One Frame At A Time: Spike

Submitted by Ace on December 11th, 2015 at 2:27 PM

As always, click the links/stills to open each GIF in a lightbox.

The first real hint that Spike Albrecht would exceed even the most unreasonable expectations came in the second game of the 2013 NCAA Tournament, when he threaded a left-handed bounce pass between two defenders to hit Glenn Robinson III in stride from halfcourt. Michigan's bench leapt in unison—we thought, at the time, out of shock, but in retrospect perhaps they knew before the rest of us that Spike was far from done.

Two weekends later, Spike introduced himself to the hoops world at large with his 17-point outburst against Louisville. In the years since, that performance has become less stunning, which is remarkable considering he's only been a full-time starter when injury struck the guy in front of him.

To say Spike made the most out of a limited skill set is to sell him short, because he had serious skills. This is not a pass I've seen anyone else make, certainly not in a college game, and he pulled that out as a freshman in the second weekend of the tourney. It came seemingly out of nowhere—as, quite freqently, did Spike:

Spike's greatest asset was his audacity. He'd launch a shot from a foot inside the halfcourt logo because he could do that. Once he hit such a shot and then did the Sam Cassell big balls dance; if Cassell didn't have full ownership of that move, it could've been Spike's most fitting signature. One of his greatest highlights started by accident and ended with him acting like that was the plan all along:

Despite the above, Spike appeared in constant control. He'd dribble donuts through a defense until an opportunity presented itself. He'd find that extra half-foot of space required to get off his patented one-handed granny layup. He'd leave the center no choice but to respect that damn granny layup and commit a moment before Spike would drop a deft pass to the man the center had left all alone. He'd pick your pocket or your passing lane, then lead a highlight-worthy fast break. He'd weave through the defense and dish off a pass to a player he couldn't possibly have seen:

And, yes, Spike did the proverbial gritty stuff. In his second-to-last game, a rote blowout of Houston Baptist, he didn't hesitate to lay out for a loose ball—as he'd done so many times before—landing on two bad hips that were in even worse shape than we thought. The whole team ran over to pick him up. He shook it off as if it was nothing, then gave us one last spectacular play:

When Spike was on the court, odds were he'd put a smile on your face. He was just as likely to do so off the court:

If there's a player that embodies why we watch the college game, it's Spike Albrecht. While his career ended too soon, it contained more than we ever could've imagined.

Comments

bluebyyou

December 11th, 2015 at 2:35 PM ^

This just plain sucks....but thank you for the memories.

Sometimes bad things happen to good people.  This is one of those times.  I have little doubt that Spike will succeed in whatever he does in life.  

Maizerage11

December 11th, 2015 at 2:38 PM ^

Spike is one of my favorite athletes of all time.  The enthusiasim, energy, and talent (yes talent) he displayed made him a joy to watch.  

If there is one thing I am certain it is that Spike is the kind of player you tell your kids about.  In 15 years  I will being telling my son about my favorite player who dropped 17 in the national champsion game.  

 

I know you dont read the comment section of MGoBlog... but thanks for the great memories Spike.

Bluegriz

December 11th, 2015 at 2:49 PM ^

This is a much better holistic tribute to Spike and his value to the team.  Honestly I thought Brian was mailing it in (something Spike would never do) by just copying and pasting a single game column from last year.  Thanks for this. There's too much tape out there of Spike being Spike to not create this post.

UMfan21

December 11th, 2015 at 2:50 PM ^

aside from all these clips, one of my favorite spike moments occurred off the court. the time when Beilein was commenting about spikes dating and availability during a press conference.

ak47

December 11th, 2015 at 2:55 PM ^

I'm dying today man, I was at the final four in the student section and his going off in the championship game was second only to the notre dame night game in terms of my fan experience.  I also had a class with him and he was awesome there too.  I have no idea what he wants to do with his life but I'm pretty sure he should coach Michigan basketball for about 30 years.

Gob Wilson

December 11th, 2015 at 3:32 PM ^

au·dac·i·ty
ôˈdasədē/
noun (proper noun)
 
1. Spike Albrecht. Michigan Basketball Player (proper noun)
 
2. the willingness to take bold risks.
"her audacity came in handy during our most recent emergency"
synonyms: boldness, daring, fearlessness, intrepidity, bravery, courage, heroism, pluck, grit; 

Farmhouse Funk

December 11th, 2015 at 3:52 PM ^

I will never forget going absolute ape shit at the bar watching a kid from my home town kill it in the championship game. I remember earlier in the year when my friend said a kid from Crown Point was on the team I was like what we sucked at basketball how did a kid make it on Michigan.

And here I am some 2 1/2 years later with tears in my eyes as his career ends too DAMN early.

I will miss you Spike thanks for the memories......

Go Blue!!!!

FanNamedOzzy

December 11th, 2015 at 3:58 PM ^

I loved his performance in the National Championship. That was an unreal performance. What always impressed me about Spike was his passing ability.

It's probably just me, but I freaked out more than most when Spike made that one handed bounce pass between two defenders perfectly. His behind his head pass to Dawkins for the dunk absolutely had me on my feet. Guys who can creatively find other players in good positions is such an important asset and Spike excelled at that.

Best of luck to Spike in the future. He will obviously be missed.

Gr1mlock

December 11th, 2015 at 4:22 PM ^

What I always loved about Spike is when he did those crazy behind the back passes and such, it wasn't because he was trying to show off, it was because it was the EXACT right thing to do there.  You watch it and go holy shit, then rewatch it and are like "man...that wasn't making something out of nothing, that was totally what he wanted to do with that".  He really was an artist, bummer we won't get to see more of him.  

MGoBlue100

December 11th, 2015 at 4:39 PM ^

and then as the day went on, my smile got bigger and bigger, remembering all we had seen from this kid, and how lucky we were to witness it all.  Like seeing a comet go past.  Well done, Mr. Albrecht!

Blue Kool Aid

December 11th, 2015 at 6:44 PM ^

we have been lucky (or its just who we are) to have some athletes whose presence was more than just statistics, and who stood for "Michigan" recently.

Zack Novak, Denard Robinson and now Spike Albrecht 's pictures should be in the dictioniary under "Michigan Man".

I expect all three to continue to make us proud for a long time. Go Blue, gents!

Yard Dog

December 12th, 2015 at 2:30 PM ^

Spike play.  He personified what a gym rat was for me.  I think everyone else has used up all the adjectives to desribe his play.  I'd add heady and fearless, and apologize to anyone who has already used those. 

Chris S

December 13th, 2015 at 5:35 PM ^

Poetry.

Great write-up and love the frame-by-frames. He was too good for Kate Upton. In fact, we should start doing Spike facts/jokes like the Chuck Norris ones