The Michigan basketball team has a lot to look forward to this year, with many new faces and a young roster. This team has many players ready to step up and replace losses of Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III, Mitch McGary and Jordan Morgan. Even though this roster has multiple returning guards, most of their roles will have to increase from last season.
Coach John Beilein is known for his small teams making up for lack of size with dominant shooting from around the perimeter coming from multiple positions. This season the Wolverines have one of the smallest rosters Beilein has ever coached with the absence of a true center. The Wolverines will most likely have a four guard offense, and a stretch four with all guards being able to knock down shots.
Last season, teams had trouble defending the Wolverines on penetration because of the drive and kick to multiple dangerous shooters outside the perimeter.
Zak Irvin last season displayed many bright spots as a knock down shooter that can be counted on. With little game time last season, Irvin showed he has the potential to become one of the deadliest shooters for the Wolverines and in the Big 10. Irvin has already started this season off on a hot streak with his first two exhibition games on their Italy trip.
In Michigan’s first game against the Perugia Select All-Stars, Irvin was clearly the player of the game. He shot 10 of 13 from the field while going 5 for 5 from three. Not only did Irvin shoot lights out from the field but he also had 11 rebounds. Irvin had only 49 rebounds the entire season last year, but with the gain of 15 pounds of muscle and 5 inch increase on vertical leap, that should change this season. Irvin is ready to become a dominant shooter from outside with the ability to defend and rebound for this Michigan team, which they need.
The Wolverines played their second game against the Vicenza All-Stars where another blowout occurred. Irvin once again shot lights out, shooting 4 of 5 from downtown. Irvin is expected to be more than just a shooter this year and he is proving it thus far. While he will be expected to maintain dominance from around the perimeter, he also will step up as a rebounder and a defender for this small roster.
Caris LeVert is ready to lead this Wolverine team this season, and Derrick Walton, Kameron Chatman, and Spike Albrecht will be very important. But, the player to watch this season happens to be Zak Irvin. A returning sophomore with a lot of potential and upside who is ready to prove he can be that reliable shooter Coach Beilein always has.
While Irvin is a great shooter, more is expected of him this season. Irvin needs to not settle for jump shots as he did last season and attack the rim more often. Along with attacking the rim, he needs to improve his defense and rebounding which he has already shown highlights of during the Italy Trip. Irvin will have to follow in the footsteps of Tim Hardaway Jr. and Robinson III, which was the ability to improve their ball-handling and attack the rim as well as improve the midrange game. These improvements will make Irvin more of an all-around offensive threat not just a spot up shooter.
Zak Irvin has improved his game drastically and has shown some great previews of his ability so far in Italy. A player to watch this upcoming season in the Big 10 and around the country is sophomore guard Zak Irvin.