Brazdeikis on unofficial midseason Wooden Award watchlist

Submitted by Moleskyn on January 10th, 2019 at 7:48 AM

ESPN posted a list of the 25 players they consider Wooden Award candidates, based on performance to this point in the season. This is not an official list, meaning the list is not indicative of actual finalists.

Caveats aside, Brazdeikis made the list! Nice to see him getting national recognition. And official list or not, I would rather have UM represented somewhere on the list than not. Click the link if you want to see everyone else included..


M Ascending

January 10th, 2019 at 7:52 AM ^

Interesting.  I would submit that by season's end (and maybe even now), the most worthy Michigan candidate will be Poole (not counting Z, who will never get listed because of lack of scoring.)

mi casa es blue casa

January 10th, 2019 at 9:48 AM ^

Agreed. Poole is a better player now but I would say that Iggy is a better player than Poole was at the same time last year.  

My one criticism of Iggy is his shot selection.  He’s a bit of a black hole.  Ball goes in and never comes back.  Anybody else notice both Z and Poole visibly lose their cool with him in those situations?  At times it’s been so blatantly obvious that I was surprised it didn’t get mention on TV.  Most recently against Indiana if I recall.  Iggy and Poole on a  2:1 fast break with Iggy dribbling down the court.  A bounce pass wouldn’t resulted in an easy layup from Poole but Iggy missed a tough, contested shot instead.  Poole was visibly frustrated and turned and yelled at him before he quickly regained composure. 


January 10th, 2019 at 7:53 AM ^

I think I would honestly lean toward Poole at this point.  I don’t have numbers in front of me and am not basing it on that, I am going more off the “damnnnnn that dude has game” scale.  I think the Poole party is going to really get hopping here as this season goes on.


January 10th, 2019 at 9:39 AM ^

The only reason that Poole is not on that list is that it is still relatively early in the season, and over the first few games, Poole's shooting and overall offensive game were not great.  He has since turned it on BIG TIME.  If he keeps up his current pace, those first few games will become insignificant and he will almost certainly end up on a bunch of these types of lists.  


January 10th, 2019 at 9:41 AM ^

Good thing about this team is they’re not all going to hit a wall at once. One or two may but they have enough options to where the others can pick it up. Very unlikely the entire roatation or even the majority hits a wall at the same time. And by wall worst case you mean a bad shooting night. Michigan has always steadily improved as the season progresses the past several years, somewhat opposite of hitting a wall so even if they do hit a wall that wall may still be beyond their opponent’s ceiling. You see Johns improving tremendously so Teske can hit a wall one night, they still have guys that can step up. Lovers sits out, Johns comes in to the 5 when they’d normally go small with Livers and Johns plays very well. Now you’re seeing the depth develop which will reduce any walls this team may hit. They’d be gypsum walls and not brick walls. Easily advanced beyond with a bit of effort. Back progressing and moving forward in no time. 


January 10th, 2019 at 8:38 AM ^

He's special, no question about it. IMO he's not dynamic enough to actally win it, but he is a great fit for Michigan and a heck of a player overall. 

I tend to agree re: Poole.


January 10th, 2019 at 10:52 AM ^

He reminds me quite a bit of college Jalen Rose.  I know he doesn't handle the ball to the degree that Jalen did and Jalen could not get you tickets to the "gun show" like Iggy can, but to me that is a pretty good comp for his offensive game.  Decent handle, great instincts, slight physical mismatch over the player who typically is guarding him but not extraordinarily athletic, advanced "shot making" from difficult angles off the bounce, plausible but not particularly consistent three point shooter.  He is a very good player but I am not quite sure he is "one and done" level. 


January 10th, 2019 at 11:25 AM ^

Really?  I don't see this at all.  Rose was a freak--a 6' 8" point guard.  Iggy is way more polished around the rim and is a better 3-point shooter.  Rose was a guard had one of the best handles for a tall guy since Magic.  Iggy is clearly a power forward.  Rose was the leader of his team and always had the ball in his hands. Iggy is (for now) a complementary piece.   Rose was a rail thin guy who blew by people.  Iggy bulls his way to the rim.  

They don't really remind me of each other in any way really, other than they are both good as freshmen.  


January 10th, 2019 at 12:06 PM ^

Yes.  I get that Rose was a "point guard" in college but that was pretty much because none of the other Fab 5 members were natural at that position, and pro coaches could not get Jalen to the wing quick enough (where he was eventually an all-pro). 

Very little of his scoring "spawned" out of his ball handling.  He was not a ball dominant scoring point guard like Trey Burke, but more akin to Darius Morris.  Most of Rose's scoring opportunities resulted from motion culminating in wing drives, similar to Brazdekis.  You are right, Iggy "muscles" guys more than Rose, who often just went over them at 6'8 (rarely "blowing by them as you indicate), but both guys do a lot of damage just purely improvising against solid on-ball defense.

Iggy is a slightly better 3 point shooter than Rose, but Jalen could bury them too.  I would call both fairly streaky 3 point shooters based on what I have seen from Iggy so far.



January 10th, 2019 at 2:17 PM ^

Rose shot 32.4%, 32.0%, and 35.5% from 3 in his 3 seasons here, from a shorter line.  Iggy is shooting nearly 40% this season.  This is of course a small sample size, but it is considerably better that Rose ever shot.

Iggy has 15 assists all year.  Rose had 136 his freshman year.  
Iggy is a slightly better rebounder.

I guess I just don't really see a comparison, other than the fact that they are both 6' 7" 6' 8" ish, play basketball, and are/were both pretty good.   Their games just don't seem similar to me at all.   But to each his own.  



January 10th, 2019 at 8:41 AM ^

I am very much in agreement with his inclusion here but am a bit surprised too. The kid is damn good. Much of what he brings to the game escapes the casual fan. I also agree that as Poole ascends and settles in he may become more than simply a deserving candidate. 


January 10th, 2019 at 9:03 AM ^

Good points. He won't get as much credit as others because a lot of what he does doesn't show up on a stat sheet or on SportsCenter highlights. Such awards will ultimately go to guys like Zion Williamson because he throws down 360 dunks that end up being replayed ad nauseam. Not that Williamson isn't deserving-- dude's a freak. 


January 10th, 2019 at 9:12 AM ^

Poole definitely seems more deserving to be on that list. Dude's shooting stats are unreal right now, while Brazdeikis has come down to earth a good deal since the beginning of the season

St Joe Blues

January 10th, 2019 at 9:20 AM ^

I agree with the sentiment that Jordan Poole should be on the list as well. He's developed from an inconsistent freshman to a rock-solid leader as a sophomore. In the Indiana game, there were a couple of times the offense ran through Poole and it seemed more dynamic. His versatility reminds me of a young Magic Johnson (the Lakers variety, not the MSU variety, so please don't neg me) where he stepped in for an injured Kareem in the 1980 Finals. There's not much he can't do on the court. Iggy is still learning to play at the collegiate level, and at times in games he has disappeared.


January 10th, 2019 at 9:59 AM ^

Iggy deserves his spot on any early season 'unofficial' watch list for post-season awards.  And he'll still be there, on the list, for most of those awards in March.  But Poole will be a favorite for some of them.  His slow start kept him off this list, but he'll continue to improve and grow into his leadership role on the team. 

Poole has highlight plays in every game now, where he makes an incredible shot and/or ball handles like Isaiah Thomas did and posterizes some poor schmuck.  Those moments are going to increase to a few per game, culminating in a B1G Tourney MVP type performance (may not win that - no predictions) and a NCAA Tourney filled with highlights and announcers yelling and screaming over his playmaking.  Guard play rules the kingdom in the NCAA tourney, and between Simpson and Poole, Michigan is in pretty good shape...


January 10th, 2019 at 12:13 PM ^

I'm a little surprised no Matthews, or even discussion of him.  Arguably our best on-ball defender.  Creates his own shot when things bog down.  Aren't his shooting percentages up?

Poole throws the best daggers, has the most overall swag, but Chuck's got the best facial expressions and mans-up against the best 2-4 on the opposing team.  Z's got the 1s on lock down.


January 10th, 2019 at 3:34 PM ^

It’s nice to have two or three guys who could be on this list. Iggy, Poole, and Matthews are all worthy of some recognition. Not many teams have that luxury.