Postscript: The Class of 2012

September 24, 2011: Under Armour hosts the inaugural Grind Session at Lake Barrington Field House featuring the top 50 prep basketball players in the nation.Screen-shot-2010-11-29-at-7.28.25-PM[1]220px-20110110_Mitch_McGary_at_Hoop_Hall_Classic[1]thumbnail[1]Carius Levert

Michigan’s 2012 recruiting class is finally complete. Glenn Robinson III, Nik Stauskas, Mitch McGary, Spike Albrecht and Caris LeVert are all scheduled to set foot in Ann Arbor by the end of the month. John Beilein will replace the five players that graduated (2) or transferred (3) from last year’s roster with five freshmen replacements. Now the question is what sort of impact can that group – who will certainly be called upon to play a significant role – have on the 2012-13 season.

The variance of styles, recruiting rankings, stories and development trajectories is unique. Glenn Robinson III climbed from 3-star junior prospect to top 30 player. Mitch McGary rose from an intriguing Midwestern big man with some grade issues to the No. 2 player in the country, then subsequently slipped back down a few slots in the rankings. Nik Stauskas rose steadily throughout his career while Caris LeVert was a late bloomer that decommitted from the school that upset Michigan in the NCAA tournament. Mitch McGary committed on national television while Spike Albrecht and Caris LeVert chose the Wolverines quietly on Friday evenings.

Their widely different backstories will come together as one class in Ann Arbor this June. A group that hypothetically could play as one unit, fielding a player at all five positions on the floor. But also a group that will account for five of 12 slots on next year’s roster.

Here’s a review of each incoming Wolverine, what to expect, what questions they have yet to answer and much more.

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Glenn Robinson III

RSCI Consensus National Rank: 23rd
Quick Scout
: Robinson is 6-foot-7 and has a complete game on the wing. He’ll be the best athlete on the Michigan roster when he sets foot on campus and can do a little bit of everything offensively.
Projected Position: Four/Three
Biggest Question Mark: The jumpshot. Robinson can do a whole lot offensively but he’s not a jumpshooter by trade. Where does that put him in Michigan’s offense?
Best Case: Robinson has the skill set to make the biggest impact of any Michigan freshman. If he adapts to the college game he has the ability to be a double digit scorer and one of Michigan’s top rebounders as a freshman. There are a lot of strong incoming freshmen but if Robinson has the ability to fight for an All-Freshman team slot.
Worst Case: Robinson struggles with his jumpshot and doesn’t find a role offensively. He makes an impact on the wing with his defense and rebounding but isn’t aggressive enough offensively.
VideosSectional TitleBrandon Jennings InvitationalHamilton SoutheasternAAU HighlightsIBCA Top 100Pitt Jam Fest Scouting VideoIndiana Junior-Senior All-Star
Bottom Line: Robinson will be the flex piece in John Beilein’s lineup. He has the ability to help Michigan go “small” by playing the four position but has the size and athleticism to hold his own at the spot. Robinson is the player that can battle against the likes of DeShaun Thomas, who Ohio State opts to play at the power forward position, but can also slide down to the three slot against teams that prefer to play two big men.

Mitch McGary

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Quick Scout: Big bodied post player with above-average ball skills and passing ability. Plays hard, rebounds outside of his area, unselfish but needs to refine back-to-basket game.
RSCI Consensus National Rank: 26th
Projected Position: Five/Four
Biggest Question Mark: How does McGary fit into the Wolverine offense – does he play the four or the five? A determining factor in McGary’s position will be his fitness, something that was questioned at times throughout his final season at Brewster.
Best Case: 14 points and eight rebounds per game. McGary is the impact big man that John Beilein has sorely lacked. He changes the game on both the defensive and offensive glass, finishes at the bucket consistently and shows off a consistent 12 foot jumper.
Worst Case: Fouls limit McGary’s minutes as his over aggressive style catches up to him. His offensive game is limited by an inconsistent jump shot which forces him to play more minutes at the five. Nine points and eight rebounds per game.
Videos: All-American Classic, Tilton, Hoophall Classic, Early Season Highlights, Summer Highlights, Video Archive, Shattered Backboard at Elite 24, Pitt Jam Fest Scouting Video
Bottom Line: McGary will make an instant impact by bolstering Michigan’s front line. He might not average 14 points per game, but he’ll rebound well and provide a physical presence in the middle. Expect McGary to start the year learning the five position and if that goes smoothly expand his game to the four.

Nik Stauskas

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Quick Scout: Pushing 6-foot-6, Stauskas is known for his shooting first and foremost. His improvement over the last year has been with the ability to attack the basket off the bounce – something that makes him significantly more dangerous when combined with his three point shooting abilities.
RSCI Consensus National Rank: 78th
Projected Position: Two/Three
Biggest Question Mark: Defense. Does Stauskas have the quickness and athleticism to defend Big Ten two guards?
Best Case: Stauskas steps in as Michigan’s resident sniper at the two position. He’s able to knock down 40% of his triples while holding his own as a defender and attacking the basket. There’s endless opportunity at the two slot and Stauskas takes advantage – averaging double digits and connecting on 40 percent of his triples.
Worst Case: The shooting ability is there but Stauskas isn’t able to provide the complete package for Michigan at the two – struggling to defend opposing guards at the Big Ten level. The three point shooting and scoring production is solid in bursts but inconsistent defense limits playing time.
VideosNEPSAC ChampionshipHoophall ClassicRaleigh Holiday Invitationalvs. BaylorFab 482010-11 Highlights
Bottom Line: Michigan graduated three of its top four three point shooters from a season ago and Stauskas is the most likely player to replace that three point production. He appears to have a significantly more complete game than Novak, Douglass or Vogrich when they set foot on campus but it remains to be seen what elements transfer to the college game.

Caris LeVert

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Quick Scout: Rail thin guard reportedly a shade under 6-foot-5, LeVert emerged as a senior with his ability to hit big shots and shows a crafty handle and the ability to get in the lane.
Projected Position: Two
Biggest Question Mark: Can he gain enough strength and weight to survive a Big Ten season?
Best Case: LeVert demonstrates that he can play at the Big Ten level despite his slender frame and gives Michigan another option at the off guard. He’s an able three point shooter (~38%) and gives the Wolverines a solid 10-15 minutes per game while averaging around four or five points per contest. Perhaps Vogrich and Stauskas falter at the two slot, giving LeVert an opportunity to step in and make the most of the situation.
Worst Case: LeVert doesn’t have the strength to play at the Big Ten level. The lack of strength limits his freshman year playing time as Stauskas and Vogrich play the majority of the minutes at the off guard.
Videos: Senior Year, Open Gym Highlights
Bottom Line: LeVert had a monster senior season and Michigan coaches were sold when they saw his film. This isn’t a matter of wasting or filling a scholarship, LeVert is a player that Michigan coaches feel can make an impact – at some point. There’s opportunity at the two position this season, but LeVert’s weight will be an issue.

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Spike Albrecht

Quick Scout: Steady lead guard that prefers to play the role of a facilitator. Not an overwhelming athlete but can run a team and hit open shots within the offense.
Projected Position: One
Biggest Question Mark: Is he a Big Ten player? Albrecht didn’t have other high major offers and it’s not a given that his game translates to the next level.
Best Case: Albrecht is able to use his familiarity with past AAU teammates Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III and play 5 to 10 minutes per game backing up Trey Burke at the point guard position. He doesn’t turn the ball over but also doesn’t score much – managing the game in limited playing time.
Worst Case: Albrecht isn’t ready to play at the Big Ten level and spends a year redshirting and learning the Michigan offense, providing a bit of insurance with a freshman point guard incoming and Trey Burke’s likely departure to the NBA.
Videos: Video in Commitment Post
Bottom Line: Albrecht is the least regarded of any of Michigan’s incoming players and he’ll be playing behind a likely preseason All-American in Trey Burke. It will be interesting to watch what happens with Eso Akunne. Does he continue to play for Burke’s backup minutes or does he try to shift over to the two position where there are even more lineup holes. Akunne’s role could determine whether there’s a role for Albrecht, or not.

Superlatives

  • Top Scorer: Glenn Robinson III
  • Top Rebounder: Mitch McGary
  • Top Passer: Nik Stauskas
  • Best Defender: Glenn Robinson III
  • Surprise Player: Caris LeVert
  • Best Three Point Shooter: Nik Stauskas
  • Best Athlete: Glenn Robinson III
  • Complete Scorer: Nik Stauskas
  • Most Likely to Breakout as a Sophomore: Caris LeVert
  • Most Energy: Mitch McGary
  • Mike

    Poor Spike didn’t make the superlatives list.

    • Jay

      Most Zack Novak: Spike Albrecht

      • Aaron

        Mitch Mcgary

  • SamGoBlue

    I think true worst-case scenarios would be even a little worse than listed here. For example, I could easily see McGary averaging fewer than four rebounds per game in somewhat limited time and LeVert redshirting as well. I also think Robinson is the most complete scorer in the class if he is able to hit the three at a decent clip. I think Stauskas will be a little more of a pure jumpshooter.

    Great recap though and I am just so excited for November to come around. It should be a tremendous season.

    • eddieben

      I agree—especially on the McGary worst case scenario. While I definitely see him contributing in a big way, I worry that he will not be able to provide a disciplined enough game–both offensively and defensively–to demand enough minutes away from Morgan and Horford. And without the minutes, I just don’t see him pulling those kinds of stats as a freshman.

      But he didn’t garner 5 stars (or slip to 4) for nothing, so I would love to be wrong…

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

      Fair.. I think he’ll make an impact rebounding regardless of how he develops offensively. But the numbers might be a bit lofty.

      • SamGoBlue

        Yeah, I definitely agree. I didn’t mean to knock anyone, I just think it is very hard and somewhat risky to predict best case/worst case scenarios for freshmen coming in since it is such a different game at the college level. I do agree that McGary’s biggest early impact will be cleaning up the defensive boards though, something Beilein certainly covets and will love to have.

    • Ghoward44

      LaVert will play at the 2 guard you heard it here first

      • SamGoBlue

        I think it’s widely assumed that LeVert’s main position will be the two, I agree. Are you saying that LeVert will get major minutes at the two this upcoming season?

  • GregGoBlue

    Great recap, thanks Dylan!

    I was especially interested in hearing more about how GRIII compares to DeShaun Thomas. Do you think they’re similar players other than the positions that they can play?

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

      I think they are a similar in the sense that they are the sort of new school versatile, athletic combo forward that can thrive in the college game these days. I don’t think there are a lot of other huge similarities, Thomas is much more of a volume shooter/scorer and has been for some time.. Robinson is just now growing into a more aggressive scorer over the past year and change.

      • SamGoBlue

        That’s an interesting comparison and one that I had not thought of before, but I kind of like it. As you mention, it’s not dead-on (no comparison ever will be, each player is unique), but they do have some similar facets to their game. Both should be expected to put up a lot of points, but perhaps in slightly different ways. Thomas, as you say, is more of a high-volume usage type player who will shot a lot of threes and elbow jumpers while I expect GRIII to use his athleticism a bit more to score around the hoop and perhaps pick up some second-chance buckets with his hops. Just makes the Michigan/OSU matchup even more intriguing.

  • Mattski

    Tantalizing analysis–really fun to look ahead. Would like to hear a little more about how the newcomers may fit in with players already on campus, especially how Hardaway, Horford, and Morgan may be affected by their arrival. Michigan has depth at the 4/5–that may help take some pressure off of McGary.

  • A2JD

    I can see Aaron Craft making a similar poster with GR III like the above pic.

    • Giebz

      I would pay $50 for that poster!

  • Wayman Britt

    Did Sai Tummala leave because of lack of playing time? or are there other reasons?

    • A2JD

      I’m guessing that he thinks that he might be able to be a scholarship player at some D-1 school.

  • mirepoix

    Incidentally, there’s a few Spike Albrecht sightings in that GRIII Pitt Jam video, including a couple of Spike-to-Trey for dunks in the highlights at the beginning (:15 and :23)

  • Kenny

    Rivals reported that Drake Harris was offered by Brady Hoke. he admitted that he is a Michigan football fan growing up but also a fan of Magic Johnson and likes Izzo. He will wait until his senior year to decide, let’s hope that he opts for the winged helmet.

  • Kenny

    Great analysis by Dylan again. This is certainly the most exciting class Beilein ever has.

    On Tre Robinson, I thought that he has very smooth jump shots when he committed before he developed the above-the-rim game.I don’t see this as his weakness, maybe only relatively. I believe that he did not take many jump shots more recently as he opted for higher percentage shots closer to the basket.

    On McGary, my biggest concern is his health, also how he will paired with Morgan and Holford.

    On Stauskas, he is more than a sniper and backup Burke if needed. Defense is my worry but we might see more zone next season.

    On Caris, know very little about him, hope that he plays good defense.

    On Spike, won’t worry about his readiness as a backup. his high school plays very similar style, believe one of the main reason he got offered. not flashy but can get the job done.

  • GB45

    Levert is eligible to play this season? He doesn’t have to sit out a year for transferring?

    • Mith

      He didn’t transfer, he decommitted from Ohio. He’ll be a freshman like the others.

      • GB45

        Ahhh… my bad. Thanks for the answer.

  • Chris

    Great write up, so excited for this season

  • brenks

    caris levert is going to be a monster

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