Wednesday Links

Dylan Burkhardt

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  • There’s a role for Novak… I just don’t think it’s 30 minutes per game at the four.

  • lansingrage

    If you read some blogs on the UCLA fan sights they really don’t mention anything about trey z only Ray Mac. I feel like he’s going to sign with us or Central . UCLA has depth at guard and sf .
    If he comes here he start right away most likely. But if he goes to central he could be a superstar in the mac and score 25 a game .
    Its a toss up .

  • fresh

    @ jimmy…….i also watched every single game this last season and if you think novak should be playing any more than 10-15 mins than you are extremely mistaken……………hes way to small to defend the 4 and way to slow to defend the 1,2, or 3………he has NO/ZERO offensive game other than shooting threes, he cant create shots for anybody else and his passing is not impressive………..hustle doesnt mean anything when it doesnt lead to winning………….saying he was making plays is maybe the most ridiculous thing i have read on this………other than an occasional offensive rebound and a 3 here and there i dont recall him making any significant or good plays the entire year, definitely Zero plays that made me say wow this kid is good…………the most disturbing part is that he IS getting all this playing time……….my opinion is that he does extremely little for this team

  • fresh

    and as long as he is either starting or getting significant mins michigan will not be a good team unless the other 4 guys playing are all stars……..

  • JRose

    Fresh-I think you undervalue the total package that Novak brings to the table. His hustle and leadership may lead to more wins if the shooting improves, his included. He may flourish at the 3, imagine if he doesn’t have to bang all game in the post…his shooting should improve as he may not be as worn down. He also seems to have a high bball IQ, which is hard to teach. All in all I think he is a 28-30 min a game guy. I really think playing the 4 took a lot out of him. Not ttrying to argue, just think that he is more valuable than you give him credit.

  • JRose

    One more thing, I also think he got so many minutes due to lack of depth. With more talent, albeit young, there should be more options to rotate in…just a thought.
    The Kaminski kid sounds like a Coach B guy, 6-7 and can shoot!

  • Fresh: I too look forward to the day when Novak comes in off of the bench. One of the mistakes I think we make, though–this year has taught me–is assuming the way a player looks today is how he’ll look tomorrow. Several of these guys really looked more promising to me a year ago than they did this year–call it a sophomore slump or whatever, but both Stu and Zack sometimes made you wonder: where’s all the promise I saw in the guy last year?

    This is why coaches and GMs make the big bucks, but putting those puzzle pieces together–sometimes doing it a few times to get it right–is what it’s all about. How many times have you seen an NBA player blossom when he goes to another team?

    Don’t be quite so down on Novak. As a sparkplug off the bench he may one day light up Crisler arena, give the team a nice lift.

  • fresh

    hope the day is sooner than later he proves me wrong……but he just doesnt have the ability to become a great player……ill give him that maybe playing the 4 wore him down but hes far inferior athletically than most people he will be playing with or against

    hopefully his shooting gets much better by next season but him proving me wrong about anything else will be miraculous

  • steve

    there is no way we can compete in the big 10 with a 6’4 4. NO WAY. with that said, beilein’s infatuation with novak will continue as he starts and we will continually be beaten down by bigger teams. i think ziegler commits (manny talks him into it) and you’re lookin at a Darius, Stu, Trey, Novak, and Morgan/McLimans 5. Don’t see Evan taking over a 2 year starters spot just because he’s bigger. Which is sad. Beilien better get it together on the recruiting front or he won’t see the 2011 class graduate. period.

  • lansingrage

    Novak ans Stu are perfect fit !!!!!!!!!!!

    for a team in the horizon league (tho i do respect their heart)

  • Giddings

    Novak in the Big Ten is like Carl Landry in the NBA – it’s obvious that raw talent/athleticism/size wise, he is a step below what you’d want to see on your team. Therefore you “hope” that other more talented/athletic/bigger guys can overtake him.

    But when you put them all in game situations, it turns out that Novak and Landry types end up offsetting the talent/athleticism/size gap with a clear advantage in intelligence, hustle, and heart. The other guys may have more POTENTIAL based on their talent/athleticism/size but until they put it together with intelligence/hustle, they may not produce the results in games that Novak/Landry types might. This is why Carl Landry fell to the 2nd round in the NBA Draft (which is all about potential these days) but went on to nearly lead the league in PER (efficiency rating) the next year in addition to leading the Rockets deeper in the playoffs.

  • section 30, row 28

    I can’t believe the group think going on here with Novak. No way we would have made the tournament last year without him. By the end of that season you would hold your breath when he was off the court.

    While Novak’s offense was woefully inconsistent this year (he wasn’t alone) and he was overmatched at the 4, I think he earned his minutes. How many times did we get a rebound that he tipped out to someone else? Or a tip in because he was in the right position inside? Or a defensive stop because he was in the right spot? OK, he is not tall enough for the 4, and maybe not quick enough for the 3. But I would rather have Novak with those athletic limitations and his hard nosed leadership than a guy like Courtney Sims, who was gifted athletically but often played like he didn’t care.

  • AG2

    I think the reason people were nervous when Novak was off the floor was because there was nobody at all behind him. This time we’ll hopefully have enough guys to go 10 deep and that won’t be an issue.

    But once again, the real issue here is what Dylan said: Novak will play…but we don’t *need* him to play the 4 anymore.

  • fresh

    you cant compare novak and carl landry……….landry is in the NBA plus he is 6’8″ plus and can do may more on the court than novak, not to mention that he had the capability of dominating games in college…… novak wouldnt be able to play for the team the harlem globetrotters beat up on, on the greatest day of his life……there is no real potential in novak……..he should be able to shoot better that is his only potential

    i have and will never hold my breath when hes off the court because that means somebody who can possibly create their own shot and is taller will be or was playing

  • AG2

    The NCAA is now one step closer to making the field 96 teams. If it happens, what do you guys think will be our chances of making it next year?

  • Jay

    ESPN just showed about 5 early entries, with Manny on the board as not hiring an agent. They also said he should come back. As long as he doesnt go forward with that, and as more and more early entries throw their name in the pot it looks like a great chance for him to be back next year. Unless he goes to the camps and blows the doors off everybody. It’s nothing wrong with going, and finding out where you grade out at. Just keep the agents away please!!!

  • Jsham

    @Fresh I agree with you about novak he needs to not play the four and come of the bench for a specialist role. Really I just want the team to win and get back to being a major player in college basketball again and I think as long as novak is at the 4 we are in trouble. And for you people that say he has started for 2 years now if there is a viable option at the four then he needs to hit the pine. I like novak but he is a role player not a starting 4.

  • I would be absolutely shocked if Manny returned. Regardless of what ESPN says, the odds of him coming back are extremely extremely long.

  • Conrad

    manny said that he hasn’t hired an agent YET because he has just started the process of looking into it. he was asked if declaring for the draft meant he was for sure not going to be a UM player next year and he said “yes”

  • Sam

    Yeah Jay, listen to the press conference. It’s pretty clear that Manny will not be back. When asked just to clarify “there is no chance you will be returning to Michigan”, he said “No, not now” in kind of a somber voice. He’s not coming back.

    And for all these Novak haters, I don’t understand. Sure, I agree that he is very undersized for the 4 and MAYBE a half step slow for the two, he is one of our best players. As a junior, he will be THE captain of the team. He will start and play at least 30 minutes a game unless someone on our team turns into Kobe Bryant. He will continue to hustle after loose balls, get trash rebounds, and make smart plays. I’m sure he’ll continue to work on his strength and conditioning and will be ready to go come fall. No, he’s not the most physically gifted player in the world and he is not best-suited for the 4, but he makes up for his lack of size and will do his best at any position asked. Two years of college bball experience is invaluable.

  • The coronation of Tom Izzo is all but complete:;coverlist_footer

    If we don’t get in some playuhz, and start playING well soon, I worry he really will start reeling in those Smacky D All-Stars, regularly, and we will never beat them again in my natural lifetime. (I will have myself cryogenically frozen, naturally, and call on my progeny to unfreeze me at the appropriate time, but. . .) As they say in football, the gap does NOT appear to be closing.

  • Walt

    I can’t believe what I’m reading from you guys re: Novak. Sure, we all hope more talented recruits can command more playing time, as the overall talent level goes up. I think we still a ways from that situation.

    Novak was just behind Manny and Sims on the plus/minus stats for the season. With his terrible deficiency in height and talent, what does that tell you? Beilein should have played Gibson more?

    A big difference (of many) between JB’s teams and Amaker’s is that JB teams never quit and they were in most of the games they lost. Novak doesn’t have any quit in him and I think JB likes that. I hope Novak infects the new guys with his attitude. To do that he will have to play significant minutes, and I believe he will – again.

  • JRose

    Glad to see there are some Novak supporters! The heart and intensity that he brings is awesome and hopefully infectious. If his shot returns to form he coul have a big year. Remember, Soph slumps happen in all sports…relax fellas, he’ll be just fine!

  • Jay

    Dont look at plus/minus reports it dont translate well to what you see on TV!! Novak or Stu needs to be coming off the bench period. Dont care what year they are, the point is both are allergic to dribbling inside the arc. As long as both of those guys are depended on for major minutes then it will be trouble. Personally i dont feel nobody starting spot is solidified going into next year, after this season we just seen. Also someone who plays with so much energy and hustle as Novak would be ideal to come off the bench for a spark, and not as a power forward!

  • Paul

    I think Novak can play the 3 ok. His headiness, agressiveness and high basketball IQ make up for his non-worldclass athleticism

  • Paul

    A new 96 team NCAA tourney field makes the chances of Michigan making the tourney most years much greater IMO, which would help with their recruiting (until they lose to U of D in the 1st round – lol)

  • YpsiTuckyBoy

    Paul…the 96 team field does not just make the chances of Michigan making it better in your opinion…it’s a statistical fact

  • GrandChamp

    U of D is gonna be very good next year especially if they get R Mac.

  • Brian W

    Was trying find new news on Sykes, Katenda or Plumlee and found this on Brundidge while doing U-M news search. It’s a freep article from today. I’m looking forward to seeing CB play at U-M…

    “Other schools are still calling the Southfield junior, despite his verbal commitment to coach John Beilein and Michigan last fall.

    “I’m happy with my decision,” Brundidge said Friday, after his Bluejays lost in the Class A boys basketball state semifinals.

    “I wish I could put on a uniform and help (Michigan) out now. I’m still hearing from a little bit of schools. On my phone you can tell what state they’re in, so I’m like, nah.”
    Brundidge keeps in touch with U-M coaches.

    “I talk to them a lot,” he said. “I tell them I’m struggling with this, what can I do? How can I lead my team better? They give me a couple pointers.”

    In the state semifinal game, Brundidge was aggressive driving to the basket and getting fouled. He scored 22 points but shot 6-for-19 from the field and missed all five three-point attempts. Shooting 14 free throws like he did would be a valuable asset for Michigan, which needs penetrators, but the outside game is a major emphasis for Beilein.

    “That’s my strength right there, going to hole, getting fouled, and-ones at the free-throw line and making my free throws,” Brundidge said.

    In terms of what he’ll work on this summer, before his senior year at Southfield, he was honest: “My midrange jump shot, my leadership and getting the guys together more and building off-the-court stuff. I need to learn how to pass better, and learn how to trust my teammates.”

  • Brian W

    Cody Zeller and Justin Gant are playing in an Indiana basketball all-star game in

  • Tweeter

    Yea I dont know why people blame the team struggles last year on Novak and Douglass. Sure there poor shooting at times hurt us, because we were, a shooting team. But they were also two of the best defenders we had. Without those two, who knows what our record would have been.

    As for next year, I agree with the poster above that stated no one’s starting job is safe. But I would also say that is true every year. Douglass started most of his first year and was replaced to start last year by Morris – that did not work out too well. All these guys are going to have to compete again to see who fits where. Roles are totally up in the air.

    That said, I would be surprised to see Douglass and Novak not start. The only scenario where I see one of them coming off the bench is if Zeigler commits. In which case I could see him starting at the 3 and Novak coming off the bench. Otherwise, I expect right now our starting lineup will be Morris, Douglass, Novak, Smotrycz, McLimans/Morgan/Horford.

    I think Douglass is way ahead of Hardaway and LLP for minutes at the two. He actually showed a lot of promise at times last year with his dribble drive game. He struggled to finish, but that is something that just takes practice and experience. He has the skills to do it and the quickness.

    Novak, imo, is a good option at the 3, but not ideal. He brings all kinds of intangibles to the table plus some solid tangibles (rebounding, shooting, court awarenesss). I would think Zeigler would be a better option b/c we would need more athleticism and I imagine of all the guys who have played a lot, Novak would be the most accomodating to coming off the bench. The fact that he has played the 4 his whole career makes him a versatile option as well. He can come in and play the 2,3, or 4 depending on the situation.

    I think Smotrycz is a perfect guy to step into the 4 role right of the bat. He is not going to score a lot, but he brings ok size and a balanced game. HE reminded me a lot of DOuglass just 6 inches taller when I watched him play.

  • Drew2

    I’m relatively new to the recruiting scene so I’m going to need an overview of McLimans.
    Can he shoot?
    How tall is he actually? Not the inflated stat sheet heights
    How has he progressed physically? Sounds like he was a stick when he arrived at U of M.

  • Kainkitizen

    Thank you Tweeter. You see what i see too. I like Novak, He would be so much better for the team to be the 6th man depending on the situation. He can be the hustle guy off the bench that teams need. It has nothing to do with his height or size. He has the skill to give us the 20+ minutes he deserves. We can play small no matter what. We’ve won and lost with it. Now with the added height to the team, we can get away with it on occassion. Let the other teams adjust to our floor personnel when we are making shots and not getting tired from banging underneath all the time.

  • rlc

    Hmmm. I remember how bad the team’s defense looked at the beginning of this season, when they were only trying to add one freshman starter, and I say there’s no way Beilein will put three freshman starters on the floor. Even if it means starting Novak at the 4 and LLP or Vogrich at the 3.

    If either Morgan or McLimans turns out to be better than a freshman on D, then that could open the door for a true freshman to start at the 3 or 4, but I expect Novak to start at the other position. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Novak play the 4 when Zeigler/Sykes/Hardaway is at the 3 and play the 3 when Smotrycz is at the 4. Unless Vogrich makes some big defensive strides before next fall.

    Hopefully some of the freshmen will supply useful depth – Novak and Douglass would be much more useful if they were playing less than 30 minutes a game.

  • lansingrage

    I Like Zack i don’t blame him . I guess i should blame JB if he’s going to start novak than he needs to work on dribble penetration and mid range game , and the trainer should have him cut up and in tip top shape, this is michigan lets raise the bar back up.
    BTW he’s got some hops imagine him in great shape.

  • KRN

    Assuming (hopefully) that we get Trey, it seems to me that the roster would look something like this:
    1. Morris (Douglass/LLP)
    2. Douglass (Vogrich/Hardaway Jr./LLP)
    3. Zeigler (Novak/Vogrich)
    4. Smotrycz (McLimans/Novak)
    5. Morgan (Horford/McLimans)

    What intrigues me, though, would be this possible lineup:
    1. Morris (Douglass/LLP)
    2. Zeigler (Douglass/Vogrich/Hardaway Jr.)
    3. Smotrycz (Novak/Vogrich)
    4. McLimans (Novak)
    5. Morgan (Horford)

    Of course, all of the young players starting would need to step up big, as this would be four starting freshmen and a sophmore. However, on the off chance that these players did step up, it would give this team several benefits.

    First, it would bulk up the size of this team with the height being 6-4, 6-5, 6-9, 6-10, and 6-8 respectively.

    Second, it would help out the 1-3-1 with the added length.

    Third, it would a fairly balanced lineup with a PG (Morris), a slasher (Zeigler, Morris to some extent), a couple of outside shooters (Smotrycz, McLimans), and an inside presence (Morgan).

    Finally, it would enable a good chunk of our young players to see significant playing time, gaining experience in the process.

    Again this is just speculation, since there are a lot of ways this could go wrong leading to a ton of losses.

  • Brian W

    Drew2, McLimans is a terrific spot-up shooter, judging him from warm-ups before the game and the second half. He wasn’t very proficient at the start of the season, but by the end of the season he was ‘en fuego.’ Before the last home game against Minnesota, he took probably 15-20 shots and nailed all but a couple (from beyond three and from 10-15 feet). I can’t say what he’s like during an actual game, though. As for height, he was the same height as Marshall Plumlee when Marshall visited. He may be 6-10, like he’s listed.

    As for Novak and Douglass, they are valuable players and can be excellent shooters. Playing so many minutes took its toll on them at some points, but I can see Stu playing more like he did in that OSU game and averaging 15 points a game.

    Novak does so many good things on the floor that it’s hard to see his minutes declining significantly, but they should go down some when there’s more depth next season. Even though he had a slump for a part of last season, Novak isn’t afraid to take big shots, and he has a nose for rebounds. As someone else said, he’ll be a captain next year most likely and provide important leadership. While some may scoff at his athletecism, he is an important glue guy on the team–no different than Ray Jackson during the Fab Five years or Mike Griffin during the 1989 championship season. I’d dare you to do the dunk he did at Michigan Madness.

  • Bluebufoon

    Marshall Plumlee is listed at 6-11.5 to — just shorter than 7-0. If Plumlee starts out as just a shot-blocker and rebounder –any complaints ? Because it doesn’t sound like the young man is much of a scorer at the high school level. Here is a couple lines on Plumlee from

    “Next fall the recruiting bonanza continues as juniors have attracted attention. Marshall Plumlee and Damarcus Harrison are two players with plenty of options.

    At 7-0, Plumlee, the No. 7 center in the ESPNU Super 60, is fielding offers from several schools. When suits up for the Indiana Elite this summer he’ll consider offers from school such as Notre Dame, Indiana, Minnesota, Purdue (his mother played basketball there), Ohio State, North Carolina State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Virginia, Florida,, Duke (his brothers Miles and Mason play there) and Georgia Tech.

    Lately Roy Williams of North Carolina is sniffing around.

    “I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the North Carolina coaches; they’ve done a classy job recruiting me,” he said. “Obviously I’m [familiar] with the Duke program and if I have questions I can ask my brothers.”

    Plumlee, an Indiana native, won’t be attending the Final Four this weekend in Indianapolis. Instead he hops a plane Friday for Germany, where he’ll suit up for the Team USA in the Albert Schweitzer Games.

    “I’d prefer being [at the NHSI championship game] this weekend to play but it’s an honor representing your country,” said Plumlee, who had 5 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks against Winter Park.”

  • Vote of confidence for Beilein from some of his former players at WVU. Says Huggins continued Beilein’s 1-3-1 because they were effective with it:

    Butler sounds like a thoughtful kid.

  • If the top 32 teams get a first-round bye, then I don’t see the expanded NCAA tourney getting screwed up so badly. Arguably, teams that had bad seasons but got hot late have a chance to play their way in. It certainly brings more schools–thus spectators–in with a rooting interest.

    I wonder how much pressure it takes off of the coaches? If it cooled the hothouse, win-now-or-walk atmosphere that prevails now it could be good. What’s our rpi; would we have been in this year? Not sure we would. . . Failing to get into the expanded tournament, on the other hand, could be a death sentence. Hopefully a year from now we are beyond that worry for a while to come.

  • lansingrage

    KRN your 2nd lineup is way off their is no way JB keeps STU, MATT V ,Hardaway ,Novak, LLP all outa the starting linup he relies on the three for wins. tho if he changed his way of coaching i would not be against it !!! I don’t want to make the tourney i want to contend to win the tourney.

  • AG2

    RPI wouldn’t really matter, since I don’t see teams with losing records getting in no matter what. You could see a whole lot more mid-major at larges. With the 96 team field, I think you see UAB, Memphis, Saint Louis, and Dayton getting in. Maybe even low-major regular season champs get in as well.

  • Brian W

    Bluebufoon and Mattski, good finds on the articles.

    If North Carolina is getting involved, that would concern me a little with Plumlee. For the brother of Duke players to consider North Carolina, that’s like an U-M/MSU type of rivalry.

    I’m starting to wonder if Katenda is like Smotrycz. Few people knew Smotrycz was very good until Beilein offered him, and then everybody wanted him. Katenda could possibly be the same way.

    As for expanding the tourney to 96 teams, I’ll bite my tongue and deal with it as long as it doesn’t mean NCAA basketball teams start dumbing down their schedules like NCAA football teams do to get wins. I like seeing U-M play tough the national basketball powers, like Duke, Kansas, UConn, etc., in the non-conference season. I’d prefer to keep the NCAA tourney the way it is, but the NCAA wants more money.

  • This is cool, buncha fairly heavyweight wags weighing in on expanding to 96 teams at this blog:

    Thanks, AG2, for pointing out that some of the smaller leagues would now get repped. I have been totally opposed to expansion but in a way, that could be good. They’ll have earned it should they get a shot at the top 64.

  • fresh

    from what i have read katenda is very similar to smotz but its really athletic so he may be even a little more appealing when alls said and done, but thats if he truly is what i have read

  • Sam

    KR2, I really like that second lineup too….in 3 years. Come on now, let’s be logical. Do you really think that we will play four freshmen and a sophomore at once and hope to compete? I mean, John Calipari is not our coach and we aren’t paying our players. I can guarantee three starters next year: Morris, Stu, and Novak. And I can all-but guarantee McLimans starting at the five. It would be a HUGE surprise to me if he didn’t start.

    As for Smotrycz, we’ll just have to see what he brings to the table right away. I will never expect a non-five star freshman to come in and score 10+ points/game; Manny Harrises don’t grow on trees you know.

    And as for bracket expansion, I am right with the rest of you in saying that it is a terrible idea. You can’t fix what isn’t broken. The ONLY people I’ve heard that are all for it is coaches. All these coaches say “Oh, it’d be great for my players to experience the tournament.” Well, to them I say coach your players up, have them work hard, and they can earn a tourney bid. Someone on here made a great point about teams now possibly being able to play a cupcake schedule a la Va Tech this year and waltz right into the dance (no pun intended). Another thing that baffles me about this whole expansion talk is that they are saying the 96-team tourney will take place in the same three week time frame that it currently does. I have no idea how this is possible. Isn’t it already enough to ask teams to play two games in three days for two weekends straight? Now you are going to have teams playing three or four games a week for this ridiculous new tourney. Not to mention what it will do for those of us who like to fill out brackets and predict the winners. I mean, are we going to just treat the whole first round as we treat the play-in game right now and not even guess who wins or are we now going to try to predict who wins the first round matchups and continues to play in the true first round that will now be known as the second round? I’m not sure how much worse my bracket could have been this year, but thinking of this scenario is just flat out scary.

  • Kainkitizen

    The expanded tournement means that the BIG TEN would get 2 more teams in this past year, Illinios and Northwestern (probably bubble team). It also has possible #1 seeds getting beat much earlier in the tournement. Times are definitely changing. Some of us like change and some don’t. Does the expansion mean that a 16-14/9-9 team from a major conference gets a serious look in the tournement instead of the NIT?