Unverified Voracity Explores Zero And Uh... Nero? Hero?

Unverified Voracity Explores Zero And Uh... Nero? Hero?

Submitted by Brian on March 7th, 2018 at 12:45 PM

26692246668_e293b27f0d_z

[Marc-Gregor Campredon]

If it keeps going like this I'll learn to spell "renaissance" correctly on the first try. Rob Dauster on Michigan's elite... defense? That is what the card says. Defense.

As surprising as that decision was, the dots connected. Yaklich, like Beilein, spent his life as a teacher and a high school coach before breaking into the college ranks. Unlike Beilein, however, Yaklich has prided himself in his ability to get the most out of a team on the defensive end of the floor.

“As a high school coach, I focused entirely on defense,” Yaklich said. At the high school level, coaching offense is more about skill development, about making your players better shooters, better ball-handlers, better scorers. Figure out a handful of things that you can have success with and trust your players to make plays. “My high school coaches instilled that in me. When I went to Illinois State, I naturally grew into that role. We didn’t have a defensive coordinator, but my voice, that’s what I took pride in.”

At Michigan, that is, quite literally, Yaklich’s role. He was hired to coach Michigan’s defense, to be their defensive coordinator, and the success that the Wolverines have had on that end cannot be overlooked. Prior to this season, Beilein never had a team finish higher than 37th in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency rankings. In the last four seasons, the Wolverines never finished higher than 69th.

“The smartest thing is I stopped coaching it so much,” Beilein said of his team’s defensive improvement. “I let other people become the voice of it. I wanted one guy, that’s all he thinks about all day long.”

I'm not taking credit for suggesting that Beilein needs a defensive coordinator. But I'm not not taking credit. I will be ambiguously pleased.

Similar resumes. I should have posted this a couple days ago when it was slightly different, with the Stauskas Elite Eight team at the top of the list. But anyway here's Bart Torvik's list of resumes most similar to Michigan's in recent committee history:

image

Nik and company are still #3. These are all at least three seeds and 40% of them are twos. I haven't seen anything else suggesting Michigan can get to a two, but hopefully that indicates Jerry Palm's (and 30% of the matrix's) 4-seed is off.

There is exactly one bracket that puts Michigan on the five line, but it's KPI. For some reason KPI is on the teamsheets, so hooray for that.

One of many maximum Beilein moments. A man who recognizes his own limitations.

Unbalanced schedule FTL. This year was an excellent example of how the Big Ten's schedule cheapens the regular season title. A gent calling himself "Wicked_UMD"—must be a St. Cloud State fan—analyzed how the schedule rotation affected expected wins in league play:

Team Exp Win Delta
Michigan State 1.09
Northwestern 0.66
Purdue 0.65
Nebraska 0.51
Ohio State 0.46
Iowa 0.18
Indiana 0.16
Minnesota 0.02
Wisconsin -0.08
Illinois -0.10
Penn State -0.43
Rutgers -0.77
Michigan -0.81
Maryland -1.27

That half-win edge over Purdue had a fairly good shot at costing the Boilers a share of the title, and Michigan is almost two wins back of MSU—flip that first Purdue game and that is also a title-altering schedule gap.

The net result is a cheapening of the regular season title. Adding two conference games will help somewhat, but only somewhat: each team still misses almost half the conference for a second game annually. There is a way to create a maximally meaningful and fair conference race with just one extra game:

Alternative: 19 game conference schedule.

PHASE 1: round robin.
PHASE 2: line is drawn between 7th and 8th teams in the league. Mini-leagues subsequently play round-robin. Rutgers is relegated to the Big East every year.

PROS: Absolutely fair. Winner is undisputed. Makes Big Ten title a huge important deal. Final six games for teams that make upper half would be knock-down drag out brutal free-for-all for league title. Would give top teams impregnable schedule strength. You could televise the schedule draw with Ronaldo and Messi in suits.

CONS: May cost league NCAA bids if the best team in the bottom half can't get any marquee wins in the last six games or the worst team in the top half just gets blitzed. Bottom half is just kind of sadly playing out the string. Uncertainty about final three home games may impact ticket sales negatively. Extremely distant possibility that the 8th best team 13 games in can climb all the way to the top.

This will never happen because the folks in charge are more interested in milking as much money out of college basketball than making a drastic and potentially awesome change. But seriously you guys.

Mo draft stock. The Draft Express gents on Michigan's center:

Despite his limitations, and the diminishing market for players his size, there's still a role in today's NBA for a highly skilled big man who can space the floor and plays with a competitive spirit. Wagner is young for a junior, not turning 21 until the end of April, so he has time to continue to improve considering he was already a late bloomer to begin with. He'd likely get picked somewhere in the second round if he decided to keep his name in the draft but also could benefit from coming back for his senior year and continuing to work on his weaknesses, namely his defense, passing and overall feel for the game.

They rank him 55th, so not even towards the top of the second round. SI has an extensive Big Ten Tournament scouting article that comes to a similar conclusion:

Draft Projection: Second Round

After testing and staying in school last year, Wagner has definitely improved, although he’s still a bit of an acquired taste among scouts. It depends on what you value in your bigs, and his considerable offensive skills will be worth the risk to some teams despite his lackluster defense and physical limitations in that area. Wagner excels as a screener and post-up option and has a good feel for finding pockets in the defense. He’s heavy-footed and looks a bit clumsy at times, but his skill level facing up, attacking closeouts and keeping defenders honest gets the job done in college. He gets some credit for helping lift Michigan to the title (and was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player) but the Wolverines won more by playing great team basketball than relying on Wagner to carry them.

It'll be up to Wagner's whim. He's not in the range where he's going to get a guaranteed contract and may end up in the G-League. The money there isn't great so he might decide he'd rather play under the bright lights of the NCAA than for the Fort Wayne Mad Antz even if he delays his earnings a year. If the consensus is that he'll stick on a roster that's a totally different matter.

FWIW, SI on Matthews:

Draft Projection: 2019

The former Kentucky transfer has been plagued by consistency issues throughout his career but has an outside chance at the league depending on how much he can improve over the course of the next year. “I can’t put my finger on what he does well,” says one scout, the sentiment being that Matthews is best suited as a 3-and-D wing given the heavy demand for such players. He has the right type of body to fit in the league, but struggles to create his own offense and has to simplify his approach. He did hit a pair of threes against Michigan State, but must improve his shot selection and become a consistently impactful defender to succeed in the NBA.

Silver lining from his collapse midseason is that Michigan doesn't have to worry about his departure after just one year.

The hopes are dangerously up. George Sipple of the Free Press checks in with Quinn and Jack Hughes, who's currently the projected #1 pick in the 2019 draft. In addition to various items about how he is a generational hockey player is this tantalizing possibility:

Two Hughes at U-M in 2019?
There’s a chance Jack could join his older brother at Michigan next season. The middle Hughes has not committed anywhere, and Ellen and Jim acknowledge U-M is one possibility.

Michigan has had players accelerate to play college hockey early. Jack is currently in his junior year of high school, but, through online courses, he could go on an accelerated academic track, and graduate early to be able to play collegiality next year.

Jack sought exceptional status to play in the Ontario Hockey League as a 15-year-old, but was denied. Among the short list of players who have been granted that status to play a year early are John Tavares, Aaron Ekblad and Connor McDavid, who are now in the NHL. …

“It could be a perfect scenario,” Jim said of Jack going to U-M. “But they’re not there yet. The beauty is Jack is in a really great spot right now. He values the development he’s getting with Seth and Wrobo.”

For perspective, Hughes is playing up with the U18s as a U17:

Adding Hughes—and presumably keeping Quinn—would radically change next year's outlook.

Brandon Johns highlights. He is up for Mr. Basketball and looks like a perfect fit as a Beilein 4:

His main competition is David DeJulius, it appears.

One and done done? The NBA's one and done rule was always more about the NBA than college basketball, and now that they've got Lebron and a former president criticizing it publicly it may not be long for this world. The proposal is wrought with frippery that attempts to make it seem like one-and-done wasn't a selfish act from the drop:

Current NBA commissioner Adam Silver and several of his top advisers have been engaged in listening tours and information-gathering missions with an array of stakeholders for months. That has included formal meetings with the National Basketball Players Association about adjusting the so-called "one-and-done" age-limit rule. But Silver's aim is much more comprehensive than simply re-opening the door for 18-year-olds to play in the NBA, sources said.

A plan is expected to include the NBA starting relationships with elite teenagers while they are in high school, providing skills to help them develop both on and off the court. It would ultimately open an alternate path to the NBA besides playing in college and a way 18-year-olds could earn a meaningful salary either from NBA teams or as part of an enhanced option in the developmental G League, sources said.

The NCAA is either going to work with the NBA to keep a healthy number of future stars in college basketball or lose them all because of their archaic rules. Survey says it'll be the former because the people in charge care about money.

Etc.: I summon the Bracket Leak Hero from his home in Valhalla. Daily on Lavigne. Also Boka. Amateurism under attack, repeatedly, FBI investigation is good.

DJ Wilson Drafted 17th By Milwaukee

DJ Wilson Drafted 17th By Milwaukee

Submitted by Ace on June 22nd, 2017 at 9:25 PM


[Marc-Gregor Campredon]

As first reported by the one and only Adrian Wojnarowski, the Milwaukee Bucks selected DJ Wilson with the 17th overall pick in tonight's NBA Draft. Despite missing most of the pre-draft process due to a lingering injury, Wilson rose from a fringe first-rounder to nearly making it into the lottery. He joins one of the most exciting young teams in the league; the Bucks earned the sixth seed in the East last year with a lineup featuring Giannis "The Greek Freak" Antetokuonmpo, Jabari Parker, Khris Middleton, Greg Monroe, and Malcolm Brogdon.

Milwaukee has some talented players in the frontcourt, so Wilson should be able to ease his way into the rotation—his defensive versatility and shooting are his keys to seeing the floor. Wilson is the eighth Michigan player to be drafted under John Beilein, all since 2011, and the sixth to go in the first round.

Unverified Voracity Is Getting The Harbaughs Back Together

Unverified Voracity Is Getting The Harbaughs Back Together

Submitted by Brian on June 22nd, 2017 at 12:22 PM

32181825334_ddd1cd16b8_z

Exit Jeff Meyer. Lavall Jordan's first act as Butler head coach was to snatch longtime Beilein assistant Jeff Meyer out from under Michigan's Walter White. The parting was amicable:

The list of guys Meyer recruited at Michigan is a long and impressive one; also he got bizarrely chewed out by Tom Crean that one time. He will be missed. Beilein's had a knack for finding new coaches of late, so the program probably won't take much of a hit. The most relevant bit of this for Michigan fans may be what it says about Jordan: being able to snag a high profile assistant from Michigan is impressive. If he can keep Butler at its current level, Michigan's post-Beilein coaching search may well be one phone call.

I haven't seen any names for Meyer's replacement yet, which is somewhat unusual. Saadi Washington was instantly a likely hire when Alexander and Jordan departed for head jobs elsewhere. There is someone available…

13023605004_94974a0278_z

[Bryan Fuller]

Before you spit roast my head, consider that this would get Jim Harbaugh behind Michigan's bench at basketball games? And it would be really funny? And Crean might do it to get his furious revenge on Indiana? Yes? Maybe? No. Fine.

NORM. Here's something barely related to sports but good enough for this here site: Norm MacDonald infuriating a collection of Iowa honchos 20 years ago.

University of Iowa Athletic Department officials were teed off enough about Norm Macdonald’s Sunday night comedy act that they yanked his golf invitation for Monday.

Several members of the audience left during Macdonald’s act, which contained references to sex acts, AIDS and homosexuality. The comic alluded to the stream of people leaving the auditorium, but continued his set. “What do you want to talk about? Losing your luggage at the airport?” he asked as people left.

U of I Athletic Director Bob Bowlsby said Macdonald’s act “would be considered to be in very bad taste in nearly every venue in America.” Athletic Department spokesman Rick Klatt said the U of I was assured during contract negotiations that Macdonald could meet guidelines. “We were very explicit about the details of the event, and about the type of people who would be there,” Klatt said.

Mike Bridenstine, Los Angeles-based comedian/writer who grew up in Muscatine and attended the show as a teen:

“The joke that got the biggest/worst reaction was about bestiality porn. Old people and little kids were filing out. My mom felt so uncomfortable that she walked into the lobby, but complained, ‘They piped the sound out there too.’

“I physically hurt from laughing."

I went to a Norm MacDonald show at about the same time—maybe a couple of years later—and the main thing I remember from it is somehow Norm arrived at a point where it made sense to say "this cake here is my girlfriend. I f---ed it last night." I did not realize it at the time but I now know the show would have been greatly improved if Kirk Ferentz was there, fuming.

Norm himself:

“I didn’t even know anything was wrong. And then the next day these guys ... from some radio station or something, like I was sleeping, and they start asking these questions, you know. I didn’t know what to do, so I just tried to be funny. They go ‘Do you think your act is obscene?’ So I said ‘No, I think what’s obscene is there’s like kids dying in Vietnam, you know?’

“He goes ‘There’s no war in Vietnam!’ He like got all mad at me.”

I like Norm.

Angelique on Speight. He's been working to stay in front of Peters:

After returning from Michigan’s trip to Rome, Speight continued to watch every play from the entire season.

“I watched a little bit before spring ball, as well, but I got back to America and immediately went and clicked on the film and started watching that and knocked it all out,” Speight said. “Watched every game twice. There were certain plays in a few games at the end of the year that I wish I could have changed, but that’s what you live and learn from and you get better.”

He's imbibed the tao of Harbaugh when it comes to his injury:

He won’t be specific about the injury but said the shoulder is “back to 100 percent.” He also won’t say if he had surgery and turns coy when the subject comes up.

“I can’t remember,” Speight said, smiling. “That was way back in January, February, December.”

You know that thing where you turn into your father as you age? Yeah, that.

Catching up with Vincent Smith. Dan Murphy profiles Michigan's toughest running back in recent memory:

Vincent Smith is building momentum. He takes two short strides, sinking his hips like a retracting pinball plunger, and then launches himself clear over an 8-foot swath of freshly tilled and seeded earth. Smith gathers the five-gallon bucket of winter rye seeds next to his landing spot and moves on to the next patch of dirt.

It's late October in Michigan, and Smith is doing what he can to prep his garden-in-progress for the cold months ahead. The vacant lot he is trying to repurpose sits two blocks from the infamous Flint River, which in recent years delivered lead-tainted waters to the citizens of one of the Rust Belt's most down-on-its-luck cities. The rest of the street is lined by houses that range from worn but loved to dilapidated. The house that once stood on Smith's lot caught fire, and the city ordered its demolition several years earlier. He and a band of helpers spent weeks picking pieces of the old house and other garbage out of the ground when they decided last year that it was a good candidate to be turned into a community garden.

DJ Wilson scouted. DX on Wilson:

It will be interesting to see how his frame develops as he matures, since he already possess the skill set of a stretch-4, but he needs to add toughness and competitiveness to not emerge as a one-dimensional player. With NBA teams continue to search for big men who can shoot, handle, pass and switch, Wilson is a strong first round pick candidate and should have plenty of chances to break into an NBA rotation. - Source:

That's why he's in the draft: he's perfect for the modern NBA, where centers are power forwards who are expected to switch onto point guards and shoot threes. There's a 0% chance someone doesn't take him in the first round, because if he continues developing he can be part of a devastating five-out offense. Also despite being 21 he's got the upside of a younger player. Beilein:

"He’s just on his way to being a really good player," Beilein said. "He can really shoot. Put it together with his defense … he’s 21 with a body of a 19-year-old. The best is yet to come for him. He’s a super kid on and off the court; very coachable.

"Whoever gets him is going to be very fortunate."

If we could stop with the "DJ got bad advice" thing that would be great. He supposedly has a promise from the Nets, even.

Nope. Texas OT Brandon Hodges is looking to grad transfer but if Barking Carnival is right about the reason for his departure this will be a non-starter for Michigan:

Hodges was projected to start at right tackle, but he was reportedly done in by grades. Eric Nahlin at Inside Texas alluded this news coming a couple of days ago.

Michigan's last best shot at a grad transfer was Sunny Odogwu.

Etc.: Former NFL RB Alfonso Smith is joining the program as a staffer. David Harris to the Patriots. Ann Arbor is expensive.

The NBA Should Draft And Follow: Redux

The NBA Should Draft And Follow: Redux

Submitted by Brian on June 2nd, 2017 at 12:06 PM

33152307530_ca4d4f9b2b_z

hard decisions made easy [Marc-Gregor Campredon]

One-and-done has been an ongoing farce since its implementation for various reasons, but it seems like it may finally, finally, finally not be long for this world. NBA commissioner Adam Silver has bashed the current state of NBA draft eligibility in two separate forums over the past week. One was an interview with Colin Cowherd:

“It may surprise you, but I’m rethinking our position.

"Our historical position since we raised the age from 18 to 19 was that we want to go from 19 to 20, and the union’s position is they want to go from 19 to 18. …

"…. These young men, they’re followed so closely from the time they’re 13 or 14 on. They’re at the major shoe companies’ summer camps. They’re being watched closely by the league, by the college scouts. And so when they get to [college], now they’re in a unique situation. Talk about resting in the NBA, all of a sudden now they realize, even though they can buy insurance,  their biggest concern, unfortunately, becomes not whether they can win the NCAA tournament, but whether they drop in the NBA Draft. So then they have to be worried about how their skills are showcased, how many minutes they get, whether they get injured. It’s not a great dynamic.”

Silver re-iterated that take in front of the press yesterday, stating that one and done was "not working for anyone."

Now, this sort of thing has been going on for years and years. Here's Mark Cuban complaining about one and done in 2012:

Stern said Tuesday that he'd like to add a year to the rule. Cuban wants to take it a step further, requiring players to wait three years after their high school class graduates to become draft-eligible.

"I just think there's every good reason to do it, which is obviously why we didn't do it," Cuban said sarcastically, adding that Kentucky fans were the only people who like the one-and-done concept.

There is a shift in tone here. Over the last five years the commissioner of the NBA has gone from supporting more restrictions to supporting fewer. Whether this is a push for the D-League to become relevant (not bloody likely) or a belated realization that restricting the economic freedom of guys who would be lottery picks out of high school doesn't help anyone isn't relevant. The NBA draft model is seemingly set to change.

When changes to the NBA draft come up, a lot of people mention baseball's zero-or-at-least-three model, but that's the wrong league to take your cues from. I wrote about this in 2012: the NBA should look to the NHL. The NHL auto-enrolls anyone vaguely draftable at age 18, which allows NCAA players to retain their eligibility despite the fact that they went to Phoenix in the third round. Players then negotiate with their clubs as to when they'll turn pro. This prevents players from burning their NCAA eligibility on a pipe dream, which is the whole reason one-and-done came into existence in the first place.

There are three main flaws with the current NHL system: the entry-level contract is based on when you sign and not how old you are, teams lose their rights a few months after a senior graduates, and teams can sign kids without committing a big-league roster spot to them. This results in guys signing early to get their ELC out of the way and NHL teams signing them so that they don't lose their rights*. The NHL teams can shove them into the AHL anyway.

*[An example of what NHL teams strive to avoid: Panthers draft pick Zach Hyman graduated from Michigan as a Hobey Baker finalist and announced his intent to become a free agent. He wanted to join Toronto and the Panthers traded for him for pennies on the dollar.]

An ideal NBA draft system is in that 2012 post. In a nutshell:

  • Everyone relevant is auto-entered in the draft at 18, and 19 and 20 if they are passed over.
  • The NBA team retains the drafted player's rights until one year after his college eligibility expires.
  • A drafted player can be signed at any time. The contract lasts until the player is 23 and the NBA team in question commits to carrying that player on their roster for the duration of that contract. Graduated seniors are an exception to the roster rule.
  • The NCAA and NBA come to some sort of agreement where the NBA team can have him in summer league and maybe sign him to some sort of pre-contract that gives the kid some spending money.

Lebron can go to the league and guys only leave college at the point where their NBA team thinks they're worthy of a big-league roster spot. That would seem to be the most sensible arrangement for everyone.

Moritz Wagner To Return For Junior Year

Moritz Wagner To Return For Junior Year

Submitted by Brian on May 24th, 2017 at 11:04 AM

33407327001_f984e08e72_z

[Marc-Gregor Campredon]

Official site:

"I said, 'Coach Beilein, I already made up my mind. You don't have to tell me why I should stay here. I'm staying here.' There was some awkward silence as we sat there in his office. But he looked me in my eye, and said, 'Oh, OK, that's great news!' He shook my hand and hugged me."

Michigan is still waiting on DJ Wilson's decision, and it is slightly ominous that there's been one announcement and not the other. Wilson has until midnight to withdraw.

Meanwhile getting Wagner back is a very big deal. Wagner shot 73/66/40 on 24% usage last year and created a ton of shots himself. He needs to improve his defense, obviously. He's still likely to be a high-usage, high-efficiency star who keeps Michigan towards the top end of the Big Ten.

Basketbullets: Bamba To Texas, Simmons Withdraws, Wilson On Fringe

Basketbullets: Bamba To Texas, Simmons Withdraws, Wilson On Fringe

Submitted by Ace on May 18th, 2017 at 11:43 AM


Pondering. [Marc-Gregor Campredon]

The pipe dream is dead. Five-star center Mo Bamba committed to Texas via a post on The Players' Tribune:

Everybody’s recruiting process is unique in some way, and mine was no different. Watching my family grow and solidify its bond was by far my favorite part of the experience. The world is bigger than 94 by 50 feet, and we all agreed that Texas offers me an exceptional opportunity to blaze my own trail on the basketball front with the comfort of knowing that no matter what happens, I’ve got an unrivaled support network to lean on for whenever the ball stops bouncing.

Happy trails. /wipes away single tear

Simmons withdraws. The NBA combine and draft lottery are complete, so we have a new wave of mock drafts to look over. First, MLive's Brendan Quinn broke a bit of news last night that was probably a formaility but is a relief nonetheless: Ohio grad transfar Jaaron Simmons, who'll likely start at point guard, will withdraw his name from the draft and join the Wolverines.

Now, Simmons says, he's ready to come to Michigan.

"I'm gonna pull my name out of the draft," Simmons told MLive on Wednesday. "I haven't officially done it yet, but that's definitely the way I'm going."

Quinn reports Simmons is "in the process" of getting his name withdrawn. A strong player in both pick-and-roll and isolation situations, he fills a significant need and takes considerable pressure off of Xavier Simpson. More on Simmons and his fit on the roster here and here.

Mock draft updates. While we have more clarity after the combine, the status of DJ Wilson and Moe Wagner is still up in the air as we near the May 24th withdrawal deadline. Both players have said they won't stay in the draft unless they're first-round picks. That looks unlikely for Wagner; Wilson's situation is murkier.

Wilson sat out the combine with a nagging quad injury, and while missing the five-on-five portion of the combine may have been beneficial to his draft stock—he didn't have to bang bodies in the post with guys like Jordan Bell—the same cannot be said for missing the athletic testing portion, as his biggest draw right now is his size/athleticism combo. If Wilson's quad isn't healed up enough to fully participate in individual team workouts this week, he'll be in a tough spot, operating with far less feedback than he'd hoped to get when he began the process.

Wagner's combine performance showed it's probably in his best interest to come back to school, as the five-on-five portion mostly highlighted his shortcomings as a defender and rebounder:

Center Moritz Wagner was arguably the worst player in the five-on-five portion this week. In his first game, he posted 13 points, but his team was much better when he was off the floor as he posted a minus-25 plus/minus while struggling against big men like Omer Yurtseven. Then, in the second game, he went 3 of 15 from the field as he posted a 1 for 8 mark from 3 over the two games. Every time he left the floor, his team went on a run. He also didn’t measure well, and none of his athletic testing stood out. Sometimes kids just want to be done with school, and I respect that. But if Wagner was to enter the draft, he would run the risk of going undrafted given the obvious defensive and athletic limitations he showcased not just here, but also during the entire college basketball season.

Wagner is mostly absent from updated mock drafts, even the full two-round mocks. If those same projections hold, Wilson is going to have a difficult decision. Here's a rundown:

SBNation (one round): Wilson #17
Fox Sports
(one round): Wilson #24
The Ringer
* (two rounds): Wilson #25, Wagner #60
SI (one round + top five out): Wilson #28
DraftExpress (two rounds): Wilson #30 // (Wagner #59 for 2018)
ESPN (one round): Wagner #30, no Wilson
Bleacher Report (two rounds): Wilson #38
NBADraftNet (two rounds): none // (Wilson #21, Matthews #29, Wagner #38 for 2018)
HoopsHype (one round): none
Sporting News (one round): none
CBS Sports (one round): none

Save the rather odd suggestion from ESPN's Chad Ford that Utah could draft Wagner with the final pick of the first round and stash him in Germany, a route Wagner hasn't even hinted at considering, all indications are Wagner will either go in the mid-to-late second round or not at all. He's working out today for Milwaukee, which owns the #17 pick in the first round—far earlier than even the rosiest projections have Wagner going.

Wilson, meanwhile, is right on the borderline for his decision. Of the eleven mocks listed above, five have him going in the first round. With Bamba off to Texas, Wilson's decision will have a huge impact on the outlook of next year's rotation:

Perhaps Michigan could get in late on a grad-transfer wing if Wilson declares, but options are limited at this point.

Wilson told Quinn that his quad injury is going to impact his individual team workouts, though one team has stood out as a potential landing spot:

Wilson said the Spurs have requested that he reschedule a new workout and that he also plans to visit with the Orlando Magic. He added that there are "a few teams in the mix."

How many of those he'll be able to perform in front of remains to be seen. Wilson noted: "My window is going to be shorter."

That said, one team that will likely remain interested is Utah.

"They thought I was a pretty decent athlete for my size and I shot the ball well there, so that was something they were impressed by," Wilson said.

Those teams all hold selections in Wilson's projected range: Utah at #24 and #30, Orlando at #25, San Antonio at #29. If Wilson can get a guarantee from one of those teams, he's probably gone. If he doesn't, he may be uncomfortable enough with the uncertainty to head back to school for another year.

*Highly recommended for the scouting reports

Good Unverified Voracity For People Who Like Bad Unverified Voracity

Good Unverified Voracity For People Who Like Bad Unverified Voracity

Submitted by Brian on May 16th, 2017 at 1:11 PM

30513883700_69fa613ea8_z

[Patrick Barron]

All position switches are good news and bad news. Drake Harris is now a cornerback:

I'm dubious that this will work out, but Sam Webb asserts that Harris was not flat out told to move—he was in fact told that if he stays at WR he would be a contributor. The uncertainty at corner is greater and a guy with Harris's frame has a super high upside if it works out. Yes, Richard Sherman was inevitably brought up.

Moving your most experienced WR to CB after spring practice says something about the guys who are still there: DPJ and Tarik Black must have shown plenty for Michigan to move forward with those two guys and Kekoa Crawford as their main outside threats. It obviously says less than great things about cornerback, but I wouldn't get too despondent. Flipping guys around just to check is a Harbaugh trademark; sometimes it's paid off handsomely.

It is not a great sign for Harris's playing time since it directly states that he got passed by the two early-enrolled freshmen as soon as they showed up. Richard Sherman, yeah, but for every Sherman there are 20 shots in the dark that fail to salvage careers. There's a 10% chance he's a starting corner, a 20% chance he's on the two deep, and the rest of it is fading into Bolivia.

A combine weekend is good and bad. It's bad for the NBA prospects of Michigan's two potential early entrants, and that's good for Michigan. DJ Wilson had an injury that prevented him not only from playing 5 on 5 but also testing, which he would have been real good at. Wagner had a Wagner-versus-Oregon weekend, not a Wagner-versus-Louisville weekend. Both landed on Chad Ford's Go Back To School team. Both have also more or less directly stated that they are not going to stay in unless they're in the first round. Wagner:

“If I have that feeling that a team believes in me that much to draft me in the first round, I’d have to seriously consider that.

“As long as I don’t have that feeling, I won’t risk losing two years of eligibility at the University of Michigan.”

Wilson:

"If it's anything second round, then I don't really think that I'll be staying in the draft, I'll probably come back to school," Wilson said. "That's the good spot that I'm in -- I don't have a bad choice either way."

Wagner seems to be solidly in the second round and we can expect him back. Wilson is in a tricky spot; various mock drafts have him at the tail end of the first, including SBN and DX. I don't think he's going to have clarity either way unless a team gives him a guarantee.

In other combine news, any Michigan fan could have told you this:

Standing vertical leap (no steps) high scores: Donovan Mitchell (36.5 inches), Derrick Walton Jr. (36), Frank Jackson (35.5), Devin Robinson (35.5) and Derrick White (35.5)

Secretly 6'8" Derrick Walton and his rebounding chops.

WHY. WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS

This week in amateurism. Jim Delany gets a 20 million dollar bonus; the Big Ten is blindsided by complaints about Friday night games. Jim Delany is still getting a 20 million dollar bonus; this year's basketball schedule is so borked because of someone's bright idea to play the conference championship a week early so it can be at Madison Square Garden that Michigan might only play 30 games. And this is on the table:

“Do you end up playing a nonconference game during that week that’s after the conference [tournament] finishes up in New York?” Phillips pondered. “That’s a possibility. But who do you get who’s available? Do you play another conference game, and it’s a ‘nonconference’ game, but you play another conference opponent during that week? And I think you’ve got to be creative … how long a layoff is too long, where it really starts to have an adverse effect when you go into the postseason, whether it’s the NCAA or the NIT?”

If it maximizes revenue like a duck, pays only lip service to everything else like a duck, and compensates executives like a duck, can we finally pay the players?

Can't even scrape right. I wouldn't pay much attention to that NCAA report about the number of staffers across college football:

The Irish have a combined 45 on-field coaches, strength coaches, graduate assistants and support staff, according to the survey distributed to the NCAA Council last month. Notre Dame is followed closely in the top five by Texas (44), Georgia (42), Auburn (41) and Michigan (40).

However, the NCAA told CBS Sports the methodology to measure the staff sizes of 127 FBS schools in 2016 came from mere website research.

That research is also wrong. The report was for internal use and was obtained by CBS, thus putting a not ready for prime-time document on display. The numbers in it are not worth your time.

More worthy, perhaps, is this thought process:

The number of those added support staff is not capped. In fact, some argue that the NCAA should limit staff size even as they try to determine whether such a restriction can be legally instituted.

"You got it," said Phillips, also Northwestern's athletic director. "Maybe you can't limit [it], but the idea is that's how we've structured ourselves in the past. That's why we don't have seven assistant basketball coaches."

The money has to go somewhere. Now a lot of it is going to low level staffers. If it can't go to low level staffers it will go to midlevel staffers. Or it will buy Jim Delany yet another Ford Fiesta. You know he's just got a hangar full of 'em.

Etc.: Notre Dame is done paying Charlie Weis. xoxo miss you, Big Guy. M-OSU on Fox appears all but official. Hockey commit Antonio Stranges gets an "A+" rating from SBN College Hockey. Money has to go somewhere.

Justin Meram is doing work in MLS this year. I wonder if he regrets closing the door on the USMNT by playing for Iraq. I certainly regret it. Haven't had a winger in a minute.

DJ Wilson Not Participating In 5v5 At Combine

DJ Wilson Not Participating In 5v5 At Combine

Submitted by Brian on May 11th, 2017 at 12:49 PM

33407315941_72fea863aa_z

[Marc-Gregor Campredon]

This could be interpreted as a bad sign for Michigan's shot at getting DJ Wilson back:

Someone who thought he needed to change something to land in the first round would likely be playing. Brendan Quinn points out that Wilson might have a minor injury or other malady and he might be protecting his draft stock by not offering scouts less than the full DJ, but it is MGo-consensus that this is not a great sign.

Quinn also has an article on the increasingly late decisions that top-end players are making that is relevant to your interests:

This means that until recently, roughly one-third of the top 2017 recruits in the country were still available for the 2017-18 season. ... The trend is unmistakable. Top prep basketball players are using their leverage to wait out coaching changes and roster attrition before choosing their schools in the 11th hour. Given the power structure of college athletics, it's difficult to blame them. By waiting as long as possible, these players assure themselves an alliance of convenience before matriculating.

The current state of the NBA draft is a major driver of this trend. Since the drop dead date has moved so far back it has correspondingly moved back decisions.

A potential silver lining here: Mo Bamba is one of the players still waiting, as you no doubt know. Now that Texas's Jarrett Allen has signed with an agent, Michigan is the only one of Bamba's four finalists still waiting on a decision from a big. (Duke PG Frank Jackson and Texas PG Andrew Jones are still on the fence; all other UK/Duke/Texas early entrants are in for good.) If Michigan wasn't a potential landing spot he could pull the trigger. Hopefully a Wilson entry would make Michigan attractive enough to get Bamba. That's the ticket.

UPDATE: Consider the source, but:

Team-based reporters are often more optimistic in these situations than national types, and the timing here is suggestive.

UPDATE II: This on the other hand is specific and from non-affiliated writer.

Unverified Voracity Wants Stanford To Go Away

Unverified Voracity Wants Stanford To Go Away

Submitted by Brian on May 10th, 2017 at 1:15 PM

i (2)

GO AWAY

Early signing react: meh? I'm generally opposed to moving up the football signing period because it does little other than accelerate decisions that could use some more time, but adding a 3-day window in late December is a nothingburger. Almost all firings happen immediately after the regular season, so the chance players get locked into the wrong coaching staff is minimal. (Assistants can leave, of course, but they do that in the immediate aftermath of the February signing day now and will continue to do so.)

There is some clarity for soft commits and guys who are about to be processed: even Erik Swenson would probably get the hint if Michigan did not send him a LOI in December. That's a minor positive.

More important for Michigan is an ancillary change:

Northern teams could benefit, since in conjunction with the new date, the NCAA includes a rule that prospects will be allowed to take official visits (paid for by the school, and accompanied by a parent or high school coach) in April through June. This allows schools in cold climates to show a different, warmer side to top recruits.

I don't think the weather is the biggest thing for Northern teams. Kids from the South do understand that summer exists, I imagine. The biggest thing is just getting kids on campus. Talent is concentrated in the south, and many kids try to get decisions out of the way before their senior years. That change makes taking a trip to Ann Arbor much easier financially.

Also in slight boosts, Stanford might be hurt by the change:

For Stanford, an early signing period could indeed be catastrophic. It would face a situation in which talented, smart players want to sign early and take advantage of strong academics and be a part of the burgeoning football program, but could not allow them to sign because they are still far from clearing admissions. Those players, not willing to wait around, would lock up spots at other schools and Stanford's recruiting would take a hit.

These days virtually every player Stanford takes is a guy who would otherwise be a strong candidate to end up in Michigan's class. I keep waiting for them to implode, but nah.

There's also another NCAA proposal in the works that would slightly tighten up oversigning restrictions:

The legislation would limit to 25 the number of prospects whose aid is initially offered in the fall term of an academic year. Current rules limit to 25 the number of prospects allowed to sign from Dec. 1 through May 31.

A prospect whose scholarship paperwork specifies that he’ll be offered aid in the second or third term of an academic year may count toward the current academic year or the next year.

Transfers and walk-ons count. That ends "blueshirting", wherein a player does not sign but is promised a scholarship immediately on arrival. Blueshirting is a way to dodge these signing limits. This would make the 25 cap have more teeth, though early enrollment makes it a soft cap.

Michigan took advantage of that softness the past two years, taking 26 and 30 kids. They backdated six kids from the 2016 class and five from the 2017 class so that their initial counters in both years were exactly 25. They're now out of room to do that so 25 should be a hard cap for them this year—not that they're expected to get there.

Withdraw! Withdraw! ESPN had a draft conference call yesterday to plug the fact that they're televising the NBA combine—wonders never cease—and both guys on it were pretty blunt about what Michigan's two potential early entries should do:

Goodman: “The NBA guys I talked to said, ‘Moe Wagner, come back.’ It’s great that he played well at the end of the year, but it was a small sample size and they said, ‘He’s got good upside, but come back and become a better rebounder, become a better defender.'”

Fraschilla: “Neither (Wilson nor Wagner) is physically ready for the NBA. … DJ is really interesting because he’s the quintessential ‘3 and D’ big guy right now. He shoots threes and he’s got great length to defend. But even he got bullied inside. DJ could get drafted in the first round, late, but he ain’t playing in an important NBA game for at least a couple of years.”

We had an animated Slack conversation about this yesterday: Wilson would start his clock earlier if he entered this year, and some second round picks are getting guaranteed contracts these days. But if Fraschilla's right and he's going to spend a couple years not even playing that gives him a relatively narrow window to establish himself before he'd be a free agent. If the financial argument is relatively close, Wilson may want to spend a year playing for a Big Ten title and NCAA tournament run than hanging with the Fort Wayne Mad Antz or watching from the bench.

While we're on basketball rostering stuff, Rivals' Corey Evans talks to OH SF Jerome Hunter:

Michigan: “Me and coach Saddi Washington, we are real close, too. I talk to him pretty much every day about life. I like Michigan. They have good facilities and good academics."

He said nearly identical things (minus the academics) about OSU, Xavier, and Pitt; Evans says it's "anyone's guess" where he lands but most of the chatter at Spiece was about Michigan.

OH PF Pete Nance draws some lofty comparisons in this Andrew Kahn article. Michigan has a guy in their corner in his recruitment: Pete Hassinger, Jon Teske's former coach and a guy who has coached Nance on the AAU circuit:

Hassinger has gotten to know Beilein well over the past few years and admits he is biased towards the Wolverines. “It’s a great basketball program and great university. You come out of there with an unbelievable degree; it’s so prestigious.”

Nance "doesn't want to post up 50 times a game," sooooo... yeah. /waves

Five out. Kevin O'Connor writes about the evolution of the NBA 5, and it looks very familiar. Al Horford, a center and career 35% 3-point shooter, is the focus:

“[Al Horford’s] value to this team — you can’t describe it. It’s bigger than the stat sheet.” This was Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas, speaking after his 53-point performance in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against Washington last week. Thomas got all the glory. Statistically, Horford was ordinary, scoring just 15 points, grabbing 12 rebounds, and handing out three assists. But Horford was anything but a big-money bystander: The center’s play beyond the box score was an example of the immense impact stretch 5s can make across the league, even when they aren’t posting lofty numbers.

In previous eras, contenders relied on big men as a consistent source of offense. But in the new league, the most important thing someone like Horford can do for his team is to space the floor and make plays when he needs to. Young bigs across the league could learn a lot by watching Boston’s big man.

It is not a coincidence that Derrick Walton, who was terrible inside the arc as a sophomore and junior, had a huge uptick in his ability to get to the basket with the advent of Michigan's all stretch five lineups. Any center Michigan put on the floor, whether it was Wagner, Wilson, or Donnal, was not a person you should leave open from three. Pick and pop became a bigger facet of the offense than it had been under Beilein and the lane became a cavern.

Hopefully Nance (and Mo Bamba) are perusing this article as we speak.

Wayne Lyons 2.0? Michigan is looking for a grad transfer or two, and they've apparently settled on a target:

Wiggins started as a nickelback in 2014, missed 2015 with an ACL tear, and was sparingly used a year ago. Michigan is apparently set at the various spots Wiggins might fit in at but they have nothing but true freshmen behind the projected starters and could use a dime back a la Tyree Kinnel a year ago.

I'm still a little puzzled they didn't go after one of the tackles on the market. Must not have liked their film at all.

Yes please. I can't actually read this article because I don't subscribe to "Columbus Business First" but apparently OSU is considering a 4k seat rink for its hockey programs. This would be a massive improvement over the current situation where OSU plays in their basketball arena, which is almost as empty as your average NCAA regional game is.

Michigan, Michigan State, and Wisconsin are all sporting new coaches who should be an improvement over the previous regime's performance during the Big Ten era; OSU appears to be fixing the biggest problem with their program; Notre Dame joins next year. Big Ten Hockey is set to go from a joke to a powerhouse. And they even fixed the playoff system (for the most part)!

The problem. Think of all the stuff ESPN televises. Surely no one live event is a significant part of the whole, right?

On the flip side, ESPN’s costs for content have skyrocketed to well over $7 billion a year, more than any competitor, according to projections from Boston Consulting Group and SNL Kagan. That compares to $5 billion by Netflix and $4.3 billion by NBC. Rights to “Monday Night Football” alone cost ESPN $1.9 billion a year, not to mention hefty deals with the NCAA and NBA.

More than a quarter of ESPN's rights fees are for one game a week, for one third of the year. And those games are chosen before the season! That is nuts. [HT: Get The Picture.]

Etc.: Spread offenses make more cornerbacks appear. Channing Stribling on Michigan's fractured locker room and repairing it.

Wagner, Wilson To Enter Draft, Not Hire Agents

Wagner, Wilson To Enter Draft, Not Hire Agents

Submitted by Ace on April 10th, 2017 at 3:19 PM


[Marc-Gregor Campredon]

Redshirt sophomore forward DJ Wilson announced he will enter the NBA Draft without hiring an agent.

Mere moments later, sophomore forward Moe Wagner did the same.

By not hiring agents, both players have left the window open for a return to Michigan. They can participate in the combine and work out for individual teams. The deadline to withdraw from the draft is May 24th. Wilson has been projected in the mid-to-late first round in some mocks; Wagner's projections have been mostly in the latter half draft. It's quite possible, as occurs quite often with the new rule, that one or both ends up returning.

Michigan currently has one open scholarship for the 2017-18 season; departures from Wagner and Wilson could bring that number to three. They are in continued pursuit of five-star C Mo Bamba, who'd be the ideal replacement but also has Duke, Kentucky, and Texas in hot pursuit. The coaches are also looking into grad transfer options; they're in contact with Wright State guard Mark Alstork, Howard guard James Daniel, and Pitt forward Cameron Johnson.