his proficiency down low

What they saw was a guy that was really comfortable down on the blocks, where he showed he could finish well with either hand.

"My low post game has always been my major strength," said Davis. "I'm trying to improve my shooting. To be able step up and shoot threes a little bit. I've gotten better with high post jumpers."

He's working and working and working and putting things on the internet. He's also pretty aware of his deficiencies and what he has to do to remedy them:

“I definitely need to improve speed,” Davis said. “My foot quickness, stuff like that. I need to get into better shape. Those are a lot of the main areas, and just continuing to progress and getting stronger.”

Davis also spoke with Balanis about similarities he shares with Irish forward Zach Auguste and the strengths of his game.

“I’d consider myself very strong with my back to the basket and in the low post,” Davis said. “We’ve worked on expanding my game to be able to face up and my jump shot.”

Davis is also young. He is currently 16 and won't turn 17 until the end of the summer, so he'll arrive on campus days after hitting 18.

OFFERS

Michigan was the first major school to offer Davis; before that he had MAC offers and interest from big chunks of the Big Ten and Notre Dame. He took unofficials to Indiana, Wisconsin and Iowa in addition to the in-state schools. Perusing various 247 content gives the impression that Wisconsin assistant Greg Gard was a major proponent of the guy. Gard is a good guy to have in your corner if you're a gawky high school post.

STATS

Davis is Class B Shaq:

The junior scored 45 points in a game on two occasions, and even had a triple-double with 33 points, 27 rebounds and 10 blocks. His averages of 26.2 points, 17.3 rebounds and 4.8 blocks per game earned him AP Class B Player of the Year honors in Michigan, all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

Davis also had a 3.95 GPA as of last year.

VIDEO

There's a ton, from workouts when he was a freshman to Davis being high school Shaq at 6'2" guys going pro in something other than sports to full Onsted Wildcats games. In the Class B regional finals against Milan he opens the game with a missed dunk on an alley-oop.

This went up in January and is amongst the most recent:

This is from last summer:

As is this:

This went up in November:

The video shows a mostly below-the-rim big, and while this is highlight tape you can get some hints of things he does well. He makes a number of tough catches in these videos; he finishes with both hands from in a variety of situations; he seems to have good footwork with which to reposition for layups after a power dribble.

PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE

Posts are tough to project and Davis is tougher than most because of the level of competition he generally goes against. He'll probably take a redshirt and hit Camp Sanderson, whereupon the sluggishness that does show up on film (and is something Davis himself points out as his most pressing issue) should be mitigated. How much? I don't know. I do like bigs with good hands and the ability to finish with either.

With Doyle and Donnal in front of him plus Teske, Michigan can let Davis develop until he's a redshirt sophmore, whereupon he should have a productive, Jordan-Morgan-esque career.

UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS

Michigan's going to have a lot of fouls to give at the five, I guess? They are currently scheduled to have this setup at center in 2016-17:

  • Doyle, Jr.
  • Donnal, Jr.*
  • Teske, Fr.
  • Davis, Fr.

And that's not even counting DJ Wilson, who could well be skrong like bull by then. So this is a weird commitment given the composition of Michigan's roster. I do like the prospect of a parade of upper-class bigs. It's likely that one of Teske or Davis ends up redshirting, which is a good thing for a project big who isn't likely to be on NBA radars. See: Jordan Morgan.

They have two scholarships definitely opening up (Albrecht and LeVert) from guards; they have filled those slots with posts. If they thought someone was transferring—which Beilein has explicitly said isn't happening and Webb re-asserted just today($)—they probably would have taken a swing at 2015 big Mike Edwards. Instead Edwards committed to Georgia after Michigan got Moritz Wagner.

There's almost certainly going to be some additional attrition that opens up a slot or two (Hatch, Irvin to the NBA, maybe guys who get lost in the shuffle this year) with which Michigan pursues a point guard and one of their 6'6" SG/SF archetypes. I would imagine post recruiting is done until 2018.

Hoops Recruitin' Sets Official

Hoops Recruitin' Sets Official

Submitted by Ace on March 17th, 2015 at 2:00 PM

With the regular signing period for the 2015 class less than a month away, it's time for one of our every-so-often basketball recruiting roundups. Headlining this edition is a visit from one of the best players in the country.

Jaylen Brown Sets Official

2015 GA SF Jaylen Brown, the #2 overall prospect in the country, has twice had to cancel planned official visits to Michigan due to scheduling conflicts. The third time should be the charm, as Sam Webb reports he's set to visit later this week:

A potential commitment from Brown would have a significant impact on the outlook for next season, but Michigan faces daunting competition: Brown has also visited Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, and UCLA, in addition to the in-state pairing of Georgia and Georgia Tech. Everyone's favorite one-and-done factory currently leads his 247 Crystal Ball picks.

Brown is one of two 2015 prospects left on Michigan's radar with one scholarship available, making the not-so-safe assumption that Caris LeVert stays and Max Bielfeldt doesn't return. The other, far more likely option is German forward Moritz Wagner, who added a scholarship offer during his official visit for the Rutgers game.

[Several class of 2016 updates after THE JUMP.]