Commit Diary: Evan Smotrycz (2/4/10)

Dylan Burkhardt

Here’s another update from 2010 commitment Evan Smotrycz. The senior has been playing well of late after recovering from a calf injury. Smotrycz has scored 15 points in a win over Exeter and added 14 versus Worcester. The school website recapped his play versus Worcester: “great all-around game, rebounding and making plays for his teammates”.

Here’s the latest commit diary:

I can’t believe its February. As it stands now we have 8 games left before the playoffs, and an overall record of 16-8. Our coaches tell us frequently that this is the start of the best years of our lives and we need to take advantage while we can. That reality is starting to set in, but we need to finish the season strong and obtain some good momentum come playoff time.

I am coming off a calf injury that is now pretty much fully healed and I am able to play comfortably. Since we came back from Christmas break we have played a lot of games in a short amount of time. We had a good road win at Worcester Academy, who has a real good scorer in Billy Baron. Billy is going to be playing for his dad, and with my teammate Kyle Cain next year at the University of Rhode Island. He gave us some trouble but thankfully we took care of business and came out with the win.

We beat Phillips Exeter at home tonight by 40 and have a couple more games that we should win coming up. It’s hard to believe but it already starting to get warmer (anything above 30 is warm to me at this point), and we are going to have to push through injuries and fatigue and finish the regular season with some more wins. With the departure of a few guys, for various reasons, we are now down to 10 players. Despite of that everyone else has picked up the slack and it doesn’t seem like we have missed a beat. We are in a good position right now and just need to stay sharp and take advantage of the little time we have left.

  • JimC

    I don’t have time to read Dylan’s info yet, but


    JB said on the radio yesterday that this year’s team is the smallest lineup he’s ever had.

  • CraigP

    Well it is not going to be any taller next year as we lose Sims 6’8” and Gibson 6’10”. I guess if we replace them with Morgan 6’8” and McClimans 6’10”, and Smotrycz contributes as a true freshman, we will be adding another 6’8” player. Even so, that will mean that any player on the team who is 6’8” or taller will have never played a single minute of college basketball heading into next season. Yikes.

  • AG2

    Size is size, CraigP. If Evan is half of what the recruiting services say he is, he’s already better than Gibson. Plus he’s a true PF which ads size up front right away and lets Novak play the 2.

    Plus, Hardaway is decent size for a guard and has length.

    On top of that, I was listening here in Lansing to AM730 (An MSU station, I know) and they were saying that realistically, other than Evan Turner, its not likely that any other Big Ten junior is draftable right now.

  • Michael P

    Novak at the two??? I feel like his lack of quickness would hurt defensively at the two, would rather see him at the three…

    Definitely though, one of the younger 6’8+ guys will have to step up next year for Michigan to be a good team, between Smotrycz McLimans and Morgan. U of M really needs longer/quicker perimeter defenders and better help-side D.

  • Erik

    Similar to this year, it will be interesting to see what Beilein does with Novak next year. I think he’s too good to keep on the bench, but he obviously isn’t working at the 4. I don’t think they’d necessarily put him at the 2 because there is already a log jam there. You could have him at the 3 behind Manny, but he’d lose a lot of minutes…I’m trying to think of what the best lineup would be.

  • Beast1530

    AG2, Novak’s game is not suited for the 2 position. He is better off at the 3 rather than the 2 IMO.

  • AG2

    So would you put Hardaway at the 2?

  • Michael P

    Manny Back:
    1 – Darius Morris
    2- Tim Hardaway
    3 – Manny Harris
    4- Zach Novak
    5 – Evan Smotrycz
    (Me being pessimistic and saying Ziegler goes elsewhere)

    Manny Gone:
    1 – Darius Morris
    2 – Stu Douglass
    3 – Zach Novak
    4 – Evan Smotrycz
    5 – Jordan Morgan
    (Douglass for Hardaway for exp. if Manny was gone)

  • Jimmy

    I see Novak staying at the 3/4 utility spot throughout his entire career. As we recruit more size he’ll be able to drift the the perimeter (more effectively, and more often) but I think his niche is as a do-everything undersized forward.

    Manny Back:
    1. Morris (Lucas-Perry)
    2. Douglass (Vogrich)
    3. Harris (Hardaway)
    4. Novak (Smotrycz)
    5. Morgan/Mclimans

    Obviously, this is without Horford or Zeigler. And who knows, maybe Dumars or Akunne end up contributing.

  • Evan

    My guess even though we may need Horfords size he may be redshirted. If he gets about 225 by the start of the year he may not be redshirted. I think Novak may start for the beginning of the year I see him coming off the bench later in the year.

  • fresh

    horford will have to put on some serious size if he expects to contribute next year he is really really skinny in the upper body

  • One benefit of Beilein’s job security: he can plan for the future, redshirt Horford. Michigan is not going to be better next year, even if Manny stays. Both Beilein and RR are long-term gambles; thank gosh, they’re good human beings (IMHO).

  • ToBlav

    Disagree with the statement we’ll not be better next year. True we may not but if the guys gell it could be a whole different year. In fact, I think it is safe to say it will be a different year, and not that unlikly to be better. Preseason picks don’t have that good of a record.

  • Deacon Blues

    @Jimmy: Agreed–Morgan/McLimans are going to have to hold down the 5. Hope they’re ready.

    By the way, it’s interesting that Tubby Smith is starting to catch some flak. The local paper hit him pretty hard today for the Gophers’ lack of progress.

    Minn and Mich are both three years into a rebuild and have had similar success/disappointment. Unless I’ve missed it, though, the media haven’t said word one about Beilein, placing the blame on the players for lacking leadership. Beilein’s teams haven’t had legal/academic issues like Smith’s, so there is that, but the two coaches’ performance and compensation are much the same.

  • Next yr: Yup, it’ll be a different yr. And I will be happy if the team is better. Shocked if it’s markedly so.

  • AG2

    I think Tubby’s problem is that he doesn’t recruit many guards. He’s still using Dan Monson’s guards isn’t he?

  • Erik

    I think the difference with Tubby is that he doesn’t have huge wins like Beilein has over Duke and UCLA (not to mention the NCAA tourney win). Also, everyone understands that Beilein’s system is unique and requires certain players. It will take time to get those players. Furthermore, as you said Tubby has off the court issues to deal with, while Beilein runs a clean ship. Also, Beilein got his team to the NCAA tournament for the first time in 10+ years. Our expectations were lower to begin with, and we probably have more patience as well because we’ve been down so long. Overall though, Beilein made HUGE progress last year and regressed this year. Tubby hasn’t really shown much progress to me.

    Regarding the lineup next year, I was really hoping to see something more like:

    1. Morris (Douglas)
    2. Vogrich (Novak, LLP, Dumars)
    3. Manny (Novak)
    4. Smotz (McLimans)
    5. Morgan (McLimans)

    Admittedly I have lost all hope for LLP. I thought maybe last year was a tough transition year, but this year he’s just shown me that he’s not going to produce offense. I think we’d be better off having Novak play some 2 if Vogrich isn’t hitting his shots, or even possibly Dumars or Douglas. I’d just go with the hot shooter in the 2 spot

    At the 3 I don’t think anyone but Novak can back up Manny. However, Manny is going to log major minutes, so Novak could slide over a little.

    At the 4/5, I thought McLimans was considered more of a 4 than a 5?

  • Some good talk in here.

    First off, I wouldn’t put Dumars in the plans anywhere. Akunne maybe.

    The fact that the only bigs on the roster next year are Morgan, McLimans, and Smotrycz is a bit scary. That’s why you basically have to take Horford, and I think you just throw him into the mix at that point.

    I also still see Novak as more of a 3 and a 4. He’ll still play the four at times because, as mentioned above, we have all freshman playing the 4 and 5.

    Can Douglass, LLP, or Vogrich make a big jump? We’ll just have to see. Hardaway likely figures in at the 2 or 3 depending on what happens with Harris and Zeigler.

  • I don’t want to be too much of a downer, but don’t hype up or get too excited about Smotrycz and Hardaway as freshman next year in the Big Ten.

    As high school players they are rated just about the same as Vogrich and Morris were when they were in H.S. and the latters haven’t actually been stellar this year to say the least.

  • Not trying to hype. But they will be in the mix for playing time next year with the young roster.

  • Brad

    I just got a sneaky feeling Hardaway is gonna be a gamer….I have nothing to base this on, but my opinion is he is immediate help..

  • Junderground

    I highly doubt McLimans will be an impact player at all next year, and may not ever be. Everything I’ve heard is that he just doesn’t have skills other than jump shooting–he wasn’t even a star in h.s.

  • AG2

    ESPN seems really high on Carlton Brundidge. If we could also add either Plumlee or Amir Williams in 2011 it would ad some serious credibility to the direction of this program.

  • Deacon Blues

    At least there will be more options on the perimeter next year. This season, it doesn’t matter how badly Douglass/LLP shoot; we’re stuck with them. Next season shouldn’t be like that.

    It’s so critical, though, that Morgan is ready to play — not just take up space, but play. A major problem this season’s team has is that too few guys are capable of scoring inside the arc. Harris and Smotrycz can’t be the only ones.

  • Alex

    I hope this team shows what they’re capable of the rest of this season and beyond. Go Blue!

  • Looking on the dark side for just a second: M had 2 NBA-caliber players on its roster this year and has not been able to get it done. Never forgetting that they’re likable kids, that speaks to what a disappointment the rest of the squad has been.

    Down to 1/zero players of superior talent, I don’t see great improvement, though better shooting could keep them in lots of games. I like the idea of Horford in the 1-3-1 down the road, though. And I’m serious in saying that Beilein’s job security can pay real dividends.

  • JimC

    Mattski i like your last point:
    Job security pays dividends. I mean that coaches and programs MUST have stability in order to garner consistent winning. There are exceptions to every rule of course (John Calipari) but let’s not go there!

  • ryan

    I am acctually hoping Manny leaves… though I do not think it would be smart for him too according to draft status. I feel that he brings down the team morale and is not much of a leader at all.. He forces too much and if he is off, which has been alot this year, only hurts our offense.
    Without him THis is what I see it as.
    Morris will start at the point.
    I also see Hardaway coming in and making some noise. I will put him starting at the 2.
    Stu Will back up both of them.
    Novak will start at the 3, unless we get Zeigler. If we get Zeigler, Novak will back up the 3 and 4, still likely getting 20 points a game. If we do not get Zeigler then Vogrich will be the back up.
    At the 4 I see Smotz starting with Mclimans backing him up.
    Morgan will start at the 5.
    If Horford comes than he will take Mclimans spot as back up 4 and 5.

  • ryan

    Are team will be incredibly young. If that were the starting lineup it would be 4 Freshman and a sophmore. That is very unlikely now that I think about that.

  • Sam

    Anyone that thinks that Hardaway or Vogrich will start over Stu or Novak is simply ridiculous. These guys have played huge minutes their first two years in college, have a lot of experience, know the offense, have good intangibles, and many other things, and you think a freshman and a little-used sophomore are going to take over for them? To say that Novak will still “likely get 20 minutes a game” is like saying Deshawn Sims will likely not be back next season. If you think Novak is going to average less than 30 minutes a game next year, you have no idea what you are talking about. I really hope that Vogrich really improves and that Hardaway is all he’s been hyped up to be, but even if this is the case, neither will start next year. Smotrycz will be the only true freshman with a chance to start next year, unless we get Zeigler and Manny leaves. Even then, I don’t think there is a great chance that he does.

    I also read in article linked on here a couple weeks back that McLimans has been practicing exclusively at the 5. He will likely start at center and either Smotrycz, Novak, or Morgan at the 4. If I had to guess, here are my lineups for next year:
    Manny stays:
    PG Darius Morris
    SG Stu Douglass
    W Manny Harris
    F Zack Novak
    C Blake McLimans

    Manny goes:
    PG Darius Morris
    SG Stu Douglass
    G/F Zack Novak
    F Evan Smotrycz
    C Blake McLimans

  • Giddings

    I think it’s funny that no one has LLP in their starting lineups for next year. I believe he and Peedi are the only players to start every single game this year, correct?

  • Jeff

    Sam, I think you nailed it.

  • fresh

    beilien is going to play whoever gives them the best chance of winning……experience may matter for certain situations or certain games, but when its all said and done if freshmen can contribute more then they are going to be playing………eventually novak has to not be starting and playing the 4…………the kid cannot start all 4 years at the 4 and expect michigan to win consistently…..thats my opinion……..this is not beileins system and as much as novak hustles, things have to change in order for michigan to get better and start winning consistently

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