Friday Discussion: Preliminary Depth Chart

Dylan Burkhardt

It’s far from finalized, but this is how the roster appears to be breaking down at this moment. There are still a lot of “ORs” on the chart but, as Beilein has mentioned, just about every position in the lineup is up for grabs. I think we can pencil in Novak at the two after Beilein called him the team’s only consistent player thus far.

Note: This is a completely unofficial chart. It’s just an estimation of where things stand today.

Position First String Second String
One Darius Morris
OR Stu Douglass
Two Zack Novak Stu Douglass
OR Matt Vogrich
Three Tim Hardaway
OR Matt Vogrich
Zack Novak
Four Evan Smotrycz OR
Colton Christian
Five Blake McLimans
OR Jordan Morgan
OR Jon Horford

Who do you see winning the various position battles? What changes would you make to the line-up? Let’s hear your opinions in the comments.

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  • BL11

    Looks about right I think it ends up being
    Starter (minutes) Backup(minutes)
    PG: Morris(30) – Douglass (10)
    SG: Novak (25)- Douglass (10)& Vogrich (5)
    W: Hardaway (25)- Novak (5)& Vogrich (10)
    F: Christian (20)- Smotrycz (20)
    C: McLimans (20)- Horford (10) & Morgan (10)

  • STW

    My lineup prediction:

    1 – Morris
    2 – Novak
    3 – Hardaway
    4 – Christian
    5 – McLimans

    I like Douglass coming off the bench because he can play the 1 or 2. I really wish we had another PG because Douglass is best utilized on the wing where he can catch and shoot and on the defensive side he has a hard time keeping up with quicker PG’s. The 4 and 5 are the toughest, but I think Christian is just more physically and mentally ready. If Beilein wants to use defense to create offense, then Christian should be the guy. I actually like Morgan at the 5 (good practice reports lately), but because Christian is not an outside threat, McLimans comes in to help spread the floor. If Smotrycz nabs the 4, I see Morgan starting to give an inside presence.

    I have a question: Are any of the walk-ons likely to contribute (Akunne, Dumars, etc.) this year?

  • Mark

    1 – Morris
    2 – Douglas
    3 – Novak
    4 – Smotrycz
    5 – Morgan

    I also think and hope that Horford will res shirt. Lets him get stronger and learn the offense. There are not a lot of minutes available for 3 centers. Plus it breaks up the class a little bit.

  • kevin

    I think that if d-mo beats out stu for the pg spot, beilein will just slide stu down to the two and novak to the three. i think novak should come off the bench because he could bring a draymond green type spark to the team. I also think that with stu he has the ability to go off for 25 points where i don’t see novak doing that really ever.
    1. morris
    2. douglas
    3. hardaway
    4. smot
    5. mclimans
    novak first off the bench.

  • ScottGoBlue

    BL11, I like what you did, so I’m gonna work from your format
    1 – Morris (30), Douglass (10)
    2 – Novak (25), Douglass (10), Vogrich (5)
    3 – Hardaway (20), Vogrich (10), Novak (10)
    4 – Smotrycz (25), Christian (15)
    5 – Morgan (20), McLimans (20)

  • What I know is what I’ve read on this site, so I haven’t seen enough of a lot of the players to argue with those better informed, until I see a few games at least. I do like the fact that so many are still in the mix at this point and think Akunne might contribute, especially if we have any injuries.

  • BL11

    Very true ToBlav….This team is so interesting this year because there are so many unknowns. It will be fun to watch improvements and changes throughout the year. I’m sure Beilein isn’t 100% sure what he has in some of these guys.

  • Jared

    I am surprised Hardaway is listed at the 3 and Novak is at the 2. Especially with Novak playing the 4 over the past 2 years. I would go with the young lineup and put all 3 freshman out there with the reports we have had. Horford is not ready yet but with Morgan coming off an injury I think this by big 10 play will give us our most athletic team with the best chance to win.

    2- Novak-Douglass
    3- Hardaway-Vogrich
    5- Christian-McLimans

  • Section13Row15

    Morgan is not going to start. McLimans has locked up the starting role at the 5. Colton Christian is not going to start either. At least not initially. 5 starters on Nov 5th…

    1.) Morris
    2.) Douglass
    3.) Vogrich
    4.) Novak
    5.) McLimans

    Hardaway will be first off the bench.

  • Beilein has stated that he likes Novak at the two and that’s also where he has played in the past at times. Whether versus Duke or for short stretches last year.

  • Section13Row15

    I agree Novak will probably play the 2 a lot (probably more than the 4) but I feel like for game one “starters,” this is what it will look like. Hardaway will essentially be a starter coming off the bench, and when Morris or Douglass goes out, Novak will probably go to the 2. I just don’t see Douglass or Morris sitting on the bench for the opener and putting Novak at the 4 is the only way to get all three on the court at the same time. “Starters” for Beilein is a loose term. A lot of guys will get significant minutes.

  • Champswest

    To start the season: Morris, Novak, Hardaway, Smotrycz and Morgan.

    The starting lineup probably won’t be that important because I suspect a lot of playing time for 8-10 guys.

  • Section13Row15

    Why is everyone thinking Jordan Morgan will start at center? I’m just asking for the sake of discussion to see what people are hearing.

  • Mark

    Reports are that Morgan has looked good in pratice and he is more wilig to bang then Blake. he also appears to be a more willing rebounder so that is why I believe he will start.

  • Section13Row15

    I would still be very surprised if Morgan started at any point this season. McLimans is a much better shooter and started when they went to Europe. I’m not saying that Morgan won’t get some significant time this year and I do agree that the starters won’t mean much because I think there will be a pretty good sized rotation. But if you’re talking about who will start on day 1 and who will be announced at center court as the starters, I’m pretty sure I have it correct.

  • justsayin

    Why do all my posts get deleted? I didn’t think they were that provocative. Vaguely passive-agressive, maybe, but cmon.

  • They could have been caught in the spam filter but I’m not by a computer to check. Sorry.

  • gordie bell

    I’ve started typing numerous times here, but I just can’t come up with anything I feel confident about.
    Belien threw me a curve ball when he announced Novak was playing 2 and Stu the point. Did they do this in Europe? I can’t recall.
    I assumed all summer that Darius, Stu and Zack would all start and play 30 minutes a game, it appears that ain’t happening. I just don’t know how well Stu is going to play point and until I get a feel for that, I don’t even feel confident stating who will start at the point.
    Is anyone else surprised, that out of the 3 returning starters, one of them is going to lose his position to a true freshman? This will be interesting to say the least.

  • MarcO

    How much will vogrich contribute this year? His inability to contribute last year really hurt this team. Does he have anything to offer on the court?

  • 12 minutes, 8 points (3-4 shooting, 2-2 3pt), 2 rebs, 1 ast, and 2 TO for Manny Harris in his NBA debut tonight.

    I’m actually excited to see Vogrich, I think he’ll show something this year.

  • georgeesq.

    Vogrich is the one to watch. He played very well in Belgium, including rebounding. He scored well, but not strictly on threes. He has a mid-range game, too. Last year he was playing behind Manny and needed to mature, physically and mentally. He has put on some muscle and has a year in the system now. He’s the guy who I’d pick as someone who will have a break-out year.

  • Kenny

    I agree with dylan 99%. The 1% difference being Novak might see some minutes at 4. The contradictory conjectures made by others are very off base. THJr will start and play 30 minutes per game.

    There was also a good discussion on pairing Christian with McLimans and Smot with Morgan. I would think that this is true at least for starting.

  • Giddings

    Section13, I think your starting five is exactly what we used in Europe, so I agree that it’s a realistic one for the first game next Friday. But I wouldn’t expect it to last for long… as Dylan has mentioned, Beilein wants Novak at the two and either Smot or CC to start at the four.

  • cametowin

    D Morris
    Tim Hardaway j.r

    B Mcclamins

    I would like to start Morgan and Blake Mcclaimins start but I know Coach Belien won’t allow that with two freshmen back up . We will be better than some think .

  • tyler

    I definitely want to see Hardaway starting…is there any possibility he wont? I feel he will be a huge star at Michigan within the next couple of years.

  • If all ten guys minus Horford get lots of PT this year–and a tough and confident Horford returns next year with Brundidge and Burke, this could be a deep, cohesive team looking down the road–that can execute Beilein’s offense and the 1-3-1.

  • SubAlum_06


    I think Stu doesn’t start but plays major minutes and has a major role off the bench like Patrick Beilein did at WVU.

    Have any of you who live in AA seen how the Player Development Center is coming? I don’t recall seeing any picks after the first ones with the site work. Do they have the walls and roof up yet?

  • Any questions about posts being deleted should be e-mail to

    The spam filter has been extra picky lately and often times it isn’t me that’s deleting your posts but a computer.

  • Trueblueintexas

    Morris – Defense, penetration, and passing give him the lead over Stu
    Novak – Beilein has basically said so
    Hardaway – Beilein really likes him and feels he needs his type of game to offset Morris’ lack of shooting and Novak’s lack of driving
    Smot – Beilein tends towards offense skill vs defensive skill to start. Colton getting significant minutes once the Big Ten season arrives to play D against bigger teams.
    Black – Again, Beilein tends towards offense skill vs defense in his starting line-ups, but expect Morgan to get half the minutes.

    Expect Stu to get plenty of minutes with Novak moving down to the three so Morris can stay in the game.

    That leaves Vogrich to get back up minutes when Novak is out of the game – probably about 10 minutes a game.

    Then again, who knows?

  • Sam

    I will stick by my original prediction that Beilein will try to start as experienced a lineup as possible. That means:

    Darius Morris
    Stu Douglass
    Zack Novak
    Evan Smotrycz (there is no returning player at the 4 spot)
    Blake McClimans

    Stu and Novak will both play over 30 minutes a game, with Stu leading the team at around 14 ppg. Vogrich will back up the two and three as will Hardaway (mostly, if not all, 3). Smotrcyz/Christian timeshare at the four and McClimans getting about 25 minutes to Morgan’s 15 I believe. By Big Ten play, Hardaway may be starting, I just don’t see how Stu would come off the bench.

  • Champswest

    Stu is the best solution for back-up point guard, that is why he may not start. He will back up Morris and get time at the 2. With Morris, Novak, Hardaway and Smotrycz they will have enough offense that they can start Morgan at the 5 for defense and rebounding. Then, they can bring in McLimans for Morgan (for offense) and off set it by bringing in CC for Smotrycz (for rebounding/defense).

  • wayman britt

    Looking forward to the basketball season. I know this team will struggle at times, but I do beleive they will keep improving and they have potential. With Beilein I feel the program is moving forward.

    Unfortunately can’t say the same about the gridiron team. I don’t see improvement over that program in the last 3 years and recruiting is moving backwards.

  • Agree with wayman on basketball, but how can you say the football team is not improving when they are the #2 offense in the country. Defense is the problem whereas 3, 2, or 1 years ago it was both offense and defense.

  • AG2

    The problem, ToBlav, is that Rodriguez has to live with Robinson, he can’t fire him because that would be his 3rd DC in 4 years. That’s on Rodriguez now. Recruiting-wise, he’s losing out on defensive talent to OSU and MSU. And frankly, a lot of the knocks on his offense have been proven correct: Robinson can’t take every single hit, he can’t throw other than those run fake passes. The sooner we face up to the fact that he was a desperation hire by an AD with a history of desperation hires, the sooner we can move on. The right coach could do better than Rodriguez could do next year, even with rebuilding. I couldn’t have been the only one to notice while our defense was giving up career numbers to a disappointing running back and a 3rd string walk-on QB, Jim Harbaugh took his future #1 pro-style QB on the road and notched ANOTHER road shutout.

  • AG2 – “knocks on the offense have proven correct”?? It’s the number two offense in the country and doesn’t get any help from the defense and special teams at all. I don’t want us to become a place where coaches don’t get a fair chance. I will support the current coach for at least his first five years, because it takes that long. If the improvement doesn’t spread to those areas in a steady progression then it is time to make a move. If it comes to that wouldn’t Harbaugh be great.

  • Kevin

    I can definitely see Novak getting some minutes at the four, especially if stu/vogrich are shooting well and we want to really cause some matchup problems. Also, I see Hardaway ending up with 30ish minutes consistently once we get into the swing of things. I’m not too confident about many details though. Too many question marks. Go Blue!