Monday Links: Austin Hatch, Shooters & More

Dylan Burkhardt
  • Mattski

    Have been wracking my brain trying to figure out why the Wayne State scrimmage made me so uneasy, especially given that we only lost Darius, and that Trey Burke looked so ready to take the reins. But although Burke may perform incredibly well, he is not likely to be the LEADER of the team, at least not this year. Darius and a confident Jordan Morgan gave such an impression of imposing strength and swagger from top to bottom of the court as the season wore on last year–they just looked pretty fragile out there, in contrast, on Friday. 

    A LOT, I think, is going to depend on Horford’s emergence. And as much as I like him, he doesn’t have the gravitas that Jordan was projecting last year. The Sullingers of the world knew they had a fight on their hands with Morgan, even if they held the physical advantages. (Was it just me, or does he not even look as strong this year? Who knows, he might have been looking to get leaner.)  If Hardaway has to carry the team by himself. . . 

    I’ll also get killed for saying this–especially since I was defending Stu Douglass after Dylan’s analysis last week–but I would love to see Brundidge emerge to challenge Stu for serious minutes. 

    I also wonder whether it may take really good ball movement–of a kind the team will have to work hard to return to–to get Smotrycz involved in the offense. He may be developing some post moves, but it will be a while before he’s dominating in that regard. 

    Some of you people who know more than me tell me where my analysis is off. 

    • Guest

      You hit on something very important: the swagger/attitude of the team. Last year, they brought a fire Michigan hadn’t had since the Fab Five. I loved that you could hear Morris, Hardaway, and Morgan yell or talk a bit after good plays. I really think the team fed off it, and I think they have to keep that bit of chippiness (is that even a word?) in order to stay aggressive and succeed.

    • FGCU Maize Rage

      I actually didn’t see the exhibition against Wayne State, so I don’t have anything to really say about the game, but there are a few things I think will need to happen in order for this year to be a success.
      1. Brundidge must compete for minutes at both guard spots.
      2. Morgan (or Horford) must emerge as the starting center and make it clear that he is the number one option at the 5. This needs to occur by playing WELL and not the other guy playing POOR.
      3. Somebody needs to have the swag that you see on leigitimate top-25 teams. Darius and J-Mo had that intangible last season, and this year we need somebody to step up. Zack may be a great leader and tough as nails, but that’s not necessarily the same thing. 

    • Kenny

      I am a bit uneasy too. The importance of Morris cannot be underestimated. Without Morris, Morgan does not seems to be same, although I suspect that he is not 100%. Stu also seemed a bit uneasy. I think that Smot would be OK once his shots start falling, but he was also a bit rigid and should loosen up.

    • MHoops1

      Some responses:

      1. Jordan Morgan is not, and never was going to be, a leader on this team. This is Zack’s team, Stu’s team and Tim’s team. I like Jordan, and he will need to be assertive, but I don’t think our problems on Friday had anything to do with swagger (maybe on the part of Evan who missed some shots and went into a shell, but not others); rahter, they had to do with mmissing easy shots.

      2. I disagree on Horford. I believe that Morgan will be starting again soon, and that, while Horford will be a plus, he’s not the most important guy in terms of improvement–that’s Smotrycz.

      3. Stu will play way, way more minutes than Carlton this year. People may not like it, but Stu is our best defensive player by a lo and doesn’t turn the ball overt. I like Carlton, think he’s going to be very good in time, and hope he gets some minutes this year, but he’s not going to challenge Stu for a ton of minutes any time soon.

      4. Smot needs ball movement, but he’s also capable of creating on his own via pump faking and putting the ball on the floor as he did last year. He needs confidence and he needs to make the shots he creates–if those occur, everything else opens up.

      • Mattski

        Was not saying Morgan was a leader, but that he and Darius together constituted a kind of threat that I don’t see out there now. I have never been convinced about Smotrycz, but sure hope he comes to the fore; if he does then you could be right that this is even more important than Horford, but Horford could contribute on D and O whereas I don’t see that with Smotrycz. And that pump fake of Smot’s was something he exhibited a few times at the end of last season, no? A lot of people sure are living large on the hope of more of that, but maybe they’re closer to the team and reports than I am. (Given how great Horford’s brother was, I’m always surprised people don’t expect more from Horford–I just think we have another year to wait for it.) Stu barks at the guys, but I’m don’t feel his authority like I do Novak’s (yes, great defender though). And as for Carlton replacing Stu, probably not, but I can wish. Thanks for the responses, all.

        • Kenny

          I don’t buy the brother thing, remember Chris Webber’s brother who walked-on at Michigan State, and Josh Moore, Shaq’s cousin? THJr is good because he is THJr not because his father is THSr. I sure hope that Jon can turned out into somebody but I just don’t see that. In fact, he looked more lost on the defensive end last Friday than anybody else. 

          • Mattski

            Right. I don’t think we can expect that he lives up to Al’s billings, although iirc Al was relatively unheralded, too. With three more years to play, I expect him to be quite a good player in the end. 

    • ForeverBlue

      Let’s look at a few games before drawing conclusions.  Last season’s team started fast but they had the advantage of the European trip.  Hardaway has plenty of swagger and will settle in as he gets comfortable with a central role.  Trey’s swagger is going to grow.  What they need is a hunger that translates to playing with force.  Stu and Novak have the kind of cerebral approach to help get the team’s mind right.  My biggest concern right now is Morgan.  I did not expect him to take a step back but everything I read suggests that he has.

  • Kevin in GR

    Great to see Austin Hatch out and about!

  • mikey_mac

    Going through KP’s predicted outcomes, UM’s record would be 11-7 in B1G play, not 10-8.

    • His projected records are based on the percentages for every game — not by summing each game. 

    • mikey_mac

      Ah, the fine print from KP: “Projected record is based on cumulative probabilities of
      winning each game and may not equal the individual game predictions.”

  • A2JD

    Great to see Austin out and about.  It looks like he’s lost some weight but that would have to be expected.  Here’s to him continuing down the road to recovery and I wish him the best, always.