Michigan Basketball: Deeper Squad Will Produce Instant Dividends


Michigan basketball looks to bounce back after a tough 2014-15 season.

With the Michigan basketball team losing five players to the NBA over two seasons (2012-13, 2013-14), it made sense for the Wolverines to struggle during the 2014-15 campaign.

Lost were Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway, Jr., in 2013, before Nik Stauskas, Mitch McGary and Glen Robinson, III departed in 2014.

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To make matters worse, Michigan lost two of its three top performers midway through last season. Caris LeVert (left foot) missed the final 14 games while Derrick Walton Jr missed his final 12 contests. (Spike Albrecht played, but not at full strength).

Last season’s Wolverine squad finished 16-16 (8-10 Big Ten) despite having just two upperclassmen in the lineup down the stretch.


After knocking off LeMoyne in an exhibition (74-50), the Wolverines opened the regular season with wins over outmanned Northern Michigan (70-44) and outclassed Elon (88-68).

Michigan faces its first real test Friday, November 20, with a matchup against always tough Xavier of the Big East Conference. The Musketeers have already posted victories over Miami (OH) and Missouri.

A quick look at the Michigan basketball roster suggests things will be totally different. Instead of being forced to juggle eight or nine legitimate players, Beilein this fall can dress at least 13, with Big Ten caliber players at every position.

Walton, who looks 100% fit coming off his foot injury, will be Michigan’s primary point guard. Spike Albrecht, who is still not in top shape from hip surgery last spring, will eventually switch between the two guard slots as needed.

Caris LeVert a future NBA star?

“I wanted to be 100 percent by November, Albrecht told mgoblue.com, “but if it takes a couple more weeks into December or the Big Ten season, I’m doing the best I can to get back.”

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  • Along side Walton will be shooting guard Caris LeVert, who might have jumped to the NBA last spring if it wasn’t for his foot injury. He will team with Walton to create one of the top guard tandems in the Big Ten, if not the country.

    LeVert will sometimes swap with shooting (wing) forward  Zak Irvin, who’s playing himself back in shape after some back issues. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, who plays good defense, will be fighting for playing time at SG and SF.

    Now’s the fun part. How are you going to sit incoming sophomore guard/forward Duncan Robinson who opened his career against Le Moyne with 15 points, including 3-6 from beyond the arc. Or what about Aubrey Dawkins, who shot .438 from three-point territory last season, and recently regained his shooting touch against Northern Michigan, hitting 6-7 from three.

    Doyle should shine at C/F

    “We’re still trying to find out what group works the best, who’s adapting the best, who’s applying the best and then we’re measuring it,” coach John Beilein told umhoops.com. “We’ll get to a group and somebody will beat somebody out.”

    Kameron Chatman will compete for both forward positions, but will most likely spend plenty of time at PF, possibly spelling redshirt freshman D. J. Wilson, who had a good camp.

    Ricky Doyle returns to the starting pivot position along with Mark Donnal, a more than an adequate backup. Don’t forget 6-10 German import Moritz Wagner who will eventually be comfortable at all three forward positions.

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