Sunday Night News & Notes

Dylan Burkhardt

Some notes on Jon Horford, Tim Hardaway Jr., whether Michigan is taking too many three point shots, and Manny Harris’ NBA stock.

Too Many Threes?

The most frequent comments, online or in person, that I have heardabout Michigan basketball these days is that they take too many threes and need to pound the ball inside. Others scratch their heads and wonder what happened to all of the backdoor cuts that made John Beilein famous.

The first question that has to be answered is whether Michigan is actually taking more threes this year than previous Beilein teams.

2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
3PA/FGA 40.1 45.9 51.4 49.0 40.7 47.9 42.4
3P% 36.1 36.0 34.8 37.4 31.2 33.4 27.8

Michigan isn’t shooting many more threes this year. The painful number here is just the 27.8% that Michigan is shooting from three point range, a number that ranks 308th in Division 1 basketball and 2nd worst among major conference programs (only UCLA is worse). There is simply no way that this team can continue to shoot that poorly from three point range. I would think you would be hard pressed to find many teams that win games consistently while shooting less than 30% from long range, regardless of how many three point shots they take.

Obviously, Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims need to get shots inside the arc. However, they are really the only two inside threats on the roster and they take their fair share of shots inside. Every three point shot they take is not a bad shot because when either of them are truly an inside-outside threat, they are nearly impossible to guard.

The three point shooting problem compounds because Beilein’s offense relies on spacing to work properly. By extending defenses to the three point line, Michigan’s offense not only creates space for backdoor cuts, it provides Manny Harris with driving lanes to create.

When the three point shots aren’t falling, there is no reason for a team to extend their defense. Boston College was able to sit back in their compressed defense for the entire game because Michigan simply couldn’t make them pay for it.

Recruiting Notes

Tim Hardaway Jr.

Palmetto has gotten off to a rough 0-2 start but Tim Hardaway Jr. is certainly producing. After scoring 48 points in the season opener, Hardaway scored 28 in Palmetto’s 45-53 loss to Killian. It’s still early in the year but Tim appears to be taking his game to the next level, shooting the ball well and carrying his team.

horfordJon Horford, picture from

Jon Horford

Jon Horford hasn’t been discussed much as a serious recruit for Michigan’s class of 2010, however it appears that it’s time for that to change. In a recent Spartan Mag article ($), Horford not only mentions a Michigan offer but names them his leader (he also mentions a Michigan offer in a recent Scout article $).

Michigan’s lack of size has been discussed ad nauseam around these parts so it probably comes as a relief to see Michigan recruiting the 6-foot-9 center. Horford would bring an active motor along with legit size and shot blocking ability. His offensive game is still in development but his older brother Al’s was at this point as well.

There is obviously some history behind the Horford’s relationship with Michigan but the entire Michigan staff has changed since Al’s recruitment. This is certainly one to watch.

Recruiting Roundups? It’s getting to be that time. With high school basketball season tipping off in Michigan, I’ll start to get back to weekly recruiting roundups.

Manny Harris & The NBA

Fran Fraschilla broke down Manny Harris’ game as it relates to the NBA (insider). There aren’t a lot of surprises here as Fraschilla calls Harris one of the most complete players in the country after Evan Turner. Fraschilla points out the obvious, that Manny needs to start hitting three point shots to become the complete package.

Harris has a reasonably consistent mid-range jump shot that should translate to the NBA level. His 3-point accuracy must improve if he wants to make himself a complete scorer, though. He left many of his missed 3s in Orlando short of the rim, which is often a result of fatigue.

Like most juniors with his numbers, Harris may be thinking about entering the draft again but there is no guarantee that he’ll be selected early. Because he is a young junior, having just turned 20 years old in September, there’s more room for improvement in his game and he’s in the right place and with the right coach for that to happen.

Nothing earth shattering here, but it’s interesting to see what a national guy says about Manny’s NBA chances. The one thing he needed to do to cement his draft position was improve on his three point shooting and that obviously hasn’t happened. To his credit, Manny is shooting an impressive 56.7% on two point field goals this year compared to the 46.5% he shot on two point field goals last year.

Evan Turner Injured

Crushing news for Ohio State, Evan Turner fractured a vertebra on a dunk attempt (video) and will miss the next 8 weeks. This is obviously a crushing. Ohio State will certainly have to regroup, they play at Michigan on January 3rd.

Evan Turner was playing simply terrific basketball, averaging 18.5 points, 5.9 assists, and 11.4 rebounds per game and carrying Ohio State. It’s terrible to see him go down like that. I believe Robbie Hummel had a similar injury last year and it was painful to watch the way that it damaged his sophomore season.

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  • hambone

    glad to see that evan turner looks to be able to have a full, albeit lengthy recovery; if he comes down a little sooner on his head/neck, things could be much worse for him…

  • Harry

    that turner fall was scary. best of luck to evan on his rehab

  • Paul F.

    Wow that’s scary. My best to Evan and here’s to a safe and healthy return.

  • YpsiTuckyBoy

    Not to be mean, but Horford is 6’9″? He looks about 5’6″ and 130 lbs. I hope there’s some muscle, at least the sinewy sort, that I just can’t see from the picture.

  • He’s skinny but his height and length seems legit. There are several videos over on Rivals that are worth checking out.

  • Cory Starkey > Jon Horford in scrimmage on Saturday. Starkey’s a 6-7 junior from Petoskey and one of fastest rising players in the state, being recruited on the high end by Butler, Wisconsin. He’s drawn comparisons to Matt Steigenga , Lavell Blanchard and Andy Poppink (who was a forward from Tecumseh overshadowed in the same class as Webber, Rose, Voshon Lenard and Theron Wilson; went on to star on Stanford teams that were ranked and won games in the NCAA tournament).

  • JB

    i think that’s an old picture of him

  • Erik

    I want to say I love Beilein and his offense. I think it’s really fun to watch and I enjoy the back door cuts. HOWEVER…doesn’t it seem like a high risk/low reward offense when you compare the complexity and learning curve it takes to be successful versus the fact that a poor shooting night stops it? At least with traditional offenses if your outside shot isn’t falling, you can drive and dish or run some screens…I guess when Beilein was hired I was uneducated about this offense, but I don’t like the fact that even if the opponents give you an ideal circumstance (uncontested 3s) and you are operating the offense successfully you STILL can be unsuccessful by simply not making your shots.

    I don’t know…I guess I’m starting to have doubts. Not about the program overall, but that this offense needs to be more flexible and maybe there needs to be some more set plays and screens to free up easy baskets from inside the arc. I look at MSU and Izzo has literally hundreds of set plays. Many times it looks like UofM has NO set plays, they just read and react. Maybe a few set plays could free up some folks and get some confidence back. I like give and gos and double screens…there has to be a way to expand the playbook into some other areas until the long ball starts falling.

  • JayRich

    With Horford, are we assuming that we will have extra scholarships next year. I have to imagine we are holding onto one for Trey Z. That would technically be all our spots. So we must be assuming that either Manny leaving frees one up or (PLEASE) Anthony Wright won’t get a 5th year.

  • JayRich

    Any word on Amir Williams and who he is favoring for class of 2011? Seems like that is the big man we need to put a lot of our recruiting stock in.

  • Tom, Too.

    Perfect Dylan. Really insightful and especially worth repeating is the fact without threes being made, there are no backdoors because there is no “rushing out” to deny a hot shooter the ball. Interesting comparison on the number of threes. Good stuff.

  • Dylan: Could our recruitment of Horford be related to the uncertainty over Cronin’s recovery? In other words, if it is determined that Cronin will never recover enough to contribute (which seems to be a legitimate concern at this point) could UM take him off the roster and sign someone like Horford in the spring? What are the rules for a medical casualty like Cronin might become? Could he be covered under some other type of scholarship?

  • Justin C

    TK – it seems like that is a possibility. If Cronin cannot recover, then he will be given the option of remaining a student on full scholarship, but his slot would open up for another person to fill on the team.

    I suspect this part of the reason to look this strongly at Horford – in the few minutes of action in the BC game, Cronin barely got off the ground on rebounds and blocks. He’s not healthy.

  • Tom, Too.

    I think it is a great move to recruit Horford. We had a solid duo with Jordan and Ben, but now Jordan will probably be able to go, but Ben is a disaster right now. Out of all of the early season developments thus far, his limp is the worst. The poor offense, defense, and shooting will straighten themselves out, but Ben’s hip…..

  • maxwell’s demon

    I for one am pretty scared about our post play next year. What if one of the red shirts doesn’t pan out or gets injured? What if Cronin never plays? So it comes down to JB’s confidence in Trey’s recruitment. It seems the general consensus around here has been Trey or bust and save for 2011 if we don’t get him, but I would seriously consider Horford if there are any doubts about Trey.

  • I don’t think Horford and Trey will have an effect on each other. Michigan will take both if they want, and the kids want to come. Just like they would have for Prather+Zeigler.

  • JimC

    Dylan good info on the 3’s. We can’t argue those facts.

    By the way, sasn’t there a stretch last season when the team was missing a lot of 3’s?

  • GBBound

    With regard to the number of 3’s Michigan shoots:

    1. List the # of Final Four participants in the last 10 years who have shot at or above Michigan’s current rate of 42.4% 3PA/FGA?

    Answer: ZERO

    2. List the # of NCAA Tournament teams in the last 4 years who have shot at or above Michigan’s current rate of 42.4% 3PA/FGA?

    Answer: 14 (out of 256), none of which were higher than a 5 seed.

  • GregGoBlue

    List the number of legit Princeton Offense teams that can recruit at a high level with a head coach with 30 years of experience.

  • Tom, Too.

    Maybe JB should go after TWO big men. What factory does Bo Ryan shop at??? We need a couple of those knuckleheads.

  • Jimmy

    I like Anthony Wright as a person and think he’s made solid contributions over the past 3 years all things considered. But his contributions can be very easily replaced and I would be very disappointed to see him granted a 5th year. We could get a lot more out of his scholarship by giving it to somebody else.