Now What?

Dylan Burkhardt
on

Now that Kelvin Grady has decided to transfer it’s time to take another look at the roster and where everyone fits.

First, here’s one last word on Grady. There is no denying the fact that Kelvin was a great kid and a hard worker who gave his all to the program. Kelvin Grady was probably the most popular topic to debate in the comments over the second half of the season so I’m sure there are plenty of opinions out there but in the end he just wasn’t a good fit. His struggles on defense have been discussed at length but Kelvin also struggled in the half-court offensive set. The offense just didn’t seem to have the right flow or crispness that it did when it was running at its best. There is no denying the fact that Kelvin was a great ball handler, a solid shooter, and a human press break. In the end he didn’t have the length or grasp of Beilein’s system to be a contributor down the road. Hopefully he lands on his feet and makes the most out of his remaining eligibility at his next destination.

Roster

Here is a quick rundown of the roster by position. I broke people into four groups: Guards (1 and 2), Wings (3 and 4), Centers (5), and Hybrids (any combination of the first three) and the each group is roughly sorted from 1 to 2 and 3 to 4 (i.e. Darius Morris is more of a point guard than Matt Vogrich or Manny is a 3 while McLimans is a 4).

  • Guards (1/2): Darius Morris, Stu Douglass, Laval Lucas-Perry, Matt Vogrich
  • Wings (3/4): Manny Harris, Anthony Wright, Blake McLimans
  • Centers (5): Ben Cronin, Jordan Morgan
  • Hybrid: DeShawn Sims (5/4), Zack Novak (2-4), Zack Gibson (4/5), Eso Akunne (2/3)

The expectations for Darius Morris clearly jump up a notch, he’s going to have every opportunity to start from day 1 in the backcourt. The upside is that Darius was the gem of this year’s recruiting class and the one freshman out of the four that anyone would choose to throw into the fire. The downside is that learning Beilein’s offense is no cup of tea, Beilein has said himself that it’s almost impossible to predict which freshmen pick it up and which struggle. Regardless, Morris was brought in to be the point guard of this program and he is going to have a chance to prove himself.

Stu Douglass was the primary ball handled in spurts this year and I think he can shoulder some of the load. He is certainly not a traditional point guard but luckily this offense doesn’t rely on a point guard:

His team tried to run a conventional point-guard-driven offense, but was not having much success, so he listened to a suggestion from his uncle Tom Niland, a former coach at LeMoyne.

As Beilein explained: “He said: ‘Why don’t you play like we did back in the day, back in the ’40s and ’50s? Get two guards, put your two forwards in the corners, put in a high post and run some scissor-cuts off the post and spread the floor.’ ”

Stu is a good passer and this gives him a chance to get some more minutes per game even with the competition at the two (see more in Stu’s ‘report card’). LLP could also get a chance to run the point but I just don’t think he has a firm enough grasp on the offense at this point. Suddenly the backcourt doesn’t look quite as crowded but there are still plenty of options in Douglass, LLP, Vogrich, and Novak (who could play just about anywhere). It’s safe to say there will be plenty of competition this off season.

Recruiting

With Grady’s departure there are now three scholarships available for the class of 2010. This number could easily reach four or five depending on any more attrition — things like Manny Harris entering the NBA draft next year or Anthony Wright skipping his fifth year would each open another spot. The full year-by-year scholarship breakdown can be found here.

If Michigan doesn’t fill the remaining scholarship for the 2009 class by getting involved with Angus Brandt again (doubtful) or taking a transfer then I could see the open scholarship going to Eso Akunne for his freshman year. Beyond that it would most likely remain open for the class of 2010 and beyond.

The point guard position might become a bit of a higher priority in the class of 2010 but I think the top priorities remain at the wing and in the post. Ray McCallum would be a huge pick up but the odds look long there and would it be worth taking a less talented point guard other than McCallum when they are numerous options in the class of 2011? I guess we’ll have to judge by who Michigan is evaluating this spring and summer.

  • James

    If Beilein can’t get McCallum, then you still take a less talented PG because they’ll need someone to backup Morris, and when Morris graduates he can backup whatever stud ’11 PG recruit Beilein nabs.

  • hambone

    before the naysayers get to this thread, i think we should give grady some credit – and i think it was said on here earlier – – he didn’t let his frustrations with playing time, not fitting into the system, etc. distract the team or be a cause of discussion for the media, and for that we should be appreciative, he handled it like a man.

  • Jay

    This is an early present for the UM basketball fans in recruiting. With MSU scholarship strapped and some of the big names still floating around, this could help Beileins class and program exposure tremendously. It just comes down to will we be able to land that guy..or guys. Personally im excited, and cant wait to see what will happen.

    Dylan do you have anything on Jerrell Pratt out of Detroit Northwestern? 6’9 big with upside, more defensive minded right now. ESPN says UM, MSU, and Arizona he is considering for 2010.

  • Jay

    Don’t be surprised if Akunne runs some 1 in this offense.

  • JDS

    Do you guys still think Beilein hands out a redshirt for one of the freshman given that Grady is gone? I know there was speculation that Mclimans or Morgan may be redshirted…who are obviously not guards

  • eddie

    If Grady announced his plans a week ago, would stephen curry be a wolverine today?

  • Seth Curry? No. He wanted to go to the ACC, he’s at Duke. Good situation for him.

  • Im thinking D. Morris will be able to cause some disruption defensively with his length and athleticism. In addition we should match up better defensively with the bigger teams(MSU,OSU and Ill)after the addition of Cronin and Morgan. These 2 factors could elevate our overall D from good to very good.

  • ToBlav

    Any chance Eric Puls develops into a useable depth provider at the 4 and 5? I think he deserves to at least be listed behind the other 5’s, since he works hard as a practice player and as a walk on is donating a lot of time and effort to the program.
    I am pleased that Kelvin has recieved his due from most everyone.

  • AC1997

    It is great to have guys like Person, Aso, and Puls as practice players because they are more talented than the typical IM player who happens to be 6’5″. But other than maybe Aso I don’t see them being counted in the depth chart.

  • AG2

    I just saw this thing about former MSU and former Clipper Paul Davis on a reality show on Bravo. Apparently, he went on a date where he essentially got drunk at a bowling alley and then told the girl to clean his place.

    You can take the Spartan out of East Lansing…

  • AC1997

    To start out with, I’m a Grady fan. I know he was limited on defense and any 5’9″ player is going to be limited. But I think he will be missed. Contrary to Dylan’s analysis, I thought the offense at times ran better with him in the game. He was more of a threat to shoot, he would occassionally drive and dish, and he got the ball into the offensive front court quickly and consistently.

    I’d be interested to see an analysis of how the team performed with and without him playing significant minutes. But I digress…

    What’s disappointing is that in today’s age everyone thinks they deserve starters minutes in a perfect offense and you see so many people transfer looking for greener pastures rather than be a solid role player. Grady at worst would have been a back-up PG for two more years playing 12-15 minutes per game (in my opinion). At best he could have been the starter while Morris figures things out. Losing him will hurt in the short-term at least.

    As for giving out a scholarship to a lesser PG, I think you do that. Beilein has proven he likes gym rat over-achievers who can play a few minutes of smart basketball. I think you give a scholarship to a Dugan Fife type of PG who can play D, play 10-15 minutes off the bench, hit the occassional open shot, and be content with his role.

  • Matt

    I just hope someone can play the 5 spot and free DeShawn up. If DeShawn played 4, where he needs to play, we would be an even better player which is crazy to think. I think Gibson or Cronin can fill that role. Cronin’s a big body and that’s what we need. I don’t think Jordan Morgan will be ready to fill that spot and Blake McLimans is just too tiny. The kid has a great shot though. I see Beilein starting a more experienced lineup at the beginning of the year and then start to play the younger players.

    5 – Zack Gibson
    4 – DeShawn Sims
    3 – Manny Harris
    2 – Stu Douglass
    1 – Laval Lucas-Perry

    LLP is under estimated I think. I think he could be a very good point guard. He definitely has the talent and with one more year of experience I think he will slip into that role.

    The crazy thing about our team next year is that we will be very deep. If Vogrich, Morris and Morgan come into their own we will role 10 to 11 deep. I still have my questions about McLimans. He is gonna be an excellent player at Michigan but he needs to spend some time in the weight room. Everyone in the starting lineup has someone to come in for them and play quality minutes. And I’m also exicted about Eso Akunne. The kid’s got game.

  • I would hesitate to say that Gibson is more of a center and less of the “four” than Peedi in this offense. I think playing the 5 did wonders for Peedi’s offensive game.

  • Kevin

    What are you guys worried about… we’ve got the greatest PG since Rumeal Robinson!!!

    But really. As much as it’s a shame to see a good guy/player such as Kelvin go, I think we should be able to put things together. Douglass may be able to contribute up to 15 solid minutes. LLP maybe ten. And it was mentioned before, but I see Manny maybe picking up a few possessions at the point. If he can lower his dribble down a little bit he should be OK. However if Darius struggles or gets injured we may struggle a little.

  • Brick

    I can’t see Beilein starting LLP over Novak. I think Novak was third on the team in minutes down the stretch so he isn’t all of a sudden going to end up on the bench behind Gibson and LLP. We basically lost one starter in CJ. Who replaces him is the question. We either stay small and LLP replaces him or we go bigger and Gibson replaces him in a Stu, Novak, Harris, Sims and Gibson lineup.

  • I like Grady and wish him all the best.

    As for going forward, I think Beilein starts the season with a 1-2 of Stu and LLP. They give you all the 3-point threat you want, Stu gives you great passing and court vision, LLP can drive with the dual threat to pass or score (which Grady didn’t at his height), and both handle the ball decently.

    Morris comes along slowly behind these guys, and perhaps breaks in to the starting line-up later in the season.

    Obviously, Manny and Peedi are in the line-up all season. And I’d say Coach fiddles with Novak and Gibson alternately in the starting line-up UNTIL Cronin is ready. By the end of the season, Cronin will be starting and getting significant minutes.

    My two cents. Go Blue!

  • ohmigods

    “His team tried to run a conventional point-guard-driven offense,
    but was not having much success, so he listened to a suggestion
    from his uncle Tom Niland, a former coach at LeMoyne.”

    being related to the Niland brothers
    (source of the movie, Saving Private Ryan”)
    shows what a stand up man John Beilein is.
    http://www.canisius.edu/archives/niland.asp

    impressive