Who becomes a contributor by the end of season for basketball?

Submitted by Maize N' Ute on November 29th, 2018 at 12:02 PM

Michigan is currently rolling with three bench players right now: Livers, Brooks and Davis.  Coach Beliein is known for developing talent, but it takes time for guys to learn his offense.  Who do you see currently getting little to no playing time that will make an impact off the bench by the end of the year?  Dejulius, Johns, Castleton, Nunez, or walk-ons/former managers?

I suspect Johns will be that guy. I have no expertise in this, but he seemed to be the most ready of the bunch.  He's 6'8.  He could score, rebound and defend in HS.  He appears to be a prime candidate to help this team later down the road.




November 29th, 2018 at 12:06 PM ^

I don't know if there will be one.  Although there have been some cases like Caris LeVert where a guy came from the end of the bench (actually planning to be redshirted) to the rotation, Beilein tends to keep a short rotation.  I would guess that Livers/Brooks/Davis is probably it barring injuries (knock on wood).

Barn Animal

November 29th, 2018 at 2:21 PM ^

I would love to see data that correlated depth to tournament success, I can't imagine it is a major factor. Kansas had literally zero good bench players last year and made it to the final four. Villanova (who beat them) was the best team in the country and if I recall they only ran a 7 man rotation (granted it was STACKED).

Even Michigan last year only ran 7 guys during their tournament run. Maybe 7.5 if you include Simmons.


November 29th, 2018 at 3:14 PM ^

We definitely were running more than a 7 man rotation last year. Starters + Duncan, Simmons, Teske were all seeing real minutes, with Poole getting time for a few spot ups. Livers being able to be both a change of pace at the 5 and play his more natural position at the 4 definitely makes it harder to justify time for other players though.


November 29th, 2018 at 3:28 PM ^

I'm sure there is no correlation, and in fact, I bet teams that go more than 8 deep probably tend to be worse overall - or least they're doing it because they're trying to find answers as some positions.

Other than a few teams that go deep because of style of play (fast paced, rotate guys in and out), the only reason to go nine or more deep is if you don't have clear-cut starters and first couple bench guys.

It's like last year when M was playing three point guards because no one separated.  That we played a lot of guys was because we didn't have one stand-out guy, and that's usually the reason teams have to be play a lot of guys.  Z took control of the job, shortened the bench and the team was better for it.

Seven leaves you a little vulnerable to foul trouble, which is why eight is probably the ideal rotation.

I do think that Johns is the most likely to break into the rotation and take Davis' (scant) minutes.  I don't see any of the other freshmen getting there, mostly because the top 7 are so good.  DeJulius could end up being great but Z needs 30+ minutes and Brooks is a really nice backup so DeJulius has further to go for playing time than if he were stepping into a PG situation like M had last year.

I seriously doubt Nunez or Castleton see any meaningful minutes barring injury or something really weird happening.

The versatility of Brooks, Livers and Iggy means we can play a lot of different lineup combos with essentially seven guys.

Barn Animal

November 29th, 2018 at 12:07 PM ^

With this team it will be whoever can defend at the level Yaklich expects from his players.

While we’re not a deep team I also don’t think our rotation has any holes so I don’t think it’s urgent to get any of them on the court.


November 29th, 2018 at 12:10 PM ^

It's an 8 man rotation but if Davis only plays 4 minutes likenlast night it's really 7. Basically everyone but Z, Teske and Davis can play multiple spots so there's flexibility that makes it seem deeper. But minutes are minutes and running 7 deep (probably 8 since Davis will play against non UNC teams who don't wanna run all day) is an issue.

Johns is probably the best bet. He can come in and be Livers 2.0, spell Teske as a small ball 5 or play the 4. He also is the only non-Iggy frosh to play real minutes (played a little vs Nova and against Providence when Davis was out).

I think DeJulius is also an option. Brooks doesn't have the handle to be a backup PG.

Beilein has said he wants both Johns and DeJulius to play. Neither would play more than 5/6 minutes a game but it would be great for depth if they could even get there vs real teams.


November 29th, 2018 at 12:29 PM ^

Teske logged a lot of minutes last night.  I think he should be more like 30-32 range over the course of the season.  It would be nice if Davis can give 8-10 quality minutes so it can be a two man rotation, not have to worry about Johns or Castleton.  Davis looked better before the injury, I wonder if he's not 100 percent yet. 

Love it if JB stayed away from expanding the rotation in general.  The days of giving Dawkins, Kam, Bielfelt, Doyle and last year Ibi, 5 mins here and there didn't do anyone any favors... and apparently leads someone to transfer?


November 29th, 2018 at 5:01 PM ^

Livers (when not in foul trouble) has been playing about 10 minutes a game at the 5.  So Davis doesn't need to give 8-10 min.

Right now, it's more of a 3 man rotation (Iggy, Livers, Teske) for the 2 big spots and that's been fine.  Foul trouble to multiple of those guys or certain matchups like last night when generic bigs are on the floor will be when Davis is playable.


November 29th, 2018 at 1:49 PM ^

I had high hopes for DDJ stealing Brooks' minutes but he's looked completely lost when he's been on the floor so far. Granted, he hasn't had much in the way of meaningful minutes and most aren't with the 1st team, but I think it's gonna take him some time to learn things.

Brooks still looks like a MAC guy to me on offense. Quick enough feet to play good D, but his shot is slow and he plays far below the rim, so he's not much of a threat on offense unless it's a kick-out look.

I think Johns is the most likely to contribute, but he's also getting his feet under him. Pretty big luxury to be able to have Castleton, DDJ, Johns, and Nunez all learning with so little pressure to contribute.


November 29th, 2018 at 2:10 PM ^

^ this. Also, Freshman Point Guards typically struggle under beileins system the exception is trey burke. But Simpson his freshman year looked lost out there too and simmons ended up getting the PT over him. DDJ is going to be a good player but it might be a couple years down the road. He should red shirt this year 


November 29th, 2018 at 3:25 PM ^

Agreed that if anyone it'll probably be Johns. Castleton needs to put on 50 pounds of muscle, Nunez has looked like he's probably well behind Brooks and DeJulius on the bench. The team seems to operate pretty well with any two of Simpson/Poole/Brooks, so DeJulius would have to break through something there. If we wanted to do a small-ball lineup and spell Matthews or Iggy Johns could probably be that guy.


November 29th, 2018 at 12:13 PM ^

Beilein prefers the 8 man rotation and at this point keep doing what your doing. I have high expectations for the remaining 4 freshman but there is no reason to rush them into the game. Beilein will make the decision and it WILL be the right decision. GO BLUE

L'Carpetron Do…

November 29th, 2018 at 12:22 PM ^

Hopefully if they continue blowing out teams like this he can get them work in real games but in non-pressure situations.  

If I recall correctly, doesn't Beilein usually keep the rotation tight early on in the season? And then opens it up to new guys later? No sense to rush them in now. They got time and plenty of talent in the Starting Seven.  Would be nice to see some other guys get some run so the rotation can get up to 9 or 10 later on and to build for next year. 


November 29th, 2018 at 12:16 PM ^

Johns is versatile and his, say, 8-10 minutes could effectively spell Teske, Livers, Iggy and Matthews with how they slide guys around. That makes him the favorite to me. 

If DeJulius can adjust I could see him as a bench scorer this year but Brooks is playing fairly well and there are just more minutes available right now for a forward. 


November 29th, 2018 at 12:16 PM ^

Historically, it likely won't be a PG or a big man.  PGs take extra time to learn Beilein's system and big men traditionally take a year in any program to bulk up.


So, of the wing players, those who have the best combination of defense and FG% will likely be the breakthrough player.


November 29th, 2018 at 12:18 PM ^

We’re gonna need 1-2 more guys down the stretch. Running what’s essentially a two man bench is gonna burn us out in the long run. I suspect Johns will be that guy with Davis getting at least 7-8 ish minutes a night. 


November 29th, 2018 at 12:23 PM ^

The stretch after NW and the rest of Big 10 Play is big. Haven’t looked, thinking it’s like 5 games. Those are vital to someone stepping up if they are going too. Once we hit 19, doubt we roll out guys JB doesn’t think are ready.


November 29th, 2018 at 1:01 PM ^

It's actually only 3 games. Between a stronger non-con (Nova, UNC, Providence, and South Carolina) and a 20 game conference schedule we onky have 3 cupcake games the rest of the way. Granted it's possible we blow out NW on the road or Carolina enough at home to get some freshmen playing time, but I doubt it.


November 29th, 2018 at 12:25 PM ^

I'm hoping a wing like Nunez breaks thru. Brooks can be the backup PG, Livers/Davis the backup 4/5s, but we need someone to backup the wings. What happens if Matthews/Poole get injured or in foul trouble? 


November 29th, 2018 at 12:26 PM ^

I would argue that it's not necessarily someone who struggles with Beilein's offense, but who plays the best defense. Michigan teams now win with D. If you can't defend, you will not see the court much.

Mr Miggle

November 29th, 2018 at 3:04 PM ^

That was always Beilein's stated rule for freshmen. They had to pick up the defense and show effort there first. It didn't always look like it because the defenses weren't necessarily good. Fair to assume the level of defense expected of them is higher now.

I wouldn't be surprised if DeJulius will at first get most of his time at the 2. If he can defend and shoot, he'll play some, even if he isn't ready to run the offense.

Mr Miggle

November 29th, 2018 at 12:28 PM ^

One could look at your question two ways. Who is closest to coming off the bench and becoming a regular contributor? Or who do the coaches need to become one?

I think the answer either way is Johns. He's gotten some non-garbage time minutes and hasn't looked terrible. Not ready yet either. With Livers in foul trouble last night, Teske played 34 minutes. It went great, but I don't think that was part of anyone's plans. He won't match up so well with some teams.

DeJulius is next. 

It's so early to predict anything with players we've barely seen, but I'll be a bit disappointed if Johns doesn't carve out a role for himself. I think we'll see more of DeJulius too.


November 29th, 2018 at 12:32 PM ^

'Just a random comment..

The basketball team 'gets it'. They come to kick ass every game. They do not give opponents too much respect; they punch them in the mouth. Period.

'Hope the football braintrust is paying attention.

Yinka Double Dare

November 29th, 2018 at 12:36 PM ^

It'll be DeJulius and Johns. It usually takes point guards some time to pick up the offense. And can take a long thin guy like Johns some time to adjust to the speed and physicality of the new level. But they're the most talented of the bunch that aren't playing a lot yet, and at spots where the team will be able to use their particular sets of skills. 

Mr Miggle

November 29th, 2018 at 12:57 PM ^

I'll bet right now that he does redshirt one, maybe two. Practices get physical. Guys pick up little injuries and the ones that aren't playing don't come back from them during the season. The NCAA has never been strict about granting medical redshirts to freshmen who haven't played past their limits.

That being said, when has Beilein voluntarily redshirted anyone and had them come back for a 5th year?


Boner Stabone

November 29th, 2018 at 12:53 PM ^

I like our rotation.  There is good chemistry among them and they are playing well. I would not mess with it.

 When you go 9-10 deep then you run into issues like Izzo has of playing weird guys more minutes then your lottery picks.


November 29th, 2018 at 12:58 PM ^

Not on your list, but I believe Eli Brooks will be an important contributor down the stretch when we need some 3s.  He’s got a nice shot and seems to be getting more comfortable.