No Commit, No Conscience, No Handle

Submitted by Brian on July 1st, 2008 at 2:27 PM

The basketball camp came and went without the blessed event -- a commit from CA PG Darius Morris -- beleaguered Michigan basketball fans have been pining for. The articles on the premium sites($) remain extremely positive, however, and Morris plans to decide within a month or two. Keep an eye out to see if he takes any more visits. If he doesn't, he will commit.

Meanwhile, freshmen are on campus and working out. The camp was open to the public, so respected internets poster MHoops1 took the opportunity to scout Stu Douglass...

1. Stu Douglass has a lot of tools--more than I thought. He's got a very quick release, range way beyond the NBA 3 point line, moves extremely well without the ball, and uses screens very nicely, passes well, can handle it enough to bring the ball up against pressure from smaller, quicker guards, and, while not a great athlete, was not getting overwhelmed by quickness on the defensive end. The question, quite simply, is shot selection. When he's square, he's a very, very good shooter, and under any circumstances, he spreads the floor--Terry Mills was yelling at the team he was coaching "He can shoot it from there" when Stu came across half court. The problem is that he does shoot it from there sometimes, and he also sometimes shoots it from positions that only a contortionist could love. He HAS to become less of a gunner. If he does, he could be a very good player in the Big Ten. If he doesn't, and guys like Manny, Deshawn and LLP lose good shots because Stu is chucking up bad ones, he'll be a detriment. It's as simple as that.

...and Zach Novak:

2. Zack Novak is a very efficient player. He's a good shooter from range, plays with his head up all the time, which permits him to see the floor and pass extremely well, and can shot fake, take the ball to the hole, and use his body to shield defenders and finish against much bigger, more athletic kids. He's also a pretty good rebounder in traffic, and moves very well without the ball. The biggest problem Zack has, at this time, is not the athleticism thing--he's not fast, but he's not as slow as some have claimed--but rather lack of handling skills. He can put it on the floor to drive off the wing, but is not real good out front if pressured before he's comfortable with the ball and what he's going to do, and you wouldn't really see him as a guy who's going to be an extra handler against pressure. His shot release is decent, but not nearly as quick as Stu's. Simply put, unless/until he gets better handles, he's a slightly undersized 3--really a point forward--with decent, but not great athleticism. I have no doubt that he can play in the conference because he is so fundamentally skilled and savvy, but to reach his potential, his ballhandling needs to improve.

The initial impressions -- MHoops1's scouting report has been echoed by other observers with little dissent -- contradict the months of speculation that had Novak a potential early contributor and Douglass an iffy role player.

Check out the rest of that thread while it still lives for further insight on the team this year. Sounds like the idea is to move Harris to small forward and try to live with Anthony Wright as a backup four, which would free up a lot of time at SG: advantage Douglass. Arizona transfer Laval Lucas-Perry will be eligible midseason; expectations are he will quickly supplant Grady as the starting point guard.

(Link via UMHoops.)


M Go Blue

July 1st, 2008 at 2:37 PM ^

If that's his main problem, I can see Novak doing so many ball-handling drills with that exclusively patented "Bielein Basketball", he won't be able to see straight. If the casual observer can see that....I'm pretty sure the coaching staff can to.


July 1st, 2008 at 3:01 PM ^

I get the feeling he's a bit of a liability, although hopefully the 1-3-1 could help mask that. I know U-M primarily ran man last year, but my hope is that with increased familiarity, they can run the 1-3-1 more effectively this season.

More discussion about the freshmen here.