Unverified Voracity Announces Decisions Comment Count

Brian April 15th, 2014 at 12:08 PM


Maize and Blue Nation

The day has (mostly) come. Expect a post at about 3:35 today, as Michigan has called a press conference featuring Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III at 3:30 wherein they will either announce their NBA draft futures or talk about their favorite things to put on hamburgers. Here's hoping it's the latter.

I don't think there's a huge amount of suspense with either of those two guys. Michigan is bringing in Muhammed Ali Abdur-Rahkman for an official this weekend, and now there are multiple reports that Robinson has signed with an agent or hasn't signed but is entering the draft anyway.

The suspense is with Mitch McGary, who is not announcing:

McGary's father, Tim McGary, told MLive on Monday night that his son has no intentions to partake in the press conference and is still undecided on whether he return to U-M or not.

"He's still back and forth on it," Tim McGary said.

So he's not gone; neither is he necessarily back. He has until the 27th to make that decision; the NCAA's deadline is an entirely artificial one.

The fact that he's still debating things is obviously good. It is not as good as McGary being ready to announce a return would be; it is still good. Scout's Brian Snow has reported a shift of opinion($) in the Indiana recruiting circles he pings regularly that is positive for Michigan, so there's that. Sam Webb confirmed, insofar as it is possible to confirm an opinion on a decision that clearly hasn't been made yet.


Abdur-Rahkman, 40 in white
ha no but man wouldn't that be something
he's the guy with the ball
not that I had to tell you that

Meanwhile, MAAR. If Michigan does settle on Abdur-Rahkman as a spring take I'll be satisfied; Beilein and company have proved they can ID a diamond in the rough and, like… MAAR for four years. Misspelled Smiths tie in acronym: yes please.

MAAR currently has a slate of mid-major offers after a senior season in which he averaged nearly 24 points a game for Central Catholic. Joe Stapleton's article linked above indicates the seriousness of Michigan's interest—Beilein calls him "at least three times a week"*—despite the fact that he is not just a shooter because he's not, in fact, a shooter:

Abdur-Rahkman would be a slight departure from the prototypical Michigan recruit in that he isn’t known for his shooting. In fact, the graduating senior said that while his shot has improved, he made his living getting to the rim and playing great man-to-man defense.

A defensive stopper type would be welcome, and shooting can develop. If Michigan was to offer it doesn't seem like it'll take a whole lot of thought from MAAR:

“(Michigan is) definitely the top school.”

Abdur-Rahkman also deviates from the Beilein model in that he's old for his class. In fact, he is literally as old as you can be and still play high school basketball in Pennsylvania:

Abdur-Rahkman turned 16 on Sept. 1 at the start of his freshman year, which means, of course, he turned 19 on Sept. 1 of this past year. The cutoff date for meeting the PIAA's age requirement is Sept. 1, meaning that had Muhammad been born on Aug. 31, he would have had to be part of the 2013 graduating class.

He'll be 20 by the time he arrives on campus. Good for immediate readiness, bad for upside. Kind of like grabbing a hockey player after a couple years of JUCO.

*[They deregulated phone calls in men's basketball, if that sounds like a violation to you. Kelvin Sampson sighs heavily at home about this.]

WELP. Here's this draft evaluation of Taylor Lewan from SBNation that discusses Taylor Lewan, who is of interest to us as a Michigan alum who is likely to go in the top half of the first round of the draft.

What a shitty offense

Uh… what?

So I wanted to focus this breakdown on Taylor Lewan, not the severe annoyance I had with the way Michigan used him. But since it was the one thing that stood out to me the most while watching Lewan play, I am going to go ahead and address it right off the bat.


Now look, I don't profess to be some kind of expert on offenses, but some things about football I just feel like should be common sense. For instance, if you have a superior blocker at left tackle, most of your help from tight ends and running backs, whether it be run blocking or pass blocking, should go to the other four guys. It should also allow you to design plays built around his athleticism to help get your skill position players free out in space. Stuff like smoke screens (WR takes one step forward then one step back to catch the ball while his blockers lead up in front of him) or really any kind of screens, counter plays (where you pull the offensive guard and tackle from one side of the center to the other side of the center) and any number of sweep plays (runs designed to get wide outside of the offensive tackle).

I didn't see much of that in the five games that I watched. Furthermore, why in the HELL did Michigan keep a tight end to Lewan's side so damn much? He obviously didn't need the help. The quarterback was right handed anyway (with bootlegs you like for the tight end to be lined up to the side of the quarterback's throwing hand), and they could have potentially had a wide receiver there instead of a tight end. It would've increased the chances of success on passing downs as well as run downs if you get the opposing defenses spread themselves out. But is that what Michigan did?


This very long blockquote is not the end of former NFL DE Stephen White's evisceration of last year's Michigan offense, despite it being a very long blockquote. I expect that White will be getting some very stern comments from the folks around here who fought the rearguard action for Team Borges with such heroic ferocity last season when I made statements like "this is stupid," "this makes no sense," and "it is bad when your tailbacks run 27 times for 27 yards."

Michigan protected Taylor Lewan with a tight end so often that it made it hard for this draft evaluator to, you know, evaluate Taylor Lewan. Meanwhile, the interior of the line was a highway to Devin Gardner's ribs. And the kicker is: the tight ends couldn't even block. Michigan was tossing away its main advantage on the line—dang good tackles—because of their philosophy about manballin' it. That's alarming, because that seems like it comes from the top. It's all well and good to be Stanford or Alabama if you can be that, but when you're on your way to dead last TFLs… probably not.

We'll see. Rubber hits the road in September.

Oh, good. Putting Chad Lindsay on 27 tickets turns out to be premature, as the Alabama transfer is getting his woo on. After his visit to Michigan he hit up Louisville and Oklahoma; this week he's headed to Cal and… Ohio State. Oh goody.

OSU lost four seniors off last year's line and can pitch Lindsay playing time, and you know there's nothing in the world Urban would like more than grabbing Lindsay away from Michigan even if he ends up sitting on the bench the whole year. Especially if he ends up sitting on the bench the whole year.


Get out of there while you still can, Chad.

This will help you feel better about the previous section. Someone's really into Amir Williams saying coach be all over his di—


For pants sake, lady, can you see a camera without reflexively extending your tongue and squinting? I submit that you cannot.

Mascot of the week. The El Paso Chihuahuas' Chico has been hanging with Eight Ball the Tiger:


Mascots should be as frightening as possible. I approve.

YUP. It's almost like arguments against a college football playoff weren't particularly good ones.

Our worthless suit overlords think so little of us they kept the guy who was issuing these proclamations around to issue the exact opposite proclamations.

The Michigan Difference. Michigan PhD grad makes joke about Darren Rovell on twitter.

Darren Rovell, being Darren Rovell, reports this comment to some guy at Michigan. Michigan's "informal response":

1) "Wait, so who is this guy? Is @darrenrovell actually famous?"

2) "What did he think we were going to do? Take away your diploma?"

/sings fight song, waves tiny block M flag

I am always very careful about how I mis-state the word rapper. Ace informs me that this gentleman with Devin Gardner is noted rappist "Two Chains," but I say balderdash, I say!


COUNT THE CHAINS, "TWO CHAINS." His real name is Excessive Watches IV. He goes home and takes off all of that, sits down with a Forbes, and looks exactly like Carlton. Fact. E-fact. Also his rap song just cannot compete with the Charleston.

This has been Brian pretends he's more out of touch than he is to forestall accusations of being out of touch theater. Thank you.

Thanks, bro. Horford opens up about his decision to leave to MLive; it turns out his zen does not extend to the rest of his family:

"(Transferring) is something that my family has been trying to persuade me to do for four years," Horford said. "So I guess naturally it's always been inevitable -- when people are telling you something all the time."

I get the feeling that Horford's support system regards Horford's abilities with… uh… enthusiasm not necessarily in line with reality. The reason his playing time dropped late in the season is that he wasn't playing well. I mean… when Morgan went out I was always like WHEN CAN WE GET MORGAN BACK IN. Play better and you get more time. Or wait for Morgan to graduate and go get it like he did.

Please please please let me get what I want (fewer timeouts) this time. Timeouts are a scourge upon basketball, not only turning 60 seconds of clock time into a writhing eternity of nothingness but also reducing the chaos factor that a trailing team attempts to insert into the game late. On four seconds trying to inbound the ball? Timeout. Trapped in the corner? Timeout. Want to get your defense set? Timeout. Timeouts are used to prevent turnovers, keep the leading team in the lead, and let over-coaching guys in suits maintain as much control as possible. They result in two and a half hour  games that mean you have to stream the first ten minutes of  your game on ESPN3. They are miserable and should be almost entirely removed.

They won't be, but at least the misery of them is a thing that has reached the people who can do something about it:

Everyone agreed that one of the biggest detractions of the current game is the eternity it takes to end a close one. That is largely due to the number of timeouts granted to each team, both officially (five per team per game) and unofficially (coaches are given a minute to substitute when a player fouls out). Replay reviews are viewed as a necessary evil in the quest for the right calls, but they also add to the length of an endgame situation. Coaches cherish their control of the game and thus will be loath to surrender timeouts, but fans everywhere would embrace fewer stoppages in play – especially late in a game. The NCAA said it will begin tracking the length of games next year, as it does in football.

"Length is becoming a concern," said David Worlock, NCAA associate director of men's basketball.

You're going to begin tracking games? And you don't think there's anything wrong with the current replay setup? Argh. But yes, please, shoot timeouts into the sun. One per team per game.


An elimination of live-ball timeouts, or at least limiting those calls to players instead of coaches. This would be a move toward FIBA international rules, which allow no live-ball timeouts.


But no:

Reducing the shot clock to either 30 or 24 seconds. Brey said he is in favor, and there seems to be fairly wide support for a reduction of some kind – although there also is a concern about college hoops becoming an NBA copycat league. (Interestingly, Byrd said his Belmont team occasionally uses a 12-second shot clock in practice to force tempo and enhance conditioning.)

With zone defenses viable and the skill level generally reduced, shortening the shot clock just results in more ugly shots. 45 to 35 was necessary, but in college 35 is fine.

Etc.: Sam Mikulak in repose. PSU-M is at 7 PM on ESPN or ESPN 2. Frighentingly quick MAAR scouting video from UMHoops.



April 15th, 2014 at 1:10 PM ^

Someone like MAAR it makes sense to get him "old for his class" because the depth of the team is short, and the wings/guards are going to be light next year when/if Caris goes (and even more so if Irvin explodes and goes) in 2015.   So we need some guys ready to go in a year.  This is where guys like a James Blackmon would have helped.   Looking ahead 12 months we could be going from a lack of depth at the 4/5 (if Mitch goes) to a lack of depth at the 2/3 very quickly if Irvin and LeVert both declare.

The roster turnover is getting a bit egregious at this point.


April 15th, 2014 at 1:16 PM ^

Blackmon or Booker would have been great, and that's also where Michigan will (apparently) lose out from a purely basketball perspective because of Hatch's injuries. 

The roster turnover is getting pretty nuts.  I sure hope that five star guys start seeing Michigan as a place to go to get to the NBA.  I'm not sure how long any coach can keep turning diamonds in the rough into quality starters, especially when that coach has to resort to recruiting guys with almost no D1 offers. 


April 15th, 2014 at 1:22 PM ^

Yes this last recruiting cycle was a bit disappointing - we had some high profile misses but the higher up the food chain you go the more competition.   Everyone points to Irvin and GR3 but those were guys identified very early as 3 star-ish type guys who exploded later.   We were not trying to beat off Self, Coach K, Calipari, et al.   Mitch was probably the only guy who truly was a national recruit early that we landed.

I think from the comments in MAAR's story at UMHoops the player development aspect is obvious now.  But the recruiting cycle is quite long in bball - sometimes they get started in the 8th/9th grade nowadays.  That said I don't know what more Beilein can show to a kid now - he has two elite 8s or better back to back, two conference championships in three years, nice facilties, and a plethora of NBA early entrees.  If you want to win and be developed ... and go to one of the best academic schools in the BCS conferences, I mean now we are at the point we can offer you all of that.  

But these players have to look through the haze of UK, Kansas, UNC etc to see it.   Blackmon esp bugs me because he is going to Indiana which is to bball what UM is to football - a stodgy name living off its brand more than current results.  But I guess I am hypocritical in booing him for choosing Indiana for those reasons while cheering UM for getting recruits for the same reasons.

Bottom line - kids please look at what we have to offer - essentially its everything you could ask for with this staff.

True Blue Grit

April 15th, 2014 at 1:34 PM ^

at the 4/5 positions.  If that happens we go into next year with several guys with zero experience and one guy (Bielfeldt) with very little playing time.  Our rebounding and inside defense next year would be even worse than this year in that scenario.  Unless the freshmen go nuts and the returning starters really take a leap forward, I see no chance next season for a Big Ten title.   Beilein needs to get a bona fide center in the 2015 class somehow. 


April 15th, 2014 at 2:23 PM ^

He's entering his 4th year on campus and, while his minutes have been few, he's been practicing against/with Horford, Morgan, and McGary for a few years.  Plus he's been to a lot of tournament games, played against Kentucky, etc.  He's ready for a bigger role. 

Rather he not start, but he can certainly play 15-20 minutes a night and be an asset.


April 15th, 2014 at 4:28 PM ^

There was no chance for a Big Ten title this year with MSU being pre-season pick for the final four and national championship and yet we won by 3 games.  Don't count us out.

Also, Sam Webb reported that Doyle continues to grow and is a legitimate 6'10" now.  If he is the starter at the 5 in a McGary less lineup and Donnal at 6'9" plays the 4, we have a pretty good (although young) front line (this year we were 6'6" & 6'8").

Space Coyote

April 15th, 2014 at 1:39 PM ^

It feels good to once again get the not-so-subtle insinuative insult on the front page, followed by the highly-predictable westwardwolverine direct attack in the comment section (and apparently one of the other obsessors to join him); just like old times that. And I fell right into the trap, but alright, time for a 2000 word essay as they're wont to say...

For the most part, White’s evaluation of Lewan was quite pointed and accurate. I fully respect White’s opinions on his evaluation of Lewan and even understand some of his criticisms of Borges’s offense based on what the purpose of his article was: to watch a few games featuring Lewan and judge his skill level in a relative vacuum that does not include: surrounding roster, offensive scheme, defensive scheme, etc.

Here’s the thing about NFL scouts (which I don’t think are all that great, but that’s a topic for a different thread) though that White isn’t doing – and I’m sure White understands this – which is looking at a few games and digging no deeper. An NFL scout would watch the film, then maybe ask “why are they keeping TEs into block on Lewan’s side?” They would then contact the Michigan coaches and Borges and ask that question, trying to figure out if it was to protect Lewan or what the deal was. Borges would reply along the lines of “we never kept in TEs to protect either of our OTs; they were not the weak link on the offense. But we had young guys on the interior that struggled with communication and the more involved schemes, so we had to resort to a lot of 7-man pass-pros to help them out [because 5 and 6 man pass protection schemes put more emphasis on the interior OL and RBs to communicate and pick up a greater variety of stunts and potential blitzers, and therefore require a better knowledge and understanding of defenses, responsibilities, schemes, and techniques].”

The TEs weren't kept in to help Lewan of Schofield, they were kept in to help out the interior guys by simplifying the schemes. Funny that one day we’re attacking 13 (13!) pass protection schemes, and not long after clamoring for more that are more complex. Not to mention the added complexity for the young TEs when asking them to be able to pick those things up to execute hot routes and what not. You can’t have it both ways.

I went into more depth with the examples he gave in the thread that was made about this, so I won’t regurgitate it here. I could go on and on, and that would be annoying, suffice it to say there are plenty of criticisms of Borges's offense that are valid, spreading the field more may have helped for one, or it just as likely could have back-fired as it required yet more "unconnected schemes" to be added to the offense. This will be enough of my heroic ferocity for one day, I'm tired of it, we're all tired of it, but if I get tangentially insulted, I'll at least take the chance to support my case.

Needless to say, White wanted to see more of Lewan go one-on-one with edge rushers because it would make his evaluation easier. Instead he was forced to watch a highly talented lineman be neutered because he was forced to run simplified schemes; that made White’s job more difficult. I don’t fault White for not digging deeper and trying to understand that you run into the boundary against MSU and put a slot to the field (and thus explaining the positioning of the TEs and WRs) and things like that, that wasn’t the scope of his assignment.

Still, if you haven’t read the article, I recommend it. It’s a good evaluation of Lewan.

Shop Smart Sho…

April 15th, 2014 at 2:46 PM ^

How is it better to ask TEs, who are young, to help with blocking than RBs, some of whom are experienced?  Especially if the help is needed on the interior?  It seems like it should be much easier for a RB to help an OG than a TE.  

And the straw man about the 13 blocking schemes complaint is both obvious and sad.  Even if 13 blocking schemes are fine, why not use 13 blocking schemes that make sense for the roster?  If a fan with average football intelligence, which I believe I am, can tell that only one of the TEs could both block and catc (Butt), shouldn't the coaching staff have been able to tell and adapt to reality?


April 15th, 2014 at 1:37 PM ^

Replay, although a good idea, is intended to fix bad calls and not turn humans into robots.  Basketball and football are games played by humans and reffed by humans.  We all make mistakes and that is just part of the game.  I wish replay were only about removing blatantly horrible calls from the game and provide a little bit of clarity on calls that aren't so horrible, but still wrong. 

I wish there was a time limit of, say, 45 seconds per replay.  If nothing conclusive is found then the call stays as it is and there isn't 5 minutes of deliberation.  If the call is wrong then it can't be that bad if a 45 second replay didn't clearly show otherwise. 


Monocle Smile

April 15th, 2014 at 2:03 PM ^

If the call is wrong then it can't be that bad if a 45 second replay didn't clearly show otherwise.

"Part of the game" shouldn't involve blatant dismissals of clear reality. In the last World Cup, there was a goal scored and the officials didn't notice. There's no replay, so now a team very obviously earned a point and the game loses meaning. Why even play the game if that kind of mistake is going to determine the outcome? Imperfection is not the same as anarchy, and it shouldn't be mistaken for such.


April 15th, 2014 at 2:54 PM ^

I am not arguing against replay.  I am just saying that if a call is blatantly wrong then it won't take more than 45 seconds to determine what the correct call should have been.  If a replay is taking 2+ minutes how can the evidence be that conclusive?


April 15th, 2014 at 3:18 PM ^

I wish there was a time limit of, say, 45 seconds per replay. If nothing conclusive is found then the call stays as it is and there isn't 5 minutes of deliberation. If the call is wrong then it can't be that bad if a 45 second replay didn't clearly show otherwise.

Problem: there could be multiple angles of the play, and the refs may not see the best angle until very late in the 45-second clock, if then.


April 15th, 2014 at 4:34 PM ^

I understand that there may be multiple angles.  This may require setting some cameras as official angle cameras and limiting how many angles are really reviewed. 

I like replay and think that it helps out the game, but the amount of time spent seems a bit ridiculous at times. 

I would prefer not to limit time with regards to flagrant fouls.  That's another issue entirely where the review is for intent rather than result.


April 15th, 2014 at 1:51 PM ^

I think Horford's decision is completely justifiable, even if McGary goes pro. He's shown very nice skills - impressive rebounding ability, decent shot-blocking, potential on offense to do much more.  Clearly he was never totally comfortable in Beilein's system.  It's a bummer for Michigan, but Horford contributed for 4 good years and never grumbled.


April 15th, 2014 at 1:56 PM ^

How about rather than changing timeouts, they made the following rule change: In the last 5 minutes of regulation and all of overtime, on any non shooting foul that would result in free throws, the coach of the team what would be shooting can opt to have his team inbound the ball in lieu of shooting free throws.

This would eliminate or lessen instances of teams fouling in order to extend games and come from behind. To me it is ridiculous that teams are able to intentionally commit fouls to their advantage. If you commit fouls you should not benefit from it.

El Jeffe

April 15th, 2014 at 2:49 PM ^

I don't really like the baby/bathwater solution you suggest, but it is pretty tedious to watch excessive fouling. Hack-a-Shaq, end of game, whatever.

I will say that the solution is to make your free throws, but also another thought is to trim the shot clock to 30 seconds. This would give teams marginally more possessions to come back and might reduce the need for excessive fouling. My logic comes from the NBA, where teams will play it down to a minute or so before starting to foul, since up until then they have so many more possessions to come back without fouling.


April 15th, 2014 at 2:03 PM ^

increasingly self-referential, and his nervous kidding about blackpeoplestuff has always wobbled a little. Other than that, Horford is a classic big man in the wrong system, and sometimes hinted at big potential; hope he doesn't eat us alive for UF in a tourney game next spring. 


April 15th, 2014 at 3:23 PM ^

What kind of system would serve Horford better?  If Beilein could make it work with Jordan Morgan, who never attempted a three in his entire career (and probably took only a handful of shots from beyond 10 feet), I'm not sure why he couldn't with Horford, who occasionally displayed a bit of shooting touch.



April 15th, 2014 at 2:12 PM ^

It took some work sifting through 3 different Twitter feeds but I finally got to the bottom of the Darren Rovell kerfuffle. Man that guy came off looking like a complete baby. I love it when an arrogant sports personality gets put firmly in his place. good stuff.

Amen in timeouts.

And will someone please provide the Cliff Notes version of Space Coyote's lengthy imminent reply to the offense criticism? TIA.

Space Coyote

April 15th, 2014 at 2:17 PM ^

Cliff notes version
  • White's evaluation of Lewan is pretty accurate and I agree with many of the things he says about Lewan (and for that it's a good read)
  • White was tasked with looking at a few games and evaluating Lewan's game individually, which differs from real scouts that would watch film then ask coaches why they did things the way they did
  • The offense used 7-man protection schemes and kept in TEs not to help the OTs, but to help the interior OL and the RBs by simplifying the pass protection schemes, as 7-man schemes are drastically easier to pick up than 5 and 6 man schemes that require a better understanding of stunts, blitzes, technique, and assignments.
  • Tangent about how it feels good (like old times) to be not so subtly attacked on the front-page only for that to be a free pass for Space Coyote Obsessors (haters) to directly call me out.
  • More discussion here


April 15th, 2014 at 3:42 PM ^

Lewan by SB nation indicates to me that some of Michigan's woes last year was due to personnel as we well know but some was just plain old boneheaded stubbornness of the coaching staff-the manball thing.  That should give us some shred of optimism as stubborn people usually don't usually fire their base of support and then hire someone younger to take over a key area.  In the back of Hokes mind the thought of 8-4 or definitely 7-5 again is going to make the head coaching position at Michigan the hottest of hot seats.


April 15th, 2014 at 4:11 PM ^

Every time Brian slams on Borges defenders, I get a little bit of silver lining stored up for the upcoming season. If the worst happens and we do crap out on the O-line, it will be fun watching the board's reaction to NussFunk's maneuvers to stabilize the line. I suppose it is possible that Gerg/Greg will repeat itself and our O-line will magically improve - I hope it does. But I'm not betting on it.


April 15th, 2014 at 4:32 PM ^

Yes, maybe a bunch of 4-star recruits with another year under their belts will "magically improve" to the point that they are competently performing the fairly straightforward tasks given to them under Nuss's preferred blocking scheme.  That's hardly Gerg/Greg 2.0.


April 15th, 2014 at 4:39 PM ^

why not reduce it to 3 full timeouts and add 3 short timeouts.  A short timeout would be a stop the clock only timeout.  Players would stay on the floor, no TV commercials allowed.  It could be used for stopping the clock when a player is about to be tied up, having trouble inbounding the ball, etc.  This would speed up the game and reduce the over coaching.


April 15th, 2014 at 8:40 PM ^

FIBA timeout rules:

* 2 timeouts per team in the first half, 3 timeouts in the second half, 1 in overtime (timeouts can't be brought forward from first half to second or from second to overtime).

* Must be called by coach at scorers table.

* Timeout will be granted on next stoppage or after next field goal scored against the team requesting the timeout.

* No timeouts once a set of free throws has started (ie, once the player has been given the ball for the first shot).

I would find this far preferable to the current free-for-all timeout situation in college basketball (teams can even call a timeout after they make a basket in college basketball, which makes no sense at all).