Unverified Voracity Just Gets To The Spot Comment Count

Brian January 12th, 2012 at 4:58 PM

Other basketball takes. Grantland* oddly dispatched a guy to cover the Michigan-Northwestern game. He comes back with an impression of Ann Arbor clearly derived from the rims clanging so loud it sounds like a Gary, Indiana, steel mill before it closed in 1979, but once he gets past the grim midwesternness of it all it's a good piece:

. In the post, Smotrycz and Novak get rough with Shurna, putting their bodies into him, bumping him off the ball, and generally making him fight for every inch. Shurna hates this physicality, hates it viscerally and philosophically and every other way you can hate something. More often than not, he casts a look at the referee, hoping for a foul call, before retreating to the perimeter. He'll finish the game with 21 points, but after his second jumper of the half, with 19 long minutes remaining, he's scored all but four of that total. The rest of the game is a vanishing act.

I still think whenever Beilein ends up with an open scholarship late he should scour Northwestern's commitments for whoever their totally rad guy is going to be. That seems preferable to snatching Colton Christian away from low majors.

Holdin' the Rope credits Denard in the headline and provides a link to the Novak dunk  that brought down the house during Michigan's 10-0 second half run:

HT: MGoVideo.

Re: Denard, A half-dozen Michigan football players including Roy Roundree and Denard held court in the student section after they were honored for winning the Sugar Bowl. One thing you can say about Michigan football: they are not too cool for school.

HTR also dubs freshman NU PG Dave Sobolewski "Sobocop" in an attempt to insult him for prompting the Morgan tech. This will certainly backfire and cause Northwestern fans to admiringly dub him that for the rest of his career. Sippin' On Purple, make this happen.

*[Grantland pays Brian Phillips and Chris Brown money to write about sports. I'm not hearing criticism of it even if it runs some dumb stuff. That's easy enough to ignore; the good bits are very good. VIVA LOS SIMMONS.]

Donnal update. Even Jordan Morgan is impressed by this stat:

Perhaps no one on the team has bought in to the new approach more than Mark Donnal, the 6-9 junior who is already committed to the University of Michigan. The league's top post player is averaging a team-high 20.4 points and 8.7 rebounds after averaging 15 points and seven boards last season.

Donnal, who probably receives more double-teams near the basket than any other player in the NLL, is sinking 79 percent of his shots from the field, as well as from the foul line.

Big guys in high school usually tower over opponents and can just oaf their way to easy buckets, but if you've seen any video of Donnal you know he's unusually skilled for a 6'9" post type. He's Pittsnogalian.

That sounds like an adjective from a lost chapter of Gulliver's Travels featuring a race of lovable, enormous tattooed weirdos. It's a keeper, that is.

CSB midterms. The NHL's Central Scouting Bureau has released their midseason rankings, which are the first to put a number on prospects rather than a vague letter. Voila:

#9 Jacob Trouba
#28 Phil Di Giuseppe (freshman)
#31 Boo Nieves
#82 Alex Kile (2013)
#157 Connor Carrick
#175 Justin Selman

Incoming goalie Jared Rutledge is the #36 goalie, which would mean he's not getting drafted. Daniel Milne and future Rutledge backup Steve Racine are the only draft-eligible recruits not listed.

Trouba is the top-ranked American. A CSB scout on him:

“Jacob has offensive skills and he really does defend well. You can just tell by how he plays in all areas of the ice that he’s a big kid who skates really well, he loves to jump into the play and has confidence because he knows his skating can get him back, so he rarely gets caught out of position. He’s going to be someone people are going to talk about; we’ve known about him for a couple years and he’s not disappointing this year.”

Remember that these are North American skater rankings only; Europeans and goalies will push these folks down. Those are mid-second-round ratings for PDG and Nieves, not late first.

WCH calls out Connor Carrick as notably under-ranked; if that's true Michigan will definitely have five draftees with Selman a potential sixth. Kile is a surprise. One: I didn't know he was draft eligible this year. Two: he's got 7-8-15 in 29 games with the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL, which is a far cry from the 38, 35, 30, 29 you see at the top of their scoring charts. He's kind of big at 6-foot, 195, but not the kind of big that gets you drafted above your skill level by the NHL.

Meanwhile in the odious machinations of junior hockey magnates. Nieves's rights were traded in the deadline flurry. This is never good, but Nieves has reconfirmed that he has no interest in the OHL:

With all #OHL trade action & acquisition from #collegehockey just heard from very close source Boo Nieves plans on UM "for sure" #2012Draft

Nieves was traded to Saginaw, which isn't any closer to home than Michigan or notorious for shelling out under the table payments. Also if he was going to leave he had an opportunity before signing up for another year of prep hockey with Matt Herr. Usually when a player committed to college changes his mind it's the year before he's scheduled to arrive. Only the specter of competing against Shawn Hunwick is sufficient motivation to ditch when college is around the corner.

Meanwhile in things you'd do for a dollar. Rumor is the Winter Classic is headed to Michigan in the near future, and not just the state:

Multiple sources told Yahoo! Sports this week that the NHL is in advanced discussions with the University of Michigan about holding the 2013 Winter Classic in Ann Arbor.

One source, who spoke on a condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak on the matter, said Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon wasn't initially sold on the idea of the NHL hosting an outdoor game at Michigan Stadium. But over a matter of a couple of weeks, the source said "something happened to make it go from looking like it could happen to [a point where] it probably will."

No doubt long deliberations with a man dressed in a curly fries outfit eventually led to the breakthrough. Would Dave Brandon threaten to break Michigan's own attendance record and hopelessly conflict a ton of people when Michigan inevitably plays a bowl game on the same day? Yes. The curly fries are very convincing, and there is at least one dollar in it.

Guh. I only talk about coaches who coach for Michigan unless I need to give Tony Gibson minus even more of the points:

The previous CB coach, Gibson, who I believe also is joining the Arizona staff, wasn't big on technique, at least not when he was a WVU. Players have stated that he would tell them, "just get to the spot." Lockwood came in and changed that, and with that change came nice strides of improvement in the cornerbacks.

Unfortunately, the spot was ten yards away from the receiver.

Etc.: The university's policy of exorbitant FOIA fees is an embarrassment. Roundtree's looking for a bigger role next year. BC Interruption is feeling the MGoPlayoff. Horford may be able to return this year. Silver lining if he can't: the ensuing redshirt will give some separation between Michigan's bigs, three of whom may leave in the same year if McGary is two-and-out. UMHoops picture pages a bunch of out of bounds plays.

NYT scorecard: MGoBlog is "not exactly a rock of journalistic credibility." Chris Brown is a featured author. Chris Brown 1, MGoBlog 0.



January 12th, 2012 at 5:13 PM ^

Watching Novak play just brings a smile to my face.  Can you ask for a better representative of Michigan athletics than that kid who brings so much heart and determination to the floor ALL THE TIME!!  Love it.


January 12th, 2012 at 5:17 PM ^

"In overtime, Burke emerges. After Hardaway hands him a rebound, the freshman looks at his teammate, angry that they're still in a tight game, and shouts, 'Let's fucking go!'"

I like that kid more and more every day.    


January 12th, 2012 at 7:52 PM ^

Grantland is overly wrought.. Here's what passes as lead-ins for Grantland stories....

"This South Dakota State band's tuba player trudges across campus to a bone-chilling practice at 7am, his plump, corn-beef fed fingers barely able to manipulate the brass instrument which 12 generations of Americans used before him"

"State College has its own circadian rhythm, the Stonehenge of American athletics"

"USC is a surfer paradise, where Beach Boys meets Lady Gagas on fraternity row as Matt Barkley orders a grande iced coffee side-armed with a comely coed texting her mom's cousins friends Matt's thoughts on his draft status"

"Bud Selig's dog wanders the creaky stairs of the Cooperstown without care or leash, nuzzling tourists for food, attention, and the ever-present leather aroma of Honus Wagner wafting through hallowed halls"



January 12th, 2012 at 5:23 PM ^

So weird to think that MGoBlog has reached a level where it's mentioned by the NYT. Granted it's the online bit, and they kinda pwned the blog, but it's still cool i think


January 12th, 2012 at 5:26 PM ^

He seems to be all over the place these days: Football blogs, music studios (and jail for that matter), and on the ice rink.  Interesting fellow!  Viva los Chris Brown.

In all seriousness, neat write-up by the player.  (Just too bad it was for the far less-credible-than-MGoBlog, New York Times).


Hardware Sushi

January 12th, 2012 at 6:02 PM ^

Brian - Can you do a "Brian's favorite Grantland posts" post or something - everytime I go there I hate it more.

I like quite a few of the authors' non-sports works: Eating The Dino was a fun and introspective read and Staggering Genius was thoughtful, at least. the Grantland sports articles seem forced and awkward, almost contrived. They have some well-respected authors but all I come across is shit that makes me want to write all-caps email responses telling them I want my time back. I know you said "I'm not hearing criticism of it even if it runs some dumb stuff" buuuut...

/begin rant

Seriously, I can't use "we" to talk about Michigan? Thanks for that advice, Chris, you douche. Glad you haven't posted since October. I also wait anxiously for Michael Weinreb's next opportunity to complain and whine about something. He couldn't even write a good post about Chuck Wepner and that guy literally shits critically-acclaimed material for those that cover him as long as they have enough talent to get it on paper. I'm also glad I wasted my time reading 10 posts* about how Roger Federer gives Brian Phillips a boner (but not as much as he used to!). All the while Dave Eggers brings us groundbreaking work alerting us that *gasp* people go to Wrigley for things other than the winning!

/end rant
*I only actually read two of the Federer articles but he still wrote a ton of them.

Can we possibly get a brief list of the good bits that are very good?


January 12th, 2012 at 7:28 PM ^

Seems like every piece on that site carries a "If you can get past the ____" caveat even for people who like the articles.

It will be interesting to see how much patience ESPN has with it. They have poured a lot of money into something that amounts to a wannabe cultural touchstone more than anything plausibly profitable.



January 12th, 2012 at 7:36 PM ^

I was not in attendance but Donnal recently face my alma mater, Napoleon High School, which turned out to be a  burner in OT with Napoleon coming out on top.  The "funny" part or maybe not so funny for us wolverine fans, my high school's student section was decked out in OSU gear....  Looks like they did their research.  And I am sorry to admit that my cousin (on the dark side) is sort of the ring leader of his students it was his idea. Didn't get a chance too hear Donnals stats, I do know that he had an alley oop slam to begin the game, must be their designed play off the tip because they did the same thing against Bowling Green.  Seems to be a really skilled guy.  Definitely needs to bulk up to be sucessful at Michigan.  

Yostbound and Down

January 12th, 2012 at 10:40 PM ^

I've come away pretty disappointed from every Grantland piece I've seen on UM sports, and Michigan sports in general. Maybe they could get LZ Granderson on board to replace the POS that is Weinreb...

I do like their website for the soccer bits, their pop culture stuff and Barnwell is pretty good on NFL. And of course, Simmons doesnt change, and Klosterman is pretty entertaining. I used to check it daily when it came out, but now the luster has worn off a bit...still a fun website though.

Yostbound and Down

January 13th, 2012 at 12:16 AM ^

Im not sure if you can just completely point to that for LZ. He covers the michigan sports scene and a lot of the "issues" in sports from a pretty reasonable angle in my mind. It's not like he's incompetent and keeping his job because he's a gay sportswriter...he has interesting stuff to say a lot of the time.

Weinreb's history as an overwrought blabber a la Wright Thompson writing for five pages about Jim Beam that some pastor used to sneak swigs of to stay sane has only been confirmed by the stupid coverage of the Penn State scandal. As he's a Penn State alumnus i was interested to see his take on it, but I thought he pretty much bypassed everything actually significant to the issue and just reminisced about college, in an attempt to show the culture of State College (i think?) but it just ended up being a bunch of useless drivel that you could probably extrapolate to a lot of colleges in the country. If the entire point of your story is "Man, we're all shocked", well, no shit.