Play of the Year 2008-09

Dylan Burkhardt

Credit goes to the commenters on this one, the UMHoops 2008-2009 Play of the Year Voting. There are ten nominees, I was originally going to keep out longer stretches but I threw them in there anyways. I guess this is more or less a “moment of the year” rather than a specific play.

The nominees are sorted in chronological order and you can vote at the bottom of the post.

Stu Douglass Three Pointer versus UCLA

DeShawn Sims Backdoor Dunk versus UCLA

DeShawn Sims Buzzer Beater versus Savannah State

Zack Novak Back-to-Back Threes versus Duke

Manny Harris ‘Airplane Dunk’ versus Duke

CJ Lee and Laval Lucas-Perry Save Michigan Down the Stretch at Assembly Hall

Stu Douglass Steal and Over the Head Pass versus Purdue

Laval Lucas-Perry Three Point Barrage at Minnesota

DeShawn Sims Scores First Seven Baskets vs. Iowa

Manny Harris “And One” versus Clemson


View Results

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  • Kevin in GR

    Manny Harris “And One” versus Clemson

  • Tom Too

    Has to be the one on the biggest stage: Clemson & One….in Germany they would say “Clemson Und Ein.”

  • IS the poll working for you guys? I think I just fixed it.

  • Tom Too

    Yep…working now.

  • OK, good. For some reason it didn’t open. Even though I had everything scheduled to go live.

    Don’t know what the top play was but it was sure fun going through them and trying to figure it out… Fun year.

  • El Capitan

    Watching these plays reminds me of how many games in which we had to make furious comebacks… my vote is for the Peedi backdoor cut and dunk against UCLA. I just about jumped through the roof when that happened.

  • ScottGoBlue

    I voted for Stu with the hustle steal, the no-look pass to Merritt, and the finish-and-a-foul by Harris. Just a great play with lots of guys involved.

    But it’s hard to argue with the the backdoor cut by Sims in the UCLA game. Not simply because it was a good play (great pass by Anthony Wright, by the way). But also because of how that propelled the team into this improbable season. Go back and look at the expressions on the faces of Peedi and Manny as they get to the bench following the UCLA turnover and TO. It’s like, “That was awesome, and we’re about to beat UCLA! Can you believe this!?”

    Believe it.

  • Benjamin

    Sims backdoor slam was what started the year going- I totally agree with ScottGoBlue there. I loved watching all of these videos tho. What a great year it was!

    Thanks Dylan!

  • gpsimms

    The stu steal and pass was sweet, but we win that game without it. Deshawn’s start against Iowa was sweet, but I also think we win that game without it. Every other play up there could be the difference between being a second round NCAA tournament team and being in the NIT/being a one and done.

    It’s hard to choose. I chose Manny’s dunk simply because his airplane dance is something I will always remember. “Michigan is back, and I’m a beautiful bird!!” It’s something I’ll not forget.

  • AG2

    I don’t know which one is the winner, but with 10 plays like that, this was an incredible season.

  • JayRich

    I think you have to agree (and most people do if you look at the vote results) that the two biggest plays were the Sims backdoor slam and the Manny and one play.

    The Sims play took us over one hump and set up the season for success.

    The Manny play sets us for the future with recruiting and really put Michigan back on the national map with top recruits.

  • BL11

    WOW! What a year.

    If that doesn’t recharge your basketball battery I dont know what will. Thanks Dylan.

  • Justin C

    Great work Dylan – I could watch these all day. Can we start the new season tomorrow?

  • Giddings

    Awesome work Dylan – when I first threw out the idea, this is exactly what I imagined. (and I thought I was dreaming!)

    gpsimms makes a great point – it’s crazy to see how all these plays came together to ultimately get us into (and to the 2nd round of) the Tournament. I agree that the Stu pass was cool but not so crucial – the Peedi run against Iowa wasn’t in crunch time but it really put my nerves to rest that we were going to win that game and make the Tournament.

  • gooter9

    #1 is #1 for me. The backdoor wouldn’t have happened w/out Stu’s side-saddle 3. Showed at least one of the freshmen could step up in big situations.

    Regardless, that was fun watching all of those again. Can’t wait for next season.

  • The absence of Zack Gibson’s dunkage in this poll totally invalidates it. Honky Magic’s drive and slam against Illinois is the stuff of legends.

    A play of the year poll without Gibby is like trying to have a wedding reception without playing Lionel Richie. Just not going to cut it.

  • I was going to add the Gibson dunk versus Illinois when he took Tisdale baseline. But I figured it was a fringe play, and… I didn’t have any video.

  • Sam

    Watching Novak hit those back-to-back threes to help beat Duke still sends shivers down my back. Regardless, just about every single one of these plays was crucial to the outcome of the season.

  • If you really want to see the Gibson dunk (Also a nice Manny dunk)…

  • Adam

    These are awesome highlights! After each one I’d finish watching I thought to myself, wow what a huge play toward making the tournament. It was truly a fun and magical year that we were able to have so many big time plays. I remember all of these plays like they were yesterday! Too many good plays to really have a consensus #1. The UCLA game sure helped me to believe that this team could be special though.

  • Ryan F

    Wow. That…was…AWESOME. Thanks for that, Dylan. Man, what a fun year.

    As others have noted, just about every single play there was absolutely critical to making the Big Dance, perhaps minus DeShawn against Iowa and Stu’s steal and pass/Manny and-1 against Purdue (although this gets my vote as “coolest” play of the year). Seriously, without any ONE of those other plays we are probably battling it out with Penn St. for the NIT championship.

    I also voted for Sims’ backdoor dunk against UCLA, mostly for the same reasons others have noted…it is the one moment that is still burned into my mind, and the moment where Michigan Basketball emphatically re-announced itself as a force to be reckoned with…the moment hope re-entered the picture for a program and fanbase that had spent a decade in the dark.

  • Rob

    I love all of these, but no play was bigger than the Sims backdoor dunk vs. UCLA. By itself, the play exemplifies the transition from the 2008 season to this year’s NCAA run. From buying into Beilein’s backdoor-cut offensive system to DeShawn Sims’ breakout campaign to the never-say-die attitude this team embraced so wholeheartedly, “The Dunk” showed the nation that this program was on its way back.

    A better way to put it: if this play doesn’t happen and we lose to UCLA, do we beat Duke? Do we pull off the Savannah St. and Indiana comebacks? Do we manhandle Purdue at home and execute in the 2nd half against Minnesota late in the season to solidify our NCAA berth? If we get there, do we collapse against Clemson in the first round? This play gave the team a big win, but more importantly, it gave them the confidence that they could beat anyone in the country. It showed that our team, so eloquently put on Maize n Brew, was Risen:

  • Ken in Vegas

    This is like Michigan porn. I’m treating it similarly, just so you know. Gross.

    I voted for LLP’s barrage of 3’s against Minnesota. I felt that every other big play from the year was on the line here. Those plays helped us get into the NCAA picture, but if we didn’t win this game on the road, they would all be wasted. When we were down by 10, I started to feel an overwhelming sense of dread. I just didn’t see us recovering in a hostile environment, and I literally wanted to cry. The comeback, was crucial to LLP making every one of those 3’s. He misses one, we lose. He didn’t miss, and that win locked up what we had been foaming at the mouth to achieve for 10 long years. Thank you LLP, thank uuuuuuuu, thank goddd for uuuuuu the wind beneath myyy wingsssss.

  • Andy

    Sims’ dunk was definitely my highlight of the year. I can still picture sitting in my dark living room while my wife and 10 month old were asleep and jumping out of my chair, scaring the dog, and trying not to wake anyone up.

    Another good one not on the list was Manny’s corner three at the end of the road Minnesota game. I scared the dog outside on that one too…

  • I think it’s tough to call the Gibby baseline drive a fringe play. IIRC it was a critical move in a close game. Maybe four minutes left against a should-be-ranked team and Michigan only up two. Gibby’s baseline move and subsequent dunk put Michigan ahead for good and just electrified Crisler. We needed that win, it was a crucial moment in the game, Illinois was making a push, and who brought the thunder? White Moses.

    Granted I’m biased, but in terms of game critical points and sheer bringing the funk, it’s the second/third best dunk of the year.

  • I concur with Kevin in Las Vegas. We absolutely had to have that Minnesota game or that Clemson game would not have happened. LLP saved our season there. Although the same argument can be made for the Duke and UCLA games too. Tough call. Still, thanks Dylan. This post is a great rehash of a great season! Got pumped up just watching them again!

  • Dylan:

    Thanks. This was great. Sure brings back good memories. Can’t wait for next season.

  • Steiner Blue

    Thanks for posting these vids, Dylan. A great reminder of the many moments that made this season so special.

    All of these moments were crucial to the season being a success, but my favorite is probably Novak’s back-to-back 3’s vs. Duke. Those shots rallied us to a watershed moment for this program; a signature win, on national TV, vs. DUKE. Plus, I was at the game and I still get the same chills down my spine whenever I see it.

  • UMDC

    Love the poll, but I had to bring this up here….

    How long is USC going to be able to paid their players before the NCAA does something?

    See this story on OJ Mayo and Tim Floyd:

  • michiganman777

    I picked CJ Lee/LLP at Indiana. This wasnt the best “play” of this list by a long shot but I think its the most important because we dont dance if we lose to Indiana. The best play would have to be the backdoor cut imo.

  • ToBlav

    These are great. I think Stu’s steal and over the shoulder pass should have gotten more praise because it is very heads-up and one of a kind. You see back doors and dunks all the time. Not to say it should have won because there are other valid considerations but it is something we may never see again.

  • The current top three were also all in my top three. Sims’ backdoor cut is perhaps the prettiest play, and could get the nod for that reason; Manny’s “and one” sealed the deal in the biggest triumph of the season, and carried a whiff of MJ greatness. But I voted for Laval’s three-pointers against Minnesota because without them Michigan’s season looks pretty different.

  • TrueBlueinTexas

    Thanks for putting this together. How about a little video montage of each players greatest moments? Next year you could include it in their report card. Seemingly everyone on the board gets recahrged watching these. It would be a good way of highlighting how important everyone was to an improved season.

    My vote goes to Stu against UCLA, it was such a crucial moment at a time when no one knew what we would be in for this season.

  • ZRL

    So I was at an event in DC last night where Beilein, Rodriguez, Berenson, and Martin all spoke. Martin said he ran into Ben Howland a couple of months ago and asked him if he wanted to renew the series and Howland said “they’re isn’t a chance in hell I’m scheduling Michigan again while John Beilein is the coach!”.

    I’ve got a couple of other tidbits from speaking with Beilein one-on-one that I’ll post later.

  • budapest

    You should call the play “Wright Backdoor to Sims against UCLA.” That play doesn’t happen unless Wright makes a perfect one-handed bounce pass from a difficult angle…

  • aaron

    Wow what a season, but didnt manny hit a huge three against clemson towards the4 end or am i thinking of another game? or am i just making something up?

  • He had a huge one against Minnesota… I’m putting together a list of the few plays that I missed and going over the results of the poll.

  • I don’t know, after looking again, I may change to the SSU game where there was a steal and a DUNK at the buzzer and then the winner in OT. That was a really cool ending to a game and the combo is pretty hard to beat!

  • Chris in NC: A steal and a MISSED DUNK at the buzzer.

  • Bluebufoon

    I voted for the Sims dunk following the backdoor cut and bounce pass from Anthony Wright versus UCLA because that game got the proverbial ball rolling but more importantly I loved all the clips because with each one you can see this team growing and improving.

    Thanks for accumulating and linking all of the clips.

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  • Wow. This is the most enjoyable post on any topic that I’ve read in quite a while. I’m looking forward to next year’s video/poll already…

    Will fwd widely.

    I voted for Harris’ dunk. Mostly every other play allowed us to get there – how could I chose between them? Duke/UCLA were also bigger than just this year, but helped put UM on the map.

    But vs. Clemson – that was big time. It moved us to Round 2. And just to remember, Clemson was on lone of the sickest runs and UM on one of the most agonizing droughts I remember. I was so stressed that last possession…

    And then Manny. Dunk. Airplane dance. Sweet victory in the playoffs and the promise of another game.

  • jmblue

    AWESOME post. So many great choices. I ended up picking the backdoor play but there were so many others that were up there. By the way, very cool to see that it’s gotten over 800 votes. This blog has arrived!

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  • Bob Cobb

    The link to the videos don’t work anymore. What happened?

  • Vimeo deleted them. I’ll work on getting them back up somewhere else.