if we have enough stories using this as the lead seth can make all the boxes it [Marc-Gregor Campredon]

Unverified Voracity Moves To Nowhere Alberta Comment Count

Brian January 24th, 2019 at 2:17 PM

Matthews on the shot. Via Orion Sang:

Matthews was standing in the left corner. As Brazdeikis had drove past him, Matthews held both hands out, ready to catch and shoot just in case the ball found him.

He was also ready to crash the boards.

“I know Iggy. That’s my little brother. He’s like a bull in the china shop when he’s going to the rim," Matthews told reporters. "So he ain’t looking to kick out. So I just said, ‘You know what, he might miss this one, let me try to just go get the rebound.'

"And thank God I was in the right position for it. Gotta know your teammates. Know your personnel."

Matthews' eyes – along with every other pair of eyes in Crisler Center – followed his teammates' shot.

As he saw the ball tipped toward him, he darted forward with a couple quick steps. Then he got the ball.

"(Charles is) always around the basket," Beilein said, "and he mopped up.”

"You know, he might miss this one" is a good thought when the pronoun in question is 4/17 on the night.

A couple of blips on the freshmen who aren't playing. Andrew Kahn gathers a little data on the three guys who haven't seen much time:

Nuñez is a 6-foot-6 shooting guard who has yet to score on the season in limited action. His teammates talk up his shooting in practice. "Adrien's shot is phenomenal." Livers said recently. "He has the most perfect form I've ever seen out of a shooter."

There have been times this season Michigan could use another shooting threat on the floor, but it seems unlikely Nuñez will get that chance this season.

Castleton is also a year away from contributing. Like the other players unlikely to see the court, he’s been hitting the weights hard, even on game days. Strength coach Jon Sanderson said he’s put on 17 pounds since arriving on campus, a priority for the 6-foot-11 center.

DeJulius got some mention from Beilein as a guy who's battling Brooks and that "tonight" it was Brooks who got the playing time. With Brooks locked in a pretty gnarly slump I'd like to see DeJulius get a shot.

[After THE JUMP: uh mostly hockey recruiting?]

Man vs zone. Kenpom drills down on the efficacy of zone defense at the Athletic. Upshot:

On average, zone teams have given up two more points per 100 possessions than man teams (adjusted for competition). It might make one wonder why a coach would choose to play zone. While the comparison between man and zone teams reveals some things, what’s missing is what the zone teams would look like statistically if they played man.

You’ll notice I included the adjusted offensive rating for man and zone teams as well, and the man teams rate out much better. The gap is actually wider for the offense than the defense. This gives us some indication that the man teams have better personnel to begin with. One might assume that the coaches of zone teams believe their personnel would be even worse at man defense.

Zones are getting less popular, having dropped from about 21% of defensive possessions nationwide to 14% over the last five years, as the Steph-ization of college basketball continues and kids get better and better at shooting threes.

Nick Blankenburg profiled. Hockey's breakout freshman is an odd duck: an overage defenseman who converted from forward during his junior year and is currently playing on his off hand. But he's doing stuff and grabbing Daily profiles:

“He was all in, right from the start,” Burke said in a phone interview. “Fully committed to just playing. He didn’t really hesitate or have any apprehension. He just jumped feet first, went after it and he did a real nice job.”

That commitment paid off.

Blankenburg’s success on defense with Victory Honda led to him getting a spot with the Okotoks Oilers of the Alberta Junior Hockey League — quite a change for a high-schooler who had spent his whole life playing for metro Detroit-based teams. Suddenly he was moving nearly 2,000 miles northwest to Okotoks, a city just south of Calgary.

Being a junior hockey player is weird.

Glancing down the road. Some hockey recruiting notes:

  • The midseason CSB rankings have been posted. D Cam York is the #12 North American skater and should be a first rounder even after goalies and Euros get added in. F Johnny Beecher is #53 and is thus projected as a third-rounder. Bob McKenzie's list, which is sourced from NHL GMs and scouts, has York #15 and Beecher #41 in a draft that does have goalies and Euros.
  • 2020 recruits Eric Ciccolini and Austen Swankler are #95 and #115, respectively, in the CSB rankings. It's somewhat unusual for drafted guys to take a D+1 year in junior and Ciccolini in particular is the top-scoring 2001 in the OJHL (and only one guy in front of him is not a '98). He might want to accelerate, whether that's coming to Michigan early or defecting to the OHL.
  • Swankler was recently included in an OHL trade. That is usually bad news but in this case it seems a little speculative, with the team that originally drafted him calling up Erie because "If anybody has a chance (to sign him), you guys may have an opportunity." There's a conditional second rounder for Erie if Swankler does not sign. (OHL teams may not trade first round picks.) Erie is close to home and they have a former teammate.
  • Commits continue to come in, usually for the distant future. Michigan's added a couple of guys  since the last time I mentioned hockey recruiting: Kent Johnson is a forward. Johnson's at about 0.8 PPG in the BCHL as a 16 year old (he's the top scorer in his birth year) and has a brother playing at Yale; Jeff Tambellini is his coach. NZ has him a 4.5 star. Nick Bochen is a D out of the same league. He's the #2 scorer amongst 2001 D in the BCHL. Both are supposed to be 2020s. But who knows.

As for 2019, Michigan has three seniors and will definitely lose Quinn Hughes early. Josh Norris is probably gone as well. Lockwood and Martin are all potential signees as well. They've currently got a whopping 12 kids currently listed as 2019 recruits on Heisenberg. Hockey is not a headcount sport so you can split scholarships, but that's obviously… uh… aggressive.

At this point pushing guys back doesn't really work either. Michigan hypothetically has 10 2020 commits. The inescapable fact is that Michigan has at least a few commits that are never going to actually come to Michigan, and not because they're defecting.

It seems likely that Pearson has been relatively up-front about this. When he moved from Tech to Michigan a few of his Tech commits flipped despite having been put off. A couple of guys who were originally scheduled to come in in 2018 were put off and haven't flipped to other schools. And some guys on the commit lists are almost certainly walk-ons promised nothing. (Steve Holtz is regularly a healthy scratch in the USHL, for one.)

Etc.: Don't click here, for this headline is 100% accurate. Speaking of Cam York: profiled. MSU gonna MSU. Brazdeikis profiled by Dan Murphy. Zavier Simpson's recruitment dissected.



January 24th, 2019 at 5:05 PM ^

Caveats about earning playing time and all, but Johns and DDJ both have much higher ceilings than their upper class counterparts. Davis and Brooks aren't going to be big difference makers in an NCAA tourney game. They're basically warm bodies at this point. Assuming Johns and DDJ are in the ballpark in terms of effort in practice, I'd rather roll with both of them in games right now since this team could use the depth. It was pretty obvious during the Minny game that the starters and Livers were gassed.


January 24th, 2019 at 6:11 PM ^

I agree with your upside opinion.  

Beilein sees these guys everyday in practice playing among their own top talent.  Priority number one is to win games now for the Big Ten race, an NCAA seed and a run for the title.  

Brooks had some key plays against Minnesota.  I’m sure it’s a balance Beilein is thoughtful of every day.  


January 24th, 2019 at 8:00 PM ^

It's not about effort in practice (which should be a given, if the effort isn't there you have bigger problems).  It's about execution.  You have to demonstrate that you understand what you're supposed to do in practice before you can play meaningful minutes in games, and it's been said time and time again by the coaches that they just aren't clicking yet.

It will happen.  They're developing and learning every day in practice.  A few more minutes per game is negligible compared to that anyway.  And when you're competing for a conference title and every minute in most games count, you play the best option even if it's close and even if the secondary option is younger.


January 24th, 2019 at 6:04 PM ^

The money quote for John Beilein teams that recruits should soak in and fans should enjoy!

If a player can't defend his scout team counterpart at practice, Beilein isn't going to trust him in Big Ten action.

The freshmen can look to Teske, who played just 3.1 minutes per game in his first year and is a now a starter opposing coaches rave about. D.J. Wilson barely played his first two years but turned himself into a first-round draft pick in 2017. Wagner played some as a freshman in 2015-16 because there was a need at his position.

Michigan’s recent track record of player development means nobody on the roster can be dismissed simply because of a lackluster season.


January 24th, 2019 at 9:43 PM ^

Reviewing the threads from two years ago when a lot of people wanted Beilein fired, many also basically wrote Simpson off as a bust. There was a debate about Teske that was decidedly negative; how negative? The guy speaking in favor of Teske as a future contributor thought he could pay off as a 6th man in his senior year!

The book isn’t written on anyone yet. HeiZen’s dismissal of Brooks is way premature. 

That said, if DDJ is really that close to Brooks in practice, I think he should get a shot. Writing off Brooks is stupid, and he does some good things. But he isn’t adding much, either. 

Shop Smart Sho…

January 24th, 2019 at 6:53 PM ^

Maybe I just don't understand basketball roster construction well enough, but not slapping red shirts on both Castleton and Nunez the minute they walked through the door is baffling.

Castleton is a bouncy 6'11" guy who is an early flight risk. He's a toothpick that might break in half before he's useful. 

Nunez obviously needs some time to get up to speed against a drastically higher level of competition.

So if you're recruiting guys that you know aren't going to leave early, why not try to get 5 years out of them, or set them up the now-popular degree in 3 and grad transfer for 2? It would seem both of those are better options than giving guys 25 minutes at the beginning of the season.


January 24th, 2019 at 7:32 PM ^

I agree with this. Is there a way to get a med red shirt on them that is similar to football? Oh, I tweaked my big toe after game three and had to sit out the year. 


Or maybe the four free games extends to basketball but no one is talking about it?


itherwise it seems almost irresponsible. 


January 24th, 2019 at 8:22 PM ^

Nothing Staee will ever do from now until the time it dies the death it deserves will ever surprise me. Fat John should really be their President-for-life. 


January 24th, 2019 at 8:42 PM ^

You really should click on the hagfish article.  Those things are strange.  This quote was worth the price of admission:

"Hagfish produce slime the way humans produce opinions—readily, swiftly, defensively, and prodigiously. They slime when attacked or simply when stressed."



January 25th, 2019 at 1:39 AM ^

"He’s like a bull in the china shop when he’s going to the rim," Matthews told reporters. "So he ain’t looking to kick out."

1) I sense a bit of passive aggressive resentment/annoyance here, rightfully so (although a little ironic who it's coming from).

2) This is the scouting report on Iggy now and teams are helping aggressively onto him because they know he isn't going to kick it out much.  He's had a lot of shots blocked and contested by help defenders recently.  

He needs to adjust to how defenses are playing him now.  Look up.  Expect the help to come.


January 25th, 2019 at 12:16 PM ^

No way that is passive aggressiveness or annoyance. Matthews is as good of a teammate and team player as there is, and he's extremely close to Iggy. Watching the interview live it's pretty clear he's just joking about a teammate and friend. I get how one could get that thought by reading it though.

East Quad

January 26th, 2019 at 1:37 PM ^

Nunez hit a 30 foot three at the end of the Indiana game that was effortless. The pure shooter's motion that teammates describe was on full display with the swish.