Fun with BBall History

Submitted by AC1997 on February 17th, 2012 at 10:01 AM

Since it looks to be a light day of posting from Ace and Brian I thought I'd try to come up with an interactive Forum post.  This past week of hype building up to the huge game with OSU tomorrow has made me reflect on where we are as a basketball program.  We are clearly fortunate to have Beilein in charge of the program as we head into another tournament appearance, could contend for the conference title with a win on Saturday, and have two highly ranked recruiting classes lined up already. 

So what would have happened if we hired Beilein years earlier?  More specifically, if you look at the players who languished through the Ellerbe "let's hope we don't committ a crime during a TV timeout" era and the Amaker "let's pass the ball around aimlessly for 30 seconds" era - who would have been the best fit in the Beilein system?

My answer - At first I thought Daniel Horton would be my pick because having a point guard who can shoot from anywhere would have been great, but I think the offense works just as well with a pass-first PG.  So the guy I picked was Lavell Blanchard.

Having him as a slightly undersized PF seems like a dream scenario in this system - he was a tenacious rebounder, could shoot from outside, and wasn't a liability on defense.  In many ways he was Zach Novak only three inches taller.  What could have been.....

Who else can you think of? 



February 17th, 2012 at 10:13 AM ^

A healthy Les Abram on the wing and Chris Hunter in a Pitssnogglian "shooting center" role would've been nice to see.  The lack of development of Hunter (and Petway, Harris, Sims to a slightly lesser extent) during Amaker's tenure was unfortunate to say the least.


February 17th, 2012 at 12:36 PM ^

there to develop.  Not that Amaker did a lights out job at developing players, but there were one or two recruiting classes in there that were comically overrated.  Petway reached his ceiling the first time he set foot on the floor.  With Sims, you simply can't teach coordination.  Harris was just one dimensional.  Amaker's use of Abram (a player I think would close to useless in Beilein's system) was dissapointing.  I think Horton would have struggled  getting to tbe basket off the pick and roll.  Hunter would have been deadly.  I think Robinson Jr. could have thrived on some backdoors. 

Those were very lean years.



February 17th, 2012 at 3:01 PM ^

I dunno man...I've re-read your post and literally disagree with everything you just wrote.

Petway - isn't him reaching his ceiling so quickly an obvious indictment of Amaker's ability to develop his skills not related to raw athleticism?

Sims - Look at what he did in the D-League (same goes for Petway).  Coordination, although not a strength, wasn't really his issue.  He was just never taught to play like a big man which is something I'm Bacari Alexander is doing (look at Jordan Morgan).

Harris - OK I guess, but isn't a coaches job to take 18 year olds and make them more than one dimensional.  He was a great shooter that unfortunately had to play PG in Amaker's dribble around offense.

Abram - Useless? Are you going to back that up at all? He was a long wing player who was a good to great shooter and a great free-throw shooter.  He's Hardaway minus a bit of athleticism and a more consistent shooter.

Why would Horton struggle on the pick & roll?  I can sort of see it because he's not as quick as Burke and shorter than DMo...but he was a helluva player.

There has to be something to say about Amaker's ability to develop when his high recruiting classes were overrated after the fact right?

Naked Bootlegger

February 17th, 2012 at 10:45 AM ^

...settting massive screens in the typical Beilein offensive sets of the past two years would've been awesome to watch.  Morgan's good at it, but Brown would have transcended greatness.   I will happily take a Graham Brown-type player on my roster in any era of UM hoops.


February 17th, 2012 at 11:14 AM ^

I'll give you some room, because I don't know what your defining as talent, but Gary Grant might have something to say about that as well as Rumeal Robinson, Antoine Jobert, Louis Bullock and my all name team favorite Leslie Rockymore in for honorable mention.

For my money

1. G. Grant

2. J. Rose

3. R. Green

4. Rumeal

5. J. Crawford

5. Big drop off

6. Louis

7. The Judge

8. I know I'm missing some more...Jimmy King....Horton...etc...


Blue boy johnson

February 17th, 2012 at 11:40 AM ^

I almost included Gary Grant, but I think he is just a notch below. While Grant was a better defender than Crawford, offensively I don't think it is even close. Grant left a little to be desired as a ball handler and shooter in comparison to Jamal Crawford. That being said, Gary Grant is one of my all time favs.


February 17th, 2012 at 12:23 PM ^

That's why I said I didn't know your criteria so I won't question your selections.   Crawford looked awesome but he had no real Michigan career it was so short and they accomplished nothing.

He was truly talented offensively, but if you can say there is such as thing as defensive talent.   Gary Grant was the prototype.  I loved watching him play d and lead the team. 


February 17th, 2012 at 11:41 AM ^

Well considering you could argue pretty easily that Crawford has had the best NBA career out of all those guys (the only one arguably comparable is Rose), I'd say you have underrated Crawford from a pure "talent" perspective. Obviously, since he only played 16 games or so, his career at Michigan didn't come close to any of those guys.


February 17th, 2012 at 3:52 PM ^

I would rank Crawford ahead of Rumeal.  I think Darius Morris needs to be on there somewhere as well - his floor vision was phenomenal and he was an outstanding finisher around the basket for a guard.  Burke looks like a top 10 guy as well.  It must be said that defenses are much tougher today than they were 20-30 years ago, and teams get far fewer fastbreak baskets than they once did. 


February 17th, 2012 at 12:30 PM ^

The best memory I have of Crawford was in a game he was bringing the ball up the court on a dead run and he threw a single bounce pass from half court to a streaking team mate for an easy basket.  It was timed perfectly and was just insane.   Watching Crawford play was the first time I really felt UofM might be on the upswing until Beilein's 2nd year.


February 17th, 2012 at 1:24 PM ^

...that was the first of the maize rage.  I remember being part of it - I still have my original maize rage shirt.  There was a newspaper written by one of the more prominant maize ragers at the time, called The Full Court Press.  Some us got to meet Crawford before one of the games.  The maize rage started smack dab in the middle of some of Michigan worst years.


February 17th, 2012 at 11:53 AM ^

CWebb. One of the best passing big men ever. Imagine Smot, but bigger and better in just about every way. I dunno if CWebb had Smot's range, but the 3 is more prevalent among "Stretch 4s" now than it was, I bet Chris would have developed a 3 if he played for Beilein.


February 17th, 2012 at 12:10 PM ^

someone embed this or start a new post.  Stop the photo at 3:33... so much fun going on.

1.Must be cold in MSG - see both the men and ladies nipping out, and Spike cuddling with another guy to stay warm

2. Following directions - Nipping Lady getting grabbed, with the Bud Sign in the background politely showing the word "Grab"

This in not the place, but I found it hillarious and I don't start threads.


February 17th, 2012 at 12:32 PM ^

I'd take Bernard Robinson Jr.


Blanchard and Abram were good picks too, but already taken.  I didn't see anyone pick BRob and he was really a beast, especially in that NIT run.


February 17th, 2012 at 1:51 PM ^

The best answer is "everyone". Every player would have done better under Beilein because he is. Ash superior in (1) developing talent and (2) game-planning than either Ellerbe or Amaker. We play an offense that just plain gets guys open, and in a variety of ways. Beilein has coached not only the famous 1-3-1 defense, but also stout man-to-man, 2-3 zone. Every player would have benefitted from playing for a much better coach.