Unverified Voracity Swims In Popcorn

Unverified Voracity Swims In Popcorn

Submitted by Brian on April 14th, 2015 at 12:33 PM

I didn't know this was a thing. The NBA kids these days and their "popcorning."

That is Nik Stauskas splayed upon the counter in his popcorn-covered home. Urban Dictionary doesn't know what "popcorning" is (top result: "One of the ways a guinea pig shows his/her excitement/affection") and neither do I. Apparently it has something to do with the fact that Stauskas doesn't drive?

I feel like everything about Stauskas's NBA career has gone through the same filter that created "Sauce Castillo."

A brief essay on Sauce Castillo. It was a tweet at first, with a picture to verify. It took off as these things do, and then the Kings stepped in wholeheartedly. They had a friggin' Sauce Castillo night.

This is probably a good idea for the Kings. They are on top of what is happening on The Social Media and provide some intrigue for an early April game played by a team currently 38 games back of the Warriors. (But seven ahead of the Lakers!) They sold some merch, I imagine. A brief survey of the Kings organization shows a marketing savvy that's a bit of a shock for someone focused on colleges that are doing it right if they aren't shooting themselves in the foot monthly. The Kings are the future, when people at the top of organizations actually understand the internet and act accordingly.

And that's a little sad. A few years ago Sauce Castillo would have been a mark of something… probably that you read Bethlehem Shoals and are the kind of NBA obsessive who needs to find similarly-minded groups of proto-marxist revolutionary cells. Now Sauce Castillo is joyously accepted by the organization at large and thus destroyed.

Man I feel like an old man in Portland complaining that Sleater-Kinney's latest album ruins their entire career right now. But it is kind of a thing: there is a lot of value in defining yourself as a separate, weirder in-group in a mass of fans. MLS and the ever-shifting power struggle between various USMNT supporter's groups do a good job of this; the rest of American sports doesn't.

That will have to come from elsewhere in the Kingsfuture when every mildly diverting tweet is swiftly assimilated by the entertainment Borg.

LeVert update. Holding pattern for Michigan but one in which the arrows continue to point the right way. Chad Ford's advocating a return:

He should return. His draft stock was trending down before he was injured. Not sure he'd be a first rounder if he declared. He'd need excellent workouts.

Since LeVert isn't getting back on the court until May, those workouts would not be ideally timed. And LeVert is facing down an avalanche of prospects in this draft:

Among underclassmen at LeVert's positions -- shooting guard and small forward -- to declare early are Kentucky's Devin Booker and Aaron Harrison, Arizona's Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Kansas' Kelly Oubre, Wisconsin's Sam Dekker, Florida's Michael Frazier II, Eastern Washington's Tyler Harvery, Georgia State's R.J. Hunter, Houston's Jherrod Stiggers, Florida State's Aaron Thomas, North Carolina's J.P. Tokoto and UNLV's Rashad Vaughn.

Other wings expected to declare for the draft include Duke's Justise Winslow and Arizona's Stanley Johnson. Mario Hezonja, a 6-foot-7 small forward from Croatia, is also a projected lottery pick.

"Jherrod Stiggers" is a spectacular name.

Let's maybe hold off on that for one sec. After his commitment, Matt Falcon takes a cue from the Lawrence Marshall playbook:

Right now, he says he's focused on three-star receiver Dez Fitzpatrick and four-star defensive lineman Khalid Kareem.

His pitch to them both is pretty simple.

"The best players in the state play for Michigan," Falcon says. "I'm trying to recruit names in the state and trying to get them to join the family."

I mean, continue to do that. Just expect MSUThaBest2009 to be on your case as you do so.

Hello: Samuelssons. I don't have to tell you this is a hockey recruiting bullet, do I? You just saw "Samuelssons" and assumed we were talking about some Swedes, be they from Sweden or relocated.

Well done, reader: Michigan hockey has secured commitments from depressingly young hockey players once again. This time they are the sons of former NHL defenseman Kjell Samuelsson. The older one, Matthias, is a defenseman. Over The Boards scouts:

He is… uh… 14 and his dad is 6'7" so I would expect him to be very large indeed by the time he reaches campus. Luke Samuelsson, his brother, also committed as a 2018 forward. I haven't been able to find anything on him yet, as you might expect in this age range.

Meanwhile in draft hijinks. Not much in the way of intrigue in this year's OHL draft; Michigan's commitments that far out are generally already signed up with the NTDP. There weren't any unpleasant surprises this year. Michael Pastujov, the younger brother of NTDP-er Nick Pastujov, was drafted by Saginaw in the fourth round on a flier. Michael was projected as a top pick—possibly the top pick—in the draft and slid significantly because of concerns over his commitment. Saginaw is not noted as a team that snipes random Americans.

Toronto-based forward Quinn Hughes, also projected as a top ten pick, slid to the third round. Hughes has dual citizenship and is already committed to the NTDP; his father also works in an NHL front office so they're well aware of the pros and cons of each route. Josh Norris went in the sixth round to Niagara.

How does the seemingly imminent retirement of Red Berenson play into these recruitments? I don't know. Michigan has to be telling these kids that it's unlikely Red is around in 2018, so the far-future ones seem somehow more secure than those who might be making decisions in a year or two. I expect there's some attrition when the change is made; how much is hard to tell.

Etc.: Daily profiles Kyle Connor. Irvin report card. Anthony Carter's tear-away jersey. Diamond Stone eschewing the LOI, good man.

Dear Diary is Closed Captioned

Dear Diary is Closed Captioned

Submitted by Seth on March 27th, 2015 at 10:31 AM

The name of the year bracket is out and I just don't know you guys, there are so many good ones. We've known for 17 years that Charity Sunshine Tilleman-Dick would be a top contender in this year's draft, but not that Littice Bacon-Blood, Dr. Wallop Promthong, Mussolino Africano, Manmeet Colon, Flavious Coffee, Understanding Bush, Reverent Pierrebatista Pizzaballa, Infinite Grover, Amanda Miranda Panda, and Cherries Waffles Tennis would all be coming out this year. Charity is just a 13-seed. The MSU guard they call "Tum Tum" is a 15-seed and entered by his given name, Lourawls Nairn Jr.; apparently someone agrees with me that a nickname like "Tum Tum" need not be wasted on a guy already named Lourawls. I vote we make them give it to Trice. Tum Tum Trice. All in favor?

Sadly Michigan is again unrepresented, the once-mighty program with the all-Ron Swanson-approved front seven reduced to a spattering of boring last-names-that-coud-be-first-names.* However after last night we may ourselves have a write-in candidate:

saucecastillo

It's Canadian for extremely sharp triple-dip salsa.

Meet Sauce Castillo, the accidental nickname for Nick Stauskas. I am old enough to remember a time when hilarious captioning mistakes were merely legends you prayed someone else at school saw the next day, not immediately screencapped, spread to every person who might be interested, meme'd,

07f3e13dd228a1fba847835aee9d8baa_crop_north

and slapped on a t-shirt you could order immediately:

2KPoQX9LdTlRQp4lBJwyUAlfi7jqdOYDR65eQi9TeJg_1024x1024

Since the internet, Mr. Castillo. I remember the days before it, and those days were less fun than these days.

Side Note: Never, and I repeat: NEVER say "Nik Stauskas" into Siri. She will translate it as "skip chapter" and not only jump you to the next one on your audiobook, but you can never go back! It is skipped forever!

* [So many first name last names: Brady Hoke, Dave Brandon, Desmond Morgan, Drake Harris, Shane Morris, James Ross, Jarrod Wilson, Jeremy Clark, Ty Isaac, Mason Cole, Willie Henry, Kenny Allen, Zak Irvin, Cutler Martin, Alex Kile, Evan Allen, Megan Betsa,…can you think of more?]

[After the jump, the other two in the 2015 Big Two Little Twelve is a team from Michigan (NTTFM)]

Odds On Favorites: Not Just Shooters

Odds On Favorites: Not Just Shooters

Submitted by Seth on October 30th, 2014 at 7:35 PM

[Ed-Seth: Reminder what this is since it's been on hiatus: Jamiemac of Just Cover Blog and the MGoPodcast was dragged out of quasi-retirement to give us an odds-angle view of relevance to you, and Draft Kings offered to to sponsor it, and puts up a fantasy game to commune in so you can use sports knowledge to win currency of relevance to you.]

THIS WEEK'S GAME: NOT JUST SHOOTING

Well you can kinda-sorta have him back. You can draft Nik Stauskas on your Draft Kings fantasy squad. In fact the Sacramento rookie is only $3,400, like half of the mean.

Not saying you should draft him since McLemore played Wednesday and is holding onto his starting spot for now. I also noticed they got Jamal Crawford at an unreasonable $5,400—that's got to be a combination of his playoff run and holding off new daddy J.J. Redick in the preseason. The points system favors guys who take more shots behind the arc and those who get multiple double digit stats, not just shootersDRINK!

(No Burke/McGary/THJ/GR3 this week because they all play on Saturday)

Details:

-$30,000 prize pool.

- First place wins $5,000

- $2 entry fee (FREE with fist deposit).

- Top 4,000 are paid.​

- Starts on Friday, October, 31st at 7:00 EST

- Salary Cap Style Drafting. $50,000 to select 8 spots

- Roster Format: 1 PG, 1 SG, 1 SF, 1 PF, 1 C, 1 G, 1 F and 1 Util.

- First time depositors at DraftKings receive a 100% bonus up to $600

Take the link.

THIS WEEK'S CHALK: A PLACE WHERE MICHIGAN-INDIANA MEANS SOMETHING

There is a place where Michigan has a three-game winning streak over Ohio State. Where they have won six of nine against Michigan State. Where the Wolverines are defending Big Ten Champions. This place has hardwood flooring.

On January 27, 2011, Zack Novak’s aneurysm of leadership burst, Stuart Douglass swished a decisive 3-pointer, and Michigan upset the 11-point favorite MSU Spartans at the Breslin Center. Big 10 Basketball has not been the same since.

[After the jump: journey to Jamie Mac's Big Ten basketball preview, a place where Michigan regularly beats the spread]

Unverified Voracity Examines Butterfly

Unverified Voracity Examines Butterfly

Submitted by Brian on July 8th, 2014 at 12:38 PM

Well now that's over and we can think about… oh. I can't believe I got a bunch of people going "but I want to talk about football" in this offseason of all offseasons. Happy now?

Anyway, as a result of my quadrennial case of World Cup fever some of these links are a bit old. You have been warned.

The best thing to come out of the Big Ten expansion.

newhoker_medium[1]

This is from a completely serious BHGP article about how the Big Ten has just electrified New York City. There is also a completely serious article from Ryan Nanni that faintly reads like parody.

Let's talk about basketball. Kenpom talks offensive rebounding. Findings:

  1. OREBs are gradually declining as more teams abandon the boards for better transition defense (probably).
  2. Layups get OREB'd slightly more than 40% of the time, with jumpers and threes OREB'd slightly more than 30% of the time. Threes are least likely to get OREB'd, so don't let those long bouncers back out fool you.
  3. Anything that gets blocked and stays in play is about 32% to be OREB'd.
  4. Chart

oreb_by_minute[1]

Offensive rebounds are more likely as the game goes on, which is a pretty weird finding to me but there it is. The late surge makes sense since trailing teams will go all out and damn the transition torpedoes, but the rest of it is a bit weird.

And yet it moves. A palpable cut for one Jalen Coleman. This is not a drill (nor is it, like, something that is new, but I was waiting for more basketball recruiting news that did not appear):

Coleman, a 6-foot-3 guard from La Lumiere High School in La Porte, Ind., will choose between Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Notre Dame, UNLV and NC State, according to Scout.com recruiting analyst Brian Snow.

Notre Dame, oddly, is rumored to be Michigan's main competition. They do have proximity and (probable) playing time, but they haven't exactly been Beilein-standard during the interminable Mike Brey era.

Kings draftin' Stauskas.

Yeah, probably. Gary Parrish asks a question about Beilein:

Is John Beilein the best at turning lowly recruits into lottery picks?

Trey Burke and Nik Stauskas both shot into the lottery after being in the 70s or 80s as recruits… just wait until next year, when Caris LeVert probably adds his name in there somewhere. Parrish's trump card:

Of the 20 players selected in the top 10 of the past two NBA Drafts, 18 were former top 75 prospects and/or players who spent at least three seasons in college. The only exceptions? Burke and Stauskas -- both of whom enrolled at Michigan as unheralded recruits, earned Big Ten Player of the Year honors as sophomores, turned pro and were selected in the top 10 of the subsequent NBA Draft.

Bonkers, man. This is such a smart quote in re: how:

"We try to project whether a player is on the rise or if he's already where he's gonna be," Beilein said. "A lot of the [analysts'] early projections on players, I think, are made because the players' bodies are ahead of everybody else's bodies. And if you saw Nik or Caris, back when they were 16 years old, their bodies weren't ahead of anybody else's bodies."

Not that projecting based on bodies is necessarily a bad strategy—it seems to be working just fine for, uh, everybody. But when you're trying to assemble a starting five that's ten picks away from being all first-rounders and you don't have the recent pedigree of the Dukes and the Kentuckies, it is (obviously) a rather good idea.

Okay okay one more quote:

"Lots of coaches work on shooting with players, but Beilein teaches guys how to shoot," an NBA executive told me. "He doesn't just work with them. He actually teaches them."

Hooray Beilein.

Let's talk about hockey. Over The Boards lists the top 15 college guys for next year's draft, featuring three guys committed to Michigan at numbers 4, 5, and 6. Or mostly committed, in Zach Werenski's case. Nick Boka:

4. 97 D Nick Boka – NTDP U18 – Michigan

The Michigan recruit has an aggressive, athletic upside that could come on very strong in his draft year. Wins battles in the tough areas of the ice and can provide puck support. We like Werenski’s total skillset more right now, but Boka could easily emerge as the best American talent on the blue line in this draft behind Hanifin.

The top nine guys are all headed to Michigan, BC, or BU, FWIW.

This is appalling. National Football Post puts up a thing about NFL talent with a boggling Michigan thing. This is the second half of the chart running down the top 37 producers of NFL talent in the league, as ordered by 2013 player starts. Michigan's cliff is insane:

7hmT1[1]

Argh Harbaugh

Nutshell, meet Michigan's barely over .500 record since Bo's death. It's not quite that bad in real life, as a combination of circumstances reduced Michigan's number to the "Stanford before 2009" number you see above. Actually, it's just one circumstance: Stevie Brown getting knocked out with an injury.

Your top overall pre-2009 producers:

  1. Miami (That Miami)
  2. Michigan
  3. Tennessee
  4. Texas
  5. Florida State

Michigan is dead last since, amongst this sample. NOW ARE YOU HAPPY TO TALK ABOUT FOOTBALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL /rock musik

All right, sir, you have my attention. MmmgobluBBQ, a Michigan-themed grill/tailgate/BBQ blog exists, and… yes sir, I subscribe.

IMG_5536_zps05832357[1]

That… is beautiful, and then you realize that the onion ring there is bacon-wrapped.

Let's not do this. Michigan went over its travel budget for the bowl game by just over 100k, causing assertions that Michigan took a loss on the thing. That is not accurate, as even the article states:

Ultimately, the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl left U-M roughly $132,000 in the red. …

U-M's loss of $132,000 does not include revenue brought in from the Big Ten's shared bowl revenue plan, which splits all Big Ten bowl revenue among the conference's 12 teams.

So, not in the red. Just slightly over the Big Ten's travel allotment.

Etc. Don't click this box score unless you want to be reminded of last year. Stop taking pictures of yourself, twits. I BLAME YOU ELLEN.  Don't use a null hypothesis when that's not sensible. Contains subtweet shade thrown at David Berri (the "salaries don't predict wins" bit). Nussmeier talks with Bruce Feldman.

Ohio State ticket prices are high, at least on the secondary market.

Barwis TV Barwis TV. Why you should root for O'Bannon.

Michigan's NBA Draftees: How Do They Fit?

Michigan's NBA Draftees: How Do They Fit?

Submitted by Ace on July 3rd, 2014 at 2:02 PM

I promised I'd write a post this week on how Michigan's latest crop of NBA players fit in with their new teams. When I said this, I forgot a fundamental aspect of the NBA offseason—namely, that the post-draft free agency period is complete and utter chaos, so projecting what teams will look like in October can be rather difficult. Adding to the difficulty: two of the three Michigan draftees went to teams whose front office decisions are often summed up with a hearty ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Undeterred, here's my best effort.

Nik Stauskas, Sacramento Kings

In three of the last four years, the Kings have attempted to pick their shooting guard of the future, first with BYU's Jimmer Fredette in 2011, then Kansas' Ben McLemore in 2013, and now with Stauskas. Fredette is now on the Bulls. In related news, the Kings haven't been very good, winning just 34% of their games in each of the last two seasons. They're also a team with a lot up in the air at the moment: they just signed point guard Darren Collison, making it very likely restricted free agent PG Isaiah Thomas will play elsewhere next season. The Kings have rumored interest in Detroit's Josh Smith and several others; after a very disappointing rookie season, McLemore could even be on the table as trade bait.

It seems unlikely, however, that the Kings would give up on the #7 overall selection from last year's draft so quickly, even with the brutal 7.8 PER McLemore posted last year (the NBA average is 15). Sacramento needs both shooting and bench scoring; Stauskas obviously could provide both, and coming off the bench as a rookie in need of some development, especially defensively, may be the best situation for him anyway. That's how SBNation's Sactown Royalty sees Stauskas getting used in year one:

But the "good news" for the Kings is that their needs are many, including production from their starting shooting guard and wing production from the bench. And this is where Stauskas could potentially help the Kings in a big way.

The drafting of Stauskas is not a death knell for Ben McLemore. Based on how McLemore finished the season, I am guessing that he has at least a slight leg up on Stauskas right now. I'm not saying that the starting job has been given to him by any means. I am saying that he is likely ahead of Stauskas in the here and the now. But when it's all said and done, one of these guys could start and one could get some serious burn off the bench, including in three guard sets. The Kings have a definite need at the positions that Stauskas could fill.

The Kings have a lot of holes left to fill, so this outlook could change dramatically even in the coming hours, depending on what they do with Thomas and McLemore. A Microwave-type role seems ideal for a rookie Stauskas, however, and once he gets used to the NBA game there's a good chance he challenges McLemore for the starting spot at the two.

Mitch McGary, Oklahoma City

McGary has the most obvious fit among Michigan's draftees, though it's one that'll likely have him riding pine for much of his rookie year—not necessarily a bad thing for a guy coming off back surgery. Landing on a great team that doesn't need immediate help up front is a great situation for McGary; he'll be able to ease his way into playing time, and down the road there should be opportunity for much more.

Right now, OKC is pretty much set in the frontcourt. Serge Ibaka is a star, coach Scott Brooks has a baffling affinity for the plodding Kendrick Perkins, Steven Adams had a breakout playoff season as an energy/tough guy with a good deal of untapped potential, and Nick Collison is the wily veteran who provides solid rebounding, defense, and a little scoring touch while possessing the versatility to play the four or the five.

Collison's role is the one McGary projects to best, and given Collison's minutes have waned over the last couple seasons, he'll have an opportunity to carve out a small role on a title contender this year—an Adams/McGary pairing off the bench could be a heck of an energy boost. (Also, a potential riot-starter.)

The real opportunity for playing time should come in 2015-16. Collison and Perkins are both entering the final year of their respective contracts; entering this season at 34 years old, it's unlikely Collison will be back. Perkins should be either gone or in a reduced role; even Brooks finally realized last season that he needed to dial back the big man's minutes. A big man rotation of Ibaka-Adams-McGary should be something to build around for the future—you know, alongside those Durant and Westbrook fellows—and that future may not be far off.

Glenn Robinson III, Minnesota Timberwolves

We're well aware that Robinson needs significant development before he's ready to thrive in the NBA. Not only does his defense need work, he's going to have to improve either his jump shot or ballhandling (preferably both) to be a reliable player in halfcourt sets. GRIII's transition game is the one aspect that won't be questioned from the beginning—he can run, fill a lane, and finish with the best of them.

No matter what, Robinson should have a limited role in his rookie season. He's transitioning from playing the four at Michigan to being a small forward in the NBA, which means guarding a wholly different type of player—most rookies struggle with defense as they get used to the higher level of play, and GRIII will be no different. The Wolves don't have a lot of talent on the wing, but they've got enough to allow a second-rounder to ease his way into the rotation.

While the role should be relatively small regardless, it's tough to project anything further with Minnesota considering the current state of the team. Their superstar power forward, Kevin Love, is going to be traded this offseason; he has a player option for 2015-16 that allows him to opt out of his contract and Minnesota has little-to-no chance of re-signing him, so they must act soon or they'll lose one of the league's most valuable players for nothing. They've been in serious trade talks with Golden State; if those fall through, several other teams will line up for a shot at Love, especially once free agent Carmelo Anthony lands on a squad.

Jordan Morgan, Minnesota Timberwolves (Summer League)

J-Mo's situation is pretty simple. He'll play for Minnesota's summer league team, and in doing so he'll hope to earn a training camp invite from any NBA team and/or impress an overseas squad enough to get a shot for a more guaranteed contract. If Morgan is looking for job security, the latter route is the most preferable.

If that doesn't work out, I think Morgan will land on his feet just fine.

NBA Draft Recap: Stauskas #8, Beilein Scoops Everyone

NBA Draft Recap: Stauskas #8, Beilein Scoops Everyone

Submitted by Ace on June 27th, 2014 at 2:47 PM


via Michael Shamburger

While Michigan didn't quite end up getting their entire starting five from the 2013 national title game into the first round, last night's NBA Draft proved a major success for the program. Here's an overview of what went down last night; next week, I'll take a closer look at how each U-M draftee fits in with his new team.

Nik Stauskas, #8 Overall, Sacramento Kings

Nik Stauskas went off the board at #8 to Sacramento, becoming the highest Wolverine selection since Dallas picked Robert Traylor (RIP) sixth in 1998 before trading him to Milwaukee. Stauskas, resplendent in a suit that probably cost more than my car, immediately celebrated with a perfectly executed three-goggle handshake with his dad. (His subsequent handshake with John Beilein wasn't quite so flawless.)

Afterward, Stauskas was asked about Michigan by someone who clearly never went to Michigan, because Zingerman's is way too expensive for students and the Art Fair takes place when almost nobody is on campus. He handled it well:

Q.  Nik, Michigan is a very good school academically, great campus like Zingerman's, the art festival in Ann Arbor.  Was it an easy decision?  There must be a tough decision to say, I want to leave early, because it is a great school.  Was there part of you that said, I should get my degree here and then go to the NBA? 
NIK STAUSKAS:  I definitely thought about it, but the biggest thing for me after this season was I felt like I was ready.  I thought I had improved enough throughout the year, and I had made a lot of strides in my game and made the necessary improvements to make that jump to the next level. 
Like I said, this has been a dream of mine my entire life.  The fact that I had the opportunity to do it now, I feel like this is the right time.  I understand that I could always go back and get my education after, which I fully plan on doing. 

It's great to hear that Stauskas plans to finish earning his degree down the road. And yes, Nik, you were ready.

In the end, it turned out Stauskas separated himself quite a bit from the two players believed to be his biggest competition as shooting guards projected to go in the mid-to-late lottery. Kentucky's James Young went to the Celtics at #17, while MSU's Gary Harris surprisingly plunged all the way to #19—he'll end up in Denver after a draft-day trade with Chicago.

Mitch McGary, #21 Overall, Oklahoma City Thunder

One of the most entertaining aspects of draft night is watching Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski announce every pick on Twitter well before the actual picks are announced, sometimes getting so far as three picks ahead of the telecast. Rarely does anyone scoop Wojo; when they do, sometimes it's because they're wrong.

So when John Beilein tweeted this out minutes before Oklahoma City selected Mitch McGary at #21 overall, it'd prove to be the second-greatest thing Beilein did last night (TEASER):

John Beilein is better at your job than you are. There's no shame in this. Just accept it.

Meanwhile, MLive's Brendan Quinn passes along this fantastic quote from OKC GM Sam Presti, generally regarded as one of the best in the business:

"The last thing that is really, really impressive to us, and the reason that we value him even more, is that he's an incredible teammate -- just an incredible teammate," Presti said. "That was on display during the season when he missed a significant amount of time.

"I felt like I was scouting him on the bench while he wasn't playing. The way that he engaged with his teammates, his support was unwavering, his enthusiasm was unwavering. Combine that with his skill-set and and his intangibles, and that's a Thunder player."

Yes.

If the Thunder don't use a future pick on Andrew Dakich, I'll be sorely disappointed.

Glenn Robinson III, #40 Overall, Minnesota Timberwolves

Wojo cruelly tweeted that Oklahoma City was considering GRIII with their second pick of the first round, which was not to be. In a really deep draft—Wichita State's Cleanthony Early lasted all the way to #34—he dropped to the tenth pick of the second round, but the team that nabbed him valued him much higher than that:

At GRIII's draft party, his mother took a moment to note that this was the plan all along:

When the waiting was finally over, after the Timberwolves had finished the drama, Clay [Robinson's mother], along with Robinson took the podium.

She read a letter he wrote in high school about how he was going to miss school but that he was onto bigger and better things.

That in a couple of years, he would be playing in the NBA.

He called it.

With Robinson's selection, Michigan—as expected—ended with three players taken in the draft, tied with UCLA for the most among any school. However...

Jordan Morgan, Undrafted Free Agent, Minnesota Timberwolves

...that didn't mean Beilein's night was over. The last person remaining in the green room, Michigan's coach waited out every pick in the hope that a team would take a second-round flier on Jordan Morgan:

John Beilein is the best. The absolute best.

Morgan didn't get picked, but he'll get a chance to earn a roster spot alongside GRIII, as he told Quinn today that he's joining the Timberwolves as an undrafted free agent. He'll get his shot on Minnesota's Summer League squad; they start play on July 12th, and you can find the whole schedule here. Even if Morgan doesn't get a spot on the Timberwolves, it's a great opportunity for him to audition for other NBA teams and scouts from other leagues.

How About The Pistons?

While Detroit lost their first-round pick (don't ask, or this vein in my head starts doing funny things), they used their second-rounder on Colorado guard Spencer Dinwiddie, considered a potential first-round prospect last year before coming back to school and suffering an ACL injury. How would I grade the pick?


via @Jose3030

A+.

NBA Draft Primer: Three Michigan First-Rounders?

NBA Draft Primer: Three Michigan First-Rounders?

Submitted by Ace on June 25th, 2014 at 2:08 PM

Michigan's trio of early entrants will learn their NBA Draft fates tomorrow night, and it appears there's at least a puncher's chance Nik Stauskas, Mitch McGary, and Glenn Robinson III all find their way into the first round. Here are the most recent projections and rumors for the three Wolverines as they await the moment they officially realize their professional dreams.

Nik Stauskas

It doesn't appear Stauskas will fall any further than the #13 pick (Minnesota), and there's a solid chance he cracks the top ten. The Philadelphia 76ers own two lottery picks, at #3 and #10, and Stauskas appears to be an ideal fit for their second selection. CSN Philly states Stauskas would fit the team's needs "perfectly," as they lack shooting, which you may know Stauskas does rather well:

The Sixers are in desperate need of shooters to complement Michael Carter-Williams, Nerlens Noel and whomever they draft with the third pick. Nobody in this draft shoots the ball better than Stauskas. Defenses always have to account for a shooter like Stauskas when he's on the floor. This would open up driving lanes for Carter-Williams and create more room inside for post players like Noel to operate.

Stauskas and Carter-Williams would form a dynamic backcourt. Both have good size and their skill sets complement one another very well. Stauskas is a solid enough ballhandler and decision-maker to play point guard in a pinch. Brett Brown would also have the option of bringing Stauskas off the bench. He would thrive in that role, providing instant offense the minute he enters the game.

The two other prospects who fit that mold and are expected to go in the same range are MSU's Gary Harris and Kentucky's James Young. After pre-draft workouts, Stauskas and Harris have seemingly separated themselves from Young, and Stauskas is consistently projected to go a spot or two above Harris.

A Sixers squad featuring MCW, Stauskas, Thaddeus Young, Nerlens Noel, and the #3 pick could be a really exciting young team to watch.

Mitch McGary

McGary has taken a cautious approach to the pre-draft process as he recovers from back surgery, as he detailed after working out for the Milwaukee Bucks, per UMHoops:

“It’s a little different, my situation with the surgery and everything else going into (the draft),” McGary said. “I thought this was was the best possible outcome for me — having a couple of limited workouts and getting my body back to where it needs to be and have the best chance in the draft. I talked to the assistant GM and the GM and they’re definitely interested in me.”

The Bucks own the #2 pick (not happening) and the first pick of the second round, but it appears they'll have to move up if they want to snag McGary. According to ESPN's draft insider, Chad Ford, there's good reason why McGary hasn't pushed himself through workout after workout:

That's a little higher than the most recent spate of mock drafts had McGary going, but not by much: he was projected to go anywhere from the Miami Heat's pick at #24 (Ford) to the Dallas Mavericks' selection at #34 (CBS's Gary Parrish, who seems to think the marijuana thing will actually matter to the NBA, so... grain of salt) before Ford unveiled the info above.

While the Hornets don't have the NBA's most talented roster, they have some promise in the backcourt (namely PG Kemba Walker), a consistent 20-10 guy in center Al Jefferson, and a big hole at power forward filled last year by Josh McRoberts (an unrestricted free agent) and Cody Zeller. If McGary landed there, he'd have every chance at playing time once he's 100%, and he'd fit in great as an energy guy alongside the older, more polished Jefferson.

Glenn Robinson III

This is where it gets interesting, as nobody seems to have a great idea where GRIII could end up; he's projected to be picked anywhere from #21 by Oklahoma City (NBADraftNet) to the LA Clippers' second-round selection at #39 (Parrish). Most, however, have him right on the edge of the first round; ESPN's Jeff Goodman has him going to the Clippers at #28 overall, while his colleague Ford has Robinson playing for his father's old team after Milwaukee selects him with the first pick of the second round.

The Clippers seem like an ideal landing spot for GRIII. He wouldn't be asked to do too much right away on such a good team, but there could be opportunity for some early minutes at the three if Danny Granger doesn't re-sign after opting out of the final year of his deal, and at the very least Robinson would provide another high-flying fast break threat for Lob City.

Homerism caveat granted, I believe it'll be difficult for a player with Robinson's athleticism, pedigree, and potential to slip out of the first round, especially since most of the teams picking at the back end of the draft can afford to grab a guy who needs some development before being a major contributor. The development of his midrange game during his sophomore season could prove the key to him being the third Michigan first-rounder in this draft.

Unverified Voracity Was Bonkers Yesterday

Unverified Voracity Was Bonkers Yesterday

Submitted by Brian on May 19th, 2014 at 12:29 PM

HELLO LADIES (not like that). If you took in yesterday's softball double-header you got 14 innings of tension, home runs, and dugout gibbering capped by what has to be the nuttiest final inning I've seen in the sport: Michigan, down one, clubs back-to-back first-pitch homers off one of the best pitchers in the country to go up one, then puts someone on base for the final batter, who hits a rocket that

Bn97RPFIQAAJ3ke[1]

NOPE

NOPE. Michigan had just blasted a ball over the centerfield fence that none of the outfielders bothered to move on, and this particular ball seemed harder-hit than that. It must have been on more of a line or really temporarily heavy or something. CF Lindsay Doyle was given an opportunity for the walk-off rob of a potential walk-off homer, which she took.

Even Carol Hutchins, an outpost of Red-like reserve in a sport that has a lot of jumping up and down, was momentarily baffled into GIF-worthiness.

ijd29sephicki55biv5m[1]

You and me both. The catch was Sportcenter's #1 play, which is pretty remarkable on a day that had plenty of baseball and NBA action.

Michigan advances to their ninth super regional in ten years of the current format; they'll travel to Tallahassee to take on the #8 overall seed Florida State. FSU is hosting their first super ever at an impressive 53-6. The best two of three series kicks off Thursday at 7 on ESPN.

Victory. The Michigan money cannon remains undefeated:

EDSBS Bowl 2K14 closed at midnight last night, and the total for the week's fundraising is staggering and very much awesome: $33,250.85 raised for Refugee Resettlement and Immigration Services of Atlanta, all from your contributions. …

University of Michigan $10,183.68

University of Georgia $4,024.20

Notre Dame $2,249.32

University of Alabama $1,977.55

Georgia Institute of Technology $1,969.72

Auburn University $1,716.40

Well done, gentlemen. I have excellent news: in honor of the cannon, RRISA is naming their conference room something Michigan themed. Orson has asked us for suggestions, so I throw it open to the MGoPeanutGallery. Please keep in mind that we are trying to retain people's goodwill, so something like "Leaders and Best (unlike all non grads)" would not be good.

Also,

[11:27 AM] Spencer Hall: If there's a huge Michigan painting, they'll put it up there
[11:27 AM] Spencer Hall: seriously

Anyone that wants to provide a candidate shoot me an email.

Stauskas time. Nik Stauskas didn't shoot at the NBA combine but that's not to say he didn't shoot at all in the past week. A few gents put on a workout beforehand, and Stauskas proved that he is the unstoppable workout freak($) that you may have seen on youtube:

None of them disappointed Monday. During early shooting drills, Stauskas had the lead early, hitting 47 of his first 50 attempts. At the end of the workout, it was McDermott who couldn't miss, beating everyone with 13 3-pointers in 35 seconds. … Each player takes roughly 100 3-point attempts during a workout. On most days, Stauskas and McDermott are shooting about 85 percent. That's really remarkable.

That is nuts.

Chad Ford also notes that Stauskas looked "terrific" in the various ballhandling drills at this workout and is… wait for it… also grab a beer… "making a play to be more than just a shooter." While Stauskas isn't likely to be an NBA PG unless his team wants him to gently escort opposing points to the basket, his ability to get his own shot and excellent P&R skills will see him be more than just a shooter. Ford has Stauskas #12 now and thought he was upwardly mobile even before he put up impressive combine numbers:

Michigan's Nik Stauskas and Creighton's Doug McDermott really shined, as well. Stauskas was especially impressive. He measured with a 35.5-inch max vert, a 10.79 lane agility score, a 2.92 shuttle run and a 3.27 sprint. Those were all very good numbers and should boost his draft stock.

I know you are thinking about what I am thinking: what about the Pistons? Detroit needs shooting, and they need someone who can run a pick and roll with Andre Drummond without resorting to miserable off-balance jumpers. DX's latest mock has them taking McDermott. While that makes sense, as currently constituted Detroit could use a guy who can play 1-3 with bad defense a lot more than a guy who can play 3-4 with bad defense. Also, McDermott seems constitutionally incapable of being an okay defender because he's such a tweener; a hypothetical NBA Stauskas coached by Stan Van Gundy could be all right down the road, especially if Caldwell-Pope can be the 3-and-D guy.

If Detroit stays at eight I'd say there's a pretty good chance Stauskas ends up being the player who makes the most sense. Other than McDermott, guards/wings available at eight are likely to include Tyler Ennis, James Young, Rodney Hood, Gary Harris, and Zach LaVine. Only Hood and McDermott are in Stauskas's universe as a shooter, and Gary Harris being more 6'2" than 6'4" probably eliminates him.

Also in Michigan draftee news, DX's post-combine mock has Robinson and McGary as the last two picks of the first round.

All right, all right. Eighty-seven people have emailed or tweeted me about the latest indicator that things aren't going well on the season ticket front, so I am compelled to reproduce it:

addedvalue

The existence of such a thing isn't much of a surprise… except you'd think they'd translate "Added Value Opportunities" into English before releasing it to the world. The outstanding quality of the athletic department is how remarkably ham-handed they are at being marketers. This is supposedly Brandon's expertise and he's throwing powerpoint slides at the public.

The lord's work. Deadspin continues its excellent series demolishing bad arguments the NCAA tries to muster in its favor. The latest to meet the guillotine: competitive balance.

…my own research in 2011 showed that of the 1,000 top recruited athletes over a decade, 99.3 percent went to power conference schools. … the truth is that the current rules seem to lock in imbalance, and prevent would-be upstarts from building recruiting momentum.

That makes intuitive sense. A team can't put its money where its mouth is if it really really wants a guy that another school wants. When compensation is fixed* all choices are about things other than compensation.

And since it's currently impossible to make the system more unbalanced…

*[I guess it does technically move based on the value of a degree from school X. That is not going to be a huge consideration for many football players. See: every player ever citing academics as a reason he went to school Y, no matter what that school is. "I have chosen Wyoming School Of Finger Twiddling for its excellent academics," etc.]

Pyrrhic press conferences for 1000. When the press gets the temerity to ask a question that leads to this answer…

"No buyer's remorse at all," Delany said Wednesday after the Big Ten administrators' meetings. "When I go to Jersey, I go to New York, I go to support, not to judge."

…things are not going well in the PR realm. Jim Delany just described visiting his sister in rehab.

No surrender. O'Bannon plaintiffs have asked the court to ditch the individual damages in their lawsuit and, as a side effect, ditch the jury.

The plaintiffs' lead attorney, Michael Hausfeld, told ESPN that forgoing the effort to seek damages for the individuals who are named in the lawsuit streamlines the case, making it all about stopping the NCAA from continuing to prevent athletes from sharing in the media revenues they help generate. …

The filing by the plaintiffs aims to focus all of the attention on whether the NCAA's economic model should be changed. It's an attempt to avoid the messiness of sorting out who may have been harmed for past wrongs, and to what degree.

That would be the NCAA's worst nightmare, as judge Claudia Wilken is the person issuing statements like "I don't think amateurism is going to be a useful word here." It seems like the NCAA's best shot is to bamboozle a jury with the arguments Deadspin is currently blowing up.

As with any story about the O'Bannon lawsuit, we have a new opportunity to point and laugh at the NCAA's beleaguered lawyers.

The NCAA objected to the new move by Hausfeld to drop the damages claim. The association's lawyers wrote Wednesday night that they were "surprised and troubled by the Plaintiffs' last minute and abrupt decision to attempt to avoid having a jury decide" the case, calling it a "last ditch effort to change course in this litigation."

…Hausfeld dismissed the NCAA's argument.

"There's always been a damages claim and an injunctive claim," he said. "If they haven't been paying attention to the injunctive claim, it's inexplicable."

Well, they are very busy these days.

It'll be a while. Brian Kelly said something about playing Michigan, so everyone gets asked about it again. Dave Brandon has had "zero talks" with Notre Dame about resuming the series. It would take a lot of pride-swallowing for Brandon to do such a thing. The chances of that seem… low.

The earliest Michigan and ND will talk about playing again will be after both places have new athletic directors, and even then they'll be scheduling ten years out. This year's game is the last for probably 20 years. Well done, college football.

Old mascots are always the best. If you could guarantee me that Michigan's hypothetical mascot would look like it was put together at the local insane asylum's arts and crafts night, I would be on board. Hellmascot part 4,210 is MSU, 1966:

msu-mascot

No, no money for athletes. Somehow all of this manages to get sucked up despite MSU not adding sports:

"I think it was about 2000, our budget was right around $25 million and today it's $94 million," Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis said. "And it's real easy to take a quick look on where the allocation of those funds have gone, and so much of it — there is the coaching salary component that kind of stands out."

Wait, save that!

"But there's a much larger chunk that has gone to escalation of scholarships and services provided."

All right. What might these things be?

"It used to be a coach and a trainer kind of handled everything. Well now there's somebody to teach you how to cook, there's somebody on some campuses that do the cooking, that show you how to shop."

They have to invent ways to burn this money. That is the situation. They are so far up their own butts that they think they should be taught to cook and shop like they're in finishing school with Betty Draper. How about you give them the money and they decide whether they should spend it on a guy teaching them how to shop* or, like, anything else.

Meanwhile, Michigan made a profit of 90 million dollars from 2007-08 to 12-13, an average profit of $15 million per year. That's going to be great when I get my dividend check.

*["So this green stuff I have… I hand it to the man behind the counter. You don't get any green stuff. But if you had some green stuff, you could give it to the man behind the counter"]

Etc.: I still can't believe Gordon F. Gee was paid like 12 times what an average university president makes. GRIII did well at the combine. No beer at Michigan, because I would do anything for money but I won't do that. Good on Mark Schissel for making Michigan's compensation structure more transparent. Maryland previewed. TJ Leaf has a top four and is visiting soon.

Unverified Voracity Considers The Moon

Unverified Voracity Considers The Moon

Submitted by Brian on May 5th, 2014 at 4:32 PM

japa-MMAP-md[1]

NEXT UP

But have you thought about Tokyo? Assertions abound that the Big Ten might fling a conference tournament to DC:

That would be convenient for Maryland fans and the expat lawyers Big Ten schools fling to major metropoli across the country. Not so much anyone else who cares about basketball—the only other schools within one BILLION miles of DC are Penn State and Rutgers. But we must #footprint and #footprint and #footprint until our #footprints are #footprinted across the land.

All right. The Big East and Big Ten have announced one of those challenge-like things, though this one is partial:

The Big Ten and the Big East on Monday will announce a new partnership, the Gavitt Tipoff Games, an annual series of eight games between the two conferences that will run through 2020.

All of these games will come in the first week of the season, a time generally reserved for Michigan versus Five Guys We Found On A Farm, Yes We're Pretty Sure They're People. Every Big Ten team will participate at least four times in the eight-year deal. (That leaves eight free slots over the eight years, FWIW.)

Thanks, I guess. Corn Nation points out a thing:

Q: How will the seeding committee determine which teams play in which semifinal?

A: In theory, priority will be given to placing the No. 1 seed in the bowl geographically closest to its campus. For instance, if Florida State is No. 1, it would play in the semifinal at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, which would send the No. 2 team to the Rose Bowl.

So the CoFoPoff acknowledges that being close to home is a nice thing. Wonderful. Let's envision a scenario where Purdue finishes the year #1 to the committee. They get slotted in…

uh…

Atlanta! Congratulations, Purdue.

Corn Nation's not too happy about that:

TRADITION! was the battle cry for Delany, the world "tradition" meaning "bullshit most of you will still buy" as any pretense that college football is about money has been swept away by more, more, more of it. TRADITION! - even though the Big Ten expanded with Nebraska, Rutgers and Maryland throwing out decades of tradition - but Delany knowing that all those alums from Michigan and Ohio State and et al would buy into "tradition" because they've been eating that Rose Bowl bullshit so long that they don't realize what low-grade bullshit it is.

Hey man don't look at me I was advocating home sites just like everyone else from the #footprint that offered an opinion.

Draft projections. With the deadline passed, people get serious about their mock drafts. Results are good for Stauskas:

"Stauskas seems to be garnering more and more buzz of late," Ford wrote. "His abilities as a shooter with deep range and a quick release are unquestioned. It's his ability to also play a little point guard that has moved him into the lottery. This is the highest he has been ranked on our Big Board, and I don't think it's out of the question that he could go even higher when all is said and done. The Sixers, Nuggets, Wolves and Suns are all options in the lottery."

Robinson's hanging on to the end of the first round on Ford's draft but not DX; Chad Ford and DX don't have McGary in the first round. I have to believe that as it gets late in that first round some good team is going to think they could use a pile of rebounding and enthusiasm who's at least going to be a good player.

Good idea. I give it ten seconds to live. Penn State is going to visit Georgia State's camp en masse this summer:

New Penn State James Franklin and his entire staff will work as guest coaches for Trent MilesFootball Camp at Georgia State on June 10.

The radical arrangement appears to be a win-win for both programs: Penn State gets to personally evaluate high school players who would never travel to its camps in Pennsylvania, while Georgia State will get exposure to more high-profile recruits than normal.

This is an end-around of NCAA rules that prohibit folks from having a camp outside their home state unless it's within 50 miles of campus and will probably get nerfed the next time someone comes around with the rule stick. Clever idea for now, though.

BONUS: That article contains a quote that NCAA lawyers trying to flog competitive balance in court are going to hate:

“We’re not going to recruit the same person, you know? There’s no way. The Sun Belt doesn’t recruit against Penn State. Let’s face it: I’m not competing for kids against Penn State, or Georgia and Alabama. I’m just not. Nor will we ever. It is what it is."

/NCAA lawyer hits self in face with already-empty bottle of whiskey

8586620318_75d91fa107[1]

Coleman can get buckets

AAU business. The annual Spiece tournament is going on in Indianapolis, featuring a number of Michigan targets. The most prominent is IN SG Jalen Coleman, who is still in no hurry to come to a decision:

When asked for an updated list of schools, Coleman rattled off Indiana, Purdue, NC State, Providence, UCLA, Arizona, Michigan, Michigan State and noted that several other Big Ten schools are also involved.

He didn’t name a leader, a top group or even mention that any schools are recruiting him harder than others.

In actual news, IL PG Jalen Brunson has cut his list to eight; Michigan is one. Temple, Villanova, Kansas, UConn, Illinois, Michigan State, and Purdue. If one of those programs doesn't look like it belongs, Brunson's dad played at Temple. "But that doesn't explain Purdue," you exclaim, and I agree.

I don't know but probably not right now. Ross Fulton asks if Doug Nussmeier can fix Michigan's offense, detailing his history. It starts off with an involuntary moan from you:

Nusmmeier's primary plan to solve the situation is to bring a coherent offensive framework to Michigan.

Sounds like a plan, you guys.

We must destroy this buck in order to save it. Via Get The Picture, the NCAA has earmarked some funds for legal stuff this year:

For example, NCAA finances are as difficult to sort through as the numbers are high, and the figures can vary hugely with the bias of those reporting them. Most media outlets glibly equate “unionization” and “compensation” with professional salaries for NCAA athletes, but the association knows Huma isn’t pursuing any such thing. The only big number that concerns him is the $600-plus million announced as this year’s NCAA war chest for legal and legislative expenditures.

Six hundred million dollars available to defend amateurism. Meanwhile non-profits try to fill in the gaps left when dudes get spine injuries.

Etc.: Recruiting folks did rather well by this year's projected first round. Mmmm anti-SEC conspiracy theories. NCAA unionization gets a congressional hearing. I welcome the departure of teams that should not be in D-I from D-I. Eastern Michigan, looking at you. Michigan spends money on things. Lax got competitive this year.

The Creator

The Creator

Submitted by Ace on April 16th, 2014 at 1:31 PM

In today's basketball world, the corner three is superior in value to any shot that doesn't come at the rim. It's also the toughest shot in the game to create for yourself; to do so requires a silky touch, a tapdancer's precision, and the guts and/or stupidity to launch a shot that would earn most players a quick trip to the bench.

Grantland's Kirk Goldsberry covered this topic in exacting detail yesterday, posting this fascinating chart that shows the assist rate for shots made from each spot on the floor—three-pointers usually require assistance, and the rate increases as the shooter gets closer to the baseline [click to embiggen]:

Goldsberry's post focused on the players who could create those high-percentage shots for their teammates, because even in the NBA, finding players who do it themselves is a difficult proposition:

Meanwhile, unassisted corners 3s are the white buffalos of perimeter shooting. They don’t come around too often. As it turns out, dribbling into the corner and firing up a 3 is very difficult, and perhaps unwise, as well. It takes a special kind of player to even attempt this task, as Rudy Gay demonstrates for us here: [GIF of Rudy Gay dribbling into the corner and badly airballing a fallaway attempt]

Which brings me to Nik Stauskas. I've written before about his pregame shootaround routine, but it's worth mentioning again. In addition to practicing the usual spot-up threes from various points around the arc, Stauskas always spent time in the corner working his crossover stepback, a move designed to clear out just enough space to launch from a spot that opponents long ago learned to keep him from at all costs.

Without ever having to look, Stauskas's feet nestled precisely between the three-point line and the sideline, the product of countless practice hours transforming process into instinct. By the end of his Michigan career, he made these audacious warmup attempts at about the same outrageous clip that he hit his normal shots. Michigan's shootarounds were considered must-watch because of the team's—and especially Glenn Robinson's—impromptu dunk exhibitions; for me, however, the Stauskas Stepback was always the highlight.

[Hit THE JUMP for more on Stauskas's incredible shot creation in GIF, still, and chart form. Oh, and some more words, too.]