Our weekly feature tracking the performance of Michigan players performance over two game segments of the season. (Photo: Dustin Johnston)
Caris LeVert: 9 (Last week: 7.5)
Over Michigan’s past two games, Caris LeVert has been Michigan’s best player — and it’s not close. The sophomore scored 15 points on seven shots against Coppin State, but more importantly, he was the player Michigan’s turned to when its offense was flailing against Duke. With the Blue Devils shutting down Nik Stauskas, LeVert stepped up big in the second half, finishing with 24 points, four rebounds and two assists in the loss. The talented wing scored his points mainly by dribble penetration to the basket and showed an ability to finish through contact. LeVert is steadily becoming an offensive force, something Michigan desperately needs alongside Stauskas. One interesting tidbit from the past two games: LeVert did not miss a free throw, going 11-for-11 from the charity stripe.
Zak Irvin: 7 (Last week: 2)
Michigan’s talented freshman made a big jump this week, mainly because of his flaming-hot shooting performance against Coppin State. Zak Irvin led all scorers with 24 points and made six 3-pointers in Michigan’s blowout victory. More important than the point total was the confidence that game gave Irvin going forward — it seemed as though he had been struggling with getting into the flow of the offense, and needed a breakout game. Against Duke, Irvin played 14 minutes and after some so-so decisions early rose up confidently to hit some shots late.
Mitch McGary: 7 (Last week: 6.5)
Michigan’s big man continues his steady climb through the rankings as he plays himself into shape. Mitch McGary didn’t do much against Coppin State, only taking four shots in 26 minutes, but he was productive against Duke: the sophomore scored 15 points and grabbed 14 rebounds against the Blue Devils. While much of that production came late in the game when it was largely out of reach (eight points and three rebounds came within the last two minutes of the game), he was still effective. McGary’s ability to pull down defensive rebounds and start the fast break was what kept Michigan in the game in the first half.
Derrick Walton: 5 (Last week: 5.5)
Derrick Walton is steadily finding his stride as Michigan’s point guard. Unlike Michigan’s freshmen last year, he has had to play in some of the most hostile environments in the country very early in his college basketball career. So far, results have been mixed — there have been flashes of great play mixed in with some perplexing decisions. He had some very nice drives to the hoop against Duke, but he is still turning the ball over too much, with more turnovers than assists against the Blue Devils.
Jordan Morgan: 5 (Last week: 4.5)
Michigan’s redshirt senior had a pretty good offensive performance against Coppin State, scoring six out of the Wolverines’ first 10 points. The big man scored on a nice take the basket from the high post, an offensive rebound and putback and even a nifty midrange fallaway. Against Duke he was less effective: in 10 minutes, he didn’t record a rebound but scored on a tough hook for an and-1 opportunity.
Glenn Robinson III: 4.5 (Last week: 5)
Glenn Robinson III continues to struggle. The sophomore just can’t seem to find his way in Michigan’s offense right now. He had a vintage Robinson game against Coppin State, scoring 14 points and bringing down six rebounds (two offensive) in 27 minutes. But against Duke, when Michigan truly needed production with Stauskas being shut down, Robinson was nowhere to be found: eight points on nine shots and three rebounds.
Spike Albrecht: 3.5 (Last week: 6)
Spike Albrecht had a relatively productive night against Coppin State despite missing all three of his 3-point attempts — he still managed to hand out four assists in 12 minutes. Against Duke, the sophomore was mostly ineffective, hitting one 3-pointer and registering an assist and a turnover.
Jon Horford: 3 (Last week: 4)
After a good night against Coppin State where he raked in six points and three rebounds in only 11 minutes, Horford was virtually invisible against Duke: he played six minutes and his only shot was blocked by Jabari Parker and taken all the way back for a lay-in.
Nik Stauskas: 1.5 (Last week: 9)
Stauskas didn’t play against Coppin State and only took two shots in 34 minutes against Duke. The sophomore will have to figure out how to get his points when entire defenses are planned around him, a la Trey Burke last season.