Is 2012-2013 THE year for Michigan basketball?

Submitted by Blazefire on January 26th, 2013 at 1:13 AM

A recurring theme I've heard put forward over the past month or two is that this is THE year for Michigan basketball. Go for broke, because after this year, Burke leaves, THJ leaves, and even Little Dog may leave. Beilein has pulled out the redshirts this year because it is a year to win it all.

I don't disagree that it is a year to win it all for Michigan basketball, and it's worth putting everything into it. However, I'm wondering if it's true that this is THE year. In that spirit, I thought we could take an early look at 2013 Michigan basketball and what the odds are that next year could be "The Year" too.

First off, lets set a prospective depth chart for 2013. This depth chart will assume that we lose the following players for 2013:

Player Reason Position
2013 Lost Players
Matt Vogrich Graduation Guard
Eso Akune Graduation  Guard
Josh Bartelstein Graduation Guard
Blake McLimans Graduation Foreward
Corey Person Graduation Guard
Trey Burke Draft Point Guard
Tim Hardaway Jr Draft Shooting Guard
Glen Robinson III Draft Shooting Foreward











That makes our returning curren depth chart as follows:

Player Class Position
2013 Returning Depth
Spike Albrecht Sophomore Point Guard
Mitch McGary Sophomore Center
Nick Stauskas Sophomore Shooting Guard
Jon Horford RS Junior Center
Caris LeVert Sophomore Shooting Guard
Max Bielfeldt RS Sophomore Foreward
Jordan Morgan RS Senior Center










To these players, Michigan is adding the following freshmen for 2013 (others may be added, but these are sure things):

Player Position Stars
2014 Recruiting Class
Derrick Walton Point Guard 4
Zak Irvin Foreward 4
Mark Donnal Center 4
Austin Hatch Shooting Guard 3







Ed: No Hatch. He reclassified. Blame Bourbon

This Gives us a 2013 depth chart that looks something like the following:

Position First String Backup Third+
2013 Depth Chart
Point Guard Spike Albrecht Derrick Walton  
Guard Nick Stauskas, Caris Levert    
Foreward Max Bielfeldt Zak Irvin  
Center Mitch McGary Jordan Morgan Jon Horford, Mark Donnal




First of all, lets just come out and say it. That's a damn good depth chart. A little light, but damn good. At any rate, to figure out where we're at for 2013, we should look at lost production and minutes first. Per ESPN:

Player Minutes/Game Points/Game Ast/Game
2013 Lost time/Production
Matt Vogrich 7.7 1.2 0.3
Eso Akune 3.0 1.3 0.4
Josh Bartlestein 2.0 0 0.5
Blake McLimans 2.9 0.9 0.1
Corey Person 1.9 0.9 1.3
Trey Burke 33.7 17.8 7.2
Tim Hardaway Jr. 33.7 16.2 2.6
Glenn Robinson III 32.2 12.1 1.3











I am going to discount the top five guys in that list because all put together they average less than 18 minutes per game. That's garbage time that you fill with those guys to reduce the chance of injury to your starters and primary backups and so that they get a chance to play.

PG - 33.7 MPG, 17.8 PPG, 7.2 APG

SG - 33.7 MPG, 16.2 PPG, 2.6 APG

F - 32.2 MPG, 12.1 PPG, 1.3 APG

I know that doesn't cover everything these guys are doing for the team, or even close to it. But if similar production can be put up, it can be assumed that production in other areas, defense, rebounding and general intangibles will be close.

The question is, between the improvement of Freshmen to Sophomore players and the addition of high rated freshemen, do we have it? There is no good math for just how players will perform when their minutes skyrocket (Spike?) or how freshmen will perform (Irvin?), because it varies so much. Therefore, I ask you. Do we have it?


Young John Beilein

January 26th, 2013 at 10:40 PM ^

I think Stu started the first game of the season against like Ferris State or something.  Burke started every other game.  I think with a point guard you want to know who your starter is ASAP.  And I'm pretty sure it's going to be Walton.  His handle is just tremendous, way ahead of anyone currently on the team other than Burke.  Spike still is a little weak with the dribble at times and susceptible to pressure.  He generally makes the smart move to get rid of the ball before pressure comes, but he doesn't have the same tricks or quickness that Trey has to beat the defense.  And Spike won't have that much more experience than an incoming Walton, as was the case with Stu and Trey.

 I love the fact that next year we will have the best players from Indiana from each of the past two years and most likely the 2013 Mr. Basketball from Michigan.  Can't wait.


January 26th, 2013 at 1:21 AM ^

I thought he reclassified to 2014 after the plane crash?

And yeah, foreward.  Oops.

Aside from that though, great work!  I am optimistic for the future of the program, even if we lose all 3 to the draft that may go.  I'm hoping GRIII sticks around though.

Maybe if we get close but don't win it all some of them will come back in a "finish what they started" type of thing?


January 26th, 2013 at 8:30 AM ^

I'm amazed you were able to post something so well thought out and organized whilst imbibing.  I probably would have gave up half way through and just started a Kate Upton or Friday NIght Drinking Thread.


January 26th, 2013 at 8:38 AM ^

I think he's the best player on our team right now.  Definitely the most talented and the most upside (well McGrary upside is pretty crazy too).

If things go the way we want them to, and we make a final four, those three are probably gone.

snarling wolverine

January 26th, 2013 at 1:23 PM ^

You think he's better than even Burke (who is a front-runner for NPOY) ?

GRIII has not yet had much need to create his own shot in our offense, in large part because Burke sets him up so well.  Whether he can is not clear so far.


January 26th, 2013 at 6:59 PM ^

Burke is peaking right now and playing the best ball he probably ever will in his life.  And on the court right now Burke is far more important to this michigan team than GRIII.   That said, GRIII could be the whole team if we asked him to, which we will see if he stays next year.  I just don't think he will stay...



Young John Beilein

January 26th, 2013 at 10:59 PM ^

Eh, I don't agree.  Certainly Robinson has done an awesome job of playing within the offense and exhibiting prowess on both ends and rebounding the ball.  But to say he could be the whole team has no basis really.  He just hasn't shown the ability to create offense for him self (he hasn't tried and failed either).  But if he were the best player right now, I think we would have seen more evidence by now.  He's fantastic, he's just not better than Burke.  And I don't think he'll be the whole team next year (if he stays) because he is too smart and unselfish.  There will be scoring options aplenty and Beilein's offense will barely miss a beat.  

Also to say Burke is peaking does not make much sense.  His leaps from high school to freshman year to sophomore have been a steady incline.  I don't see the plateau.  He is just starting to make pro-level moves with the ball, so with repetition the shots will fall consistently.  He will get a little stronger and a little more explosive through conditioning.  Although you may not see much potential for improvement, I would not bet against that kid's will.  He reminds me a bit of D Rose, where you can see that every little thing he does wrong kills him, and he's going to work to correct it.  


January 26th, 2013 at 1:23 AM ^

Walton will start over Spike, and I'd be surprised to see Biefeldt starting over Horford or Morgan. Irvin may have some shot also. Coach B isn't scared to start the freshmen...


January 26th, 2013 at 1:27 AM ^

There are 5 unique positions in basketball first off not point guard. Guard. Foreword. And center.

1a spike 1b Walton

2a Nick 2b caris

3a Zak 3b caris

4a Morgan 4b horford

5a Mitch 5b Morgan horford Donnal

Now that's not a bad little team


January 26th, 2013 at 1:27 AM ^

this is probably Michigan's best team for a little while. You have the nations best PG, a great SG, and a ton of good talent and freshman around them. It's going to be hard to replace Trey and THJ.

I guess it all depends on how good Walton ends up being. If he's great, we could have some great teams in the next few years


January 26th, 2013 at 1:59 AM ^

With you. Wealthy family, strong parental figures, plus he's not quite prepared physically or mentally for the league. He won't be projected highly, but next season could be the number 1 offensive option for the defending champs...likely a lottery pick if he progresses as expected


January 26th, 2013 at 8:19 AM ^

I also think he'll stay one more year but I think you're off on a couple things. He is definitely ready physically for the league and I believe he's projected as a lottery pick this year. NBA drafts solely on potential not production.

That said, he should probably stay one more year. It will be his team (& Stauskas) and a chance to showcase his talents fully.


January 26th, 2013 at 8:23 AM ^

Lot of assumptions there. I don't want to speculate too much, but GRIII's dad has not been a big part of his life and I'm not sure what the family and personal situation is.

If GRIII is a top 20 pick like some of the pundits have him, it would be totally reasonable for him to go pro, and we (as fans) should support him.



January 26th, 2013 at 8:38 AM ^

"GRIII's dad has not been a big part of his life"

This is interesting you say this as I've been wondering about their relationship.  We often see THS in the crowd at UM supporting his son but yet I don't recall seeing GRII at all.  Not that this proves anything, but could lend credence to what you said.



January 26th, 2013 at 8:54 AM ^

However, if he leaves, I'd be shocked if he weren't a lottery pick, and he could sneak into the back of the top 10. He's very athletic, can drive to the rim or take a 3. He also seems to be very coachable, is a good teammate, and has NBA bloodlines.

Rawls NTR

January 26th, 2013 at 1:36 AM ^

Yea, this is THE year.... of the next 2. Nik, Mitch, Caris, and Spike should all be at least 3- and most likely 4-year guys.  Add Irvin and Walton, who are phenomenal, and we could see another nasty team in just a few years as long as we keep recruting big men to fill in.  Best case for a multi-year run would be if Tim and GRIII decided to stay one more year to bridge the gap.  I can see that as a possibility, but obviously Trey is heading to the league after this year - we should all be se grateful even to have him this year.


January 26th, 2013 at 2:11 AM ^

Assuming Burke and Hardaway leave, but Robinson stays, the starting five will probably be Walton, Stauskas, Robinson, Morgan and who knows for the fifth spot. McGary, Levert, Albrecht, and the freshman will all earn playing time.  


January 26th, 2013 at 2:46 AM ^

I think both GRIII and Hardaway stays one more year.  In fact, if one goes, I think it will be GRIII.  While basketball seniors entering the draft usually do not benefit that extra year bump like football seniors, Hardaway is a different story.

Hardaway has improved a lot this year, but he is not the man on this team, Trey Burke is.  Next year, if he returns, UM will be a great team as well, and he will be the man, POY strong candidate, etc.  Most NBA draft analysists have him going late first or early to mid second, with the average being early 2nd (UMHoops just had an update about this).  However, I have a feeling by the time the year ends, he will move up this list as he continues to play well.

GRIII could be drafted high, but I think he (and his dad) knows that he is not ready to play NBA right now.  He is awesome, but his game lacks serious experience dribbling the ball less than twice.  Next year, he will have a much greater opportunity to improve, etc.  He could be a high lottery next year, I think.

With that said, if they both leave, more power to them.  I'm just not sure that will happen.  Next year, I'd love to see this lineup:

PG - Walton / Spike

SG - Hardaway / Levert / Irvin

SF - GRIII / Irvin

PF - Howard / GRIII

C - Two-headed monster


January 26th, 2013 at 2:57 AM ^

Is THJ really projected that high and is he really a plausible lock to head to the Pro game?  Because I personally just don't see it.  It isn't bias in that I want him to stay for his Sr. year, either.  I just don't see him projecting well against guys who get paid to play ball; but I myself  also don't get paid to make such projections so there's that.  But man.  Trey Burke a professional basketball guard? Sure thing.  Soon too.  GRIII?  Yep,but ALSO after another year or so of refining his game.  THJ?  Uhhh, not yet.  His shot has improved, which is awesome, but to the level needed for the pros?  I'm not quite sure.  His ball handling alone should eliminate hundreds of thousands of dollars off of a contract.  He has the athleticism and may make a good SG/Forward some day but to reiterate, I think he needs time to grow as a more well-rounded player; and that means more than the 8 months time before the start of the next NBA season.


January 26th, 2013 at 9:09 AM ^

The argument for him staying has been made already, but the argument for him coming out is this:

Firstly, there is a bias against seniors. The thinking is this: most top players leave before their senior year. If you were a top player, you should have left before your senior year. Therefore you likely aren't a top player. Now, winning a POY award of some sort would signal that in fact you are a top player, but the burden of proof is on you.

Secondly, this year's draft class is seen as relatively shallow by historical standards, whereas next year's expected draft class may rival the LeBron, Carmelo, Wade class in terms of quality. Accordingly, even if he improves his game significantly, he might not gain any ground due to the talent pool he'd be competing against.

Frankly, I think that THJ has a much better shot of cracking the first round this year (and earning the guaranteed contract that comes with it) than he does next year. Certainly it's not a given that he will either year, but if his goal is the first round (and it should be) we will probably not see him in A2 next year.


January 26th, 2013 at 3:04 AM ^

PG: Derrick Walton, So.  /  Spike Albrecht, So.

SG: Nik Stauskas, Jr.  /  Caris Levert, So.

WG: Zak Irvin, So.  /  Nik Stauskas, Jr.

PF: Max Bielfeldt, RS Jr.  /  Mark Donnal, So.  /  Zak Irvin, So.

C: Mitch McGary, Jr.  /  Jon Horford, RS. Sr.  


With McGary and Morgan potentially splitting time next year, there's a fair chance we see a 3rd year out of McGary.  Then if you consider the Freshman-Sophomore "jump" for Walton and Irvin, and the potential to add about 3 impact freshman (e.g. Devin Booker), I think you've got a contending squad.

I have to admit, if M loses all three to the draft, I think '13-'14 ends up a bubble year. 



January 26th, 2013 at 7:37 AM ^

Tim, Trey, and Glenn all will be sat down to watch Taylor Lewan's speech. At the end of the clip, Bo's, "The Team" speech will play, followed by some clips of these guys winning the 2013 National Title. Coach John will then walk in and tell them they an do it again, and as Michigan Men they should. 2013-2014 is the year for Michigan Basketball. 


January 27th, 2013 at 12:41 PM ^

you are correct. Have a gut feeling GR3 will stay for another year. THJ/Trey----That speech will have to be quite inspiring to keep them on board. BUT! This is MEEEECHIGAN and who REALLY thought Lewan would stay for his final season. Think you are right on when you mention Michiganmen and our propensity to keep 'em on board. Imagine if these guys ALL stayed and seniored out! You gotta dream right?

Go Blue my friend ! 


January 26th, 2013 at 7:49 AM ^

GR3 is going to be a lottery pick this year. Set your expectations accordingly. Burke also will be gone for sure.

THJr? Depends on what the scouts tell him at the end of the year, but my guess is if the team gets to the second weekend of the tournament he'll also be gone for sure.

I worry about losing big man depth to transfer after this year also, but we'll see.

This is THE year. However, Michigan will have a deep and competitive team set up for the next few years. The question of how good can the team be next year depends on the drop off at point guard (a lot), how big of a sophomore jump can Caris make, and can Beilein adapt to a two big man system so that the most talented players can be on the court together (Morgan/McGary).

Walton (Fr) <<<< Burke (So)
LeVert (So) << Hardaway Jr (Jr)
Stauskas (So) > Stauskas (Fr)
Irvin (Fr) / Bielfeldt (So) <<< Robinson III (Fr)
McGary (So) >> McGary (Fr)
Morgan (Sr) == Morgan (Jr)


January 26th, 2013 at 7:58 AM ^

Hardaway stays. I have a gut feeling. The kid is a leader. He's smart and he's not in any sort of financial situation that is pressuring him to go. One more year and he's a top ten pick. Look how much he's improved every season so far.


January 26th, 2013 at 8:12 AM ^

but I expect to lose Hardaway and Burke, and have Robinson stay.  GR might leave too, but his game would benefit enormously from another year at the college level.  He would have a much bigger role to play in the offense, although he'd be doing it without Burke dishing the ball.  Sounds like a lot of scouts have him projected higher than Hardaway, so I guess they're looking long term, because it's pretty clear that Hardaway has the more polished all-around game this year, although Robinson has as much, if not more, pure athleticism.

If GR does stay, that gives us:

PG: Walton/Albrecht  (I expect Walton to start eventually, but with another year under his belt, Albrecht will give a lot of quality minutes, and may be the front guy early on.  Neither is likely to be a Burke, but this is a very good duo.)

SG: Stauskas/LeVert   (I think both of these guys have huge potential-plenty of athleticism and all-around skills that just need some polishing, along with their defense.  Both can play inside or outside, and I think LeVert could probably do a passable impression of a point guard.)

Wing/SF: Robinson/Irvin  (Robinson is a potential All-American, and Irvin looks to be very good too.  No worries here)

Bigs: McGary, Morgan, Horford, Bielfeldt, Donnal   (I expect McGary to really explode and be a dominant player next year.  Morgan is solid, and if Horford is healthy that's a fine trio, and anything Donnal does is gravy.  I like Bielfeldt, but think he may struggle for minutes in this rotation, and I would not be shocked to hear transfer talk about him).

Assuming that at least two guys leave, we would still have room in the 2013 class for at least one more, though I'm not sure if anyone is left on the board that would be worth taking. If Robinson leaves too, we probably would need to grab someone, probably a wing/SF.  10 scholies is a little light.