Open BB scrimmage tonight

Submitted by bringthewood on October 24th, 2017 at 7:56 PM
Went to the open BB practice tonight. Beilein said two spots were pretty locked down - I am guessing MAAR and Mo. I am far from a basketball expert so here are some initial impressions from the scrimmage.

Charles Matthews - looked good on defense, did not see anything outstanding on offense

Zavier Simpson - looked good with a couple of steals and a basket or two

Isaiah Livers - bigger and stronger than I thought, I think he has a chance to start. Had a pretty good looking shot, not great at threes yet

Jaaron Simmons - very good at finishing at the rim but a pretty small guy. I did not see much evidence of his passing ability.

Jon Teske - his mobility looked much improved and he was able to guard successfully.

Ibi Watson - shot looks good but he is still slender and still looks a bit lost on offense

Austin Davis - look reasonably athletic and will be a contributor

Outside of Livers none of the freshman stood out in a good or bad way.

Moe and Duncan tied in the 3 point shooting contest with 18 out of 25.



October 24th, 2017 at 8:13 PM ^

Nice. Pretty excited to see how good Mo is this season. OP-Did it look like he put on any weight? Just curious because with his all-around skill set and a bigger body I would think he is in for a hell of a year.


October 24th, 2017 at 10:34 PM ^

As well. THere is a write up on UM hoops now too. Have heard whispers that Eli Brooks has been a nice surprise and agreed. He came in for the 2nd team and had some great takes - one right past Mathews - and hit a three. Beilein made a comment on his mike about how well brooks shoots. Indicative of how deep this team could be - the 2nd team tied the starters even soaking up a couple walk-on minutes. Only 20 minute game....but it’s evident they have a lot of guys who can play. All will make some mistakes, but athletically they look strong.

I too was impressed with Livers - just looked like he fit in, even if all his shots didn’t drop. Was aggressive with the ball. THere has been a lot of buzz about Matthews, so not gonna read much into the 20 minutes, but he did look like he was trying to fit in.

Unfortunately on the point guard front, Z did a lot of nice things but the jumper doesn’t appear to have changed. Jaaron appears to have a bit of a hitch in his shot as well. It would seem we need a blending of all three - Brooks, Simmons and Z - to get our Trey Burke....

Looking forward to it. Really great to see 12 guys that can play.....been awhile since Beilein has had some depth. Hopefully we have some guys emerge enough to help MO and push this team into some really good things.


October 24th, 2017 at 10:37 PM ^

My thoughts:

The starting 5 for now appears to bePG:

PG: Zavier Simpson


SF: Charles Matthews

PF: Duncan Robinson

C: Moe Wagner

PG is gong to be a real battle between Jaaron Simmons, Zavier Simpson and Eli Brooks. Eli Brooks looks to be the smalles of the three but flashes as a shooter. Jaaron is excellent at finishing at the rim despite his small stature. Zavier was steady and was more aggressive than he was last year which is good.

SG: MAAR appears to have the staritng spot on the lockdown. His shooting has improved every season and it appears to be the case. Charles Matthews may slide to SG if necessary. Jordan Poole and Ibi Watson didn't stand out to me. Eli Brooks could play at SG but having both Zavier/Jaaron and Eli would be one of the smallest backcourt in the conference.

SF: Charles Matthews has the athleticism but is still finding his way on offense. If he can shoot 35% for the season, it's a win for Matthews. Duncan could possibly play at SF but there is no depth behind Matthews IMO. We might get to see Poole/Watson slide down to SF spot.

PF: Duncan Robinson is clearly their best shooter and we know what he is at this point. A great shooter who tries hard on defense but lacks the athleticism to stick against quicker players. Isaiah Livers looks ready to play in the B1G but he has some freshman moments. JB at one point turned off the mic to coach up Livers when he screwed up offensively when he has the ball. If Livers can become a functional PF who can shoot, that will add depth at PF. I expect Livers to play right away off the bench.

C: Moe Wagner is clearly the best player on the team and he's confident. He can shoot, drive and dish. He clearly knows what to do when he's doubled down low, making crisp pass right on time. It'l be a battle between Austin Davis and Jon Teske for the backup C minutes. Austin Davis has good hands, footwork and can finish down low though it doesn't show it on the quick scrimmage. Davis showed that he can step out to shoot 3s if C sagged back defensively.  It was defensively that Davis showed inexperience. Yaklich pulled him aside about defense.  Teske is the biggest player on the team and is a legit 7' C. He can step out and shoot 3s but he didn't stand out to me.


My prediction for starting and who actually will play in the rotation. JB likes to play 8-9 players for the season.

PG: Zavier or Jaaron

SG: MAAR/Eli or Jordan or Ibi

SF: Matthews/Jordan or Ibi

PF: Duncan/Livers

C: Wagner/Davis or Teske

Biggest key for Michigan is who emerge as a legitimate shooting threat outside of MAAR, Duncan and Moe. What made last year Michigan offense great is they have 5 legitimate shooting threats at all positions.


October 24th, 2017 at 11:41 PM ^

I have a feeling this team will struggle to score at times this year. Beileins offense runs best with a PG who can be a court general. With Walton gone after 4 years of starting, Z will have big shoes to fill.


October 24th, 2017 at 11:56 PM ^

and aggressive play of the team as a whole. Maybe it is a small sample size and a format that was fast paced by design, but this team looks faster and more aggressive than the past few. I like it.

The player that stood out the most to me was Robinson. He seems much more aggressive, especially offensively. Maybe he had been told that he needs to score more or maybe he realizes that this is his last go around.

All three bigs looked good and the freshmen can play.


October 25th, 2017 at 1:41 AM ^

I actually talked to him this summer when I was working at the dining hall, and he told me that the coaches were planning to start him at the 4 to replace DJ this year. In saying this, It’ll be interesting to see how he digest the offensive system going into the season. I remember when Kam Chatman started at the 4 only to lose his spot soon after his freshman season began.


October 25th, 2017 at 11:06 AM ^

I'm a little confused. Simpson's name used to be Xavier. Many people on the blog were calling him X. Now many websites are spelling it "Zavier', but his twitter is still "Xavier." How did Zavier become a thing?


October 25th, 2017 at 11:23 AM ^

I know he tied Mo in the 3 point contest but while whatching the video of the scrimage I noticed he missed a ton of 3's.  Slightly troubled with the amount of missed shots from him.  It's not his defense that gets him on the floor. Would expect at least 40% shooting outside the arc from him.


October 25th, 2017 at 3:30 PM ^

I'm interested how the rotation will work out. A Duncan at 4, Mo at 5, and Mathews at 3  IMO will cause rebounding issues because of Duncan being a well-below average rebounder and Mo being about an average rebounder. Mathews I think will be an above average rebounder, but a legit 4 could give this team some problems (and possible even a Bulky 5).

When Teske and Davis will be out there will be interesting. I feel like Robinson is actually better suited to be a great sixth man (for any team) given his scoring potential  but D liabilities and the team would potentially be better suited putting Mo at the 4 and starting Teske. But that's not really a Beilen team. 


tl;dr I think we need to see how the rebounding goes and potentially move Teske to the starting 5 if it totally sucks.