Report Card: Stu Douglass

Dylan Burkhardt
Stuart Douglass

The Numbers:

98.6 17.4% 22.7 6.1 1.4 2.1 50.2% 33.5%

The Good:

  • Passing
    Stu is vastly underrated as a passer. From the first time I saw him play in the Michigan jersey I was impressed with how confident he was with the ball, especially passing it. I also think that Stu is the best player on the team at feeding the post. The numbers back Stu up as a good, not great passer. His assist to turnover ratio was 1.7 to 1, 16th in the Big Ten, but his assist numbers weren’t quite so high with 2.1 assists per game but that translates out to 4 assists per 40 minutes, the same as Grady and Lee, and his assist percentage of 19.3% is also in the same ballpark as Michigan’s point guards. Stu definitely has room to grow in this regard but he definitely displayed the ability to pass the ball.
  • Three Point Shooting
    The percentage isn’t necessarily gaudy at 33.5% but it’s not bad either. In the “hot” games he turned everyone into believers with his quick and pure stroke. The shot looks good all the time and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a big jump in Stu’s shooting percentage next year.
  • Defense
    If I wrote this mid-way through the season I probably would have listed defense as a weakness. Stu improved by leaps and bounds on the defensive end of the court over the course of the year. He still has a long ways to go as an on-the-ball defender but he is one of the best in terms of fighting through screens and playing defense off the ball.

The Bad:

  • Consistency
    Stu showed flashes of brilliance shooting the ball but really struggled with consistency. A lot of this has to do with being a freshman and being asked to do a lot from the get-go, as well as his role changing pretty dramatically a couple times throughout the season. Stu had 10 games without a three pointer, 10 with only one, and 15 with two or more.  This is a little bit too inconsistent in my book, if Stu could cut down on the 0-5, 1-7, 1-5 type games he could be very solid.
  • Versatility
    Stu made two baskets and four free throws in the ten games where he didn’t record a three point field goal. He needs to develop at least one more key cog to his game whether it is a mid-range jump shot or the ability to drive the lane and maybe get to the lane. Adding another dimension to his game has to be the number one priority for Stu because when the three point shot wasn’t falling last year, Stu was very ineffective.
  • Decision Making
    Stu clearly has ability to pass and shoot but he still needs to learn what is a good shot and what is a good pass. The alley-oops, three point shots from 6 feet behind the line, and bounce passes between three people need to stop. I give him a break because he is a freshman but if Beilein’s facial expressions say anything about how he really feels, you can bet that he let’s Stu know what’s a good decision.

The Future:

Point guard. There are a growing number of options at the two-guard on this roster and if Stu wants to keep playing big minutes he’s going to need to play the point. He’s not going to be a full time point guard but he needs to be able to play the position for 10-15 minutes per game. I think you definitely still want to play him at the two because that allows him to come off screens and get good looks from three point range. However Laval Lucas-Perry, Zack Novak, and Matt Vogrich will all be vying for playing time at the two-guard so being able to play two positions would be a great way for Stu to differentiate himself from the pack.

Grade: I’ve been struggling with figuring out a means to “grade” players in these report cards. I have basically two sides: grading versus expectation versus some kind of all-encompassing grade of production.

There were essentially zero expectations for Stu headed into the year. He was supposed to be a shooter but likely a ways off from being a contributor — after all he was just a 2-star recruit when he committed to Michigan. Stu also hit some huge shots this year, UConn and UCLA stand out, and his confidence continued to grow over the course of the year. Stu slipped out of the starting lineup in January but I really think that he started to believe that he belonged as the year progressed.

B-. Stu showed that he has the ability to fit into this team and showed flashes of great play but the lack of consistency and versatility are holding him back.

  • Tom Too

    I think Stu did a great job this year. I think that the 1 and 2 positions are so interchangeable in JB’s offense that we saw Stu bring the ball up a lot at the 2. Also, they can enter the ball on either side to start the offense and the offense starts on the side entered. So, in this offense, the 1 and 2 almost need the same ability to handle the basketball. In otherwords, we could see Stu and V in at the same time, Stu and LLP, LLP and V, Grady and LLP, and so on.

    Anyways, Stu was a great addition and loved the slam vs. OU.

  • Tom Too: you make a good point, the one and two are very interchangable in this offense. However I think there is definitely a primary ball handler in terms of getting the ball up the court and that is what Stu needs to be ready to do.

  • El Capitan

    I think the grade fits Stu well. Even though he exceeded everyone’s expectations, his lack of versatility really limited him when he wasn’t “in the zone”. However, his defense and overall his attitude are really great. The photo of him in the Daily sticking out his tongue (after the Clemson win) really was the highlight of my week. He seemed pretty tense in November, but he seemed to relax and relish his role on the team as the season went on.

  • raiderfan

    Great stuff Dylan. Hey, do see LLP perhaps trying to do the same thing and working out at the 1. With his ability to drive, I think he could just as good, if not better than Stu at the point. He could definetly learn how to make better decisions though.

  • I see Stu as much more likely to be the “point guard” because I think he is a lot more comfortable with the offense. I’ll elaborate in LLP’s report card.

  • goblueseattle

    Another idea for this the report cards is to list a few top plays from the season for each player. I’ll be fun to re-live the highlights.. For Stu, the 3-pointer against UCLA, his career high against UCONN and the running floater late in the game against Clemson comes to mind..

  • Drew

    Coincidence or not that you choose to do Stu’s report card on his birthday?

  • Pure coincidence. I’m planning on going by year and just started with Stu. Happy Birthday Stu.

    goblueseattle: Good idea, I’ll start throwing them in there.

  • YpsiTuckyBoy

    I really like the point you made about the quickness of Stu’s shot. I think few people realize it, but that could be a deciding factor in who plays more between he and Novak. Novak, if you noticed, takes much longer to get his shot off. He reminds me of Gavin Groninger in that regard. Groninger was a great shooter, but he was crippled because a) he never developed a dribble-drive game and b) his shot took too long to get off. I see Douglass being able to overcome, at least somewhat, (a) and he doesn’t struggle with (b). But with a guy like Novak, especially if bigger, longer-armed guards are checking him, he can be made almost a non-factor. The slight height advantage Novak has on Douglass helps him in that regard to (b), but Douglass’ shot is just much faster and thus I think his future looks brighter.

  • Ken in Vegas

    Ypsi, I think that is a great debate in itself. Who do you think will be the greater contributer after their 4 years are up? Stu or Novak. I would guess it would be a pretty divided argument on this site. I’m actually going to side with Novak due to his hustle, rebounding, and the belief that he will hit a higher percentage of his 3s when it’s all said and done.

  • RB

    Ken, I agree. I think Novak brings more to the table and should contribute more. But do you think there might be a chance that he finds himself without a position in the upcoming years? We definately need to get bigger, playing him at the 4 is going to limit our success. Position battles will be really interesting next year.

    As far as Douglass, I think he had a really solid year. I like his instincts; he made some boneheaded plays, but I think those will go away as he continues to get comfortable with the speed of the game.

    Fundamentally, I think he really needs to work on dribbling the ball harder and lower to the ground. That ball is easy pickings in his hands right now.

  • Brick

    I have to disagree with the B-, I think Stu is a definite B+. I would put more weight on expectations vs. contribution (ie. CJ gets an A in my book because I thought he would be a benchwarmer and was a key starter by the end of the season). As an under the radar freshman, Stu exceeded expectations by far. He wasn’t supposed to be able to score at the Big 10 level, handle the ball at all, or play defense. By the end of the year, he could do all three. Consistancy will come in the next few years. He is the best on the team at feeding the post as you noted, but that doesn’t show up in his assist numbers so it is often overlooked. Stu can play point next year because he feeds the post well and can bring the ball up past half court (see the Clemson game).

    Stu needs to continue improving his ball handling skills, drives to the basket, and develop a pull up mid range jumper off of a pump fake.

  • ToBlav

    One thing I’d add to what has been said is the Stu has a really good BBall IQ. He is not quick but reduces that liability because he understands what is going on and anticipates well.

  • Ken in Vegas

    Yeah, both Zach and Stu really exceeded expectations this year. Nobody thought they would be entrenched starters from the beginning. Heck we were just hoping one of them would eventually turn into a three point threat off the bench. They play like juniors as well, so we have no idea what kind of players they could turn into. I think sometimes we act like they have already capped their potential because they play beyond their years.

  • B- sounds about right to me. Maybe a B if you want to give a bit. Against what we expected however, the grade would be higher. No one expected him to contribute that much and he did a lot. Next year, the expectations will be higher. As for his weaknesses, I think Beilein will help him there. He is really good a player development. He has another year to attack those weaknesses and they will disappear. Ditto Novak. Coach B will get his shot faster and make the both better handlers and thinkers. 3 years from now, they will be dominating.

  • I’m more or less grading on something of a curve. Don’t need any grade inflation here. We’ll see how it all looks when I’m done with everyone’s rankings.

  • Tom, Also

    I would also agree that Stu’s “grade” should be much higher than a B-.

    I guess you mentioned the “grade versus expectation” aspect and maybe you didn’t decide to go with that.

    However, as a freshmen, Stu’s number one problem was consistency. As a freshmen. Duh. Novak also had spells of inconsistency. LLP had about 2 “off” months. Stu had a bit of a cold stretch in late November, but besides that he has increased throughout the season in a very linear fashion.

    I don’t know what more we could have asked from Stu. As a freshman two-guard he was asked to bring the ball up the court and initiate the offense in the NCAA tournament. He did so with very good success. He became the team’s best off-the-ball defender (exception Manny?) and is easily the team’s best shooter. I’m fully OK with Stu taking a shot 6 feet beyond the arc – he has that range. Like anyone, there’s going to be times when shots are questionable, but Stu has limitless range. I don’t understand the Alley-Oop comment. If one were to go back and watch the film, I would put the over/under on “poor Douglass lob attempts” at four. For the season. Is four turnovers throughout the season worth mentioning when evaluating a player?

    I don’t know, it just seems like some of these comments are a stretch. We’d all love Stu to be “more versatile” whatever that means in the Beilein system, though. Stu’s role is what it is. He’s the deep threat that spreads the floor and makes defenders step out on him. And he’s evolved into a viable point option.

    All that from a freshmen and I really don’t understand a grade that isn’t minimally a B+.

  • Giddings

    Pretty good breakdown. The one thing I might disagree with is the suggestion that Stu should work on adding another dimension to his game like being able to penetrate and get to the line. I love Stu’s basketball IQ and what he brings to the team but players are limited as to what they can do based on size/athleticism/talent.

    I would much rather have Stu work on ball handling and getting his 3-point percentage up to 40% than trying to develop some dribble drive moves to try to break down his defender. One thing that was painfully obvious with Zack and Stu is that they lack the athleticism to finish against defenders at the rim – think about how many times they had point-blank layups blocked.

    Ideally you’d love to have 5 guys on the floor who can all handle the ball, knock down jump shots, drop dimes, drive and finish, and score in the paint. But sometimes when you try to improve one aspect of a player’s game, another aspect suffers.

  • Ken in Vegas

    Rivals has a note regarding Michigan’s recent offer to Evan Smortcyz (sp?)with the heading “Decision Imminent?” There seems to be a buzz going around that we could nab this guy very soon or at least know he’s off the table.

  • With the limited number of scholarship openings that we have for 2010 I’m surprised that Smortcyz got an offer, but In Beilein we Trust. If he saw something he liked enough to jump the gun on him with Regan still on the board then I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

    Then again, I’m saying this without him having committed yet, so it is all speculation.

  • ryan

    Darius Morris, california state player of the year. That is from his own status on facebook… haha yes I’m friends with him.

  • gpsimms

    psu taking it to notre dame. bottom/middle teams in the big ten (sans IU) were clearly tougher than the bottom/middle of other conferences…

  • gpsimms
  • AG2

    Penn State is making this look easy compared to the way so many Big East played ND.

  • Josh B

    Stu’s quick release is certainly an asset, but he rushed his shot unnecessarily at times this year. When Stu gets his feet set, his shot is pure. If you look at some game film he probably shot 50-60% when his feet were set (22 feet, contested, open, whatever). When he doesn’t get his lower body squared-up, he struggles.

    It would be great if Stu could play some PG for us next year, 10-15 minutes per game sounds about right. When you look at what Duke did at PG this year, Stu has a similar skill set to Jon Scheyer. That may be too much to ask of a sophomore, but I think Stu has the game to step into that role.

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