Is anyone else worried about our Basketball scholarship count?

Submitted by M-Wolverine on May 11th, 2010 at 7:03 PM

If the board is to be believed (and I believe), we only have one scholarship for next year.  So, if that holds, it means we'll only be adding one big time player in next year's class, and be waiting till 2012 (how many scholarships for THAT year?) to add talented bodies to a team that needs them if we want to compete for Big Ten titles or Deep Tourney runs before another cycle of players goes through.  Especially when you consider we won't be recruiting one and done players, and getting (even good) players that need 2-3 years to develop.  

So, let's assume we get one blue chipper next year (and concede that they always can find a way to open up another free ride if another big time player wants to come), how do we get more big time players to put around that recruit as a 2011 freshman, a Junior Darius Morris, and a sophomore Evan Smotrycz, (being hopeful that we get another, and everyone develops) that raises the talent level to contender status? (If not "NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP", at least conference).  Are we going to have enough slots to add more 25-75 ranked players, and have enough for any 15-30 types we may have a shot at?  Or are we depending on all the role-players developing enough that their game will be lifted enough that a couple of great players and a bunch of pretty good guys around them make a really good team?  The low end being, well, Michigan last season...and the high end being, I don't know...Wisconsin?

This is not a knock on any one particular recruit.  If they wanted to offer a scholarship on me, I'd have taken it, and people on whatever the equivalent forums at the time would have thought I was a waste of a scholarship.  But who would say no?  What I'm saying is recruiting is not about any one player; it's a numbers game.  And it kind of hit me that one scholarship for next year, doesn't leave a lot of room for immediate improvement in the near future.

So, do we have faith that all the players will develop into a greater good, or are we patience enough to say that we might be waiting till the freshman class of 2010 is seniors, and they have a really good junior from 2011, and some sophomores who have had a chance to get their feet wet from 2012?  (And of course, all the McDonald's All-Amercians we'll be getting in the class of 2013  ;-)  )



May 11th, 2010 at 7:14 PM ^

1) I trust that Beilein knows what he is doing.

2) The prospect of having 6 guys in the same class is encouraging for multiple reasons:

   a) 6 potential contributors will be playing together for four years. This could lead to an outstanding team for at least 2-3 years, especially if 3+ of the freshman class this year pan out.

   b) If guys in the freshman class this year don't pan out and are pushed into the background because they are not contributing, we may see some attrition, opening up more scholarships.

3) Next year will be the only real down year for scholarships since we have 3 guys graduating in 2012. (refer here for breakdown: A freshman class of 3 is pretty average for basketball.

I see this as the beginning of the new UM basketball era based on lots of continuity--it's been awhile, but good things are about to happen at Crisler.


May 11th, 2010 at 7:27 PM ^

Is a really good point.  If they're all good, and it works out, no problems.  If they're not...well, players want to play.  They may go somewhere they can.  I didn't really consider that, because I don't HOPE for players to fail, and I don't think we push them out.  But that doesn't preclude someone from leaving (as we well know).


May 11th, 2010 at 7:19 PM ^

If used properly, that one scholarship can make a huge difference (one player can transform a team in college b-ball) and with Brundidge already in the fold I don't see us adding two more legitimate blue-chips in the 2011 class.  This team needed depth and (more importantly) size.  I think adding Christian, Smotrycz, and Horford gives us a big boost there.  Throw in Morgan and McLimans coming off redshirts and you've done a lot to improve a gameday roster that had only two guys over 6'5" last year. 

In the near future, I think Vogrich (I think he will be a big weapon as an outside shooter), Smotrycz, Morris, and (eventually) Brundidge give us a number of decent weapons on offense.  Throw in another scorer in the 2011 class and you have a group I would take over just Manny/Deshawn.  The bigger key for me offensively is whether the Novak, Douglas, LLP trio can revert to their 2008-09 shooting percentages.  If those guys can keep the defense honest while providing a spark off the bench and we add size (which it looks like we're doing) I think the team can be pretty good with this group going forward and has a lot of room for growth depending on who that scholarship goes to in 2011.


May 11th, 2010 at 7:31 PM ^

...Novack's struggles this year were due to him being asked to do so much work on the inside (on both ends of the floor).  If he's playing the three instead of the four, it may free him to spot up, catch and shoot more often.


May 11th, 2010 at 7:32 PM ^

I was of the mind that any player we get with that one wouldn't be a world beater, as I don't think we're going after one and done, and I'm not sure we've built the program to the point where elites would consider us.  So I'm guessing that one guy is going to ultimately be really good, but not a freshman impact player. (Maybe impact for our team, but not in the big picture).

You hit on two major "what if's" (that can be positive or negative)- the first Brundidge, who, if he's the player Sam Webb and some of his proponents say he is could be another difference maker...or what some other coaches think, and he's just going to be pretty good.  Likewise, if the Novak-Douglas-(and Vogrich, who I think fits more in their category) end up be dirty work shooting assassins (sorry, white guy cliche'), rather than the we can't shoot squad the 2009-2010 team was, it will make a difference.

Well, I'm slowly feeling better.  :-P


May 11th, 2010 at 7:52 PM ^

The b-ball team this year reminded me of the defense in football last year with a couple of talented stars but some serious liabilities that were just about always too tough to overcome (poor shooting and no interior size, in basketball's case).  I think having more guys to choose from and competition for playing time going forward can only make the group better going forward.  Even if none of them turn into world beaters, I would much rather choose two of McLimans, Morgan, Christian, and Horford to play the front court (with a possible contribution from a 6'8" wing in Smotrycz) than be forced to play Novak for significant minutes at the 4 like last year.  Vogrich, Smotrycz, Novak, Dumars, Hardaway, and (next year) Brundidge give Beilein options at the 2 and 3.  Morris, LLP, and Stu have all played significant minutes and can run the point a little bit with the latter two also being able to slide to the 2 if necessary.  Throw in another quality recruit next year and I think the roster for 2011-12 is vastly superior to what we've been working with lately, especially in terms of depth and size

As for who we can get, I think that if we can't do better than one not-quite-elite guy anyway (as you predicted), it makes sense to get a guy with size and potential like Christian into the program this year and start developing him rather than wait for the second best player we may be able to get next year. 


May 11th, 2010 at 8:06 PM ^

The added size will be a big help, you're right.  I mean ANY size will help at this point, we were so undermanned up front.

I worry that I'm not sure all those bodies are Big Ten leading capable...but if we add a good big man next year, and put him along Evan at the 4, they would probably constitute great depth around them.  But then we need a slasher...but the guards may that that role, and we might go 3 guard with shooter at the SF position, to stretch it.


May 11th, 2010 at 8:15 PM ^

They don't all have to have Big Ten leading capability.  We really just need one or two in each group to develop into quality starters while other guys (Novak, Stu, LLP) have shown they at least have the ability to contribute solid minutes off the bench.  If say Smotrycz lives up to the hype, Morris continues to develop as a solid defender and floor leader, and one or two big men step up as quality defenders/rebounders, I think you are at a point where the team can play with just about anybody so long as they execute the system and plug in guys who can make outside shots (though last year indicates that this last part is never guaranteed).


May 11th, 2010 at 7:31 PM ^

I would have banked the scholie.  No offense to any of the offeries, but I would like another year to evaluate all of the current bodies to see what is really needed.   For instance, if stu, zach or LLP don't improve, we will need another shooter for sure.  i could make similar arguments for the point guard and big men.

Blue boy johnson

May 11th, 2010 at 8:29 PM ^

Vogrich and Hardaway are known foremost as shooters, supposedly McLimans has a nice stroke and Smotrycz as well.

I agree with you on a point guard, we just do not have many ball-handlers on this team. Hopefully Brundidge develops some point skills during his senior season, but I have my doubts. If Morris were to get injured I think we would be in deep trouble, at this point I have little faith in LLP or Stu as ball-handlers.


May 11th, 2010 at 7:32 PM ^

Attrition seems to happen everywhere.  Players often "follow their muses" somewhere else, usually for the purposes of getting more playing time or to pursue professional opportunities.  I wouldn't be surprised if JB had a nice network of fellow coaches a level or two down from the Big Ten who would be happy to talk to anyone who ends up not fitting in at UM. 

At any rate, the new facility should allow JB to finally take UM back to being the best team in the state again.  It might take longer than we want, but I am convinced that it will happen.  And I am not worried with the "lack" of schollys for 2011.  I would love to see everyone play so well and fit in so well that there is no attrition.  If that happens, I will be more than happy with a one-man recruiting class.


May 11th, 2010 at 8:08 PM ^

I have no doubt that the new facility will help JB, but I don't see how it will help UM regain supremacy of the state. If Izzo keeps taking his team deep in the tourney year-in and year-out, UM is gonna need a bit more than a facility to catch up. Granted - I wholly HOPE TO GOD that the facility attracts some "better" players, but I remain skeptical about getting nods from elite or game-changing players that can carry a team in March - and regain state supremacy!.

Also, I agree about wanting to see everyone play so well and fit in so well that there is no attrition. I also wanted to see at least one-third of our three's go in this year...I wanted to see the ref make that last second call on MSU in our home game...and, I wanted to see UM beat OSU in a major sport for the first time in a while. I would have loved to see all those things happen. Unfortunately, they did not - and my liver just cannot take it anymore!!!

Overall, I just don't know how I feel about the scholarship situation. It's such a "wait and see" and is a pretty big gamble. On one hand, if this class can gel together, we can hopefully develop into a Purdue-type squad of current. Meaning - Hummel and those guys were abyssmal their freshman year, but they have gotten much, much better as the years have gone by. On the other hand, if we don't have the talent level necessary to really compete (which is a concern of mine), I think holding onto the schollie for two potentially better players next year would have been better for future success.

Unfortunately, I have yet to turn my attitude toward glass-half-full in regards to JB and his tenure at UM. I sincerely hope he and the team can prove me wrong though!!!


May 11th, 2010 at 7:35 PM ^

is going to be a down year, though, maybe very down. The real fan is going to have to look at the team as if it were a minor league feeder team for his favorite major league squad--from the pov of development, what it portends for the future.


May 11th, 2010 at 7:56 PM ^

To clarify: we have TWO scholarships for next year.  One is for Carlton Brundidge who already accepted his offer.  We have one other open scholarship for next year.

We've got SIX freshman next year (including redshirts).  To assume one great player out of that group, none of whom we've seen play, seems outrageously premature.  They might be role players, or stars, or anything in between.  Since this freshman class now makes up half the team, it's incredibly hard to predict how things will shake out in terms of "contender" status.  Why would next year's recruits help more with "immediate improvement in the near future" than this years?  Unless your ACTUAL point is that this is a weak recruiting class because it lacks McDonalds AAs, but hey, you've been ignoring the last 10 years and where this program was for some time now M-Wolverine, so I'm not shocked.

With all of that said, we're in on some very good players in 2011, so I'm pretty surprised that Beilein had his heart set on one more guy for this class.  I might have banked it (to get up to three for next year), but Beilein is smart enough to count to 13 and must have loved this kid.

With attrition: he's not going to force mediocre freshman off the team, so unless someone is unhappy it won't come from there.  My guess is that LLP might not get a 5th year, which would free up a scholie for next year.


May 11th, 2010 at 8:02 PM ^

But points for consistency!

Thought I made it clear that I didn't expect McD's AA's to be knocking down are door...and not sure we even wanted to go into the one and done.  

To clarify, I think that freshman class might be filled with a lot of solid role-players, up to starters.  I think we need star power to put them around.  With 2 scholarships left next year I'd like A) one second string star; someone to build the team around.  Not a guy who will go pro after a year, but be a hella good junior (and hopefully around as a senior); and B) a guy at the Evan Top 50 recruit-ish level, to make it not so much a one man show.  That would make next year's class 3 contributing players.  I'm not sure you're not possibly looking at more redshirts from these new freshmen (some, at least, not all).

Which is kinda what I think you just it, save it for next year, and get someone who can make a quicker impact, so we don't have to wait as long.  I didn't make it about banking any scholarship, because I have nothing against the kid they recruited, any more or less than anyone else (you know, within reason).  I'm not going to say why did they give any one individual a chance....I mean, it would be no different if they used it on Sykes.  Or someone else.  I'm not dogging a kid for taking a scholarship to Michigan.  I'm going to applaud it.

I expected you to bring it stronger than just seems like reflexive attack.  But I still love you.  Best thing I've ever done on this site is inspire you to join.

Admittedly, that's not a long list of greatness to be on top of...but better than my bottom stuff.


May 11th, 2010 at 8:42 PM ^

"This is not a knock on any one particular recruit.  If they wanted to offer a scholarship on me, I'd have taken it..." - from original post

I have the uncanny ability to read between the lines and see this statement as a knock on our recruits in general (unless you have some unreal basketball skill you've neglected to mention).  Points for hiding your motives so well!  I imagine that even you have more respect for Beilein's competency than to think he just had a cold offer out to this kid and said, hey, scholarship situation be damned, you're in!

I don't accuse you of wanting 1-and-dones; nobody has been advocating for that.  And for next year, I want exactly the kind of guys you're talking about, and think that it's pretty plausible we get them.  And I even agree with your banking scholarships notion - Sykes, this guy, or anyone else, it didn't seem like Beilein should have used this scholarship just to use it.  The difference is that I'm convicned he is too talented a coach to do that.

The issue remains that you don't think Beilein is the right guy for this job, and hey, that's totally fine.  Obviously, I disagree, and history will have the chance to prove one of us wrong since he's going to be here for 5 more years minimum.  We were in on some great players this year, and luck/family ties/state of program kept us from getting there.  We're close, and our current coach has taken a talent level we've had for 10+ years and actually done something with it.  With these freshmen, he is plainly trying to implement his system all the way, so one of us is going to look like an idiot in a couple of years.

PS - As I can compose coherent sentences and avoid misspellings of the "are door" variety, I'll have to decline to respond to your personal attacks.  Sorry brah.


May 12th, 2010 at 12:10 AM ^

My point was that there's no reason to berate a kid, because he's done nothing wrong by accepting a scholarship. And no, I don't think Beilein has recruited anyone I could outplay. I also don't think he's recruited anyone who could outplay MSU, but both are ridiculous ends of the spectrum. Yeah, I'd like to have a roster of "you wouldn't trade that guy for anybody", and maybe have one or two of the slots we gave out to get those guys. You agreed with me. That doesn't mean I'm going to say we shouldn't have taken x or y player. But to say all our players are no brained takes...well you and Beilein are in the company of a lot of 3rd tier schools. And as much as it's the easy argument for you to form, I've never said Beilein is the wrong guy for the job; just that he's not beyond reproach, and this genius who has won and done it all. Sure, actually basketball-wise his system isn't my favorite, but he's a great teacher, a great representative of the school, and probably great to play for. For those reasons, no one here is calling for his head. But to have him be unquestioned and say he never makes a mistake? Coaches who win National Championships don't get that, and he's not quite there yet. (Or did you miss all the threads and how Lloyd was treated? I was pretty sure you might have caught that). And you DID accuse me of wanting one and domes when you said only All McDonald's All-Americans would make me happy. Of which I said the opposite in the OP. That's why I'm hurt at your accusation of personal attacks...because the only thing personal was pointing out that you didn't even seem to read the post, and just fell back into the usual assumptions of what it said and went into attack mode. The rest is sincere- even when you're hurling insults, and get thin-skinned when getting them back, I enjoy our back and forth. If you really just joined to take the piss out of me, it's been worth it. ;-)


May 12th, 2010 at 1:15 AM ^

Haha not thin-skinned at all, just wanted the best way to get the "are door" comment in.

There's beyond reproach, and then there's the patience you give a guy rebuilding a broken program.  Guys like Morris, Metrics, god-willing Vogrich, Novak, etc. are how you get there.  He's been close to getting a real star (other than the first two there) to play with them.  If you want to knock his top level recruiting, fine, but the fact that he's in on so many of these guys speaks volumes.

You don't want one and dones, but you want stars who will play 3 years at least.  Well those guys come ranked maybe 25-75 nationally.  There's just 25 (or so) guys who pan out and really fit that star-who-won't-leave-super-early position.  We're consistently in on 5-6 this past year and the upcoming year.  Yeah, he's got to land them at some point, but patience - he's building off scandal, disaster, and more recently consistent mediocrity.

I just want Beilein called out for the right reasons, not based on a misunderstanding of his system (they only jack 3s), his recruiting (all/mostly role players when we've never seen half of them play at all), or his past record (Richmond and Canisius don't count, wasn't actually good at WVU - this is the most ridiculous).  All of that has been posted here in the past.  Some of the blame for last year falls on him, period.  And his recruiting has been OK-to-good at best.  No blind follower here, I'm just able to see past success + wins here and be optimistic.  On the other side, this is what you have to say, couched in the notion he's too stupid to manage a whopping 13 scholarships:

"But to say all our players are no brained takes...well you and Beilein are in the company of a lot of 3rd tier schools."

Who said that, first of all?  If you have a problem with guys he took, man up and name names.  If you want an extra spot, somebody's got to go.  How did I become like a 3rd tier school (huh?) by saying "I'd prefer saving one more scholarship, but let's see what these guys can do as he tries to actually implement a system you judge despite the fact you STILL haven't seen it yet because of personel issues."  If you think he recruits 3rd tier players, draw upon your extensive knowledge of the AAU and HS basketball circuits and explain to me which of his recruits are 3rd tier and why.  Otherwise, admit you're just talking out of your ass about JB, and not for the first time.


May 12th, 2010 at 9:47 AM ^

To clarify: I'd like to see a few more of our recruits be getting interest not from small schools and bad conference teams, but if not the MSU's and Duke's of the world, at least the Wisconsin's and Maryland's of the world. It's not all about believing in rankings; it's believing that other coaches who get paid to do this know something about their job too. And while I may even believe Beilein is better at finding sleepers than most, they're still not all going to pan out (and the ceiling for a sleeper that doesn't pan out is obviously lower than a "blue chipper"). And since you're so interested in "manning up" and naming names, and you would have banked a scholarship, who wouldn't you have taken? You don't really have to answer that, because again, I'm not trying to have people say "this guy sucks, why'd we recruit him"; just showing the problem with your call out.


May 11th, 2010 at 9:16 PM ^

But believe there is something good in this squad we have yet to behold. Beilien's roster at WVU included names like Pittsnogle and Gansey etc. Reading those names preseason probably garnered more questions than answers but in time gave a pretty good result. I still believe in this program!


May 11th, 2010 at 11:17 PM ^

I'm not worried about the current scholarship situation, but I am puzzled by the rumblings that Michigan is also considering adding another player to this class from Europe. That would certainly limit the 2011 options.

Consider also that while a scholarship may open up at the end of next year or even midyear, that scholarship wouldn't be available during the early signing period in November.

For those who haven't seen it, Rothstein has posted an updated article on Colton Christian at with some good quotes and additional info. Christian has been working out in San Francisco "with former NBA coach Bob Hill and NBA Draft hopefuls for the past month."

Sounds like he has a good chance of contributing next year:

The Hargrave coach, Kevin Keatts, said Christian reminds him of one of [Joe] Alexander’s teammates - former Pittsburgh forward Sam Young.

Young ended up being a second round pick in the 2009 NBA Draft.

“He’s got Sam Young qualities,” Keatts said. “At this stage, Sam Young played hard and everyone had a chance to see Sam play over the years and he had to be a little bit patient when he first got there.

“…I think (Christian’s) a guy that can come in because his body is a little bit more ready to play as a freshman. The difference with Sam Young is that when he went (to Pitt), he had guys (in front of him) who played a bunch of minutes. Colton will come into a little bit better situation.”