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.



April 11th, 2012 at 3:44 PM ^

that Hardaway was not the only one creating his own shot to the hole. Burke did that all year. Not to mention even Stu and Zach at times, albeit not nearly as often as Burke/Hardaway.


April 11th, 2012 at 4:07 PM ^

Needs to be more agressive and physical AND he needs to work on his horrible free throw shooting and missed easy layups and stop fumbling the ball up close How many tmes did you see the ball slip through his hands?..Hardaway needs to be more consistent and let the game come to him instead of chunking up poor shots beause its his turn to score ....He needs to play 40 consistent minutes and show up at the openng tipoff...We have a great chance to be a national title contenter if Morgan and Hardaway can do this...It has to be the TEAM the TEAM the TEAM and it doesnt matter who scores or how much...THE TEAM!


April 11th, 2012 at 4:17 PM ^

I think Ace's projection gets the five best players on the court at the same time, but my prediction is that you rarely see McGary and Morgan on the court together.  I'm curious about JB's comments that he's installing some 2-post offense given how many big men we suddenly have, but I think you're going to see Stauskas or Vogrich start at the 2-guard (also because Hardaway can't dribble well) and GR3 start at PF.  I think McGary is a center in this ofense, not a PF.

Instead, I think you'll see McGary split time with Morgan at center with some time at PF here and there.  Here are the open questions I see:

  • Who from Stauskas (picking up the offense, playing decent D), Hardaway (dribbling), and Vogrich (dribbling, slashing a little) steps up to grab the SG spot?
  • How does JB find playing time for four players who are essentially true post players?  And related to that, who from that group shows they can hit a jump shot and earn some minutes at PF?  (Or does GR3 take that spot instead....)
  • Who steps up to be the defensive stopper on the wing?  Douglas did a great job of matching up on the best wing and none of our returning players are known for their defense.  Perhaps GR3 turns into an athletic stopper as a freshman? 
  • What can Horford and BIelfeldt contribute coming off of redshirt years?

I also agree that Spike will be a perfect parallel to Stilman White at UNC this year - about 6 minutes per game as a pass-first back-up to a star PG who doesn't turn the ball over, sets up teammates, runs the offense, hits a rare open shot, and looks out-classed on defense. 



April 11th, 2012 at 4:23 PM ^

By the end of last season Michigan played one player (Jordan Morgan - 6'8") in their rotation that was taller than 6'5".  (Not counting Christian, McLimans, or pre-injury Horford.)

In the rotation we're debating in this these comments Michigan has the following:

  • Morgan (6'8")
  • Horford (6'10")
  • McGary (6'10")
  • Bielfeldt (6'7")
  • GR3 (6'6" or 6'7")
  • Stauskas (6'5" or 6'6")

I'm not sure i can remember a time when Michigan was so tall.  I remember that the 1989 team had Mills, Vaught, Riley, Rice, and HIggons that were all tall.  I know Amaker had a team of underachievers that was pretty tall at one point too. 

That's a roster that you'd feel confident going up against the teams like MSU, OSU, and Indiana that seemed to out reach or out jump us all the time.

Blue boy johnson

April 11th, 2012 at 5:25 PM ^

Don't forget Mark Hughes. I honestly can't remember Riley playing at all on that team.

After further research, it appears you are talking about the 1990 team, which of course started in the Fall on 1989. Riley, believe it or not, never played with Rice

.http://stats.ath.umich.edu/basketball/seasontot.php 1990 stats

1989 stats




Blue boy johnson

April 11th, 2012 at 5:45 PM ^

Is that what it was, I looked at the season stats and he was nowhere to be found.

They had different redshirt rules back then. Loy Vaught played in the second to last regular season game in 1986 against OSU, but still redshirted and played on the NC team as a Junior.

Versus Ohio State 03-06-1986 Crisler Arena, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Michigan 99
24 Gary Grant   7-11 - 0-0 2 4 6 4 14 9 4 0 4 31
40 Richard Rellford   5-7 - 2-2 2 5 7 4 12 0 2 1 1 30
42 Roy Tarpley   6-14 - 10-11 2 5 7 3 22 3 2 3 4 29
11 Antoine Joubert   6-12 - 5-7 2 2 4 1 17 5 1 0 1 27
53 Butch Wade   3-5 - 1-2 2 2 4 3 7 1 1 1 2 22
30 Garde Thompson   4-6 - 2-2 1 0 1 2 10 3 1 0 1 20
41 Glen Rice   5-9 - 5-6 1 4 5 4 15 1 3 1 1 20
35 Loy Vaught   0-1 - 0-0 1 1 2 1 0 1 1 0 0 7
44 Stephen Stoyko   0-1 - 0-0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 5
15 Robert Henderson   1-2 - 0-1 1 0 1 1 2 0 0 0 0 4
32 William Butts   0-3 - 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 0 0 4
30 Ronald Gibas   0-0 - 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
TM TEAM   0-0 0-0 0-0 0 4 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
  Total   37-71 0-0 25-31 14 27 41 26 99 23 17 6 14 200
Career Totals for Loy Vaught
Season GP GS Min Avg FG FGA FG% 3FG 3FGA 3FG% FT FTA FT% OR DR RB Avg Ast Avg PF DQ TO Stl Blk Pts Avg
1985-86 1 0 7 7.0 0 1 0.000 -- --   0 0   1 1 2 2.0 1 1.0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0.0
1986-87 32 1 417 13.0 68 122 0.557 0 0   11 22 0.500 54 71 125 3.9 12 0.4 73 1 32 11 31 147 4.6
1987-88 34 20     151 243 0.621 0 0   55 76 0.724 76 150 226 6.7 22 0.7 96 4 50 19   357 10.5
1988-89 37 21     201 304 0.661 2 5 0.400 63 81 0.778 94 202 296 8.0 36 1.0 94 3 50 19 11 467 12.6
1989-90 31 31     197 331 0.595 0 1 0.000 86 107 0.804 118 228 346 11.2 30 1.0 100 7 47 15 26 480 15.5
Total 135 73     617 1001 0.616 2 6 0.333 215 286 0.752 343 652 995 7.4 101 0.7 364 15 180 64   1451 10.7


Wicked wolverine

April 11th, 2012 at 9:51 PM ^

With all of our big men i do agree with the starting line up, except for the fact vogrich might start at the beginning of the season becuase of his experience. I think once mcgary or morgan gets a foul then they will come out so they dont get in foul trouble.