Impressions from Michigan Practice


Michigan held its second practice open to the media before the trip to Europe on Sunday and I made it over there to check it out. We were able to see a good amount of 5-0n-5 scrimmaging and some sprints.  Crisler was an oven — these guys are working hard.  I got a chance to interview Stu and Zack, as well as coach Beilein.  Full video of those will be up over the next day or so.  For now, here are some impressions I had from watching practice.

  • The team worked a lot with the 25-second clock in anticipation for Europe, and it’s going to be a challenge running the offense and finding shots in that amount of time.  There were lots of shots at the end of the shot clock, but there were also some really good fast-break baskets.
  • The teams looked to be divided into two groups: In maize, those who looked to be in the regular rotation. In blue, those who aren’t there yet. The maize side consisted of: Tim Hardaway Jr., Blake McLimans, Jordan Morgan, Darius Morris, Zack Novak, Stu Douglass, Evan Smotrycz, and Matt Vogrich.  The non-rotation guys: Jon Horford, Corey Person, Eso Akunne, Jordan Dumars, Josh Bartelstein. 
  • Colton Christian pulled his hamstring and spent practice on the exercise bike.  Beilein said he may be day-to-day going to Europe, but will make the trip.
  • One of the guys who was really effective on the break was Darius Morris.  He was in attack mode the whole time, being a pest on defense and taking the ball to the rack and finishing.  Darius looked like he’s becoming the slasher and the force off the dribble fans expect him to be coming into his second year.  Part of that could be because he was going against Josh Bartelstein and Jordan Dumars most of the time, but he played physical and was fearless going to the basket.
  • Stu Douglass is in great shape.  He won every sprint and looked great in the scrimmage.  He was attacking the basket more and just seemed more confident with the ball in his hands.  One thing both he and Zack talked about was how they and Darius are being called upon at the end of the shot clock to create shots for themselves, something that usually fell to Manny or Peedi last year.
  • Tim Hardaway Jr. looks like the freshman who is the most advanced at this point.  It’s tough to compare because so many of them have been injured, but he has picked things up quickly and looks completely at ease on the court with the older guys.  His size, length and quickness is going to make him a tough matchup.
  • At one point, Blake McLimans was struggling after a sprint (breathing hard, hands on his knees, etc.) and a bunch of his teammates rallied around him and helped him out and encouraged him.  He wasn’t the only one struggling, but it was nice to see his teammates make such an effort to make sure he finished out the workout. 
  • Eso Akunne looked like he’d been working on his shot — he hit a few with a hand in his face.  He was playing with the blues (scout team) but played well.
  • Jon Horford looked a little overwhelmed early on, but once he got his legs under him he played pretty well.  He still has a lot of work to do physically, but he was going after some offensive rebounds.  He’s not at the point yet where he’s comfortable asserting himself in the post, but he’ll get there.

One last side note: Laval Lucas-Perry, who was dismissed from the team in June, will transfer to Oakland. He’ll have one year of eligibility remaining after sitting out for a year.

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  • aMaized

    saw this on Facebook:

    Joe – anything on Vogrich? or Metrics?

  • Brick

    Unfortunately I think we are still going to see a bit more Novak at the 4 this year. I’m hoping Smotrycz can take the bulk of the minutes by B10 play but it’s not easy for freshman to step right in. I was wondering how McLimans looked. I’m eager to see how he fits into the offense.

  • Thanks! Was wondering about Smotrycz, too.

  • gpsimms

    Well, I’ve been hoping that Stu would be the secret to overachieving this year. A lot of other stuff has to go right, too, but it’s definitely good to hear we might see Stu step into a scoring role.

  • Paul

    How was Morgan doing?

  • detroitbry

    Not a peep on Vogrich all summer.

  • Tom_McC

    * From UM Hoops last week…”Matt Vogrich has gotten bigger as well and John Beilein said it has added a lot to his game and making his shot more consistent.”

    Go ahead and review Beilein’s comments from the 1st open practice of the summer. I think that qualifies as a peep.

    I saw Vogrich as well and he has gotten stronger and looks to be in great shape. He’ll have his opportunities to contribute this season, that is for sure.

  • mitch

    It looks like it might be a long season. We are going to get killed down low. Vogrich was the Illinois player of the year, I was hoping for more out of him. Hardaway looks like he might be a good player.

  • Dirtgrain

    I wouldn’t give up on Vogrich. Last year, he seemed unready for the speed of college basketball, and he didn’t do well when defenders pressured him on the perimeter. I look forward to him overcoming that and becoming at least solid three-point threat. If he has improved athletically, that might make all the difference in how he deals with in-your-face defense (i.e., go around it). I hope his ball handling has improved, as well.

  • aMaized