Smotrycz, Brundidge, Christian All Exit

Submitted by Brian on March 21st, 2012 at 3:19 PM

I had these tweets up from Sam Webb that hinted at some attrition from the basketball team but that's all irrelevant now:

University of Michigan men's basketball head coach John Beilein announced today (Wednesday, March 21) that sophomore forward Evan Smotrycz (Reading, Mass./New Hampton Prep [N.H.]),sophomore forward Colton Christian (Bellevue, Wash./Hargrave Military Academy) and freshman guard Carlton Brundidge (Southfield, Mich./Southfield HS) each decided to leave the Wolverine basketball program and transfer to another school.

Smotrycz is the headliner here. He started the first half of the year before Michigan went to Stu Douglass in the starting lineup; playing out of position the rest of the year at the five he still saw 20 minutes a game and was Michigan's best three-point shooter over the course of the season. He was projected to start at the four next year. His loss is both inexplicable and harmful. Unless Smotrycz was flat out told that McGary and Robinson were going to eat his minutes I don't understand that departure.

Brundidge only saw a few minutes spotting Trey Burke; Christian was also an end of the bench type.

Michigan's scholarship crunch just got blown away: Michigan could bring in two additional guys in the 2012 class and still have room for their three guys in 2013 without any further attrition. They only have one active target, 6'5" Findlay Prep PG/SG Amedeo Della Valle. He's got a top five Michigan is a part of along with Texas A&M, Ohio State, Arizona, and Gonzaga. They could also get in on the Trey Ziegler transfer sweepstakes now.

Comments

One Armed Bandit

March 21st, 2012 at 4:29 PM ^

of Smot leaving considering what's coming in next year because of the possibility of getting pushed down in the pecking order. Still diappointed he didn't stick around. Oh well. Hope he does well wherever he goes.

echoWhiskey

March 21st, 2012 at 4:40 PM ^

Seems like due diligence more than anything else to me.  Not that Snyder doesn't try to add sensationalist quotes all over the place.

Also love his penultimate paragraph apropos of nothing else:

Burke is listed at 5-feet-11.

Crack writing there.

 

WolvinLA2

March 21st, 2012 at 5:00 PM ^

It sounds like a little more than due dilligence to me, but it's far from final, that's for sure. 

I think it would be a big mistake for him to leave early.  Almost every team has their starting point guard, and teams want to draft a guy in the first round who can start, or get significant PT.  Trey Burke had a great season, but he's a long way from starting in the NBA. 

The only teams who would consider a PG in the first round would be teams at the tail end, who don't have major needs to fill, and they'll likely go after the top available player, who simply won't be Trey Burke. 

echoWhiskey

March 21st, 2012 at 4:34 PM ^

This is sad, but such is life.  I'll always take a current Michigan player over some unknown transfer/recruit, but at least it gives people shit to speculate about for a couple of months.

HollywoodHokeHogan

March 21st, 2012 at 4:47 PM ^

but I'm not really worried about his departure.  We weathered Morris leaving just fine and he was a much bigger part of the team than Evan.  It's not that uncommon to ask your freshment uber-recruits to start from day one in college basketball.

HarBooYa

March 21st, 2012 at 5:07 PM ^

I thought the piling onto Smotz after the OHIO debacle was weak, but I am hopeful that was not the reason the dude left.  One, b/c our fans should be more intelligent than to blame this dude for a all around team failure and, two, the dude should be able to handle it.  Sounds like he has a lot going on and has some clear reasons why he left.  If the young man is unhappy, cut bait and wish him luck.  Loved his game and potential for next year.   Ouch.

Cartlon was lined up for some minutes if he competed well.  I wonder if this means something about Zeigler that we don't know about or it just means he was already worried about Stauskas/Akkune blocking him from playing time?  Strange.

Colton seemed like a good energy guy, but I can see why he might not be interested in that role if more minutes await him at another school.  Good luck to him and all of these guys.

Don

March 21st, 2012 at 5:13 PM ^

"those who stay will be champions?"

By now, opposing coaches on the recruiting trail can start to use this kind of attrition against Beilein. First there was Epke Udoh. Then there were stories of turbulence between Manny Harris and Beilein. Then Darius left amid the same kinds of unverified rumors, and now this. Not good, at least in the short term.

Blue82

March 21st, 2012 at 5:36 PM ^

Disappointed to see Smotrycz go as you could really see him stepping up next year, but there could be a lot of reasons.  The other two were probably looking at little to no playing time so it makes sense to move while they have significant eligibility.  Smotz will really be missed.  He wasn't perfect but was pretty good, and played hard

jsimms

March 21st, 2012 at 5:34 PM ^

.....with news this big i personally demand

1) unbridled speculation

2) unfounded gossip

3) nasty, backroom backbiting

c'mon posters let's get rolling!!

 

Blue boy johnson

March 21st, 2012 at 5:40 PM ^

Going to miss Smot. He was gonna be a good one. I can understand his unwillingness to make the type of commitment Coach B was looking for, but damn, offensively he was really starting to understand what Coach wanted.

I would love M to bring in the PG out of Vegas and Trey Z out of Mt. P.

I Bleed Maize N Blue

March 21st, 2012 at 6:49 PM ^

Surprised about Smotz.  Back at the 4 next year, I thought he'd still have a significant role to play - starting, at least at the beginning of the season.  He did often have poor demeanor on the court, though.  If he couldn't be happy here, for whatever reason(s), then better he leave.

I wish him, Carlton & Colton well (just not against Michigan, should that ever happen).

 

champswest

March 21st, 2012 at 7:31 PM ^

PT anyway.  Back up at the point was our biggest problem (now maybe a starter there is the biggest problem.  We were going to be crowded at the 4.  Now it looks to me like:

1.  Burke, Akkune

2. Stauskis, Vogrich

3. Hardaway, Robinson

4 McGary, Bielfeldt

5. Morgan, Horford

Pretty solid lineup, pretty solid depth.

Mr. Yost

March 22nd, 2012 at 9:30 AM ^

I think we'll see Hardaway and Robinson on the floor playing the wing more than people think. But I would agree that this right here is our 10 man rotation.

And people, relax, it is BETTER (a lot better IMO) than this past year's 10 man rotation.

If we can sign a legit backup point guard AND some out of shape big body (like Nix for MSU) that can give us 5 minutes a game...we're sitting pretty.

Those two things and I think we may have the best team in the B1G next year. I hate to compare us to State, but give us a Korie Lucious (without the baggage) and a Derrick Nix --- we're a LEGIT Sweet 16 team.

mackbru

March 21st, 2012 at 7:44 PM ^

All three of the transfers deserve good fortune wherever they land. But it's not exactly a bad thing that any of them left. Two weren't going to play much; the third was a perpetually unhappy whiner. Their replacements will no doubt prove better.

Don

March 21st, 2012 at 8:14 PM ^

isn't all that important after all. The fact that none of the three are likely to see one minute of playing time in the NBA or Europe and will eventually need to make a non-basketball living doesn't figure in things, I guess.

culvinen816

March 21st, 2012 at 8:39 PM ^

smote not being "happy" doesnt make sense, he had his opportunities, sounds more like he's quitting on this team.  the other guys wouldnt really get much PT anyways.

bronxblue

March 21st, 2012 at 8:52 PM ^

I am very surprised to see Smotrycz leave, as he was going to get minutes next year barring the recruits being lights-out.  The other two are not as big surprises, though Brundidge leaving is a bit more surprising just because he's so young and you never know how kids improve after a year.

Wish them all the best, but the famed depth people spoke of for next year is getting thin again.

Grit McGritterson

March 21st, 2012 at 11:47 PM ^

I don't think this has been posted yet after a quick site search, but I apologize if it has been.

AnnArbor.com article from Evan's mom, talking about how he just "wasn't happy" and wanted to reassess things. Also sounds like he has thought it through quite a bit and not a spur of the moment type of deal.

Link below:

http://www.annarbor.com/sports/um-basketball/mother-says-ex-michigan-ba…

 

Mr. Yost

March 22nd, 2012 at 9:23 AM ^

Or at least I could. He was always unhappy after being benched. He whined more on the court, his body language was terrible. His game went to shit and when he did play well...he never seemed happy, he seemed like he wanted to yell "SEE! I TOLD YOU SO!"

He just looked kind of miserable. Like he was doing something he didn't want to do. IMO, he needs to go to a low-mid major where he'll be "The Man."

And he will be, the kid has some MAJOR game. But it's all in his head. He would've been better off staying in this offense. However, if some school gives him a chance to come in, start, play the 3 and 4...not the 4 and the 5. And do what he wants to do on offense rather than play a role...he'll be just fine. The kid can play, but he just can't play HIS game at this level. I think he can play Beilein's game at this level (and do it at an All-B1G level), but he doesn't seem himself as that.

He'll be John Shurna or Robbie Hummel at a lower level school. IMO, he could've been just as effective as both if he would've got his head right, stayed and played his role.

el segundo

March 22nd, 2012 at 10:45 AM ^

I couldn't agree more with your posts about Smotrycz. I only disagree with one thing: he can't play the 3, not even at a low mid major because he can't stay in front of anybody.

Maybe . . . maybe he could play the 3 in someplace like the Ivy League. But he's a real defensive liability at any position, especially the 3; and I think that's true at any level. At the 3, he has to move his feet and he just can't seem to do that.

As you said, he's got to realize who he is as a player, not who he wants to be. He's going to struggle anywhere until he does that.

funandgun

March 22nd, 2012 at 1:02 AM ^

In my opinion, Burke would be making a huge mistake to leave.  We do need to get a backup point guard asap, because I am not sure I see him staying 4 years.  With the talent around him next year, he has the potential to have a monster second year.  It seems to me that he is a fringe pick at this time.  I can't imagine him going first round.  I just hope he gets good advice and learns from Morris.  If he goes, he better KNOW he will go first round.   

I think Smot saw the writing on the wall with McGary.  I liked Smot, but he is not a big loss at all.  I love that it opens up time for McGary and Robinson to come in a play a bunch. 

Mr. Yost

March 22nd, 2012 at 9:15 AM ^

Smotz, mentally thought and played (so I'm not making this up)...like he was something other than what he was.

Sure he's a 3 or 4 that can shoot. But he thought he was a 3 or 4 that can shoot, drive, and do a lot of other things. He's a system player, IMO...however, he doesn't see it that way. And his game was worthless when his head wasn't in the game.

It killed the offense when he'd grab rebounds and dribble up the court into a charge. Or try to do too much and lose the ball off his leg. We have the perfect offense for his skill set, but he thinks his skill set is something other than what it really is.

Also, not starting KILLED him.

Mentally he was too fragile for my liking. I think he could've been a GREAT not good player in this offense, if he would've just played within the offense and played his role. He didn't see it that way.

However, I have proof, Jordan Morgan. Morgan was MUCH improved this year...but he stuck to what the offense ask him to do. Set a screen and dive hard to the basket like a wild man. His minutes, points, and efficency were all up. He got to be GREAT at what the offense asked him to do. No one asked Morgan to run to the low block, post, get the ball and create a shot. And you don't really see him trying to do that without a mismatch.

Smotz on the other hand...he couldn't touch the ball without putting it on the ground. Even if it was one dribble and pick the ball back up. He HAD to dribble. That's not his job. His job was to pick and pop, or to use screens to be a set shooter. And when the defense defended him...THEN use your skills to put it on the floor and get to the rim.

You can tell he played the 2 and the 3 in high school...that's how he plays.

highlander14

March 22nd, 2012 at 3:34 AM ^

Seriously, I know students get angry when players leave their school because they think its just hurting them. But, if you think about it, it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks but the player. Let's say you were amazing at a sport like volleyball, basketball, or soccer. Would you want to be on a team where you woke up every morning and rather than being pumped and ready to go, were just "eehhk?" I think not...but with that said, even if you didn't like the program, it takes a lot of time and discussion to decide if leaving is right. So, if Smotrycz thinks that this is the right decision, then just let it be because you know that he has considered every possible option and outcome before deciding this.

Also, don't ridicule him on his choice or assume the worse. Yea, maybe the ball got away from him a few times this season, but when it came down to it...he was the only one, not only of the 5 on the court, but of the 10-20 guys on the team who seemed ot be mentally focused in the last game against Ohio. You could even see this through his stat percentages in rebounds and shooting. 

So if you are that one person in the stands who thinks he is just "flaking out," "running in fear," or "leaving without thinking about UofM" ...SCREW YOU because this kid has worked his ass off for you and you know it! And right now, he's making a decision to better himself and is trying reach his goals in life, and you are doing nothing but give him grief for it! 

burtcomma

March 22nd, 2012 at 8:55 AM ^

Give it a few more days and the whole story will eventually be out as it leaks out from various sources within and close to the basketball team, its players, it coaches, and other students et al.  No need for speculation, we will find out more for sure!

Mr. Yost

March 22nd, 2012 at 9:05 AM ^

Burke is the key...as long as we keep him, losing these 3 isn't a killer. Especially Smotz.

I think Evan is a very good player and he'll be successful somewhere, but he's not a player for this system. He NEVER accepted his role and it was very fitting that our last play was him trying to dribble and losing the ball out of bounds.

He just never got it and he wore it on his sleeve all year...IMO, the player is better off somewhere else and the team is better off without the player.

It's not surprise that after he got benched his game went south. It simply meant too much to him. He was still getting great minutes and it was better for the team, but he couldn't see past not starting. Even when he started playing well...he had this "see, I told you so, I should be starting" look to him. EVERY time.

Couple that with the fact that he's not a pick and pop player or a spot shooter in his eyes...and it just wasn't going to work. Every time he gets the ball he dribbles.

He has all the tools to be a GREAT player in this offense, better than Pittsnogle was at WVU. But in his mind, he's a Chris Bosh. He needs touches, he needs to ability to create, he doesn't need to EVER be playing the 5, and he needs to be able to use all of his skills.

I disagree with that, I think he's a spot shooter who does have the ability to create and should only do so to keep the defense honest. I do agree that he's not a 5, but on offense that doesn't really matter. I disagree that he needs touches and think he needs to spot up more so we can drive and kick.

 

With all that said, not a big loss to me...talent wise? Yes. But mentally, it was a waste of talent because he thought he was something he couldn't be in this offense. IMO, Burke is the one we HAVE to have next year.