Thoughts on Laval Lucas-Perry's Dismissal

Dylan Burkhardt


  • Last year’s off-season was the epitome of stability and optimism. I spent the summer blogging about which national reporter had Michigan in his preseason top 15 and how Michigan was hot on the heels on Casey Prather and Trey Zeigelr. This summer is the polar opposite — the news continues to revolve around a mass exodus of bodies out of Ann Arbor. One early entry. Three assistant coaching departures. One dismissal. Just four returning players who have played in a collegiate game.
  • Each and every change was for a different reason. They can all be explained or justified on their own merits. However, all of these changes in one summer is an ominous harbinger.
  • Many people, myself included, have thrown out the team chemistry meme when discussing last season’s struggles. The issues that have surfaced over the last three months certainly lend credence to those theories. It is painfully clear that no one in the program was on the same page.
  • John Beilein would not boot LLP for no reason. Yes, Laval was going to be in his last year of eligibility this year. He was also on thinner ice than most, but from what I hear it’s not that this move was some sort of cold blooded unjustified hatchet job.  You can argue whether Laval would have been a contributor this year but removing him from the roster at the end of June doesn’t help anyone. Michigan wasn’t out of scholarships and can’t do anything with Laval’s vacated scholarship.
  • Laval Lucas-Perry was not going to morph into a superstar over the summer. He was an inconsistent, streaky player. He’s had his moments (at Minnesota ’09 or at Penn State ’10) but he’s also been nearly invisible on the court for just about every other game.
  • What a crazy, frustrating, career for Lucas-Perry. He committed to Arizona before transferring before he could get his feet wet after Lute Olson’s retirement. He waited patiently to start playing his first year in Ann Arbor amidst excitement from fans. A local guard who could shoot the rock was a great addition to a team that had already knocked off Duke. Then he shot the lights out for a month before going extremely cold. The next year and a half would be up and down. Struggles with confidence and inconsistency riddled Laval throughout his career and he could never seem to get it right.
  • It becomes clearer by the day just how much of a rebuilding year we are bracing ourselves for. Douglass, Morris, Novak, and Vogrich are the only returning players with college experience. Blake McLimans is dealing with playing at a new weight. Jordan Morgan is still recovering from injury. Evan Smotrycz and Tim Hardaway were likely to play significant roles but this ups the ante.
  • Like it or not, attrition has been a staple of John Beilein teams. The list of players that have left the program under Beilein now reads: Reed Baker, Kendrick Price, K’Len Morris, Jerrett Smith, Ekpe Udoh, Kelvin Grady, and Laval Lucas-Perry. In five years at West Virginia, 5 of the 17 players that Beilein recruited left the program.
  • Michigan now has two additional scholarships to give in the class of 2011. Assuming they use both of them, they’d have two more in the class of 2012. The scholarship breakdown needs to be updated but you can find it here.

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  • sullycu

    Crazy stuff. I am usually optimistic but it is pretty apparent u of m will have their struggles this year, although no one can be sure. Its hard to judge how a team will play when most of the players have never played in a collegiate game, so I guess that’s the little hope I’m riding on, that team chemistry will be better and E-smo and Hardaway will be great players next year. What are your thoughts Dylan?

  • BigPlayBray

    Dylan, as always thanks for your hard work staying on top of all UM hoops news.

    It’s unfortunate that LLP did not work out, but in the grand scheme of things we aren’t much worse off than we were before this story broke. This was definitely going to be a rebuilding year. It will be an opportunity to see what we have in a lot of these young players.

    Sometimes you need to blow things up and just start over. I know Beilien will have us ina much better place in 2-3 years.

  • Andy

    BPB – I hope you’re right about the 2-3 year thing. The downer to remember though is that this is year 4 for Beilein. I am still a fan of his, but we were saying when so many of those Amaker guys that Dylan mentioned left three years ago that the future would be bright in 2-3 years. I am not saying that we should give up, but it’s not encouraging to realize that three out of four Beilein seasons are likely to be bottom of the BT finishes with no post season. He simply has to do better, and if the assistant coaching dismissals are any indication, Brandon will expect improvement or he’ll go in another direction.

  • gpsimms

    If we were going to go 15-17 with LLP, we will now go 14-18 because he would inexplicably score 20 points against PSU on the road, or something equivalent.

    I actually think Stu and Darius are close to getting it, and they were going to be 35 minute a game guys, anyway. It’s hard because the current trend is distresssing and all, but I don’t see this changing the court product this year too much anyway.

    LLP’s upside was a pipe dream at this point. We’ve seen him play 50 some games, he wasn’t going to suddenly be better than Stu or Darius. Those guys were in line for a ton of minutes, and they still are.

  • Fred

    The extra depth would have been nice, but MAN he was difficult to watch at times.

  • ZRL

    gpsimms, on the other hand we may win another game that we would have lost by having someone else take shots instead of watching LLP go 0-6 from the field. No way to really quantify what the impact on next season will be.

  • Yes, must have been a major league screw-up by LLP. This team, if nothing else, could have used some veteran leadership.

    The coach now has one to two years to prove he can make this work, in my book. Next year will be all about the chemistry, chemistry Beilein has fumbled for to now (not necessarily his fault). He’ll have a super-young group of guys who he recruited.

    Next year I’ll look for solid progress from the season’s beginning to its end. We can take it for granted they will struggle early; if they’re struggling late. . . not picking up the system, squabbling. . . As with the football program, too much more attrition. . .

    With the good but not stellar talent in house, the following year will be the acid test, provided continual progress next year. Because this is where Beilein is meant to excel–using his approach to coaching to over-achieve.

    One to two years, like I say. Failing that we can conclude that Beilein’s style has not worked in the B10/11. It’s painful to think that once again knocking on the door of the NCAA tourney two years from now is what we now must HOPE for, but that’s the way it is.

  • gpsimms

    Ha, good point ZRL. My point was: what difference? Not much, IMO. Stu and Darius were gonna get almost all the minutes at the 1+2 anyway.

    Although I did just get a nice memory of him defending ET at the end of the OSU game. I think Manny made 2-3 straight big shots, and LLP held turner to 0/2 with a turnover in the last few possessions (omitting, of course, the shot). One of those weird, random, LLP moments.

  • gpsimms

    And Matta figured out he should go to Lighty on the 2nd to last possession because, like everyone else in the big ten, is a huge mismatch for Novak.

  • 9Leon

    FWIW- I personally know a few people on the team (or were on the team last year) and they are very surprised/ upset by this. Also it should be noted that their first instinct was to say that JB was in the wrong and looking for an excuse to dismiss him.
    General consensus is that JB is cleaning house, the fact that all 3 assistants are gone are more evidence of this. Players are especially not happy about Jackson’s move to Purdue because he was favorite of many people.

  • MGoTweeter

    Ha, 9Leon pardon me if I dont believe that for half a second. Beilein would not be looking for a reason to dismiss a player unless that player was consistently giving him reasons to dismiss him. I also doubt that the players were shocked by this. From day one Beilein has been preaching standards in regards to this program. As Dylan outlined many players have fallen short of those standards in the past and have been let go. If the players had any sort of relationship with LLP then I am sure that they knew what was going on and that LLP was on thin ice. If they did not know that then either (a) the event that led to his dismissal was a one time, major, screw up, or, (b) those players have their heads in the sand and probably shoult not be apart of this program either.

  • pbt

    I really don’t know how any of this is positive. Terrible performance after a ncaa birth, assts left, players left including Udoh who was a top 6 nba draft choice after playing 1 yr at Baylor, Manny left (which was inevitable but only b/c of JB), this is year 4 and feels like year -1. I doubt LLP will stick around to finish school. I also am concerned that Morris will not stay. I didn’t see how his skills were used at all last year by JB. All the players gave it their all but Stu, like LLP, was essentially a paper weight. There is a lack of confidence in JB, from the assts and players. And given JB’s comments after some games about being surprised how physical msu or osu played, I too have a lack of confidence in him. He has been hear 3+ years. I sense a coach who is out of touch with the B10, his assts, and his players. Not good.

  • 9Leon

    A lot of things are going on behind closed doors; do not assume JB always does right by his players.
    No one saw this coming and that is a fact.

  • Beilein’s Bricks

    Definitely not a good sign…that’s the third in-stater who was run-off or left early (Manny, Grady and now LLP). I can’t imagine it will help much with recruiting in-state considering the stigma the program/JB currently has. The program seems in turmoil.

    I wonder if this level of attrition will impact the basketball APR? It would suck to start losing scholarships for this reason as well.

  • MGoTweeter

    Looks like the spartys are out in force today.

    pbt, what skills of Morris were not used by JB? What are you basing Manny left b/c of JB on? If true, and I have no idea if it is or not but neither do you, then that is all on Manny not JB. Manny could have chosen not to go to UM when JB was hired, he didnt. Manny could have transferred after his freshman year, he didnt. He could have transferred after his sophomore year, he didnt.

    At this point, if he was unhappy with JB then I suggest he is the one that needs some adjustment. He was basically given the reigns to the team all three years. He got as many shots as he wanted. The entire offense was run thru him. He put up huge numbers over the last two years. He is what he was going to be as a basketball player, maybe even better. I doubt many coaches out there could have gotten as much out of his shot as JB did. If Manny ever would have worked on a left hand, he could have been great. No matter where he played college, he wasnt getting drafted.

    I also take issue with saying Stu was a dead weight. He was our best perimeter defender for half the year, until Morris got it together. At which point he was our second best. He showed a lot of signs of developing a drive game. And, beyond Manny and Sims, was our best player at creating a shot on his own.

    I didnt see much of a lack of confidence in JB when the team nearly made a big run in the BTT.

    Now Im not some JB apologist that thinks he should stay around forever. But baseless, asinine points dont lead me to say he should be gone. I’ll give JB this year to build the team, then next year I expect them to be solid. If not, then he probably should be let go. But not because of some perceived rift between him and the team, but because he didnt win.

    I find it amusing that people try to make up reasons to get rid of a coach that is not winning, when all you have to say is, he is not winning.

  • MGoTweeter

    Ok Im done with arguing with the spartys after this.

    Beilein’s bricks, at least get your facts right. There are several more players you could lump into that category. Its like amateur hour on this board today.

    9Leon, I will repeat myself. How could they not see it coming? The only plausable explanation is that (a) LLP did something major recently that required immediate dismissal, or, (b) the players that did not see it coming have been ignoring everything that Beilein has said over the last three years and probably should be let go as well.

    I will not say that JB always does right. No one can always do right. But I will say that JB has made it pretty clear that he expects a high standard of commitment from his players. I’m no where close to the team and I know that. The players must hear it all the time. If they choose to ignore that, then that is on them when the consequences come down.

  • Adam

    LLP’s dismissal will not negatively affect the team. If he wasn’t buying into the system and contributing, we may be better off playing the young players more and growing as a team.

  • michigan hoops 4eva

    Basketball-wise, LLP’s exit doesn’t mean much. Point guard is the most stacked position on the team and LLP is worse than Darius Morris and Stu Douglass (and probably Tim Hardaway Jr.) and he likely wouldn’t have played much anyway.

    Morale-wise, the dismissal is worse. This offseason has been a bearer of bad news (Harris leaving, loss of 2 assistant coaches, even Harris and Sims going undrafted). LLP was an experienced player and now just 4 scholarship players return with experience.

    I’m just curious as to the reason that LLP was dismissed.

  • Jim

    I don’t think you can, or should, take one instance and extrapolate that it’s this kid or that kid’s fault or Beilein’s for that matter. But taken as a whole this all reflects very poorly on Beilein. Perhaps that is a good thing as expectations may be at an all time low in the Beilein era, which will make it much easier to exceed expectations.

    I too agree that he’ll get a couple more years more if not more, but if the pressure wasn’t on before it certainly is now.

    And having had some dealings with Beilein I can say he is no different than the rest of us with his own personal shortcomings.

  • 9Leon

    For people within the program it was shock he was dismissed, especially in this public manner. I will repeat- JB is cleaning house.

    LLP did everything asked of him and does not deserve to have his name drug through the mud. The public image of JB is very different than the way he treats players behind closed doors, when they are not apart of this current agenda.

  • AG2

    Whatever happens, this isn’t going to win us any brownie points in a part of the state where U of M basketball already seems persona non grata: the Flint/Saginaw area.

    I can put up with the UNCs and Dukes and Kentuckys stealing all the best recruits from other schools local recruiting territories. I can put up with every semi-decent high school kid believing he’s a first round draft pick. I can even put up with OSU getting all the love from the recruiting services and the McDonalds All American people.

    But if I hear another kid call MSU their dream school, I’m so going to lose it. I’m U of M Class of ’06. I have a graduate degree from MSU. I know what MSU is like. And MSU is a grain of sand in U of M’s beach. I will not be satisfied until Michigan’s greatness is recognized by all!!!

    Ok, I’m done.

  • Section13Row15

    Does anyone remember that Oakland University game at the Palace 2 seasons ago? What did LLP do with that guy? He had a whole cheering section there with T-shirts and everything. He stroked like 6 threes in a row when he came in off the bench. LLP could have been a good player but seemed to lack confidence in himself. I think his dismissal is a lot more embarrassing for him than it is for Beilein or the team because he still has to face his fellow students every day. We need Kelvin Grady back…

  • Bird

    I don’t think this team loses much at all with no LLP. Too bad we can’t use that scholly. I mean, if the kid is academically engaged and wants to get his degree, good for him — no qualms. But is there any chance he could petition the NCAA for an additional year of eligibility and try to play one more year somewhere else? Seems unlikely, especially in light of this apparently conduct-related dismissal. Oh well. I wouldn’t call this bad news. This season was going to be a wash anyway, although I’m looking forward to a few high points. 100% behind JB and proud to have him as our coach. With the patience only a Cub fan knows, I say, wait until 2013!

    (Now, if Brundidge backs out…I’m out the window.)

  • the original steve

    JB cleaning house? What is the advantage for him to kick off a player who a) scholarship is already booked for this year and can’t use it for anyone else b)is one of only 5 players with any sort of experience c) father is a coach of their number 1 target for the class of 2012 and d) will be gone in 7 months anyway.

    This one is NOT Beilein cleaning house. This is all on Lucas Perry. Could he and his family have been PO’d that he wasn’t going to be granted a 5th year? PO’d that his little brother wasn’t and will not be offered?

    I’m not a Beilein slappy by any means but to say that this is just because JB wanted him out is ridiculous. And this should make everyone appreciate the way Anthony Wright handled himself when he knew he wasn’t going to be granted a 5th year.

  • Bird: The issue is that he only had one year left. What are we going to do with a scholarship at this point? The 2010 class is a wrap.

  • Kenny

    Hope that the full story of this from both side will come out in the coming days.

  • Probably better that it doesn’t, water under the bridge. It is what it is. I’m sure you won’t hear any more from U-M.

  • 9Leon

    This situation absolutely did not need to get to this point and JB could have and should have handled it differently.

    The entire argument about whether he ‘deserves a scholarship’ is hilarious. Besides the fact that another player can’t use it at this point, LLP is a Michigan Education Trust student anyway.

    He is not taking anything away from anyone.

  • Kenny

    To Section13Row15, the irony is that Grady would’ve stayed on the team if LLP was not there. LLP could hit some big 3s but he seems out of place on court most of the time. I hope that Vogrich and Hardaway can provide more consistent firing power next season.

  • Chris

    Or we could look at it like:

    “This situation absolutely did not need to get to this point and LLP could have and should have handled it differently.”

  • Kenny

    9Leon, Beilein can give the scholarship to a walk-on the least. And if LLP does not need it, he should give it up.

  • 9Leon

    Kenny- This is JB’s decision.

  • Bird

    Of course you’re right, Dylan. I made no sense there.

  • MHoops1

    9Leon, so Beilein told the alums in Flint that LLP would have a bounce back year, had him be a counselor at the Elite camp, and then decided a week later to yank a scholarship which you claim LLP didn’t need (and which Beilein didn’t need for recruiting purposes) for no reason other than that he felt like it? Is that what you’re saying? Really?

  • Christian

    AG2- Hilarious. A “grain of sand in UM’s beach”? Let’s just say you’re not very smart. MSU is and always will be superior to UM with regards to basketball. Thinking otherwise proves how delusional you and other UM slappies really are.

  • chitownblue

    I’m not sure why this has everyone so much more pessimistic about Michigan’s future. If you thought we’d be decent next year, I don’t see how losing Lucas-Perry changes that. If you though we’d suck, well, you still do. We lost a largely ineffective player for reasons I don’t care to know. Michigan’s success next year depended on the growth of Stu and Novak, and on the impact that the RS Freshmen and the true Freshmen have. That’s still the case.

  • Bishop

    MHoops1- JB said what he said in Flint in the context of announcing that he was not giving him another year of eligibility, it was not exactly a genuine vote of confidence.

    “I think he will have a breakout year, therefore we are not granting him another year…” (paraphrasing)

    I think the point that JB wanted him gone sooner rather than later is pretty obvious.

  • the original steve

    So since you seem to have all the correct answers here leon in what way should JB have handled this differently?

  • Wow! didn’t see this coming. Even though LLP wasn’t going to be a world beater, we could have used his experience. This is going to be a long season as far as wins.

    I hope all this turnover doesn’t hurt in state recruiting.

  • V.O.R.

    This is JB’s team, and JB’s staff. He brought them “ALL” here. He also brought LLP here knowing in part what he was getting. I have no doubt that he wants everyone to be successful, and I have no doubt that he is VERY demanding, and with being so demanding it can cause some people to move on. JB”s track record even at WVU showed that players leave if they need to leave. And in spite of the turn over, he has been successful overall, and he will be again.

    Now as I’ve said, this team is 100% JB’s team, no hold overs from TA. In “principle” they should have the tools to do what JB wants them to do. Plus, he has 4-players with game experience coming back, 2-key red shirt players who know the system and can pick up quickly. 2-3 experienced walk-on players that can add depth if needed. And at least 2-freshman that will see playing time right away. So he does have something to work with, in fact, his very own ingredients.

    What this team needs is leadership on the floor and the locker room, the type that they received from CJ and Merritt. Hopefully someone will step up this year. Plus, now that the team is going to Europe to practice and play, this helps the team to bond together and see some useful playing time under serious game situations that will be helpful for the up coming season. This should put them a step ahead of where they would have been without it.

    IMO, as much as we would like to see this team make a post season tourney, we know that it’s difficult to realistically expect. However, I would like to see the team play soundly and show steady growth and improvement with each game. To be competitive and show heart and determination to win. I believe they can do that much.

  • Fan Since Rickey Greene

    In my opinion, Beilein should have two years to turn it around and if he doesn’t it’s time to change coaches. TA lost the fans in his last year and should have been let go a year or two sooner. I’m not at all optimistic for next year and don’t see this team stacking up in the Big Ten. The current team, other than Darius Morris, seems to me to be a solid MAC team. A friend told me that in Beilein’s 18 years as a head coach, he’s never had one player drafted by the NBA. I assume this is correct and must definitely have an effect on the blue chip recruits. It’s amazing what a roller coaster ride the last three years have been and hopefully I’m proven wrong in my predictions.

  • Kenny

    it is true that JB’s players was never drafted if you exclude Joe Alexander who was recruited and coached by JB for two years. And it is a big negative on JB’s recruiting. But JB does have his winning formula. I hope that the next year’s young team can make NIT just as JB’s last WV team. As I said before, the single most important factor for next season is whether McLimans can establish himself as a big ten center. He has not played a single college game yet but he has skills and size, and is two-years older than most freshmen.

  • Jeff

    DeSean Butler was also a JB recruit who was drafted this year. Let’s be realistic, he was at WVU for five years and two of his recruits from that time period were drafted. Obviously, you’re not going to bring in NBA players at Richmond and Canisius. His recruiting at Michigan has gotten a little better each year and needs to continue to improve.

  • Sam

    Hey Christian, can you fill me in on the all time series between Michigan and MSU in bball (or football for that matter)? Thanks

  • bigplaybray

    Fan since rick-

    Bad info from your friend. Joe Alexander was a beilien recruit and a lottery pick. Desean butler was a beilien recruit and he was just drafted.

  • MR

    Joe Alexander would have never been drafted without Huggins coming in.In Huggins first year Alexander added 25 pounds of muscle and learned to attack the basket. He was a skinny jump shooter under Beilien. Lets face it Michigan is a soft team easily intimidated in the big 10. This is not a recipe for success these days.I expect we will typically be about seventh place in the big 10 with an occasional tournament appearence.

  • FirstTenthMan

    LLP was more of a liabilty to the team than an asset. You would have thought he was playing for Otis Sistrunk’s alma mater, the University of Mars – way out there. When your teammates and coaches are never sure if you’re going to “show up”, it’s bad all around – raw point output obviously, and easily quantified, but what it does in the locker room can be devastating. There’s definitely a house cleaning going on and I think we’ll see a positive difference going forward. Move some unsteading influnce(s) out and hidden leadership will flourish. Additionally, I think Manny not being drafted isn’t much of a surprise.

  • Brenka

    I really think this is bad for the wolverines LLP would have been the go to guy now think about it if Stu douglas and zack novak blow up and average at least 13 a peice and dmorris lives to his potential then we gotta sick squad comen in stu douglas is alot like kirk hinrich used to be esmo is going to kill it along with hardaway idk why listen to me people i used to love manny harris no homo i was his biggest fan since high school but something deep down inside tells me that tim hardaway will have much more success then manny did i wish the best of luck for manny in his future IN BELIEN WE TRUST

  • MGoTweeter

    punctuation really is overrated