Mailbag: Berkley Edwards, Alabama Math, Burke's Bees

Mailbag: Berkley Edwards, Alabama Math, Burke's Bees

Submitted by Brian on April 26th, 2012 at 3:34 PM

Berkley Edwards.

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Berkley Edwards: already on the roster, but named "Dennis Norfleet"

Guys, are the Michigan coaches really not offering Berkley Edwards?  I understand he is small, but as fast as he is and the fact he is a legacy makes me question the thought here.  I’ve noticed this hasn’t been mentioned at all since the ever mature Braylon went on Twitter to complain.  At the very least, I hope the coaches reach out the Edwards family and keep any discussion out of the social media.

What I don’t get though is if he is someone Nebraska considers, can Michigan afford to overlook him?  I know I really think that the Buckeyes not recruiting Mike McCray is going to come back to haunt them.  I don’t want Berkley to come back and haunt us.

Berkley Edward's chances went from okay to slim when Michigan flipped Dennis Norfleet the day before Signing Day and from slim to life support when Brady Hoke went Donkey Kong on 2013 recruiting. At this point Michigan can afford to overlook someone Nebraska offers two scholarships and an earldom, let alone considers.

Michigan has 17 kids in the class and is going to somewhere between 22 and 24. Even if we take the most Edwards-friendly number, six of those seven scholarships are earmarked for:

  • Ty Isaac
  • Two wide receivers
  • Three defensive linemen

So then you're talking about adding Edwards over another corner, safety, TE, or WR. Is a pint-sized tailback most likely to make an impact on special teams really a priority over one of those spots, especially when you already have three running backs in the class and recruited a seemingly-superior quarkback prospect in Norfleet the year previous? No.

Add in the likelihood that whoever Michigan is pursuing for spot 24 at one of those other positions is going to be a four-star type and it's a blowout. Offering Edwards makes no sense. McCray, a consensus four-star ranked in the top 100 by Rivals and ESPN with two dozen BCS offers including Oklahoma, is not even a comparison.

Edwards might have a shot if Isaac ends up at USC and Michigan can't latch on to another touted guy at tailback. Even in that situation it seems unlikely since Michigan is loaded with tiny darty return guys who are the only tailbacks Fred Jackson doesn't think are the second coming of Earl Campbell. He just does not make sense on the roster.

Wouldn't you rather have another safety? Safeties are important, yo.

Alabama math.

Hey Brian,
I am not sure I followed your latest post. There might be something I am missing. I am not a fan of Brandon or this game, but I don't see how a home-and-home makes us better of financially. Let's say a bad opponent home game nets us 5 million. Playing Bama at home nets us 7 million. And for arguments sake lets say the return of a home-and-home with Bama would be in 2013.

The way it is

2012 Jerry Game: 4.7 million + 2013 crap team: 5 million = 9.7 million

Home-and-home

2012 Bama: 7 million + 2013 at Bama: 0 = 7 million

No Bama

2012 crap: 5 million + 2013 crap: 5 million = 10 million (but you don't get to play Bama; but the band is happy)

I would choose home and home if it was me because it is not my money and that is more fun, but I don't think that is the best choice financially. I would choose both over more UMass games.

Mike Yates

The thing you and the OUTRAGED at OUTRAGE gang in the comments are missing is the ticket price. Apparently a game like Michigan-Alabama can support a ticket price range from $125 to $285. This is at a minimum 66% higher than Michigan is currently charging for bodybag games, not the 17% suggested in your email (remember that Michigan has to shell out about $2 million to get the one-off games in the No Bama scenario).

When the ticket prices came in 30 bucks or more—potentially much more—above what Michigan is charging for their "premium" game this year that changed the math drastically. Maybe that pricing is not sustainable over 110,000 tickets like it was for the 25,000 Michigan was given for Jerryworld, but… yeah, it totally is. Find me a Michigan fan who'd be less likely to buy a season ticket package this year that had 'Bama on it but was $50 more expensive. That person does not exist.

A correctly priced monster home-and-home is financially comparable to the dual punching bag scenario even without considering the ancillary benefits that will come from increased interest in season tickets, suites, goodwill from the fanbase, donations, etc. It would have made more sense for both Alabama and Michigan to schedule a game in Ann Arbor for 2013, then figure out where the return game goes later.

In the long term this is largely moot. After the Pac-12 agreement kicks in Michigan will have a road nonconference game every year except when the ND series takes its brief breaks. It's hard to imagine them adding a third opponent who would require Michigan to travel.

I just hate getting sold a bill of goods, is all.

Keep Crisler ArenaCenter weird.

Hey Brian. My buddy works with the guy that buys the costumes (and tickets) for the students wearing the lobster suits. With Smotrycz transferring, the lobsters are going to become bees through a glorious transformation. I hope this insider tidbit helps you get through the slow period and maybe even leads to some cool visions on your current meds.
Go Blue!

KJ, '04

I will miss the lobstryczs, but good on the Maize Rage for keeping the weird quotient high. I suggest someone purchase an enormous buffalo head mask so they can be Bielfeldt's Buffalo. Someone should wear a fez for no discernible reason. He should have one of those huge faces of himself wearing the fez, as well, cocking an eyebrow and looking suave.

Also also we're going to need a giant Canadian flag for Stauskas. And some guys dressed up like beetles who click their mandibles alarmingly during free throws. And there should be a moose. A live moose. With moose teeth. Wearing a toque. His name is Graham the Brown Moose, and he sets huge screens. In the event a live moose is not permitted in Crisler we will innovate.

In addition, on certain defensive possessions Crisler should adopt the disconcerting Yost penalty-kill hooting. Whenever Stauskas hits a three the entire student section should shout "You're my buddy, pal!" There will be a Mark Twain impersonator as well.

Addendum: we need a prominently located fat shirtless guy. On his chest we will paint an image of Glen Rice raising up for a three-pointer. He will not be allowed to shower. We should think about putting a hat on him as well. Hats are crucial for the entire operation. People should also dress like the future people in Bill and Ted.

These are reasonable suggestions. /jedi hand wave

Dear Diary is Bundled With Half-Life

Dear Diary is Bundled With Half-Life

Submitted by Seth on April 13th, 2012 at 8:51 AM

Quick reminder: you've got one week to get it at the lowest price ----------------------->
so if you were waiting to get 13 more for grandma, better act fast.

Burkesportal

So in preparation for Brian to be laid up on a cocktail of drugs they won't let you take while operating devices with internet connections, we underlings were fully prepared for one of those M.A.S.H. episodes when Colonel Blake has to leave the base and Hawkeye and Trapper hire a circus or something. Alas before Ace and I could declare ourselves the Pros from Dover and infiltrate the alumni golf game Brian turned out to be mostly lucid, meaning we now have loads of weird unpublished things taking up space in the hopper.

Here's one of those on Burke's return, which if you're old/young enough to get the phrase "The Cake is a Lie!" you'll get it; if you don't, don't bother.

A one-man advantage. If you like hockey and/or wanted to know what was up with Michigan's power play, I mean like 1265151422-slap_shotreally wanna know, your Diarist of the Week is JeepinBen for the first two parts of a three-part series on special teams strategy. Part the 1st, which got the bump, covered the basics and Part II got into penalty killing and controlling the neutral zone. Sample:

The powerplay is a lot like football plays – constraints are huge

This will come into view with the “Penalty Kill” diary, but depending on what the offense is doing, the defense does something and vice versa. There are ways to break kills, kills designed to stop specific powerplays, etc.

Learn what you were actually doing when you selected "umbrella or something" in NHL '99, and you too will be able to offer intelligent criticism when Michigan uses 25 minutes of man advantage in an elimination game to stand around with the puck. Not sold yet? There's Slapshots clips in those links.

Stray thought re Slapshots clips: Do you think Valeri Bure used to skate behind guys' nets and exclaim "I'm doing D.J. Tanner!" because that would totally screw with pretty much every guy in my generation.

Spring's springing. We have this one week to sample this year's line of football. It's not a real game so there won't be predictions and MonuMental backgrounds for this one coming, but Lanyard Program came out with one of his programs. The part that is totally real is the lacrosse game immediately after the fake football: Michigan will finally face Ohio's state university letterman to letterman. MaizeAndBlueWahoo, our resident LAX man, got his lacrosse primer bumped.

HokeIsComing

Winter's coming. By which we mean the cessation of football hostilities and many peaceful months pockmarked by commitments before fall football begins and the wars resume. User Silly Goose compares various programs to Game of Thrones houses. When describing Michigan as the Starks he left out the part about how we chop off the heads of deserters, which teaches us important moral lessons about leadership. And instead of all of the houses battling it out in a single playoff they decide things by getting into ill-defined wars between each other. The allegories fit pretty strongly, which probably says something Campbellian about ascribing character archetypes to sports rivals (if you make this your essay for Rabkin's class I wanna see it!). Blazefire seems to think when winter comes it will be zombies from Ohio THE Stadium.

Etc. Ace's weekly rankings. The Gedeon announcement will bump next week's but if you want to get a jump now to see Midwest power programs filling up—not like 16 commits in April filling up, but 7 to 10 each—it's here. Tennis wins. Blockhams are reliving the best 1:17 of their lives.

#Best of the Board

OHIO WANT IT THEN THEY SHOULDA PUT A RING ON IT

Oh no did Jared Sullinger just pose in drag in front of a light, easily crop-able background? Photoshoppers, start your graphics engines:

shouldawonaringwithit_thumb

The more I learn about the methods people were using to lure Trey Burke to the NBA…

NOTRE DAME IS QUARTERBACKLESS, USING A RECEIVER AS THEIR HB, HAD ONE OF THEIR BEST PLAYERS RECENTLY RETURN FROM A VISION QUEST, AND OF COURSE ARE GOING TO WIN A NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP BECAUSE IT'S NOTRE DAME.

Those are the key points from hart20 on the state of things in the town under our state.

#HASHTAGS CREATE BUSINESS SYNERGY

This doesn't have anything to do with anything but this blog by friend of MGoUser antoo had six rounds of ideas for hashtags Dave Brandon should copyright in order to better use technology as a competitive advantage to engage and connect to fans who use hashtags.

HE'S GOING TO EASTERN MICHIGAN!

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The moderator sticky is a serious place where the moderators and editors and other site personnel solemnly explain why your post was deleted, your points were docked, and your avatar is suddenly a pretty pink pony. We take this very seriously and are totally not making fun of you in there.

Early Outlook: 2012-13 Michigan Basketball

Early Outlook: 2012-13 Michigan Basketball

Submitted by Ace on April 11th, 2012 at 12:21 PM


Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary: Capable of dunking

Now that Trey Burke has announced his return to the Michigan basketball program, we can all emerge from our panic rooms and take a look at the roster for next year. Since the end of the season, Michigan has lost five scholarship players—Zack Novak and Stu Douglass to graduation; Evan Smotrycz, Colton Christian, and Carlton Brundidge to transfer—and pulled in a commitment from point guard Spike Albrecht. With today's news that the Wolverines are no longer pursuing combo guard Amadeo Della Valle, the roster is set barring a graduate-year transfer. Here's one man's guess at the 2012-13 depth chart:

Point Guard Shooting Guard Small Forward Power Forward Center
Trey Burke Tim Hardaway Jr. Glenn Robinson III Mitch McGary Jordan Morgan
Spike Albrecht Nick Stauskas Matt Vogrich Max Bielfeldt Jon Horford
Eso Akunne  -   -   -  Blake McLimans

Schwing. That's a lineup featuring an All-American (honorable mention) point guard, an enigmatic but uber-talented shooting guard, two five-star freshmen at the 3 and 4, and a proven Big Ten center. It's also a lineup with a fair amount of versatility. If Michigan wants to go small, they can play GRIII at power forward and slide either Nick Stauskas or Matt Vogrich to the wing, adding some extra outside shooting. Going bigger is pretty unnecessary, since the presumed starters outside of Burke all have more than adequate size for their position—no more 6'4" guys in the post.

At point guard, once again it pretty much starts and ends with Trey Burke, but the pickup of Albrecht gives the team some options. Albrecht's main strengths are basketball savvy and passing ability; should he pick up on the offense quickly enough, he can provide Burke with a few minutes of rest without sacrificing much offensive flow. Nick Stauskas is a natural shooting guard, but he's a slick passer. If he can just be adequate at handling the basketball, he could also help ease the load on Burke. While Burke will undoubtedly play well over 30 minutes a game once again, there's hope that he won't be forced to log the 40 (or more) minute efforts he did as a freshman.

The key to a successful season—and next year, success means a Big Ten title and/or a deep run in the NCAA tournament—is the production of Tim Hardaway Jr. Can he improve his shot selection and return to the efficient scoring ways of his freshman campaign, or will he continue to be maddeningly inconsistent on both sides of the ball? Who knows, though I'd like to think he won't shoot 28% from downtown again. The good news is that with a four-star gunner in Stauskas and good secondary scoring options in GRIII and McGary, Michigan won't have to lean so heavily on Hardaway to carry the non-Burke scoring load. Stauskas hopefully will be the guy who finally lives up to his high school reputation as a deadly marksman; if he does, this team gets a whole lot more dangerous and versatile.

I'm guessing Glenn Robinson III steps right in and starts at small forward after surging to five-star status over the last several months. GRIII brings a level of athleticism on the wing that Michigan hasn't seen in a long time; the Burke-to-Robinson alley-oop combination should provide some Sportscenter Top 10 moments. Robinson should also be able to create his own shot heading towards the basket, something nobody outside of Hardaway could do with any consistency last season. Backing up GRIII will likely be Matt Vogrich, who will hopefully break through as an outside shooter while continuing to provide a surprising level of rebounding and defensive hustle.

The ballyhooed Mitch McGary should start right away at power forward with Smotrycz heading elsewhere. While his stock has dropped a bit since his commitment, McGary is still an instant-impact guy, and I'm very interested to see what he can bring to Beilein's burgeoning pick-and-roll game. McGary has the bounce necessary to take a quick pass off the roll and attack the basket with ferocity, something Jordan Morgan has struggled with in the past. With teams justifiably focused on stopping Burke, McGary could be the beneficiary of a lot of easy looks around the hoop. His high motor and effort should make him a force on the boards, as well. After redshirting last season, Max Bielfeldt has a chance to earn some PT at the four, being the guy who most fits the Beilein mold of a big who can stretch the floor. If he can hold his own defensively and on the glass, Bielfeldt could be a surprisingly solid weapon off the bench.

Jordan Morgan returns and should continue to provide high-percentage shooting, solid rebounding, and quality interior defense. While his ceiling doesn't appear to be especially high, Morgan has steadily improved in his Michigan career, and we'll likely see him take another step forward as a junior. If that step forward includes even a rudimentary post game (or at least better finishing on layup opportunities), the masses would be quite pleased. Morgan could be pushed for playing time by Jon Horford, who returns from a foot injury. Horford isn't as polished as Morgan, but he's more athletic and provides a better shot-blocking presence on defense. He should get at least 15 minutes a game next year, especially if Morgan's propensity for foul trouble continues to plague him. Blake McLimans may just be the odd man out with Michigan's new-found depth up front.

So, what's the outlook? While the Big Ten is loaded next year—the news that Christian Watford and Cody Zeller both return makes Indiana a potential national contender—Michigan is set to challenge for the conference crown and could be a Final Four team if a few things fall the right way. Getting Hardaway back on track is the key, assuming Robinson and McGary live up to their lofty recruiting rankings. While Michigan doesn't have a lineup loaded with shooters like Beilein's West Virginia squads, they have more athleticism and a dynamite point guard that the Mountaineers never had. Beilein's offense became more guard-centric the past two seasons with Darius Morris and Burke running the show, and that should continue next year. Expect to see more evolution from the offense as the coaches adjust to having a much bigger team, and possibly a shift back to more zone defense to better fit the personnel.

The expectations for next year are dramatically higher than they've been in Ann Arbor since the Fab Five era, and those expectations are justified. An experienced Burke coupled with a hopefully reinvigorated Hardaway should take this team a long way. If the freshmen produce as expected, Michigan will take the next (big) leap forward under John Beilein, going from Big Ten dark horse to national contender.

Burke: Back

Burke: Back

Submitted by Brian on April 9th, 2012 at 1:05 PM

Light 'em if you've got 'em and praise any available deity or animal spirit. The official Michigan basketball feed:

Big News from Ann Arbor! Trey Burke will be continuing his collegiate career with U-M!

You may cease running in a circle. Here are some muppets.

And you can't have one without the other...

Woot.

UPDATE: Quotes via press release.

"Over the past few weeks, I have spent a lot of time thinking and praying about my future -- not just about next year but many years down the road," said Burke. "After gathering information, I am excited to be continuing my education at Michigan as we look to accomplish even more in our 2012-13 season.

"I have so much more to develop as both a student and athlete, and there is no better place to do that than here at Michigan. I love my Michigan family and am really excited about playing with my teammates and our incoming freshmen. I want to thank my parents, my teammates and my coaches for the patience and guidance they gave me since this process began a few weeks ago."

"We tried to provide Trey and his family with the best information possible and as much time as possible to make an informed decision," said U-M head coach John Beilein. "We wanted him to think this through carefully so he was 100 percent certain of what he wanted to do moving forward. 

"We loved coaching Trey this season. It is very unusual to have a freshman point guard play with such poise and confidence all year long. He is a clutch performer with a great work ethic and a brilliant future in front of him. As our team leadership changes hands, I know Trey will join the other returning players as we strive to be the leaders and best in all we do."

UPDATE II: Just received this in my inbox from Mark Hollis.

Ur heart are stupid

Burke, Spike, Spike, Burke

Burke, Spike, Spike, Burke

Submitted by Brian on April 9th, 2012 at 11:04 AM

ARE YOU STILL RUNNING AROUND IN A CIRCLE? GODDAMMIT YOU BETTER BE

How was your Easter? Mine was lovely apart from the multiple quizzes about Trey Burke's future I had to answer with a vague negativity precisely calibrated to imply a 73.2% chance of departure. Not because of the quizzes necessarily. It was more the repeated consideration of next year's basketball season without Mr. Burke.

As this was happening the Trey Burke zeitgeist—he's got his own now—shifted away from the razor wire and urban warfare towards the bunnies and butterflies. First Keith Langlois tweeted this:

FWIW. NBA personnel guy in Miami for #Pistons game says he believes Trey Burke is headed back to Michigan. Would go in 30s, he said.

And then a young lady who goes to Burke's church tweeted this after noting that the Burke family was at their service:

report from church. The Burke family is telling members of our congregation that Trey's staying another year. We'll see!

Apply grains of salt as you will. My internet spidey sense says legit (30k tweets is a hell of a sockpuppet) and better than hearing about it from an NBA guy in Miami, but still not certain. It has the whiff of a real thing that will be the turning point in internet PANIC about losing Burke a year early.

I am fully aware that blind hope is capable of autopiloting me to this belief; find your own Bayesian estimate. Mine… it moved.

ALSO: Please note the excellent form of mgouser Jivas's post on this stuff:

Trey Burke Twitter rumors [Good]

This is a headline we should all strive for. Concise, informative, and non-stomach-churning.

Now Please Please Please Let Me Introduce You To Your Backup This Time

Spike-Albrecht[1]

As seemed ordained from the moment Sam Webb caused Spike Albrecht's name to pop up on the Michigan internets, the Crown Point Guard [HIKM!] committed to Michigan on his official visit. UMHoops has a commitment post and this site covered Albrecht a couple weeks ago.

Albrecht committed to Michigan over… uh… Appalachian State* and interest that may or may not have resulted in a scholarship offer from various Ivies, Vermont, etc. You get the idea. As Beilein recruits go this is more Colton Christian than, well, Trey Burke, but if you're busy making lists of the late Beilein pickups that didn't go so well don't forget to include Stu Douglass and Zack Novak and feel VERY BAD ABOUT YOURSELF.

If Burke comes back Albrecht doesn't ever have to be a big-time player to be a good idea. He just has to be a heady guy who hands out assists, shoots decently, and doesn't turn the ball over in 15 minutes a game. He'll give the point guard spot some desperately-needed stability even if he never ends up starting.

He's a 5'11" kid from Indiana who took a post-grad year in the same league Mitch McGary and a bunch of other high-level recruits idled in this year. He led his team to the title and garnered MVP honors while doing so. This quote Dylan gathered seems like the quickest path to an understanding of his game:

He’s an old-school style pass first point guard.  He’s very cerebral with a high basketball I.Q.  His best physical attribute is his endurance – he can play all day – but he isn’t especially explosive.  He’s a threat with the three-point line but not a great shooter.  He takes care of the ball, makes very good decisions, and knows how to run a team.

You can check out one of his games from the NESPAC playoffs on Youtube and get the same impression. Albrecht will get into the interior of the defense a lot and fling passes to open guys either on the perimeter or inside. Every once in a while he'll take the shot himself. He's clever, which allows him to overcome some of his physical limitations, and he seems to have a plan whenever he gets into the lane. Heady, smart, etc.

If Burke does go they will have to devolve a lot of usage from the point guard spot and find a way to cope with what looks like some pretty bad defense, but they'd survive. The coach quotes are encouraging about his ability to step in immediately. Por ejemplo:

"We played a very similar offense to what Michigan runs, and this kid is designed for this offense," Carroll said. "He was years ahead of other players when it came to understanding where this offense could go, and that's what you hope your point guard is.

"And I think he'll be the same for Michigan. I think (Beilein) will have a blast coaching this kid." … "He was our tournament MVP, and one thing (Michigan can) expect was what we saw, is that he makes the right decisions.

"He is absolutely clutch."

So he'll come in a lot closer to his ceiling than most kids after a postgrad year and his AP-level understanding of stuff. Also, his coach points out that the league he plays in is overflowing with D-I guys. His transition won't be as harsh.

Hopefully he won't have to step right in, though. Keep running in that circle.

*[WOOOO SUCKIT WOOOOOOO 1-1 BABY LET'S CANCEL THE RUBBER MATCH]

Unverified Voracity Waits

Unverified Voracity Waits

Submitted by Brian on April 6th, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Trey-Burke-ready-for-former-teammate-Sullinger[1]Untitled-1[3]

BABY PLEASE DON'T GO

Burkedate. You've probably seen this from Beilein:

My coaching staff and I have met with Trey and his parents several times over the past two weeks. Collectively, we have gathered and shared with each of them some necessary information that we feel will help Trey make the most informed decision for his future.

The Burke family has been very receptive to our assistance and appreciates that we have encouraged Trey to take his time and look at all of his options between now and the April 10 deadline.

With only one full week of classes remaining, Trey and his teammates, like all students at Michigan, are working diligently to complete their assignments and prepare for final exams.

Hopefully we can exhale about that Guptill tweet. A reader noted that  "move sci" is one of those massive 101-level lectures that doesn't take attendance and probably has as multiple choice exam—ah, Anthro 101 fulfilling my R&E requirement. Burke's probably not missing anything other than quality time with the Daily crossword.

As for where the needle's pointing on a departure, it hasn't moved since yesterday when the forecast called for despair with a small pocket of hope starting at about 3 PM. I don't have anything new, and given the situation anything other than an official declaration one way or the other is going to be worth little.

Go Ferris. Ferris State beat Union yesterday to advance to the NCAA hockey championship game against a rampant BC. For state pride and underdog status and to put the Ferris program on solid footing in the coming hockey New World Order, a Bulldog championship would be sweet. The game is tomorrow at 7 on ESPN2.

In danger. Josh Furman's absence from practice has been attributed to "administrative" issues that aren't academic, and this gives off a whiff of doghouse:

When asked how safety Josh Furman has been doing during camp, Mattison reversed course and said Michigan head coach Brady Hoke would have to answer that.

Dollars to donuts Furman's got a strike or two to his name. Being held out of spring practice is not a good sign. Meanwhile, Marvin Robinson will plead to a lesser charge in his having-a-"concussion"-that-held-him-out-of-eight-games case. He's practicing, so extrapolate Furman's situation from that.

RELEASE THE MCALBRECHTKEN. It's back to the drawing board for the internet nickname but it looks like the brief, passionate courtship between Michigan and Spike Albrecht will come to a satisfactory conclusion. The NWI Times reports that he's "expected to sign" today—should be "commit" since the signing period doesn't start for a few days. Coach quote:

"Spike always played at a high level for us," Swan said, "but to see what he did at the highest level of prep school ball this past year, that was remarkable.

"I know the Michigan staff is very excited about Spike and I know I am really happy for him. He's worked really hard for this opportunity."

Finally we have our revenge on Appalachian State. Can we cancel that game now?

Albrecht's presumed commitment gives Michigan a point guard in the event of a Burke departure; they've still got one or two open slots for 2012 depending on how that goes and a third scholarship they could spend on a grad-year transfer. Speaking of…

[HT: UMHoops]

Another name for the transfer mill. Boston College's Matt Humphrey has decided to spend his last year of eligibility elsewhere. He's more of a wing or shooting guard and did not stand out amongst the wreckage that was BC's most recent season, but he was their second-leading scorer. BC Interruption on his game:

Humphrey was an enigma during his times with the Eagles. At times he was the offensive and defensive rock for BC, providing veteran leadership to a very young and inexperienced team. On the other hand he was impatient (shooting 35% from the field), and averaged two turnovers a game. He also showed an impatient fiery streak, sometimes making big turnovers in crucial moments.

As literally the only non-freshman who played more than a third of BC's minutes, it's hard to judge how he'd contribute to a better team. BC was 9-22 last year. His efficiency numbers are poor—he was 40% from 2, 31% from three—but shot selection had a lot to do with that. Presumably the shots would be better here.

With a BC degree in hand the academics shouldn't be a problem.

Why do you keep hitting yourself? Ramzy posts up an 84-year-old OSU program written by Brady Hoke:

image

You there with the helmet: go forth and show that beaver subphylum what Ohio is all about. Well done.

Insert usual amusement at OSU fans getting terribly peeved about That School Up North not calling them by their official name. Not Ramzy in particular, just, you know, them.

Seven teams, pi semifinals, one and a half finals: The Delany Plan. I don't have to mention that Jim Delany's ludicrous three-semifinal plan for a "plus one" is ludicrous, right? This is how that would have looked the past five years:

2011

Semifinals: No. 1 LSU-No. 5 Oregon (replacing Stanford), No. 2 Alabama-No. 3 Oklahoma State

Rose Bowl: No. 4 Stanford-No. 10 Wisconsin

2010

Semifinals: No. 1 Auburn-No. 6 Ohio State (replacing Wisconsin), No. 3 TCU-No. 4 Stanford

Rose Bowl: No. 2 Oregon-No. 5 Wisconsin

2009

No change

2008

No change

2007

Semifinals: No. 2 LSU-No. 5 Georgia (replacing Ohio State), No. 3 Virginia Tech-No. 4 Oklahoma

Rose Bowl: No. 1 Ohio State-No. 7 USC

The Rose Bowl has survived years in which it's lost one of its tenants to the national title game just fine. Over the last five years it would have had to replace three of its eight berths with… 11-1 Michigan (2007), 11-1 Stanford (2010), and 10-2 Oregon(2011). The Rose Bowl will survive a move to a four-team playoff just fine.

Tom Fornelli has the plan I endorse anyway.

Think of the children. Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott surveys his players for their desires in re: playoff:

While the players expressed a range of opinions, the "common thread" was their desire for some form of playoff. "If you're a competitor, you want a chance to play for it on the field, versus being voted for. That was made loud and clear," said Scott.

This has long been the case but now it matters because people have to backtrack on their lame justifications of the previous system.

Kind of, yes. Joe Nocera's been hammering the NCAA for months now but never has he taken on a more harpoon-worthy whale than that condescending ad you learned to hate over the course of the NCAA tournament. Not the Spandeau Ballet one. The other one:

If you’ve been watching the N.C.A.A. men’s basketball championship — a k a March Madness — you’ve undoubtedly seen the commercial. It’s an N.C.A.A. ad that shows college athletes pumping iron, running sprints and playing games. The voice-over, though, talks not about athletic achievement but academic accomplishment. “African-American males who are student-athletes are 10 percent more likely to graduate,” says the narrator. As the ad concludes, a female athlete looks into the camera and says, “Still think we’re just a bunch of dumb jocks?”

Well… it appears you can't do math:

But Richard Southall, who directs the College Sport Research Institute at the University of North Carolina — along with two colleagues, E. Woodrow Eckard of the University of Colorado-Denver and Mark Nagel at the University of South Carolina — have done rigorous studies that show the opposite. In comparing college basketball players with their true peer group — full-time college students — their data show that the athletes are 20 percent less likely to graduate than nonathletes. They also parsed the data by race: of the teams in this year’s March Madness, for instance, the black athletes are 33 percent less likely to graduate than nonathletes.

There are a lot of good reasons this may be. By the time a lot of players get to college they've been set up to struggle. But the relationship between money, prestige, and cut corners is clear.

Etc.: ESPN revamps its 2012 basketball rankings a final time. GRIII is #18, McGary #27, Stauskas #76. The overall class has dipped to #11. The OHL Draft is this weekend. Keep an eye on where commits Kyle Connor and Dylan Larkin go—the lower the better. More Albrecht scouting from people hitting up the full-game youtube videos of his team playing. An early look at the Alabama offense.

Burke: Latest, Options Otherwise

Burke: Latest, Options Otherwise

Submitted by Brian on April 5th, 2012 at 12:06 PM

After yesterday we're in limbo between totally boned and a two seed, which is better than life at around 4 yesterday when we were just totally boned. If you didn't see it on twitter yesterday, the (still unconfirmed) source who posted that Burke was out the door retracted that citing a "change of heart."

Unfortunately, it is the sort of change of heart that reduces the chances of departure from 100% to something less than that but certainly not zero. This was echoed by Sam Webb on Scout. They're saying that Burke wants to go and that Beilein (surprise!) and his parents are trying to talk of him out of it. That's the good news. You may have noticed it isn't very good news.

The bad news comes from a Daily reporter who twitpic'd Trey Burke's garbage-bag laden dorm room

ApsRJZdCQAAVVL-[1]

…and, oddly, Alex Guptill, who tweeted this to teammate Andrew Sinelli:

@ASinelli17 well now we [know why] Trey hasn't shown up to move sci for the last month haha

If that bit's true it could be hard to undo what is (almost) done, and then Burke's parting gift would be be an APR hit for leaving ineligible. That's a low blow there.

I'm not feeling very confident Burke returns. Let's meet some hurried stop-gap measures…

Spike Albrecht and Amedeo Della Valle

You know the stories on these two guys, who were covered in an earlier post after the trio of transfers a couple weeks ago. Albrecht is on campus as we speak and given his other options

Ivy League schools, Davidson, Vermont, Appalachian State and others came calling, and he's since decided to close it down to others.

…it's hard to see him turning down an offer.

I took in most of Albrecht's game against Hargrave last night to get an idea of what he might bring to the table. One man's amateur scouting report: good shooter with decent quickness offensively, pass-first mentality and ability to find the open shooter. Big men had terrible hands, which makes his assist numbers more impressive. Not going to generate shots for himself often. He'll drive into traffic looking to pass. Poor defender.

Della Valle, meanwhile, was a little underwhelming as Findlay Prep's fifth offensive option in the ESPN national something something invitational classic. He had some nice plays here and there but he was an afterthought. Given the rest of the roster that's understandable. I'd still take him.

evans_10bc_nn[1]RJ Evans

Evans is the closest thing to Brandon Wood available at the moment. A three-year starter at Holy Cross, Evans missed most of his junior year with an injury. He's planning on taking his talents elsewhere for his senior year, preferably at a place with a good MBA program:

Evans would like to pursue a master's degree in business after graduating in May. He has one year of eligibility remaining due to the fact that he missed the majority of the 2010-11 season with a sports hernia.

Michigan fits the bill and can offer playing time on what should still be a tournament team. Evans previously said he was likely to end up at UConn…

Right now, his first choice is UConn.

"It's hard for it not to be (my first choice) because I'm a hometown kid and it would be a great opportunity in general and hard to pass up...," Evans said. "It would be pretty cool if I ended up at UConn."

…which is in his hometown, but you'd have to think a contributing role on a tourney team with one of the best business schools in the country would be appealing.

Unfortunately, Evans is not Brandon Wood. Wood was a massive-usage player with ORtgs around 108 in the Horizon League. He was probably the top player in that league both years he played. Evans's ORtg was 99 last year and significantly worse as an underclassman. He's never been able to shoot threes; his free throw shooting was a dismal 59% last year. So he can't shoot at all.

Arguments in his favor: he did pop up to high usage last year and had a good assist rate. At 6'3" he's got good size. And he is not dead, which makes him better than the alternative. Michigan can take him without occupying a scholarship for 2013. There is no downside.

Secret Unknowns

There don't appear to be any other unsigned point guards Michigan can pursue. The only uncommitted guy Rivals ranks is headed for JUCO; EMU commit Ray Lee has bounced through four high schools in his high school career and got booted from the prep school he attended briefly. 

As far as other grad-year guys go, there are no other immediately-eligible guards who seem like plausible fits on Goodman's transfer list… yet. It's possible graduating guys at lower-level schools see an opportunity after the NBA draft is settled. For instance, Colorado State just lost its coach and has two starting guards entering fifth years: Wes Eikmeier and Jesse Carr. (Eikmeier already transferred from Iowa State, so I'm not sure he would be immediately eligible.)

There are other guys out there who might want to try their hand at a higher level. Michigan would be a logical landing spot.

CBS Reporting Trey Burke To NBA [Disputed]

CBS Reporting Trey Burke To NBA [Disputed]

Submitted by Brian on April 4th, 2012 at 3:03 PM

henri-the-otter-of-ennu

It's been a long time, Henri, the otter of ennui. I hate you.

FFFFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUU

Trey Burke is leaving Michigan after just one season.

The Wolverines point guard, according to sources, is expected to forgo his remaining three years of eligibility and declare for the NBA.

Article also says Michigan's bringing Spike Albrecht in Thursday. You have permission to panic.

UPDATE: Nick Baumgardner pinged Burke's dad and got this in a text:

Benji Burke tells AnnArbor.com that "Trey has not declared"

I'll be in the bomb shelter.

UPDATE II: Burke's father also has a twitter account:

Trey Burke has not declared for the NBA draft. He is still enrolled at the University of Michigan.

UPDATE III: I have an unconfirmed email from a guy who isn't established with me stating that Burke already has his evaluation, that it's 20-35, and is gone. He's got enough of an online presence that I can confirm he's an alum with a plausible route to that information, but again: unconfirmed, not established. Given the way the wind is blowing I don't doubt it.

Unverified Voracity Are Is People Good U

Unverified Voracity Are Is People Good U

Submitted by Brian on March 29th, 2012 at 12:57 PM

Condolences. RIP Jon Hoke, Brady Hoke's father.

All hockey nicknames end in an "-ie" sound so let's just call him Dali. Shwn Hunwick's life story reached clock-melting levels of surrealism yesterday when a flood of current, future, and former Michigan hockey players started tweeting out congratulations on Hunwick's NHL debut. His father understandably thought this was a hoax:

“I thought he was pulling my leg. He’s kind of a prankster,” Rich said. "When I realized he wasn’t joking, it was just an incredible feeling.”

As did the security guy at the Blue Jackets' arena:

A 2003 Ford Ranger pulled into the players’ parking lot on Wednesday at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Assorted hockey gear, two small goalie leg pads and a winged helmet sat in the bed of the pickup truck.

The newest member of the Columbus Blue Jackets opened the window to speak to the lot attendant.

Shawn Hunwick told the attendant that he was here to be the back-up goalie.

“I don’t think he really believed me,” Hunwick said. “But then he radioed up to somebody, and they said I was good.”

As did Ira Weintraub of WTKA. The fact that most of the congratulatory tweets were hash-tagged "midget" didn't help.

But lo, it was not a hoax. Wearing #31, a winged helmet, and his block-M-bearing goalie pads, Shawn Hunwick was the backup goalie for the Blue Jackets last night. There's evidence and everything:

shawn-hunwick-blue-jackets

With Blue Jacket goalies dropping like flies Hunwick may get signed for the duration of the season.

Q: is there a Hunwick Effect?

His powerful goalie repellent saw multiple touted prospects flee for the sanctuary of the OHL and Bryan Hogan twice suffered injuries that opened the door for him. It's possible his effect extends to nearby pro teams. Not only are the Blue Jackets ready to sign anyone who's available but Detroit started Ty Conklin last night thanks to injuries to both Jimmy Howard and Joey MacDonald. If emergency Blue Jackets starter Allen York suffers a lethal hangnail, Hunwick's ability to get on the ice can only be occult.

The Jackets' official site has a long profile to go with the Daily one linked above and this other Daily one.

BONUS CBJ IS A MESS NOTE: Jack Johnson has set franchise records for TOI twice in the last week, breaking his record of 31:25 yesterday by logging 32:26. Those are Torey Krug levels.

He needs your help. Will Hagerup's immortal animated GIF is up against a runaway golf cart in the GIF bracket's final four. He must not be defeated until the final, where even a partisan like myself thinks Rollerblading Raptors Mascot is a worthy challenger. I mean…

2009_medium[1]

…every time. Gets me every time. I really need to stop watching it. Okay one more time. Okay one more time. Okay one more time. I think I need an intervention. 

I ARE PROUD OF U AND TINK U SULD R BE HAPPY. Good lord, the Hollis thing. If you are living under a rock—even more than the tail I think it's the derp derp derp of the mouth that makes it—you should know that yesterday Trey Burke tweeted out something frustrated about making a decision and MSU's athletic director revealed himself to be a lolcat:

My advice believe in YOUR heart & mind, everything else is interference. People seek u out is better than those that seek u.

Yes, MSU's athletic director tweeted unsolicited advice to ignore unsolicited advice and toppped it off by writing "people is". Also I just punched that into twitter and found he had three more characters to spell out at least one of those "u" abominations, both if he dropped the period. The parody twitter account was inevitable, if sadly lacking in laughable grammatical errors.

The fact that MSU's AD appears to be a lolcat probably shouldn't be a surprise:

17398649[1]

That's MSU agreeing to road games against WMU, CMU, and Eastern, though it's not like we have much of a leg to stand on what with The Horror II on the docket and Brandon tweeting out something in response that, while about 10% as foolish, was unnecessary.

Moral of the story: athletic directors should not exist outside of press conferences. Also,

17398908[1]

In other Trey Burke stay or go news. Chad Ford's flat response to a Q on Burke's draft status:

tb (chicago)

Trey Burke's draft stock?

Chad Ford
  (1:43 PM)

Second round. He should go back to school

There is no hedging there. About the only thing he could have said that would have been more encouraging would be "…for six to ten years."

I don't get it. Dabo Swinney, who I want to call Dabo Dabo Doo but will not, wants spring practice to end with a scrimmage against another team:

It’s an idea that has been kicked around before. Here are the basics of Dabo’s proposal: College football teams have the option of a spring game against themselves or another team. If you play another team, it must be both an out-of-conference team but also one within a reasonable driving distance. The coaches will agree upon the rules of the scrimmage in advance.

“Personally, I think it would be a good thing for college football to do,” Swinney said. “College football takes in a lot of money. I think it would be an opportunity to give something back to your school or a charity."

I guess that would be okay, but I like Rich Rodriguez's idea to institute a preseason game against a I-AA foe as an annual event much better. That gives you another game, gets rid of the annoying bowl eligibility stuff, allows you an opportunity to get some preseason kinks out, and can be put in that week in late August when nothing's happening. And since it's a scrimmage no one can beat you.

The best part about all of this is new Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin's response to the idea:

"Dabo wants a jamboree? Why not?"

Hoodaddy Dabo wants a jamobree I tell ya. /boomhauer'd

Etc.: UMHoops kicks off postseason recaps with five low points from the season. That's the Michigan Difference right there. User Rabbit21 previews Air Force, his undergrad alma mater. Option option option. More exit talkin'($). People hate parking tickets.

Murdoch envisions an ESPN competitor, just like NBC envisions an ESPN competitor. I'll believe it when a major college football conference ends up on one of those channels and not before. Fox did grab the World Cup the instant ESPN figured out how to cover it really, really well. I'm still watching the raptor gif.

Basketball Season Review: Guards

Basketball Season Review: Guards

Submitted by Ace on March 29th, 2012 at 10:41 AM


Photo by Eric Upchurch/MGoBlog

Now that the disappointment stemming from an early NCAA tournament exit has largely melted away—replaced instead by a crippling fear that Trey Burke will go pro in similarly too-soon fashion—it's time to take a look back on the 2011-12 basketball season. Heading into the season, expectations weren't particularly high after the early departure of Darius Morris, and the burden was largely placed on Burke to get Michigan back to the tournament. From my season preview:

This year's team appears poised for a potential top-25 season and another tournament run, but much of those expectations rely on a smooth transition from a star in Morris to a true freshman in Burke while other players—most notably Hardaway and Smotrycz—pick up the scoring slack and keep the offense running smoothly. With a difficult non-conference slate that includes a brutal draw in the Maui Invitational, plus playing in a Big Ten conference ranked by KenPom as the nation's toughest, this looks to me like a team that will spend much of the season squarely on the tournament bubble.

Exceeding those expectations means that we either see vast improvement from key role players, a huge breakout from Tim Hardaway, or a fantastic freshman year out of Burke—none of those are out of the question, but none are certainties, either. If Michigan suddenly finds that they can't create inside scoring chances without Morris's penetration, or Hardaway spends the season trying to carry the offense by chucking up less-than-ideal shots, Michigan could fall short of their goals as the fanbase begins to look ahead to the arrival of Mitch McGary, Glenn Robinson III, and Nick Stauskas in 2012-13.

Michigan spent most of the season not on the tournament bubble, but firmly in the top 25, thanks to a fantastic freshman campaign from Burke. A late-season push, coupled with a little help from Ohio State, brought the team a share of its first Big Ten title in my lifetime. The team stumbled in the postseason, getting demolished by the Buckeyes in the conference tourney before bowing out to OHIO in the NCAAs, but there's no arguing that the season was a rousing success.

Today's review covers the guards—before you ask, Zack Novak gets lumped in with the forwards—and looks at their highlights, lowlights, and expectations for next year:

Trey Burke

Preseason Expectations: Burke headed into the season as the big question mark on the team. We knew the freshman was talented, likely beyond what his recruiting profile would suggest, but would he pick up the offense quickly enough to carry the burden of being the team's lone true point guard?

Postseason Reality: Burke not only grasped John Beilein's complicated offense quickly, but proved to be a dymanic scorer with an on-court maturity well beyond that of the average freshman. He scored in double figures in all but four games and played 30+ minutes in every game after the season opener, including three 45-minute efforts. Burke's quickness and finishing ability made him tough to handle on the pick-and-roll, which became the staple of Michigan's offense, and he was also adept leading the fast break. He also held up well defensively, posting the lowest foul rate on the team despite playing in a conference chock-full of talented point guards. Burke had his freshman moments, struggling a bit against larger guards and aggressive hedging, but he was the clear-cut best player on the team. The only question now is if Burke was a little too good, at least when it comes to the prospects of next year's squad.

Highlight: For a single play, Burke's improbable floater off the high glass to seal the Ohio State victory stands out above the rest, doubly so because he made the shot over childhood friend and future lottery pick Jared Sullinger. For a game, however, I'm going with his 30-point outburst against Minnesota in the first round of the BTT, as the freshman carried the offense in what was otherwise an ugly slog—Burke shot 11-14 from the field, the rest of his teammates a combined 13-35. Burke played every minute of the game, and Michigan needed all of his production in a three-point overtime victory.

Lowlight: The next day wasn't as kind, as Burke—gassed from playing 45 minutes the night before and matched up against B1G DPOY Aaron Craft—was just 1-11 from the field with eight turnovers in a 22-point loss to Ohio State. The larger Buckeyes exploited Michigan's lack of size across the board, giving Burke little room to operate, and the game got out of hand in a hurry.

Key Numbers: 28.7% assist rate, 49.0 2pt%, 34.8 3pt%, 1.7 fouls committed/40 minutes.

Next Year: PLEASE COME BACK. If Burke returns, he'll once again carry the load at the point, as Michigan is hoping to land either a grad-year transfer or true freshman to provide some backup help. Most of Burke's improvement should come from a full year in a college strength program and a greater understanding of Beilein's offense—remember the second-year leap of Morris—which should help him learn how to deal with big, aggressive defenses. There are little things, like leaving his feet on the baseline without knowing where he's going with the ball, that Burke needs to work on. That's picking nits, however, and if he returns he should contend for All-America honors.

Stu Douglass

Preseason Expectations: Knock down some threes, play the usual solid perimeter defense, spell Burke at the point on occasion, and provide critical senior leadership.

Postseason Reality: The numbers don't jump off the page, but that was never the expectation from a willing role player. Douglass not only was the team's top perimeter defender and an outside shooting threat—he developed into a reliable second ball-handler and had a knack for getting to the rim, an aspect of his game that was entirely nonexistent until this season. Douglass knew how to avoid mistakes on both ends of the floor, posting a very solid 14.4% turnover rate and committing just 2.2 fouls per 40 minutes. Though he never developed into a lights-out shooter, Douglass helped the team in so many ways—especially on defense—that the numbers probably don't do his contribution justice. He stepped into the starting lineup when Evan Smotrycz struggled in Big Ten play, gave Burke the space to run the team, and matched up against the opposing team's best scorer on most nights—nobody will ever accuse Stu of not being a team player.

Highlight: Douglass's best game came on the road at Northwestern, as he helped push the team to an overtime victory with 12 points (4-7 from three) and five assists while shutting down a red-hot Drew Crawford in the second half and OT.

Lowlight: Douglass struggled down the stretch, shooting a combined 6-18 and dishing out just four assists over the team's last three games.

Key Numbers: 15.0% assist rate, 14.4% TO rate, 83.9 FT%

Next Year: Farewell, Stu. Douglass has graduated and will likely pursue a pro career overseas.

Tim Hardaway Jr.

Preseason Expectations: After an outstanding freshman season, Hardaway was expected—perhaps unfairly, given his greater first-year production—to make a Morris-like leap to superstardom as a sophomore. Leading the team in scoring was a given, even if it meant a slight dropoff in efficiency, as was contention for postseason honors.

Postseason Reality: While Hardaway's per-game numbers weren't bad at all—14.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 2.1 assists—his long-range shooting was inconsistent at best. THJ finished the season shooting 53.5% from two on 235 attempts, a solid improvement over his first season, but just 28.3% from three on 187 attempts, a big dropoff. Tasked with creating his own shot more often, Hardaway struggled with his shot selection, often launching unnecessary long twos or contested threes early in the shot clock. Though he showed flashes of All-American potential, getting hot from the outside or finally using his superior athleticism to get to the basket, he never appeared fully comfortable with his shot, even battling a late-season swoon at the free-throw line. Issues with ballhandling—despite posting a low 14.4% turnover rate—and defensive effort also appeared at times during the season. It wasn't all bad—Hardaway finished the season strong and had several great games throughout—it just wasn't the year everyone, including Hardaway, was expecting.

Highlight: Michigan traveled to Illinois for a critical late-season contest in the midst of Hardaway's funk, and he snapped out of it to the tune of 25 points on 6-7 shooting (9-10 from the line) and 11 rebounds. THJ also scored 20 on 8-13 shooting and dished out four assists in the win over UCLA and poured in a season-high 26 against Penn State.

Lowlight: The dream of sweeping Michigan State twice in as many years met a rude reality in the Breslin Center, as Hardaway managed a season-low 4 points while connecting on just 1-10 shots from the field.

Key Numbers: 4.7 fouls drawn/40 minutes, 53.5 2pt%, 28.3 3pt%

Next Year: It's all but assured that Hardaway will return next season, and with Michigan losing Evan Smotrycz, Stu Douglass, and Zack Novak, he'll have to improve his shot selection from beyond the arc and bring that 3pt% at least close to where it was his freshman year (37%). Whether Burke stays or goes, Hardaway should also work on his handle, as too many times he simply lost the ball while driving into the paint. Mainly, however, Hardaway's 2012-'13 outlook depends on his mental approach; if he's willing to take the ball to the basket more often and play within the offense, his numbers will improve and so should the team. If that happens, we'll see the Hardaway many were afraid would be making the leap to the NBA by now.

Matt Vogrich

Preseason Expectations: A few quality minutes off the bench while displaying the shooting prowess that made him one of the country's top long-range gunners in high school.

Postseason Reality: Vogrich didn't get a lot of burn, playing 26.5% of available minutes, in large part because his 30.2 3pt% mark fell short of expectations. However, Vogrich showed improvement on defense as well as a Novakian ability to come away with a surprising number of offensive rebounds. He also finished better at the rim this season, hitting 13 of his 23 two-point attempts. The long-range shooting, however, is what he's here for, and the significant dropoff from his freshman and sophomore years was worrisome.

Highlight: As Michigan once again needed overtime to put away Northwestern in Evanston, Vogrich hit 3-6 from deep and even chipped in two assists and a block. His nine points were a season high outside of his 11 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

Lowlight: A 4-16 slump over a 10-game span in December and January really hampered Vogrich's overall numbers, and unfortunately also coincided with shooting woes from Hardaway and Smotrycz.

Key Numbers: 3.6 OR%, 56.5 2pt%, 30.2 3pt%

Next Year: Vogrich will have a role, but how large of one will depend on his shot with two-guard Nik Stauskas coming to campus as a highly-regarded shooter. If Vogrich can continue to hit the boards, he should get minutes in a thin backcourt, but in the end it all comes down to whether or not he connects from three. I'm guessing he bounces back, as he shot much better in his first two seasons than he did this year.

Eso Akunne

Preseason Expectations: Provide emergency minutes if Trey Burke needs oxygen.

Postseason Reality: Akunne played just 48 minutes all year, and only 10 in Big Ten play, mostly at the point. He did hit 4-5 of his three-point attempts, but also had four turnovers to a lone assist while looking a bit uncomfortable as a primary ballhandler when faced with pressure.

Highlight: Played 12 minutes against Iowa State and was 2-2 from the field (1-1 from three) for a career-high 5 points.

Lowlight: Coughed the ball up twice in two minutes against Oakland.

Next Year: With so little depth at the point, Akunne might be called upon to play a few minutes. Making sure he's comfortable taking the ball upcourt against a press or trap would be helpful.

Carlton Brundidge

Preseason Expectations: Brundidge, despite the four-star recruiting profile, wasn't expected to have the impact of Burke. The big question was how the 6'1" slasher's game would translate to the college level.

Postseason Reality: Brundidge played four fewer minutes than Akunne and shot a combined 1-8 from the field. He never played more than four minutes in a conference game, had a scary midseason bout with asthma, and never looked like he'd settled into Beilein's offense or the pace of the college game in general.

Highlight: The freshman's lone made field goal came against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, when he played a season-high 12 minutes.

Lowlight: His post-season transfer.

Next Year: Brundidge was one of three players to transfer after the season, so here's hoping he lands on his feet and carves out a role for himself at another program.