Notebook: Lindy’s Sports picks Michigan fifth in Big Ten, Spike Albrecht back on the floor

Dylan Burkhardt

If Lindy’s season preview magazine is any barometer, Michigan will enter 2015-16 with fairly modest preseason expectations. Lindy’s ranked the Wolverines 33rd in the country in its upcoming magazine and picked them fifth in the Big Ten.

Maryland, Indiana, Purdue and Michigan State occupy the top four spots in the conference with Wisconsin and Ohio State right behind the Wolverines. The magazine does predict that Michigan will return to the NCAA tournament.

Lindy’s also tabbed Caris LeVert (second team) and Zak Irvin (third team) as preseason All-Big Ten performers. Yogi Ferrell, Melo Trimble, James Blackmon Jr., Denzel Valentine and Nigel Hayes made up the magazines All-Big Ten First Team.

LeVert was ranked as the No. 16 shooting guard in the country according to the magazine, which ranked Denzel Valentine (5th) and Bronson Koenig (15th) ahead of him on their list. Returning point guard Derrick Walton was tabbed as the No. 23 point guard while Zak Irvin checked in at 21st in the small forward hierarchy.

Spike Albrecht back on the floor

Spike Albrecht is back on the court after rehabbing from a pair of hip surgeries this summer. Albrecht under went his first surgery on April 8th and his second on May 15th.

“Back in the gym getting up shots for the first time in nearly 5 months!!!” Albrecht posted on Instagram. “Jumper was feeling niceeee though!”

He averaged 7.5 points and 3.9 assists per game for the Wolverines last season and was the most efficient pick and roll player in the Big Ten.

Derrick Walton hungry for return

Albrecht isn’t the only Michigan point guard recovering from injury this offseason and Derrick Walton appears to be in much better spirits this offseason after a disappointing injury plagued sophomore year. Walton spoke with Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press about the injury, his recovery and expectations for next season.

LaVall Jordan thinks Walton is ready to make an impact this season and make up for lost time.

“Having the time off he’s got a little bit of a chip on shoulder to prove he could have made a difference and he’s looking to make an impact on the court this year,” Jordan told the Free Press. “When you get something taken away from you, you value those opportunities more, so I think every practice and every game will be that much more special for him.”

Here’s a clip of Walton discussing the injury last season and how it quickly turned into a serious problem.

LeVert’s draft stock holding steady

Caris LeVert continues to to trend positively in offseason NBA mock drafts. He was the only senior listed in Chad Ford’s initial mock at ESPN and was projected at No. 21 overall.

“LeVert is our first and only senior on the board in the first round. He would’ve been a mid-to-late first-round pick in the past draft had he not suffered a broken foot in January,” Ford wrote. “He’s a very skilled wing who can shoot, pass the ball and defend multiple positions. After showing a major improvement his sophomore year, he’s leveled off a bit as a junior. But teams still see upside there (he just turned 21). The Pelicans could use his shooting and playmaking ability from the wing. Small forward might be the weakest position on the team for them.”

CBS Sports tabbed LeVert as the No. 4 shooting guard in the country this season:

“LeVert has been pretty productive in his time at Michigan, but he’s also still largely an unfinished product. First, the good though. At 6-7 with a long wingspan, he has size to play both wing spots. He’s knocked down about 40 percent of his 3s over the course of the last two years, and has shown skill as a lead ball-handler at times,” Sam Vecenie wrote.

Vecenie also points out LeVert’s inconsistencies on defense despite his potential.

“However, where a lot of his potential lies is on defense, where his athleticism and wingspan could wreak havoc but struggles to even make an impact. He’s poor positionally and doesn’t get into passing lanes to deny the ball or create turnovers. That will be the key for him this season: to show that he can eventually improve as a defender in the NBA, and make a mark as a 3-and-D type. He’s outside of the lottery, right now, but as a young senior who can shoot and make plays for others, he could end up reaching that height with a great year.”

  • Mattski

    Where is the love? Where is the lo-o-ove. . . And on another note, it’s time to stop acting as if Spike is some wildly over-achieving and un-gifted athlete. This guy could ball in both an inspired AND disciplined manner from wayback:

  • Barth Applefeld

    Spike is an incredible athlete and tough to boot. The problem is the world: we think anybody who isn’t an All-American and who also has almost no chance to play in the NBA because of his size is a bad athlete.

  • Wayman Britt

    I am not sure about Purdue finishing third in the Big Ten. They will have a great inside game and have three bigs who can post up, but with all the great coaches in the Big Ten I see lot’s of double teaming down low. I am not sure the Boilermakers have anybody who can consistently shoot from the outside. I am sure Bo, Tom and John already have a game plan in mind to defend them.

  • Bluerev

    Well, after sitting on this for 3 days I’ll go ahead and say what everyone that really knows Michigan is thinking… “It figures, and doesn’t really matter.” Injury free I just about guarantee Michigan will do better than projected. As usual we are underrated. Tho some years we’ve been rated better we don’t always fare as well, yet usually we can point to injuries when we under-perform. We played poorly last year before injuries but I’m pretty sure we woulda been tough by midseason. However, the injuries of last year has led to better depth this year than any other JB team. Tho JB doesn’t go deep like some, it will impact all year–at every position!

    The cool part is its always fun doing better than projected–being overachievers. I’m convinced we’re top 25 and could flirt with top 10 off and on. And come tourney time we’re the team you hate to play.

  • bobohle

    Most of the poor play last year previous to the injuries was due mostly to inexperience at the 5. You may as well say Spike and Derrick played thru injury very early on. I have been one of the big backers on this site for recruiting elite talent. However Spike Albrecht is my favorite player. I can’t wait to see him play with 2 good hips for the first time in 2 years. I hope he gets a good share of minutes this season. GO BLUE!