Michigan had a bumpy first half but pulled away from an unspectacular Saginaw Valley State team in the second. I’m just going to go through some quick thoughts on each player. There were two negatives across the board in my opinion: free throws and rebounding. With free throws, 22-37 (59.5%) just won’t get it done, I’m going to say it now and not mention it for every player. Getting out rebounded by Saginaw Valley 39-34 is troubling and this is probably going to be a problem all year. Beyond that I’ll run through player by player with some quick thoughts.
A couple Beilein quotes first – more here from DeShawn, Stu and Dave:
On Stu Douglass’ confidence shooting the ball… “He’ll probably drive me crazy with that confidence. My son drove me crazy, but I have a rule, as long as it goes in I say it’s okay. But we want it to go in.”
On the lineup… “I’ve always been a big guy with making sure that we have people coming off the bench. We’re in some transition now with doing some things with DeShawn (Sims) and Zack (Gibson) that we’re not really sure of a lot of things. So we just said let’s bring some people off the bench, it’s an exhibition game, let’s have the right mixes on the floor and then try to figure out during the game what is going to work best during the real games.”
- DeShawn Sims: Even though he didn’t get the start, Peedi looked great on the floor. Gibson got into foul trouble and DeShawn actually played a lot of five throughout the game. DeShawn posted 19 points and 9 rebounds in 27 minutes of action. Saginaw wasn’t a huge team so it’s hard to take much from Peedi’s performance but I liked that he only took 2 three point shots and tried to establish the inside game.
- Stu Douglass: I think we found our starting shooting guard for the time being. Stu looked surprisingly comfortable with the ball in his first college game. Stu shot 3-5 from long range and his range is as advertised — we don’t need to worry about the extended three point line. I was most impressed with Stu’s passing, he led the team with 6 assists. Stu has that shooters mentality though, I swear he took a couple threes when he couldn’t even see the basket. He will be fun to watch if when he gets hot.
- David Merritt: Merritt is not a flashy player, but he was just solid throughout the night. He hit open threes, made the right pass.Â Only 3 assists with 2 turnovers but I felt the most comfortable with him at the point.
- Zack Gibson: This is what I expect a “good game” for Gibson to look like this year. 3 for 6 shooting (2-3 3pt) for 11 points with 3 rebounds and 2 assists in 19 minutes. The issues with Zack are rebounding and staying away from cheap fouls.
- Manny Harris: We all know Manny is talented, and he showed it in flashes tonight. I just didn’t feel like Manny was going hard the whole night. He shot just under 50% but there were a lot of “Manny moments” that left me frustrated. I think Manny might have taken the night off a little bit however he definitely turned it up a notch in the second half.
- Anthony Wright: Wright got the start over DeShawn and I am not quite sure why. He came out firing in the first half but wasn’t hitting. He played a little better in the second half and had some strong rebounds and finally knocked down a three. I think Wright’s role on this team is providing a spark off the bench, not starting.
- Zack Novak: Zack has dropped some weight but he is still a step slow on the court. He was 2 of 4 (all from long range) but looked a little unsure of himself. He just didn’t have the same confidence with the ball that I saw with Stu. It’s only his first game and his stroke looked pretty good (although a little flat) so I’ll give him time.
- Kelvin Grady: Troubling game from Kelvin, he only had 2 turnovers but I would swear he had a couple more. They were most forced passes that really never had a chance. I think until Kelvin stops forcing the issue when nothing is there he will find himself behind Dave Merritt. Kelvin also didn’t really look for his shot at all, the only shot he took was a bad hot in transition.
- CJ Lee: The leader without a role. CJ is not afraid to talk and seems to know the system like the back of his hand. However he appears to be behind Merritt and actually seemed to get most of his 6 minutes at the 2-guard. The issue is that he just isn’t a 2-guard. He can definitely come into the game and give you a burst of energy with his effort.
- Jevohn Shepherd: Jevohn has found a niche as a four-man on this team, he won’t get major minutes but he gives Beilein an option when he slides DeShawn over to the five and some combination of Wright, Gibson and Sims are in foul trouble. He didn’t look look as uncomfortable as usual but didn’t register a point, steal, rebound, shot or anything else in 9 minutes. He is athletic and strong enough that he can be a duct tape solution for those foul trouble games.
- Ben Cronin: Huge. Don’t think he looks healthy and wouldn’t be surprised to see him get a medical red shirt this year. Yes he is big but he isn’t going to contribute when he’s hobbling around out there.
- Eric Puls and Corey Person won’t be factors this year.
- Laval Lucas-Perry: Throughout the first half all I could think of was what a difference he would make as a third scoring option out of the back court. December 20th can’t come soon enough.
Overall this is a tune up and Michigan used it as one. The defense wasn’t great overall but was improved in the second half. I thought the 1-3-1 looked better than the man to man and if I am not mistaken we played very little 1-3-1 in the first half. Â Next week against Michigan Tech should be more of the same even though it’s a real game. The real test will be Northeastern on Wednesday.
One other note: Daniel Horton, Brent Petway, and Chris Hunter were all in the house. The Beilein Bunch didn’t show up.