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

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

Two words: Jed York.

via ace


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

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


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

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

Other players have taken to social media to defend him.

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

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

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

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

Hyman to fly free

What's that about you think?


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

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

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

A bunch of basketball recruiting questions.

1. Why sign Austin Davis now?

I’m not questioning whether he’ll be the next Jordan Morgan, but why sign him to your last available scholarship right now?  You have one spot left, you have needs at other positions, you have offers out to other players, and this guy is a lifetime fan who will likely accept at any time.   It would seem that Beilein could have strung him a long for a while before locking in that last spot.

For one, he's not really the last available spot. Michigan is still recruiting guys right now, so they have one to give. After next season there is likely to be some sort of attrition. I have a dollar that says Zak Irvin has a Hardaway-ish junior year and goes to the draft, and at some point there is going to be a guy who gets pushed out of the rotation entirely and will probably want to play some basketball elsewhere.

That's three-ish to play with, and given how late basketball recruiting is going these days Michigan will have time to determine how many they in fact have.

As far as getting Davis now, I do agree that it's pretty odd to take two centers in a class when you've got two more on the roster. It is possible Michigan is now looking at Donnal and Wilson more as fours long term—in which case someone at that spot is likely to transfer in search of playing time.

2. Three stars who become prospects are nice…..but are they enough?

The go-to comparison, especially for obscure big men, is Jordan Morgan when demonstrating John Beilein’s ability to turn no-names into solid college players.  He has taken us to new heights with under-the-radar players.  But let’s not forget that the magical championship run was with five star Mitch McGary as one of the key players while Morgan was on the bench.  Can you sustain success with no true stars?

Let us neither forget that after McGary went out for the year in 2013-14, Michigan won the Big Ten by three clear games and was tied at the end of regulation with Kentucky before whichever Harrison it was hit a prayer three. And that this roster has three top fifty recruits… and a who-dat who just turned down a possible slot in the first round of the draft.

I mean, it depends on what you mean by "enough." Is it enough to win a national title? Maybe not. Is it enough for Beilein to be Michigan's most successful basketball coach in a very long time? Evidently.

Our model can't be the Duke or Kentucky model. It can be Wisconsin's.

I always appreciated the way Izzo and Ryan built their programs on the backs of experienced and talented college players without relying on top recruits…..but even they sprinkled in some top players.  Is that going to be the case at Michigan?

I mean… Walton, Irvin, and Chatman were all top 50 recruits. That bests this Wisconsin team by two (just Dekker) and this MSU team by two (just Dawson).

The current roster is a bit short on big time talent because too much of it headed to the NBA way before anyone expected that would be possible and Michigan got unlucky that the kids they had been recruiting since eighth grade (Booker, Kennard) blew up into guys Duke and Kentucky were interested in.

I mean, have we forgotten that Beilein and his staff are the guys who IDed Burke, GRIII, Stauskas, LeVert, etc etc etc.?

3. Where are the rewards from the Final Four?

Michigan  has been one of the most entertaining second-tier programs (behind the blue bloods) over the last few years with an efficient offense, new facilities, on-court success, and a bunch of NBA draft picks.  Yet the benefits on the recruiting trail from that success have been……inconclusive.  Beilein pretty much had Irvin and Walton locked up before that run.  Chatman was a solid 4-star who rose up the rankings after signing with Michigan but was never in the category of “instant impact”.  After that there has been a collection of low-ranked prospects we hope can be molded into solid players – Dawkins, Rahk, Teske, Davis, Donnal, Doyle, Wilson, etc.  Some of those moved up the rankings, but none are expected to be instant play makers.

Meanwhile, MSU just signed two 5-star players to their 2015 class despite comparable recent success and significantly fewer NBA draft picks.

Retconning Chatman after his disappointing freshman year overlooks the fact that Michigan had a head to head win over Arizona there. Meanwhile the roster looks like it does in part because Michigan didn't think they were going to have to add as many guys as they did—they have been too successful at developing their players—and it takes some time to develop yourself into a recruiting powerhouse.

It's about what happens on the court, and there Michigan has been just about peerless at taking what they have and making it better. As a fanbase we seem to be fretting that Beilein has made Michigan into a top 20 program instead of a top 5 one. I mean…

I am terribly sorry, Wiganites.



Hi Brian,

With regards to the comment under the photograph of Wigan’s soccer team [in yesterday's post]: I think that the caption “The FA Cup: the only time anyone has ever believed in Wigan” is, shall we say, somewhat wide of the mark!

Wigan have a legendary Rugby League team, much as it galls me to type that: I’m a St. Helens boy*, and thus naturally disinclined to say anything positive about that bunch of troglodytic inbreds from across “The Lump”.

I’m a Wolverine as Ann Arbor was the first place I lived in the USA; I ventured over from Europe as a researcher in the UMich med school, and the sport that you endearingly call “football” was the closest thing I could find to rugby league over here. Somewhat predictably, given the local environment I promptly became a Michigan football fan.


* Wigan & St. Helens are separated by about 10 miles in the north of England, and have a long-standing and somewhat vituperative rivalry.

I have been corrected with authority.


Yostbound and Down

April 22nd, 2015 at 1:01 PM ^

I mean, have we forgotten that Beilein and his staff are the guys who IDed Burke, GRIII, Stauskas, LeVert, etc etc etc.?


Yes, I would say the posters that constantly show up just to bitch about starz (paging Pinky/Bagheera/whoever you are) certainly have.


April 22nd, 2015 at 1:15 PM ^

And Hardaway.  And all the guys he got at WVU.

Also have to love the list of "low ranked recruits" (after dismissing Walton, Irvin, and Chatman as guys who for some reason don't count) includes three more top-100 guys and a dude that just put up three 20+ point games in conference play, and scored 18 in a win at the BTT (but that definitely wouldn't count as an instant impact from a true freshman).

The concern trolling about the direction of the basketball program based entirely on star rankings and comparisons to Duke/UK is fucking infuriating.


April 22nd, 2015 at 1:31 PM ^

i am quite satisfied with the overall recruiting the past few years; especially if wagner is the real deal.  the only ding i would give would be that we haven't recruited a top notch center after mcgary.  that said, we will have a lot of depth there the next few years with doyle, wilson, teske and davis, so it wouldn't surprise me to see one of those guys blow up and become all big ten caliber.

this roster is set to contend for the BIG title (and more) for years to come.

it would also help if the state of michigan would produce more top 50 recruits.  it would make JB's recruiting job much easier.


April 22nd, 2015 at 2:50 PM ^

I think what has driven much of the frustration is that our recent success has not impacted us one way or another (bad or good).  We thought we might be able to get better (i.e. higher ranked) recruits, but we didn't.  We also have not been getting bad recruits either (although some may disagree).  

Additionally, not making any tournament this year didn't help.

Overall though, it just seems weird that we really haven't be able to take advantage of our recent success. 


April 22nd, 2015 at 4:39 PM ^

Michigan runs a clean program.  UK doesn't.  I am pretty sure Duke has a lot of booster action behind the scenes, too, even though the media like to present Duke as a shining example of everything that is right about college athletics.  

My point: when you run clean, most of the top 25 are going to be gone when it's your turn.

the real hail_yes

April 22nd, 2015 at 6:09 PM ^

I was thinking the same thing... I'm sure there will be the occasional top 25 prospects that are willing to go to class, but they seem to be the exception.

Not judging though, because at 18 and being told you're going to the NBA in a year its probably tough to sit through calc lectures.


April 22nd, 2015 at 1:26 PM ^

 but to say we are a "top 20" program right now kind of ignores last year, doesn't it?  A top 20 program gets talked about when they don't make the tournament, there is a noticeable hush where said team should be.  That was not the case with us last year.  Nobody "took notice" that Michigan had a down year because we had not had sustainable success in order for it be a story.  I think the truth is that we really need next year to be a special year or any shine from our blip of national relevance will have worn off.  State getting to the FF and signing Swanigan really intensified the need.  Let's face it, Bielien is engaging in spaz-recruiting right now because we can't afford too long of a fall off from our title run.  We did not cement ourselves in the conversation like a team like Florida did 7-8 years ago with back to back titles.  Michigan is still very much fighting for a place at the grown-ups table in college basketball.


April 22nd, 2015 at 1:28 PM ^

Florida missed two years in a row after winning back-to-back titles and again this past season after a great 4 year run.  UK missed just a few years ago with a similar parade of one-and-done stars.  UCONN missed the tourney in 2007, 2010, 2013, and this past season.  UCLA missed twice in three seasons after their run of three straight Final Fours under Howland.  These are still top-20 programs.

From a program that missed the tourney for a decade, we've gone Round of 32, B1G co-champs upset in first round, national runner-up, Elite Eight and B1G champs, then missed the tourney after losing three sophomores to the NBA (and another early entrant from the year before), graduated our starting center, saw the back-up transfer, and had our two top returners miss long stretches with injury.

Next year's team should be really good and if they are we will be continuing an incredible run with one small, though entirely understandable hiccup.  State had guys like Payne and Harris at the same time Michigan was going on that great recent run.  Panicking because they are still getting good recruits is the only spaz activity I see related to Michigan basketball.


April 22nd, 2015 at 1:37 PM ^

I said "spaz-recruiting" I did not mean in it in a derogatory fashion, but what I am saying is that JB is certainly the most active college basketball coach on the recruting trail with no obvious scholarships to even give out.  I think is crazy to not believe his intensity has picked up a little but in this regard and that even he did not envision a scenario, even post depature(Sauce, Mitch, GR3), where we would flat out miss the tournament by a country mile last year.

And in your list of teams who struggle and remain Top 20 programs, you list Kentucky, UConn and UCLA along with Florida?  Um, yeah, those are teams that can miss the tournament and be just fine, but that is the entire point, we are not those programs yet nor have we really ever been.  That is why I am saying it is very important to sustain success if we ever want to be.


April 22nd, 2015 at 1:44 PM ^

Panicking that we won't because guys who aren't here yet don't have enough stars next to their name is what is silly.

Next year's team is loaded with talent and experience.  We're also still recruiting blue-chip guys who may be here in the fall (the 8th guy off the bench is likely to be a top-100 recruit, maybe with a couple years experience) and are definitely going to add to the 2016 class.

We've got a coach who has more than earned the benefit of the doubt when it comes to talent evaluation.  Let's let him do his job and just enjoy the product he continues to put on the floor.  For those of us who lived through far darker times, having the good ones marred with so much damn negativity is a real pain in the ass.


April 22nd, 2015 at 1:50 PM ^

I lived those dark times.  Michigan v. Rutgers in the NIT title game was must see TV for me.  I actually had myself convinced that Courtney Sims and Brent Petway were going to take us to the "next level."  I am not a Johnny Come Lately.  I think those in the overly negative crowd are crazy, but I think there are those who think that the 2013 NC game run turned us into this power house that is essentially guaranteed continued success.  I think both are mistaken.

Honk if Ufer M…

April 22nd, 2015 at 6:33 PM ^


On the surface it seems like we missed the tourney by a country mile, but in reality we had an absurd number of games that went down to the wire or overtime, and against very good teams including 3 games against final four teams where we outplayed them for most or much of the games. I doubt you can find another team in history with that many so close or overtime knockdown brawls without winning any of them, and against as strong a collection of teams.

With some better officiating and better breaks we could just as easily have won 21 or 22 games with the depleted cast at hand. One of the most depleted casts in history between the unexpected early departures and the shit storm of injuries and sickness that deprived us of mountain of man hours. With just average luck we would've won half of those tight losses and that alone would've given us 19 or 20 wins.

That made for a team cobbled together on the fly in mid season comprised of a jumbled mess of freshmen slated to wait or redshirt, backups and walk on's who played many simply heroic and inspiring games against good or great teams, even though many of them ended up as losses.

All that being said, I think if we could keep all the good things about Beliein that took the level of the program back up & that work, but change a little of his decision making, we could've won a lot more games even with the bad luck we had.

Blue Mike

April 22nd, 2015 at 1:39 PM ^

Really?  Did you notice Florida this year?  I don't remember anyone talking about what a struggle this year was.  Same for Kentucky a few years ago.  If they didn't lost, at home, in the first round of the NIT, nobody would have said anything about them in March.

I think once it becomes obvious that team just isn't that good, the media stops paying attention for the year.  If having a bad year disqualifies you from being a top program, I guess Florida, Kentucky, UConn, Syracuse, etc. are all out.

Another mediocre year will hurt recruiting, and we don't have as much history to fall back on as other programs, but if we're a top-4 seed in the NCAA's come next spring, there will be plenty of attention on the program and I'd guess that there will be a lot of pundits that forecast a long tourney run because of recent success.


April 22nd, 2015 at 1:44 PM ^

"Another mediocre year will hurt recruiting, and we don't have as much history to fall back on as other programs."  That is basically all I said in my post.  So it looks like you and I agree that 1) we are not a program with elite history who can essentially take years off and not struggle to recover, and that 2) this year is a very important year as it relates to our sustainable success.

So, what exactly do we disagree on again?  


April 22nd, 2015 at 1:43 PM ^

I'd beg to differ, and see MMB as top 20 next year with our current roster. Should we add either Jaylen Brown or Kenny Williams, Michigan will indeed be top 5 level next year.

IIRC, Michigan couldn't quite hang with a few teams because we needed at least one solid person with height at the 5, and really also at the four. We've added Doyle, Donnal, Robinson, and DJ Wilson, 3 guys 6'9" and Robinson 6'8". Wagner, Teske, and Davis are all big guys. I could easily see two guys play lots of time, with a third redshirting or coming off the bench. And if someone doesn't have the talent, they transfer elsewhere.

Beilein is doing an awesome job, and it is only going to get better.


April 23rd, 2015 at 1:04 AM ^

but just to play devil's advocate... LeVert could slide to the 3 making Irvin and Dawkins the 4s and the minutes could come at the expense of Dawkins and the gaggle of backup forwards. The overlap of Beilein's positions makes it viable for Michigan to fit any type of wing player. 


April 22nd, 2015 at 4:28 PM ^

top 100 prospects and clearly on the rise when JB recruited them.  You could see the fit and appeal in each of them and they were targeted early.  Not that the staff shouldnt be given credit for recruting them, but they are in a totally different category than LeVert who was a true find. 

It is a lot harder to find pro-level prospects in guys with LeVert's profile then the other 3 that were mentioned. 

Maybe, we need to get back to landing the Top 100 guys with big upsides and ability to play well early as we don't seem to be connecting with the top 25 types. 


April 22nd, 2015 at 6:20 PM ^

Two facts:

1. Every player John Beilein has sent to the NBA at Michigan was an ESPN Top-100 player. 

2. Out of our last ten commitments, only one was an ESPN Top-100 player.

Posters like PurpleStuff can talk all they want about trusting the coaches, but if that doesn't cause you to at least raise an eyebrow, you're just as delusional as the three-star mafia.


April 22nd, 2015 at 6:31 PM ^

I'm not sure how people can argue with the fact that those points illustrate a potential problem.  And I'm not saying this means we have to run around like headless chickens and/or poop our pants.*  One can take note of these things and be a bit concerned while still having great appreciation for the coaching staff (a staff I would trade for no one) and the program as a whole and while still being optmistic about next season. 

*or poop in the pants of chickens, which is considered very rude


April 22nd, 2015 at 7:04 PM ^

Darius Morris was not an ESPN top-100 player, so there is lie number one.  Neither was LeVert, who lucky for you came back to school or that would be another guy drafted who wasn't in the top-100 on ESPN. 

The ESPN 100 doesn't exist for 2016 kids (it is only the top-60).  Teske is #100 on the 247composite and has been rising steadily.  As has been pointed out to you many times, guys like GRIII, Hardaway, and Stauskas were not ranked that highly when they originally committed, and they did so later in the process than Teske and Davis.  There is no reason to think those guys can't/won't continue to climb the rankings.

Moritz Wagner is foreign and therefore not really scouted by the American recruiting services.  Many people have described him as at minimum a top-100 talent.

Chatman was a top-100 guy who I assume you are counting.

Then you seem to be ignoring someone, because even if you include Hatch (whose final rankings were sort of hurt by, you know, falling out of the sky and almost dying), our 10th guy back was Derrick Walton (top-100).  The 11th was Zak Irvin (top-100).  The 12th was Mark Donnal (top-100 on ESPN).

Unless you are counting Duncan Robinson number 10, and ignoring the fact that he would not have been ranked at the time he decided to transfer (because that isn't how those rankings work), and that he certainly would have been viewed as one of the top-100 prospects in the country after being the top freshman in D-3.

In short, statement one was a lie.  Statement two uses technicalities to avoid the fact that three other guys would be ranked in the top-100 if they had been ranked/evaluated at the time of their commitment or if the actual full rankings existed yet.  And you ignore that the next three guys on the team were all top-100 guys on ESPN.  And that adding Brown or Williams would give us another ESPN 100 guy.  Or that a re-ranking would certainly put a guy like Dawkins in that group (How many freshmen had multiple 20+ point games in conference play last year?  You know, actual performance rather than just stars.).

You aren't employing cold hard facts to analyze the situation.  You are using selective information to act like a douche.


April 22nd, 2015 at 7:38 PM ^…

The rest of your post is just a very long-winded deflection of the undeniable fact that our recent recruiting has not been up to par.  Robinson would have been Top 100 (speculation), Wagner would have been Top 100 (speculation), we might add Brown or Williams (speculation), re-ranking would put our guys in the Top 100 (speculation).  The hilarious thing here is that after employing nothing but guesswork, you accuse me of not using cold hard facts.  And then to top it off, you call me a douche for presenting a cogent argument that some mild concern  about recruiting is warranted.  I'm not sure why you're so angry, but perhaps this picture of a baby cheetah will help.


April 22nd, 2015 at 7:49 PM ^

The ESPN100 list for 2009 for some reason cuts off at 99, so that one was my mistake.  Sorry for the lying accusation.

You are still being dishonest about all your other bitching.  You leave off Teske, because you don't have a leg to stand on there (he is and will be ranked in everybody's top 100 when those full rankings are out, ESPN just happens to cut off at 60 for the time being).  You're being prematurely alarmist about Davis when you cite the high rankings of guys who didn't have those rankings at the time they committed as cause for concern about his commitment.  I'm not speculating about Wagner, scouts (the same people who post those rankings you adore) have said he's a top-(insert number much smaller than 100) caliber recruit, and would be ranked as such if he played in the United States.  Same goes for Robinson.  Bitching that he isn't ranked highly enough when there is no ranking for that kind of player is downright absurd.

That's two recruiting classes (2015 and 2016), or at least what we know of them so far.  In 2013 we took three top-100 guys (the criteria you set for awesomeness).  So basically all your complaints center around panicking about Austin Davis (a 16 year old Beilein was eager to land), worrying DJ Wilson can't be any good because he just missed that top-100 cutoff (124 on the 247composite), and bitching about guys we added late in the 2014 class after mass attrition, guys who also turned out to be pretty good players as freshmen. 

I have no idea what you see as "par" but I think Beilein is doing a bang up job on the recruiting trail.  If you disagree, move to Vegas and bet against the team going forward.  Stop inventing new cartoon alter egos every few weeks to come here and bitch about it.


April 22nd, 2015 at 8:31 PM ^

"You leave off Teske, because you don't have a leg to stand on there (he is and will be ranked in everybody's top 100 when those full rankings are out"

Perhaps, but again, you don't know that.

"You're being prematurely alarmist about Davis when you cite the high rankings of guys who didn't have those rankings at the time they committed as cause for concern about his commitment."

Stauskas was ranked 89th and had offers from Kansas, Iowa State, OK State, Butler, Stanford, and Wake Forest when he committed.  GRIII was ranked 118th at the time of his commitment.  Hardaway was top-100 when he committed in June of 2009.  To compare these guys to Austin Davis, who has no other offers and is ranked as a low three-star by all services except 247, which doesn't rank him at all, is absurd.

"I'm not speculating about Wagner, scouts (the same people who post those rankings you adore) have said he's a top-(insert number much smaller than 100) caliber recruit."

Actually, one scout has said that.  Another said he was fringe-100. 247 ranks him at 147, and he had no other major offers.

"Same goes for Robinson."

I'm not sure what you're referring to here as I haven't heard any scouts state that Robinson would be a Top-100 player.  

The point here is not to declare some arbitrary cut-off below which all recruits are deemed terrible, but it's to demonstrate that based on rankings, which are statistically significant predictors of college success, Beilein's recruiting is going in the wrong direction.  After you make the national title game, your recruiting is supposed to get better, not worse, and compared to our great classes from 2012 and 2013, the last few have been very disappointing.  It would be one thing if these guys were all Beilein's top targets, but they're not.  He has missed repeatedly and had to find guys very late in the cycle.  You can either acknowledge that fact and remain hopeful that Beilein has found several diamonds in the rough, or you can put your finger in your ears and cuss out anyone who disagrees.  I really don't care.


April 22nd, 2015 at 10:43 PM ^

to deny the reality of disappointing RECRUITING is truely amazing.

As Brain points out, it's what's on the court that matters most, and everyone is well aware of that.  But it's also obvious there's a clear correlation between recruiting and performance.  Some of use where very excited when the '12 and '13 recruiting classes came because of expectations of future returns.  Those returns came faster than expected, as did the troubles resulting from the disappointing recruiting of '14.  The questions are legitimate, as long as they are couched by the appropriate level of perspective within the overall context of great success.


April 22nd, 2015 at 4:23 PM ^

speak.  Awkward. Wow.


Yeah, I know he wasn't hired as a public speaker, but dang. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss does NOT apply here. This interview lacked personality. 


This comment from a 49'er fan was entertaining tho:


  • Sweetpeachbbq

    Niners fans: We're fucked. I know it, you know it, everybody knows it. Oh sure, with the talent on the roster, the playoffs next season should be attainable. But after that...Baalke and York are so intent on getting all the credit for winning, they ran off the best coach in the org since Walsh and hired a fucking Ron Jeremy look a like who they can control. You know why he seemed so lost in that interview? Because the Douche Brothers didn't tell him what to say. Which is another problem: How do you handpick this puppet and not prep him for interviews? We're fucked, I tell ya. Fucked!!


April 22nd, 2015 at 1:20 PM ^

I think that in basketball you need a collection of program guys and freshman 5 star guys. We had that when we went to the national championship with Hardaway and Morgan as upperclassmen and McGary. Kentucky had that when they won the title in 2012. Duke had that this year as well. Next year's roster has the potential to be dangerous if we get Jaylen Brown. We'll be deep and have first rounders at numerous positions. 


April 22nd, 2015 at 1:33 PM ^

Even without Brown, that's enough to make a final four run if the supporting cast is up to snuff.  In Walton, Dawkins, Spike and others it seems likely that it is.  The big question is if the 5 spot is going to be a liability again or if we can get back to Morgan/Horfod levels...

Also, don't sleep on somebody like Wagner, Robinson, Dawkins, Wilson developing under this coaching staff into an NBA-caliber player either.  If it happens sooner than we expect this team is going to be LEGIT.


April 22nd, 2015 at 1:51 PM ^

That development and the surprises in store for next year are going to be a lot of fun.  You have an incredible foundation in place with LeVert/Irvin/Walton/Spike.  You could maybe even throw Dawkins in there after some of his freshman accomplishments.  Then you have an incredibly long list of guys poised to become contributors or flat-out explode.  How much better can Donnal be if he improves his shot and doesn't have to guard the 5?  Wilson has a ton of potential we haven't even seen yet.  Robinson shot 45% from 3 at Williams.  And he's 6'8".  How does Doyle look when his conditioning and confidence improve after a year on campus? 

Wagner (Who knows how good he could be?), Chatman (Does he begin growing into his body and become the guy people forecast out of high school?), maybe another blue-chip guy who could still end up on this team.

Going to be an absolute blast watching this team win and continue to develop.


April 22nd, 2015 at 2:15 PM ^

He's not seeing the floor, because he definitey can't guard more athletic 4s.

Doyle's conditioning and confidence are the biggest offseason question marks IMO.  I'm optimistic...

Completely agree about how fun the team, program, coaching staff, players are.  What's going on is really special.  Michigan just needs to land a couple more elite recruits (come on Jaylen, do it!) to sustain the success. Even if they don't, this team is wildly fun. Even this last year, despite the injuries and tough losses, was a enjoyable season to see kids like Spike, Aubrey, MAAR, and Ricky embrace the challenges put before them.  They were all supposed to be backups, but then played huge roles in going toe to toe with MSU, Wisconsin, etc.

I loved last year's team and can't wait for next years.


April 22nd, 2015 at 6:21 PM ^

guarding the 5, wether the guy is athletic or not, and not all opposing 4s are going to be overly athletic.  Nor are they all going to be 6-9, so good luck to them trying to guard Donnal.  I don't think we have seen enough of Donnal at the 4, and we might never see him there this year, to judge how good he can be.


April 22nd, 2015 at 7:30 PM ^

Donnal's not going to score 20 points even if he's guarded by somebody who is 6'4, in part because help defense and also because his game is not based on overpowering anybody.  The defensive costs outweigh the offensive benefits.

If McGary didn't get PT at the 4 (when we had Morgan and Horford), I don't know why Donnal would.  Beilein would rather trot out a freshman shooter (LeVert, Irvin) than a 'big' 4 man. 

Furthermore, the bench next year looks to be loaded. Playing Donnal at 4 would come at the expense of people like Robinson and Wagner, not to mention Chatman, MAAR, even Spike. There is no way Donnal is going to play ahead of those guys in the rotation unless he makes a leap that makes Nik Stauskas' jaw drop. He's a pure center under Beilein.


April 22nd, 2015 at 5:10 PM ^

Don't think it necessary requires 5 star guys or multiple ones*.  There is a place between UK, Duke, Kansas and Wisconsin.  It's called Florida and Louisville.  You need elite talent somewhere that is young and "2 and done" type, and if you surrounded it by talented but not NBA type juniors and seniors you can do very well.

Everyone always says UM can't be UK, Kansas, Duke.  That is fine.  We can be Florida - we have the coach to do it.  I do think Beilein has a system and probably doesn't like to recruit as much as other coaches - which to a degree I understand.  Kissing a 16-17 year old's butt for 3 years is not fun.  But there are some guys going to the Ohio State's and Marylands(!) - UCLAs Louisvilles - we should be getting.

I also think Chatman really hurt Beilen here in perception in the fanbase.  Last year's class did have a recruiting stud.  On paper. If Chatman performed like Blackmon, Trimble, Russell - all guys in the same conf who were ranked within 5-10 of Chatman it wouldn't stick out like a sore thumb that we didnt have any huge recruits last year.  We did have a top 25 recruit.  He just didn't act like one.

There are plenty of guys in the 25-60 range who can become excellent college basketball players and NBA prospects.  It has been curious that we have not been doing better with that group - there are only so many roster spots for Kansas, Duke, Kentucky every year (maybe 15 recruits) - that leaves a lot of players in the next tier for us to be going up against Zona, OSU, Louisville, UCLA etc.

*I'd asterisk this a bit as a 5 star big man is a big luxury - it is just difficult to find studs at the 5 and it's not something so easily developed as it is at the 2 or 3.