Five for Friday: Construction, Scheduling and More

Dylan Burkhardt
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197875_174584955923949_113453778703734_401809_3103589_nPhoto from Michigan Basketball on Facebook

Facility Dreams Become Reality

With last week’s release of Crisler Arena renderings, the facilities that Michigan basketball fans have dreamt of became just a bit more real. Facilities have been a bit of an old wives tale in relationship to the Michigan basketball program over the last decade and chance. From stories of Tommy Amaker purchasing his own carpet and a VCR in his new office to the basketball team being relegated to practicing in the IM Building for every reason from the Pow-Wow to leaks and excess condensation during the summer.

In the next couple years those will be distant memories. The practice facility, infrastructure, seating and scoreboard improvements will go up this fall before the complete stadium makeover a couple years down the line.

These are undoubtedly exciting times and a massive step forward for the program. Michigan might be one of the last schools to build a practice facility but it should also be one of the nicest. The facilities are already having an effect on recruits, as all of them will spend their time in the facility, and that effect should only grow as they are able to see the actual facility rather than look at videos, dirt, steel and computer renderings.

Thoughts on the Schedule

Michigan’s schedule isn’t finalized but it’s getting close. The Wolverines get a trip to Maui as part of what could be the best preseason tournament this year followed by a game at Virginia in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge. Home games versus Iowa State, Bradley and Towson aren’t going to wow anyone and leave fans wondering whether a marquee game will be added to the slate.

There were strong talks of a game at Texas but recent rumors are that those talks have fallen off. From an analyst’s perspective there are things to like about the schedule. Winnable road games at Virginia and Oakland (semi-road) along with marquee neutral site games that will be important in March. As for the fans, I think they’d definitely like to see a stronger high-level opponent come to Crisler Arena.

The schedule isn’t done, with only eight of twelve games accounted for, so it will be interesting to see what direction the staff goes with the final four games. A couple will undoubtedly be “guarantee games” against lower level BCS schools, but there’s still room to add that marquee home game.

Indiana (Elite)

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The basketball world is buzzing over Mike Fish’s series of investigative pieces on the Indiana Elite AAU team and its connection to Indiana’s program. The piece focuses on Mark Adams, the director of both Indiana Elite and A-Hope, a charity designed to help international basketball players fulfill their dreams. Adams’ son, Drew, served as Director of Basketball Operations at Indiana and Indiana’s No. 1 ranked 2012 class features five players from the Indiana Elite program and two from the A-Hope foundation.

Inside the Hall has a comprehensive reaction to the ESPN piece which seems to conclude that there is no actual wrong doing and that everything was by the book. All of the articles are worth reading but I tend to agree that nothing much will come from this.

The connections between Indiana, Indiana Elite, Mark and Drew Adams and A-Hope were well known to those around the Indiana program. So well known, that it would be foolish if everything was not being conducted by the books. The story doesn’t look good, and certainly emphasizes the sort of “relationships” that are valued in the world of basketball recruiting, but that doesn’t mean anything illegal transpired.

Recruiting 2012-2013

With Darius Morris’s departure to the NBA, one of the most common questions I’ve been asked is what Michigan will do with his scholarship.

Martin Breunig appears to be the only remaining 2011 option, and he’s at the very early stages of his recruitment after decommitting from Maryland. Michigan has inquired, but wasn’t necessarily too involved the first time around, and he’s visited Washington. Talk is that Breunig will look to take another visit or two, but the first step for the Michigan coaches is to get him on campus. His video is impressive:

After 2011, the question becomes 2012 or 2013? Michigan has two wing-type prospects in the class of 2012 and most of the other prospects on the 2012 radar play a similar position. Sherron Dorsey-Walker has played well this spring and could be an option, while JaVontae Hawkins is transferring to Huntington Prep in West Virginia. Right now we’d expect the Michigan staff to keep their options open, pursuing any late developing prospects, but put the hard press on the class of 2013.

There are a number of talented prospects with strong mutual interest in the class of 2013. We’ll be covering these prospects position by position as we move closer to June 15th, the date Michigan offers sophomore prospects.

New Rules for 2011-12

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The NCAA Rules Oversight Panel officially approved the restricted-area arc under the basket for Division I basketball next season. The life cycle of a rules proposal is a bit mystifying, and it seems like this had already been announced, but now it’s absolutely official. There will be an arc underneath to basket to assist with distinguishing between blocks and charges.

Conventional wisdom would hint that this rule would hurt Michigan. The Wolverine defense relies on taking charges more than blocking shots, and the roster isn’t chock full of players that attack the basket and pick up charges. Michigan isn’t quite Duke or Wisconsin, in terms of taking charges conspicuously close to the basket, but Zack Novak and even Jordan Morgan will likely be affected by this rule.

The other new rule surrounds flagrant fouls. An intentional foul has been replaced by a Flagrant 1 while what used to be a flagrant foul is now a Flagrant 2 foul. A Flagrant 2 foul is defined by “excessive contact” and will result in an ejection.

  • Anonymous

    Manny shouldn’t have been tossed because of that elbow. 

    • Dustin C.

      What ticked me off is Kalin Lucas did the same thing against us a few weeks later and wasn’t ejected.  He then hit the game winner later in the game.

  • MHoops1

    You’re probably right, Dylan, that nothing will come of the espn articles, but I have to chuckle at Dustin Dporek’s breathless reporting that he’d talked to Mark Adams who said that he’d cleared everything with the NCAA. IIRC, Uncle Ed said the same thing back in 1997 when he was interviewed by Michigan and then by the local media, and Barry Henchhorn said a few years later  when asked about his relationship with Jamal Crawford that he was his legal guardian. Both turned out to be inaccurate. As with Uncle Ed (and many others “associated” with high school athletes), the source of the funding used by a $65,000 a year government employee to pay the costs involved in travel, etc. may be subject to NCAA scrutiny, and whether Adams is the legal guardian of the kids in question is a determinable fact. I’m not saying that Adams isn’t on the up and up, just that the fact that he says he is doesn’t mean it’s so.

    One other note–if Adams, Barnett, etc. aren’t IU boosters, it’s hard to see who would be. If the NCAA allows guys like that to be as involved as they are, they shouldn’t. 

    • http://www.umhoops.com/ Dylan Burkhardt

      To clarify, I wouldn’t be surprised if Hanner has to pay some amount of money back, sit out a few games, something along those lines. In the broad scope of program issues, I’d be surprised to see much come from it.

      • Tom_McC

        For me, it just puts into perspective that Tom Crean’s success recruiting not him outworking the other coaches, it’s the fact that he has a big time AAU program right next door to Assembly Hall.  I guess, ‘outworking’ is probably a subjective term, especially in CBB recruiting.

        In any event, it seems pretty clear that even if nothing comes of this(which I tend to think nothing will) it does put it perspective that in CBB recruiting, there is a lot of gray areas and being a great recruiter isn’t always about a coach selling his vision…it can be about taking care of those folks who wield a lot of influence over high school players.

  • Mdjohnny5

    Breunig’s film is very impressive.  A 6’9 guy finishing strong inside, hitting jumpers and running the break?  He looks like a slightly smaller version of McGary (possibly more polished though).  This kid would be an amazing late pull, but it looks like UW has already gotten a visit and has a good shot at him.  How is he not ranked higher on scouting services?!? 

    • SBell

      Here’s what I sent college coaches in October re. Breunig, after he beat up on Walter Pitchford in Lansing:

      Do-it-all German
      forward, like a thinner Ademola Okulaja. And like an old Dean Smith 3,
      he’s a serviecable and aware ball-handler and passer from the top. As St.
      Johns’ schedule progresses, he’ll be recruited by a whole different
      tier of schools than the mid-majors after him now (Oregon State is
      biggest school I’ve heard mentioned). Looks like a high-major role
      player deluxe. Runs the floor well, but was also able to get to the rim
      from the halfcourt. His most impressive play was taking Summit’s 6-5
      Jordan Spohn with a spin move from the right wing and finishing with a
      big-time two-handed dunk. Good on the blocks too, because he’s got some
      subtle moves at the rim off of a strong but nimble pivot foot; needs
      work on a stronger and more decisive post base. While he preferred to
      score at the goal, had a soft mid-range touch. What you might not expect
      from a young Euro, played hard, heads-up defense on and off the ball;
      loved how he fought over screens. Much more athletic than you think,
      because he plays upright. Breunig projects as a 3 who can be bumped up
      to the vogue finesse 4, so he’ll have to start getting lower and wider
      on both ends of the floor. 

  • Anonymous

    RE mike fish article: When I saw the headline yesterday on espn.com, I thought it was going to be some huge groundbreaking story.  Then after reading the actual article, I just kind of chuckled.  Its basically just conspiracy theory.  The author demonstrates nothing other than, “hey this relationship looks suspicious.” 

    Everyone knows there is a lot of corruption in AAU basketball and the many colleges have ties to AAU programs that are questionable.  The NCAA rules are so overly complicated that they have created a world where it becomes very difficult for coaches not to violate some recruiting rule, while at the same time making it just as difficult for the NCAA to actually catch and punish extreme violators. 

    The article starts to delve into the welfare of the kids but falls short of providing enough information to show it is actually really bad.  Further it fails to provide what should be done with the situation and how to improve the enviroment so that the kids are protected. 

    The fact is it seems like the NCAA is really only concerned with two questions: Is this making us money, and, is the playing field relatively equal?  Anything other than that, they don’t care about.

  • Um hoops fan

    I wouldnt be surprised if the schedule is done re big names. Iowa state isn’t Kansas, but they’ll be a decent bcs team this year. With Maui, isu, Bradley, Virginia Oakland, thats a pretty good schedule. Not saying won’t happen, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a marquee home and home start with us away next year, which would explain um not going to Ames until 2013

  • Anonymous

    Re: Crisler, I’ve never thought it was that bad once you actually got in your seat (although the seats themselves needed to be replaced) – the sightlines are pretty good.  It’s just the concourses that really looked old and dingy.  Also, that long walk around the building to get in (when you were coming from the stadium side) was annoying in the dead of winter.

    • Anonymous

      agreed.  I have never had an issue watching a game from any of my seats in Crisler and I have sat second to top row, all the way down to right behind the bench and even behind one of the backboards for a whole season (that was not ideal, but prolly the same in every arena).  I actually think Crisler gets as loud and intimidating as any arena I have been to (which includes breslin, both assembly halls, rupp arena, and a few other less impressive venues), its just that the fans have rarely had the opportunity to get that into it. 

      The concourses, the lighting, the seats themselves, the scoreboards, the concession stands, the bathrooms, the exterior, all needed/need a ton of renewal, but the setup and structure of the arena itself is sound. 

      I dont think it can ever be stressed enough what a hindrance the basketball facilities placed on the program itself.  The Martin scandal and the Ellerbe period probably did about as much damage, but the facilities were the one thing that the university could have controlled with ease, yet failed to do so. 

  • Detroitbry

    Who leaves Flint Powers? What is that all about?

  • Mattski

    Would love to see a recap from someone of what is known, at this point, about the degree to with OSU’s bball program is implicated in the ongoing revelations. People over at mgoblog were disappointed in the SI article, but the author was being careful, describing the wrongdoing he can, to now, corroborate. I don’t jump to conclusions–there might a bit of a firewall between the two programs. But it shouldn’t be long before we hear whether bball players are driving nice cars or sporting free tats.