Michigan Basketball heads into the 2012-13 season with the deepest, most athletic roster they’ve had in a long, long time. Joe already gave the Overview for the 2012-13 Season. Now, I will break down the roster and we will wrap up our preview with our game-by-game predictions.
Point Guard: Trey Burke (So) 6-foot, 190: Burke was sensational in his freshmen campaign averaging 14.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game. He was named Michigan’s first Associated Press All-America honorable mention since 1998 and he was voted Big Ten Freshmen of the Year by the media.His decision to return to Michigan instantly vaulted the Wolverines into the top tier of a loaded Big Ten conference and gives them a legitimate shot at the Final Four.
Burke was named to the preseason All-Big Ten team and was named by the AP as a preseason All-American. “Having him back has been helpful because he’s a good player, he is a winner,” John Beilein said at Big Ten Media Day. “He’s proved he’s a winner and having talent is one thing, teaching winning is another thing. He’s been through a year where he was so helpful in that Big Ten championship in games both at home and on the road.”
Burke has also stepped up his game in the leadership department and is becoming a coach on the court for the Wolverines. Enjoy watching him this season, it will likely be his last as he is expected to jump to the NBA. Then we will have to discuss where does he rank on this list: Michigan Basketball’s All-Time Best Point Guards
Shooting Guard: Tim Hardaway Jr (Jr) 6-6 , 205: Hardaway Jr averaged 14.6 points and 3.8 boards per game last year. He connected on just 28.3% of his three-point attempts. Hardaway Jr is a better shooter than that and I would expect to see him shoot at a higher percentage this year. He is moving from the 3 to the 2 where he will have to improve his ball handling skills. CBS Sports ranked Hardaway Jr as the 12th best wing player in the country. In his first two years, Hardaway Jr had the burden of being Michigan’s only scoring option. That is no longer the case and it should help free him up for some better looks.
There have been times during his first two seasons that Hardaway Jr has taken his intensity up to another level. When he does that he is capable of taking over a game. Last year he became more effective at attacking the basket and starting his scoring from the inside out. “He is very emotional,” John Beilein explained. “He is very driven, and it is a good thing, but channeling that in the right directions. I just like his attitude. He’s taken a little bit of Novak as far as you can hear his presence. A different type of presence, but you can hear it. That was pretty much left up to Zack in years before.”
Small Forward: Glenn Robinson III (Fr) 6-6, 210: Robinson is an elite athlete who can do it all. He can flat out score and in a variety of ways. He is a good shooter and is more than capable of creating his own shot. We polled the players at Media Day on who would win a 40 yard dash between Trey Burke and Corey Person, the two guys most assume are the fastest on the team. It was Robinson’s name that kept popping up though as the guy who would win that race. My point is that he is very athletic. He will settle in at the 3 and 4 for John Beilein and provide another scoring option, but he won’t have to carry the load by himself.
Robinson was named one of the Top 30 impact Freshmen by CBS Sports. He also checked in at #44 on their list of the 50 Best Wing Players in the country. Robinson can shoot the rock, but did not hoist a lot three-pointers in high school. He is at his best slashing and attacking. He is explosive at the rim and a good defensive player.
Power Forward: Mitch McGary (Fr) 6-10, 250: McGary is a load and plays with the same relentless mindset that Zack Novak did. He will be force on the boards and is a fierce dunker. We had the chance to watch him shoot some jumpers at Media Day and his shot looked good, effortless and smooth. One facet of McGary’s game that is perhaps underrated is his athleticism.
Here’s a quote that Tim McCormick gave to John Borton over at The Wolverine.com which tells you pretty much all you need to know about McGary. ”I remember at the Top-100 Camp,McCormick said. “He grabbed a rebound, dribbled the length of the court, dunked on somebody, let out a primal scream, chest-bumped the guy he dunked on, ran back and high-fived every one of his teammates, and the other coach called a timeout. He went and found the guy that he had dunked on and he apologized for being too exuberant. He gave the kid a high five.”
I wouldn’t be surprised if McGary ends up leading Michigan in rebounding this year.
Center: Jordan Morgan (RS Jr) 6-8, 250: Morgan is an explosive dunker who can change momentum and ignite the Crisler Center with his thunderous slams. He can run the court and can clean the glass. He led the Wolverines in rebounding last season (5.6) and averaged 7.2 points per game. He shot 62% from the field last year and continues to expand his arsenal of post moves. Word is he has also increased the range on his jumper.
Morgan will be a key component for the Wolverines. He has been good the last two seasons, but he is primed to take his game to another level this year.
We’ve been closely monitoring Morgan’s quest to bring down a backboard and asked him about it again at Media Day. See the video below
Nik Stauskas (Fr) 6-6, 190: “One of the best shooters I’ve seen in a long time.” That’s what Trey Burke said when asked about Stauskas’ shooting prowess. However, Stauskas can do more than just shoot. He is a very good passer and can handle the rock.
“He’s just got a natural ability to find the bottom of the basket,” Beilein said. “What separates Nik is, what we hope will make him a very difficult guard, that where some guys are just shooters, Nik, if you come out on Nik he can put the ball down on the floor and get to where he wants to go to.”
Jon Horford (RS So) 6-10, 250: Horford injured his knee in practice, but the latest word is he should be ready for the opener. That’s great news because he is poised to have a breakout season for Michigan. He has immense size and big potential. Horford is Michigan’s best shot blocker.
Matt Vogrich (Sr) 6-4, 200: Last season, Vogrich shot 29-76 (38.2%) from three-point range. He has a sweet shot and the ability to heat up in a hurry. Vogrich appeared in all 34 games of the bench last year and should once again be a regular contributor for John Beilein.
Caris LeVert (Fr) 6-5, 170: Originally we thought he was a sure thing to redshirt. However, he has been very impressive in practice and might force his way into the rotation this year. LeVert can flat out score and reminds many of Jamal Crawford on the offensive end. He told us at Media Day that he could beat Jordan Morgan in an arm wrestling match.
Max Bielfeldt (RS Fr) 6-7, 245: Moose redshirted last year. He has worked hard to get ready for this and will battle for playing time.
Eso Akunne (Sr) 6-2, 225: Akunne appeared in 12 games last year before suffering a season-ending foot injury. He should see time backing up Trey Burke this year. Outside of Burke, he is the only other player with experience at the point for Michigan. Akunne was 7-8 from the field last year.
Blake McLimans (Sr) 6-10, 240: McLimans played in 30 games last year and was 5-12 from three-point range. He is a very good shooter and could provide some instant offense off the bench this year.
Josh Bartelstein (Sr) 6-3, 210: One of the unsung heroes on the team. Bartelstein plays a key role behind the scenes and was the clear favorite among his teammates as the best dressed player.
Corey Person (Sr) 6-3, 210: Person’s contributions to the team are so valued that they brought him back for a 5th year after he had participated in Senior Night last year. He is one of the team funny men and also an extra coach. Watch the team during timeouts. When the coaches are huddled off to the side, you will see Person taking charge with the players.
Spike Albrecht (Fr) 5-11, 170: Spike was brought in to add needed depth to the point guard position. He is a likely redshirt candidate.