BBall: Projecting into the near future

Submitted by bo_lives on February 13th, 2015 at 3:34 AM

So obviously this year is a dud, and it's hard to blame anyone what with the losses to the NBA and injuries. But what does next year hold, and the year after?

If history is anything to go by, Levert is probably gone to the NBA. But if Duncan Robinson is as good as they claim, and if a healthly Walton takes a significant step forward, I'm willing to believe they could be pretty good next year. But is it enough to make a deep run in the tourney?

One thing that concerns me is the lack of athletic big men on the roster. Last year in the tourney they clearly got dominated in the paint by Kentucky in spite of an experienced uber-defender in Jordan Morgan. If D.J. Wilson comes through next year that would be nice... but how many teams have made it to the national championship in recent memory with nobody over 6'9'' on the roster?


Franz Schubert

February 13th, 2015 at 4:08 AM ^

Next year. Losing Levert this season will pay dividends next year as the freshman are gaining experience. This program really needs to land an impact recruit after missing on a bunch the last two years.


February 13th, 2015 at 10:06 AM ^

I think next year's team will be good, but in order for them to win the B1G I think they need LeVert back or to bring in a stud freshman (which appears highly unlikely at this point). I guess I just don't see Irvin taking the leap to reliable go-to scorer given the current issues with his shooting mechanics.

Either way, they really need a few blue chip recruits in 2016. By 2016 they'll have some really nice veteran pieces in place. If you add a Tyus Battle and Josh Langford to that team, you've got two dynamic players who wil lbe surrounded by some high floor guys who know the system. That could be a very dangerous team.


February 13th, 2015 at 10:23 AM ^

I think this team is going to be great next year.  Robinson gets the "Stauskas slot."  Caris may or may not return.  Irvin will be the player we hoped he would be this year.  Spike will be Spike.  Walton will be back.  Dawkins and MAAR and proving to be serviceable players right now.  Doyle and Donnal will be bigger and the game will slow down for them.  Chatman and Wilson will prove why they were highly regarded.

Almost everyone who has lost all of these close games will be back and better.  The Wolverines will be back in the NCAA Tournament next year and make it to at least the second week.  


February 13th, 2015 at 11:13 AM ^

I think next year's team will definitely be in the NCAA's and win one or two games, but I just don't think we'll do more than that without LeVert unless someone makes a Stauskas like leap over the summer or we add a 2015 stud through transfer or as a Fr.


February 13th, 2015 at 5:48 AM ^

I haven't watched much but I think there's reason to think this team will be good next year. Beilein's team this year - cobbled together from kitchen utensils and duct tape - is still pretty decent. I believe we've lost 3 OT games. I change a few small things and call those wins and we're sitting on the bubble right now.

As expected, it looks like Beilein knew exactly what he was doing on picking up Dawkins and MAAR. A lot of cause for optimism going forward


February 13th, 2015 at 6:03 AM ^

Could we hold off on the Duncan Robinson hype?  Guy was a D3 player who sounds like an excellent shooter in practice.  As Allen Iverson would say - "practice".  If you listened to the hype on Donnal last April/May he was matching Morgan and at times getting the better of him in practice.  Chatman was killing it in practice late summer.  Max Bielfeldt was unstoppable in practice.  Etc 

Let's not count on anyone doing "this or that" until we see them on the court in real games vs non MAC type opponents.

At this point you have a rotation of 6 "knowns" of Walton, Irvin, Doyle, Dawkins, MAAR, Spike

Those are the guys you can get a good idea of what you are getting, and a few seem to have some nice upside still to go. 

  • I think Walton never really had a chance to show what he had this year due the injury - once an ankle goes your explosiveness dies. 
  • Irvin has not done much wrong other than not live up to the hype of a 5 star and the belief that every person on earth who plays  wing/guard should make a quantum leap between FR and SO year under Beilein - unrealistic.  He is a solid player. 
  • MAAR caught the league by storm being unknown but now scouting reports have been created and he has been hampered.  He needs to continue to grow and get better to offset that but as a 20 year old already you have to be realistic a bit on his upside.  It's a bit different than Caris walking into UM as a 17 year old.  He is a nice slasher that needs a better outside game.
  • Dawkins has athletic explosiveness - something the team lacks, and looks like he could be a GR3 type player if all goes well down the road.  And yes he is not GR3 yet - that guy is underappreciated for what he could do, and the fact his motor was not always on hurt him.
  • Doyle is what most young Big 10 big men are, a guy who hit a wall and will show you spurts.  He showed me enough to show he is a factor.  If Mitch and Horford are on this team he is most likely a RS this year.
  • Spike is Spike.


The 4 variables are Chatman, Donnal, DJ Wilson, Robinson

  • Chatman is worrisome - a year from now he will either be a bust or a guy who just needed a year to adjust from a poor basketball state.  The complete lack of improvement from Nov to Feb is boggling for a guy playing on a staff of excellent teachers.  If dude was putting in 9 a game and 3 rbs we'd have 4+ more wins and a lot of the hand wringing over this year would be gone.
  • Wilson looked ridiculously overwhelmed, physically and mentally, vs bad competition early.  Not much different than Chatman really.  I am not just going to count on him to be a Kentucky lite power forward in year 2 because he is 6'9 and can jump. He needs a lot of work on the court and live with Sanderson off it.
  • Donnal seems ok when playing teams who are not tall and play bad defense (Indiana).  He needs to be better and get stronger.  The hype last spring was a bait and switch at this point.  But again, caveat for big man who develop slowly if you are not playing for Duke or UK.  Maybe he turns into a 4 down the road.
  • Robinson is a sharpshooter who we have nothing on other than he shoots well in practice and lit up D3.  That doesn't mean much right now.


As OP said we compensated for our lack of athletes with some really good shooting in the past few tourney runs and when this team doesnt shoot well all the downfalls of the roster formation are apparent.  There is NOBODY to pound it to inside when we go on our patented 7 minute droughts.  We also played some bad defense and frankly when Morgan was not in the game the last 20 games last year it was clench your butt moment as we had no interior D without him.  And it's the same this year.  Having an athletic 6'9 big who jumps out of the gym and plays like a 7 footer even if challenged offensively would be nice - maybe that is Wilson or maybe it is not.

I dont see next year's team that much different than this year's from December other than personal growth and you hope you get real contributions from our top 30 recruit and our top 100 recruit.  You swap our Caris for Robinson and that's basically the team.  Growth has to come from within in 2016.  There is not going to be a major jump in athleticism next year - in fact it could get worse as Caris along with Dawkins is one of the 2 "close to elite" athletes and both are wings.  Wilson is the wildcard there but not something you can count on today.  It's not like Jim has not tried to get more athletic bigs - they just have chosen to go elsewhere.  Next year's team needs to just shoot better and more guys need to understand how to play defense.  All your 5s get another year under your belt so you hope they take a step up as well at a position where deveoplment is the slowest.

turd ferguson

February 13th, 2015 at 9:33 AM ^

The Donnal hype seemed fishy last season.  If he was as dominant as people were saying last year, they would have played him.  Morgan came on at the end of the season, but we had serious big man questions after McGary went down and a roster that could have made a national title run with just one more good big man. 

With Duncan Robinson, we have no idea.  By rule, he can't play, so there's not as much to infer from what's happening with him, positive or negative.

Generic MGoBlogger

February 13th, 2015 at 7:24 AM ^

I think there are three possible outcomes for next season:

Caris stays, we get Jaylen Brown: This outcome sounds kinda like a pipe dream (but Harbaugh for the longest time was a pipe dream, so who knows).  Anyways, with this team, we have no significant scoring leaving, and everyone else comes back healthy.  I like the strides this team is making even without Levert and Walton, so I mean just imagine where we would be this season if Levert and Walton were healthy (aka... wins last night, @MSU, @Indiana, and vs Wisconsin).  And I haven't even mentioned Brown who would surely demand minutes at the four (thus giving Dawkins good competition for the spot) and provide a huge spark on offense.  In this case, I see us as high as a 2 seed and poised to make a late run in the Tourney

Caris leaves or we get Jaylen Brown:  Similar situation... In this case, we rely more on Dawk and Chatman to fill minutes which certainly isn't a bad thing unless they (mainly Chatman) are just really unproductive over the offseason.  Offense doesn't remain too much of a problem because Caris/Brown will bear a load, and did I mention that Irvin and Walton will be back? This situation isn't ideal as the first, but it certainly isn't a bad one to have.  I have us maxing out at around a 4-5 seed in this situation and still looking poised to make noise in the tourney.

Caris leaves; no Jaylen Brown: This seems like the most realistic at the moment with Caris's draft stock as high as it is.  This, like the others, is still not a bad situation to be in.  The bigs will have to step up and continue to progress, and Chatman must progress into a role player over the offseason.  If Caris does leave, I think it will be interesting to see if JB continues to go with a two point guard set to get his best players on the floor.  Here I see us finishing as a 6-7 seed.  

Whichever situation it is, I know that JB will adapt to it and have these guys hungry and ready to put this season behind them.  Nonconference may be difficult again because it always seems to for different JB teams, but I think no matter what, this team should be back and competing for a B1G title again next season

Edit: I didn't even mention Duncan Robinson... Regardless, this team has enormous potential


February 13th, 2015 at 7:48 AM ^

think Walton returns this year and we take our talents to Madison Square for at least an NIT semi. I think Levert comes back and we are a Sweet 16 team next year. I think Walton and Irvin stay all four, we land a serviceable big and point in the upcoming classes and we ball out in 2016-17, big ten champ contenders and a 2-3 tourney seed. (I don't think Chatman ever becomes more than a spot reserve).


February 13th, 2015 at 8:04 AM ^

Beilein has mentioned that Walton will be back playing this season.  So its just a matter of when not if.   

The team was clearly devastated because they knew they needed this win to keep the small chances of a NCAA bid alive.  

I still won't totally give up hopes because we are basically a Derrick Walton Jr away from being at worst 9-4.  

Walton is clutch and can keep this team's hopes alive.

I am honestly hoping he returns Tuesday, but I for one think we will win whether or not we have him.   Its just our time and we finally have the home court in our favor.

Walton definitely changes the complexion of the Ohio State and @Maryland games.   Both teams, namely Maryland are extremely vunerable.  Maryland has escaped so many times that its almost inevitable they lose one of these games at home.  We catch them at the end of the season when they might be a little too comfortable.  

With your prediction of a NIT bid, I am assuming you have us at the very least winning against Michigan State, Northwestern, and Rutgers?


February 13th, 2015 at 12:22 PM ^

are going to go to the NIT man.  This team will start winning some of these games here.  I think every game on the schedule for the remainder of the season is winnable, excluding the road tilt at Maryland.  There are still BIG tourney games as well. 


February 13th, 2015 at 8:14 AM ^

Michigan is so close with this patch up lineup.   I guess the only thing that could brighten this season is have a legit player Levert come back for senior season.  Michigan stands for moral victories but end of the day they are still losses.  


February 13th, 2015 at 8:40 AM ^

Encouraged for next year especially on Doyle watch that kid move in the post. He is well beyond his years in terms of foot work, he just needs a little touch and another year with a strength coach. All around we have a solid core of three year starters developing. Will they ever be a team that can beat Kentucky, who knows, but the will be fun to watch and will be able to give the big boys a run for the money.


February 13th, 2015 at 9:04 AM ^

I would be surprised if Levert left. There's no way he's a first rounder and based on recent early departures I think he'll see its in his best interest to stay. Either way I think we have a team that competes for the big ten title next year.


February 13th, 2015 at 10:29 AM ^

Levert is 5 days older than MAAR.   He is definitely still maturing and its better to do that at the college level.    He is very young for his grade level.  

The NBA is there for him.  He will be a NBA player.  The fear of another injury can't be a reason to go.  The NBA is a lot more grueling than a 30 game college season.   He has got to make his body stronger.

While he has had flashes, he never truly dominated as a lot of us hoped.  The supporting cast around him was somewhat to blame.  

Now his supporting cast is gaining experience and holding their own.  

The table is set for him.  I honestly hope he makes the decision sooner than later.  


February 13th, 2015 at 11:23 AM ^

Disagree. LeVert is likely go in the 1st if drafted. He's got great handles to go along with good size and a nice shooting stroke. He'll be a great 2-man in the NBA and I wouldn't be shocked if he got a shot at playing PG if his handles got even better. If James Young can go in the 1st round, so can Caris.


February 13th, 2015 at 9:19 AM ^

We lose very little(sorry Caris you're boss but sadly didn't get to play this year).

Return everything+health+not being majority non-Kentucky true freshman.  Meaning, we could actually run our effecient death from above offense(probably).

The team looks exhausted and flat in OT.  Whether this is no direction or leadership/lack of depth/conditioning of freshman+ravaged by flu recently I don't know.  I think a combination of all the above.


February 13th, 2015 at 9:41 AM ^

WHY did Beliein burn a redshirt on Donnal last season?  I would think that the experience playing live with the others who are now gone, could've made a huge difference, as he is for the most part, unplayable....  and its unlikely he'd have been be an early NBA flight... I don't get it.

which leads me to Duncan Robinson... why is he sitting? Is it a redshirt again? Or is he allowed to play ? If so, he should be playing....


February 13th, 2015 at 10:03 AM ^

People bitched about not using redshirts, people bitch about when they do use redshirts.  Duncan Robinson is a transfer, therefore he HAS to sit out a year.  They redshirted Donnal so he could have another year of eligibility since we had a plethora of BIGS last year and did not need him.  After looking at your point total, I am not sure why I took the time to respond to you because you are clearly a very misinformed person.


February 13th, 2015 at 9:59 AM ^

for DJ Wilson. If Caris stays and Walton is healthy this team should compete for the B1G next season. Might be able to without Caris but time will tell.  One thing with Donnal/Doyle is that they don't have the same help that Mitch did as a freshman. Mitch had a decent regular season but broke out in the NCAA because Trey fed him and Mitch finished. Obviusly this team doesn't have a Trey Burke caliber player which affects post play as well. 


February 13th, 2015 at 10:15 AM ^

Wilson definitely looked raw, but at the very least he brings a lot of height and the eventual added size he puts on this spring and summer.  

I really hope Levert stays.

It would be incredible to add Jaylen Brown to this nucleus.  

A lot of our guys feed off of one another and the loss of Walton and Levert has a domino effect.    On the bright side, we have accelerated the development of Dawkins and MAAR.  


February 13th, 2015 at 11:36 AM ^

No real story other than I truly loved the guy.   Loved seeing him drop back and throw it a mile.   Loved seeing him throw TDs Braylon and Avant.   Loved seeing him handing off to Chris Perry.   

I know he dealt with a lot of criticism, but he was the MAN to me.

I think a lot of it has to do with the 2003 team, the Minnesota comeback, and winning the Big Ten title.  

Its one of those things that's hard to explain.  Just really liked the guy even though many others didn't.


February 13th, 2015 at 11:04 AM ^

I don't agree with people who seem to think that we have to land a 5* recruit in order to compete for a national championship. Beilein has never had those types of athletes before he got to Michigan and he's been successful everywhere he's been. He's great at finding underrated athletes and turning them into stars. They may not start out as star players, but by the time they leave Michigan they are getting drafted (Caris Levert, Nik Stauskas). Attrition has hurt this team like crazy, but just give Beilein some time to develop these freshman and we will be back competing for Big and National Championships.

Stringer Bell

February 13th, 2015 at 12:59 PM ^

Successful as in Elite 8?  Because that's the farthest he ever got prior to coming to Michigan, which isn't exactly the National Championship.  And if you look at the 12-13 team, that squad did have highly rated recruits.  Robinson was a 5 star, McGary was obviously one of the most highly sought after recruits in the country, Stauskas had interest from blue bloods like Kansas.  Those guys weren't exactly 2 stars.


February 13th, 2015 at 1:39 PM ^

No doubt he has had success at all his coaching stops but I wouldn't necessarily say he was competing for national championships before he came to UM.  Before he arrived at UM, he had only made 4 appearances in the NCAA tourney - he actually had more NIT appearances then NCAA appearances before he arrived in Ann Arbor.  Now two of those 4 NCAA appearances ended up being an Elite 8 and a Sweet 16. 

Can you make a run to the Final Four or the Title Game without stud recrruits - sure.  There's a number of recent examples to prove it, but if you want a program that is going to make consistent runs to the Elite 8 and Final 4 you need to land some stud recruits.


February 13th, 2015 at 11:07 AM ^

to go to the NBA early :


Robinson III





The only hyped potential NBA player in that group was McGary.From a basketball standpoint , probably 4 of the players mentioned above should have stayed to develop their skills further. Is it Coach Belein's fault that he and his staff develop players so well they have a chance to become rich in the NBA ? Coach recruits players that have good character , fit his system and the team rather than look at only touted 4 and 5 star rating service recruits .

The future of Michigan basketball is in good hands.



February 13th, 2015 at 11:45 AM ^

Beilein is so good that he is a victim of his own success.   Like you said, the only one of the group that had NBA hype coming into college was McGary.  

It stinks, but it almost pays NOT to develop talent like a certain coach down the road.  

Beilein probably expected to have Stauskas and Burke around a lot longer.   Hell, at the very least Stauskas.  

With the roster continuing to change so much every year, the one thing we had to avoid was injuries to our top guys.    Just horrible luck.



February 13th, 2015 at 12:42 PM ^

Dont we have a Seven footer coming in next year? Also, not getting hopes up with Chatman, he's the kid at the YMCA that dribbles in place for no reason and jacks every chance he gets, when he does pass it looks forced and usually is stolen...#CarltonBrundrige


February 13th, 2015 at 12:52 PM ^

If Levert leaves and we don't land one of the 2015 recruiting targets (Brown/Wagner/Murray) then the outlook for next season is extremely bleak. This team currently lacks leadership and killer instinct; everyone on the court looks afraid to take a shot when the game is on the line and no one seems to have the ability to drive to the basket when it counts most. If you don't have any true big men down in the post then you need players that are lights out from the outside and/or are great slashers. Hopefully the Canadian pipeline is still open and we can pull in Murray to lead this team (assuming he reclassifies as expected).

Avon Barksdale

February 13th, 2015 at 3:08 PM ^

I was thinking about this last night after the loss: I have NO idea who starts next year if LeVert comes back. You could go:

Walton, Spike, LeVert, Irvin, Doyle as starters ... with Dawkins, MAAR, Robinson, Chatman, D.J. Wilson, and Donnal off the bench. You could go:

Walton, LeVert, Irvin, Dawkins, Doyle ... with Spike, MAAR, Robinson, Chatman, Wilson, and Donnal off the bench.

I mean next year's team should have so much depth. I'd guess that LeVert leaves and the starters are Spike, Walton, Irvin, Dawkins, Doyle ... with MAAR, Chatman, Robinson, Wilson and Donnal off the bench.