UM Hoops.com http://www.umhoops.com Michigan Wolverines Basketball Recruiting, News & Video Fri, 31 Oct 2014 00:40:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Video: Inside Michigan’s Media Day Practice http://www.umhoops.com/2014/10/30/video-inside-michigans-media-day-practice/ http://www.umhoops.com/2014/10/30/video-inside-michigans-media-day-practice/#comments Fri, 31 Oct 2014 00:40:33 +0000 http://www.umhoops.com/?p=65278 Video: Inside Michigan’s Media Day PracticeMichigan opened the doors to practice for an hour after hosting its annual Media Day in Ann Arbor. Here are some clips of the 2014-15 Wolverines going through drills on Thursday afternoon. More from Media Day Photo Gallery: Michigan Media Day Practice 2014 Photo Gallery: Michigan Media Day 2014 Video & Quotes: John Beilein at […]

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Michigan opened the doors to practice for an hour after hosting its annual Media Day in Ann Arbor. Here are some clips of the 2014-15 Wolverines going through drills on Thursday afternoon.

More from Media Day

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Photo Gallery: Michigan Media Day Practice 2014 http://www.umhoops.com/2014/10/30/photo-gallery-michigan-media-day-practice-2014/ http://www.umhoops.com/2014/10/30/photo-gallery-michigan-media-day-practice-2014/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 23:32:59 +0000 http://www.umhoops.com/?p=65222 Michigan Media Day Practice - 29After Media Day activities, Michigan took the floor for an hour long practice open to media. Find a full gallery of practice photos the jump. All photos by Alejandro Zuniga.

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Michigan Media Day Practice - 1

After Media Day activities, Michigan took the floor for an hour long practice open to media. Find a full gallery of practice photos the jump. All photos by Alejandro Zuniga.
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Photo Gallery: Michigan Media Day 2014 http://www.umhoops.com/2014/10/30/photo-gallery-michigan-media-day-2014/ http://www.umhoops.com/2014/10/30/photo-gallery-michigan-media-day-2014/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 23:04:41 +0000 http://www.umhoops.com/?p=65220 Michigan Basketball Media Day 2014 - 11Michigan players went through the media gauntlet today, answering questions and posing for pictures as part of Michigan Basketball Media Day. Here’s a look at the Wolverines’ returning stars and newcomers from today’s photo shoot.

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Michigan Basketball Media Day 2014 - 7

Michigan players went through the media gauntlet today, answering questions and posing for pictures as part of Michigan Basketball Media Day. Here’s a look at the Wolverines’ returning stars and newcomers from today’s photo shoot.
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Video & Quotes: John Beilein at Michigan Media Day http://www.umhoops.com/2014/10/30/video-quotes-john-beilein-michigan-media-day/ http://www.umhoops.com/2014/10/30/video-quotes-john-beilein-michigan-media-day/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 22:06:57 +0000 http://www.umhoops.com/?p=65177 Video: John Beilein at Michigan Media DayJohn Beilein kicked off Michigan Basketball Media Day this afternoon with his season opening press conference. You can watch the entire press conference in the embedded media player below or find a transcript after the jump. Opening statement … "We are getting closer and closer to the season and we look forward to these days. […]

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John Beilein kicked off Michigan Basketball Media Day this afternoon with his season opening press conference. You can watch the entire press conference in the embedded media player below or find a transcript after the jump.

Opening statement … "We are getting closer and closer to the season and we look forward to these days. I look forward to having you all meet some of these young men we are getting to coach right now. They have really worked hard; they have been healthy, which is really good, and we are just two weeks away from our first games. It is unique getting ready, because as you know, the last couple years we have changed where we can work kids out in the summer. We can work them out in the fall and we can make foreign trips. That has been the biggest battle for someone like me, who likes to be really organized about what the process is when you have these early starts. You don’t want things to slip because you assume things or because you covered it last July; you want to be thorough. So we will find out more, and we are doing a secret scrimmage this year as well, as some of you have called it. We cannot talk about it; we are not going to talk about it. But it is another way for us to try and prepare. We have got a lot of things juggling right now with the team because we have five players, five letterman players back, and a bunch of guys that will be going on the court for the first time. It is going to be a great opportunity for some young men to really grow. The veterans may even be a bigger area of growth that we are going to need and that they want to have. Hopefully it is moving that direction every day."

On the freshman class and how they compare to past classes … "It comes and goes, and I won’t single people out right now, but there are a couple of them right now that are exceptional at taking the task and applying it, as we say. There are some other ones that are really typical. I don’t think anyone has been, ‘oh my goodness, this could be a two- or three-year project.’ I like what I have seen so far. We continue to throw more things at them, and we’ve had a lot of practice so far. We have a list of so many things we have to do to still improve that we haven’t even touched, that we could see in our first game. You don’t know where they are and you hate to make the comparisons, but the Trey Burkes and the Tim Hardaways were not as highly recruited either, nor were the Caris LeVerts and the Spikes and all that. I think we have all learned in time, as we continue to look at those lists, that they are just lists."

On freshmen filling in the vacant front court positions … "I think that is one position where, when you are a freshman, the basics and just keeping things simpler are really key. Finishing around the rim, framing up, being big, keep your footwork. Footwork is usually the biggest thing that Bacari (Alexander) and I work with them on. That is what we just focused on. The only thing we mention a lot about Jon (Horford) and Jordan (Morgan), how solid they were just in being team guys. That brought them a lot of success, and as a result, brought the team success. That is the big focus. Fit in before you try to stand out, but the energy and the enthusiasm and the willingness to be a team guy with all of our team guys has been really good."

On whether or not Kentucky’s last-second shot will be a point of motivation … "I talked about it, and we have this poem that we read the other day — One Possession by Jeff Smith. It is sort of this corny poem about a guy saying, ‘Coach, come on, get off my back. It is a turnover and there are still 39 minutes to play,’ but then the poem comes down to like a Casey at the Bat, there is one play left. We talked about that because Caris (LeVert) played exceptional defense on that. He was perfect. But was there one other play in that game that could have turned that game. We will talk about that. I think we had an outstanding record last year in close games in the Big Ten. So those close games were not decided in the last minute. They were maybe decided in the first minute. So it’s a continuous point of emphasis."

On sophomore guard Zak Irvin’s summer … "I think that he has really worked. When you see him in the work out right now, and I think you guys saw a little bit this summer, you will see a different athleticism than you saw last year. He has really worked hard with John Sanderson — I think you will see a difference there. We want his shooting to be just as accurate as it was last year, but he will obviously get a lot more opportunities, a lot more volume to his shots. But he is making good progressions in every area."

On the role of Austin Hatch … "He is one of our thirteen scholarship players right now. He has done a great job of embracing the team and being a part of the team and giving us everything he can give us every practice. He is limited in practice right now as he continues to improve his skill level. At the same time, the kids love him, you will (see that) in practice today. He will be in some of the early exercises and he won’t be in some of the more competitive ones. He has brought a lot to this team. I think (his role) will be one as a student of the game that will try to give us everything that he can in practice, help in any way that he can on and off the floor. So many people say ‘what a great thing to have him on this basketball team’. No. The gift is from Austin Hatch to every one of us. When you watch him go through our drills and our kids are encouraging him, that is a tremendous blessing to the team to see what a young man can do. I have requested and received a film of him playing in high school, that we don’t really know how to show the rest of the team, but we will do it, because when he was playing before the injuries, it is really a great video."

On if he ever envisioned basketball becoming a savior to Michigan fans … "Regardless of the success of any athletic teams here, to me, watching Michigan from afar — yeah, I love Michigan Football, but Michigan Basketball has been an icon for years. I think that is why I want people to really value what we have brought here. We are trying to bring it back so it is a yearly conversation. Michigan Basketball, what type of year are they going to have? Yeah it is rebuilding but they are going to be good in the future. I don’t want it to have the lack of consistency that maybe it has had before."

On where the team is looking for leadership this season … "I think in men’s basketball in particular, you have to talk about veteran leadership. I don’t think you can talk about senior leadership anymore. At least at this level, the transfer to the NBA just happens so much more readily than it did (in the past) and the numbers are so small. I would say the veteran leadership is going to come from Max (Bielfeldt) obviously, and Spike (Albrecht) and Caris (LeVert). But Derrick (Walton) too; if we had a core five those would be the core five, because they have been so involved. Andrew Dakich and Sean Lonergan as well. This is crazy to say, that they are veterans, but when you know they are the only veterans that you have, you have no other choice. They have been really good at that."

On the leadership role of junior guard Caris LeVert … "There are guys that, if they are not comfortable being vocal, they may not help. I wouldn’t say he is not comfortable; he is just not going to be the Zack Novak-type. He is not going to be the guy that is really going to jump in someone’s face, which Zack was very happy to do several times. You can still get it across. His effort every day and his attitude of being coachable speaks volumes for who he is. He has always been that way, but now, as one of the veteran players, our guys are watching him, and that is where I want to get that program too. It wasn’t just the coaches teaching, they just saw it. I’m sure he also will be, if we are tough on a kid someday, I’m sure he’s got his arm around some guy on the way to the training table saying, alright, so you learned this today. There are many ways to lead, and Caris has a really good method of leading."

On the direction basketball recruiting is going in terms of players leaving early … "These guys will tell you, I am never surprised by anything, and that is why I love to coach. The puzzle is always changing; the pieces in the puzzle are always changing. You never can get content, you just have to keep changing, because you have to understand that the puzzle is going to change. There is a different piece every year; there is a different piece every game. You have to try to plug that in."

Quotes via MGoBlue.com.

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Video: Ricky Doyle, Duncan Robinson and Aubrey Dawkins speak at Michigan Media Day http://www.umhoops.com/2014/10/30/video-ricky-doyle-duncan-robinson-aubrey-dawkins-speak-michigan-media-day/ http://www.umhoops.com/2014/10/30/video-ricky-doyle-duncan-robinson-aubrey-dawkins-speak-michigan-media-day/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 20:53:38 +0000 http://www.umhoops.com/?p=65174 Video: Ricky Doyle, Duncan Robinson and Aubrey Dawkins speak at Michigan Media DayMichigan coaches and players met with the media this afternoon to kick off the 2014-15 season at Michigan Basketball Media Day. With seven newcomers on the 2014-15 roster there were plenty of fresh faces including Ricky Doyle, Aubrey Dawkins and Division III transfer Duncan Robinson. You can watch all three players in the embedded media […]

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Michigan coaches and players met with the media this afternoon to kick off the 2014-15 season at Michigan Basketball Media Day. With seven newcomers on the 2014-15 roster there were plenty of fresh faces including Ricky Doyle, Aubrey Dawkins and Division III transfer Duncan Robinson. You can watch all three players in the embedded media players below.

Dawkins and Robinson after the jump.

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No. 2 ranked Jaylen Brown ‘very interested’ in Michigan, hopes to take official visit http://www.umhoops.com/2014/10/30/2-ranked-jaylen-brown-interested-michigan-plans-take-official-visit/ http://www.umhoops.com/2014/10/30/2-ranked-jaylen-brown-interested-michigan-plans-take-official-visit/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 13:07:06 +0000 http://www.umhoops.com/?p=65159 1VxQz.AuSt_.791_thumb.jpgMichigan may have joined the recruiting trail for Jaylen Brown a little late, but the second-ranked prospect in the class of 2015 is going to give the Wolverines a fair shot. The 6-foot-7, 220 pound small forward currently plans to take one of his two remaining official visits to Ann Arbor. “I do think that […]

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Michigan may have joined the recruiting trail for Jaylen Brown a little late, but the second-ranked prospect in the class of 2015 is going to give the Wolverines a fair shot.

The 6-foot-7, 220 pound small forward currently plans to take one of his two remaining official visits to Ann Arbor.

“I do think that he will give them the opportunity and visit,” said Mechalle Brown, Jaylen’s mother, in a phone interview with UM Hoops. “Michigan is definitely up on the list that he could want to find a little bit more about what goes on inside.

“He’s very interested in learning more about Michigan. That’s for sure; that’s a definite.”

Brown has already made official visits to Kansas and Kentucky and has an official at UCLA this weekend. The Wheeler (Ga.) High School forward has also received interest from Georgia, North Carolina and Georgia Tech.

Mechalle plans to sit down with Jaylen soon to finalize which schools will receive official visits, and she feels Michigan would be among them, though she warned plans could change.

But Michigan carries a little more clout for Brown, because his family is from Muskegon and his uncle went to school there. As Ryan Falker, Brown’s AAU coach, explained to UM Hoops, Brown “always wondered” why the Wolverines weren’t recruiting him until recently.

Brown plans to make his collegiate decision during the second NLI signing period, which ends May 20, and isn’t rushing the process.

“Michigan, of course, needed no introduction,” Mechalle Brown said. “They reached out and spoke with Jaylen regarding his interest, and since we are Michigan people, we definitely have a big interest regarding Michigan.”

Michigan assistant LaVall Jordan visited Marietta, Georgia earlier this month to meet with the Brown family, and Mechalle said the visit went well.

“He’s very engaging, very excited about Michigan,” Mechalle said of Jordan. “There’s a sense of stability, and also, with the staff being able to develop the kids and having a rich tradition and the team just being able to seem like they work well together — I think that’s a big part of the coaching staff, as far as how they interact with the kids.”

Some of the interest in Michigan, Mechalle said, comes from seeing the coaching staff develop under-recruited players into NBA Draft picks.

Though Mechalle said Jaylen has become busier with school and the upcoming season, Brown and Michigan still communicate “quite frequently.”

“I like that they are there, we know they’re there, they keep in touch, and I like that,” Mechalle said. “I know that Michigan is a good institution. … I would want him to pick a place where it’s a good fit, and he could excel academically as well as athletically.”

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Michigan to host open practice on November 5th http://www.umhoops.com/2014/10/29/michigan-host-open-practice-november-5th/ http://www.umhoops.com/2014/10/29/michigan-host-open-practice-november-5th/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 13:11:12 +0000 http://www.umhoops.com/?p=65154 Michigan-77-Purdue-76-27_thumb.jpgMichigan basketball season is just around the corner and the Wolverines will host an open practice on Wednesday, November 5th. The practice will run from 6-7 p.m. and be followed by a meet and greet session featuring selfies, but no autographs. The Wolverines first exhibition game is scheduled for for November 10th against Wayne State […]

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Michigan 77, Purdue 76-27

Michigan basketball season is just around the corner and the Wolverines will host an open practice on Wednesday, November 5th. The practice will run from 6-7 p.m. and be followed by a meet and greet session featuring selfies, but no autographs. The Wolverines first exhibition game is scheduled for for November 10th against Wayne State before the season opener on Saturday, November 15th against Hillsdale College.

Full details of the event in the University release below. (Photo: Dustin Johnston)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The defending Big Ten champion University of Michigan men’s basketball team will open practice to the Maize Rage student section as well as the general public for an hour from 6-7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 5, at Crisler Center.

“We feel it is always important for us to engage with our fan base, especially with the Maize Rage section,” said U-M head coach John Beilein. “They have been so vital over the last few years creating an amazing environment at Crisler. With the season just around the corner, we wanted to open a practice and allow everyone a chance to get a glimpse of this team as they work hard to get ready for the 2014-15 season.”

Following practice, the coaching staff and players will participate in a “Squad 99 Selfie” Promotion. From 7-8 p.m., the Wolverines will meet and greet fans and be available for photos and/or the popular social media “selfie.” During the promotion, all U-M players and coaches will not be granting autographs.

Fans can enter through the northeast entrance of Crisler Center beginning at 5:30 p.m., with all members of the Maize Rage entering through the student entrance where this season’s student t-shirt will be available for pickup. All parking surrounding Crisler Center will be free after 5 p.m.

Following a brief introduction of this year’s team members, the Wolverines will go through several drills during the practice, allowing fans to get an early glimpse of the team prior to U-M’s exhibition opener against Wayne State, Monday, Nov. 10, at 7 p.m.

In addition, the northeast ticket office will be open from 5:30-8 p.m. for fans to purchase non-conference single-game tickets. For further information on men’s basketball tickets, please visit MGoBlue.com/tickets, join the Michigan digital community to get priority access to tickets at MGoBlue.com/insider or visit one of the Wolverine basketball programs social media pages.

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Michigan among top ten schools for Derryck Thornton Jr. http://www.umhoops.com/2014/10/28/michigan-among-top-ten-schools-derryck-thornton/ http://www.umhoops.com/2014/10/28/michigan-among-top-ten-schools-derryck-thornton/#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 17:00:17 +0000 http://www.umhoops.com/?p=65143 31290931_thumb.jpgClass of 2016 point guard Derryck Thornton Jr. cut his list to ten schools this afternoon. Michigan made the cut along with Duke, Kentucky, Louisville, Arizona, California, USC, Miami, UNLV and NC State. The news was first reported by Scout.com’s Josh Gershon. “I love the staff (at Michigan) – it’s a great staff,” Thornton told […]

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Class of 2016 point guard Derryck Thornton Jr. cut his list to ten schools this afternoon.

Michigan made the cut along with Duke, Kentucky, Louisville, Arizona, California, USC, Miami, UNLV and NC State. The news was first reported by Scout.com’s Josh Gershon.

“I love the staff (at Michigan) – it’s a great staff,” Thornton told Scout.com. “And all the coaches there are super supportive. I love the style of play and coaching staff.”

The 6-foot-2 point guard is the No. 7 prospect in the country according to 247Sports Composite rankings and previously visited Michigan in June for the Wolverines’ College Practice Camp. Michigan, Kentucky, Duke and Arizona all have multiple predictions in 247 Sports’ Crystal Ball.

The Wolverines currently have one commitment in the class of 2016, but Thornton holds one of eight scholarships outstanding in the class.

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Offseason Storylines: Michigan searching for go-to sixth man http://www.umhoops.com/2014/10/28/offseason-storylines-michigan-searching-go-sixth-man/ http://www.umhoops.com/2014/10/28/offseason-storylines-michigan-searching-go-sixth-man/#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 15:37:42 +0000 http://www.umhoops.com/?p=65086 Spike-2Basketball season is around the corner, and, over the next several weeks, we’ll run down some of the biggest storylines facing the 2014-15 Michigan Wolverines. In this edition, we search for a go-to sixth man to replace Zak Irvin.  (Photo:  Dustin Johnston) Michigan’s talented starting five last year couldn’t do everything on their own last season. […]

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Basketball season is around the corner, and, over the next several weeks, we’ll run down some of the biggest storylines facing the 2014-15 Michigan Wolverines. In this edition, we search for a go-to sixth man to replace Zak Irvin.  (Photo:  Dustin Johnston)

Michigan’s talented starting five last year couldn’t do everything on their own last season.

When the Wolverines needed an offensive spark, they turned to Zak Irvin. The forward had one principal job: shoot the ball. And that he did, shooting on more than 25% of Michigan’s offensive possessions when he was on the court.

He was by all accounts a 3-point specialist — he made them at a 43% clip — and 73% of his attempts came from beyond the arc. And he was often the offensive wrinkle that made Michigan so difficult to stop, especially midway through a given half.

After losing Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III, Irvin won’t be hiding on the bench this year; he’ll be a starter from day one. The Wolverines might also have a deeper rotation this year, but here’s a closer look at the candidates most likely to fill Irvin’s role as the go-to sixth man in 2014-15.

Spike Albrecht

John Beilein has said this year’s squad is one of his more versatile teams and that he will sometimes send four guards and a center onto the court. Albrecht has been one of Beilein’s most reliable players for two years now and he could have an increased role this season.

As a shooter, Albrecht isn’t quite at Irvin’s level, but he’s more than capable of running the offense. The guard made 39% of his threes last year, but he also posted a 4.69:1 assist-to-turnover ratio, including just eight total turnovers in Big Ten play.

Beilein is pushing Albrecht to shoot more, and that could pay dividends for the Wolverines.

“[I] just continue to get stronger,” the guard said. “My body developed, my athleticism. Still not very athletic, but it’s getting better. Scoring, making shots, things like that. Something I have to do a little more this year is score, so I’ve been a little more aggressive.”

It’s likely we’ll see more of Albrecht than we did last year, even if it involves sacrificing size to put him alongside Derrick Walton and Caris LeVert. But the guard knows his role will often be as a sixth man, just like Irvin was last year.

“I come in, kind of like a high-energy guy, I just try to make an impact on the game,” he said. “That’s what coaches want [me] to come in and do: have a positive impact when I come in and make things happen.”

Aubrey Dawkins

Because the Wolverines faced vastly inferior competition, there’s only so much you can extrapolate from Michigan’s summer trip to Italy. But it was hard not to be impressed by Aubrey Dawkins, who made 62.5% (5-of-8) of his 3-pointers and showcased his athleticism during the four-game span.

“Aubrey is a really good athlete who can really shoot,” Walton said earlier this month. “He can help us a lot on the defensive glass this year.”

While Dawkins won’t knock down threes at Irvin’s pace, he should be less one-dimensional.

In Italy, Dawkins was one of the first players off the bench, replacing either Irvin or Kam Chatman at the three and four, respectively. And we’ll see that throughout the season: Dawkins is likely the preferred substitute at either wing position, and he has the makings of a prototypical ‘three-and-d’ wing.

Beilein warned that none of the freshmen will reach their peak physical condition this year. But Dawkins played “a little beyond [his] years” in Italy, and that’s a promising sign given the team’s youth will force Dawkins into a contributing role.

Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman

Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman is another late signee who could play a critical role this season. Abdur-Rahkman is far from the Zak Irvin-mold, but his skillset could be just as vital to the Wolverine offense.

Abdur-Rahkman averaged 10 points per game in Italy, but he shot just 20% from three-point range with most of his scoring coming attacking the basket.

He could be able to make an impact because of his ability to backup either the one or two positions and attack the basket. The 6-foot-4 freshman led Michigan in free throw attempts overseas, attempting 25 freebies in just four games, and should help diversify an offense that is predominantly based on the jump shot.

The Wolverines have never been ranked higher than 302nd in offensive free throw rate according to Ken Pomeroy’s statistics and Abdur-Rahkman could prove a useful change of pace.

DJ Wilson

A broken pinkie kept Wilson out for Michigan’s trip to Europe, but Beilein has been impressed by the 6-foot-9 forward since he was cleared to return in early October.

The coach said Wilson has put on good weight, which is a must if he hopes to play at the five this year. Regardless, his 7-foot-3 wingspan helps make him perhaps Michigan’s most athletic option in the frontcourt and as a defender, and he could develop into a force as the season progresses.

One of Mark Donnal or Ricky Doyle is expected to start the season at the five position, with the other playing significant minutes, but Wilson is yet another valuable front court piece.

Michigan’s unproven centers and lack of experienced backups for the forwards mean we’ll see plenty of Wilson this year, though he might not be a high-volume scorer like Albrecht or Dawkins.

Looking ahead: Duncan Robinson

Duncan Robinson, a Division III transfer, will sit out the season per NCAA transfer rules. But next year, watch out.

Robinson shot 55.7% last season for Williams College and is already reminding Michigan’s coaches of some of the program’s recent sharpshooters. Assistant Jeff Meyer said earlier this month that Robinson is “on the radar screen” of approaching Nik Stauskas’ shooting ability.

Bleacher Report’s CJ Moore had the opportunity to watch the Wolverines practice this fall and came away impressed with the 6-foot-8 wing.

“Watched Michigan practice yesterday,” Moore tweeted. “D3 transfer Duncan Robinson can really shoot it. Will be great weapon next year in Beilein’s offense.”

It will take time for Robinson to adjust to Division I basketball, but the Wolverines will have an Irvin-esque weapon at their disposal next year.

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NBA Roundup: Glenn Robinson III makes the cut http://www.umhoops.com/2014/10/27/nba-roundup-glenn-robinson-iii-makes-cut/ http://www.umhoops.com/2014/10/27/nba-roundup-glenn-robinson-iii-makes-cut/#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 13:25:01 +0000 http://www.umhoops.com/?p=65124 image_thumb.pngThe NBA season tips off on Tuesday evening and a number of former Wolverines will be involved in the 2014-15 season. With five Michigan players drafted in the past two seasons, we’ll feature a regular NBA roundup to track their progress throughout the season. Robinson makes the cut Glenn Robinson III faced a tenuous situation […]

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B0uMa5hIYAArykt[1]The NBA season tips off on Tuesday evening and a number of former Wolverines will be involved in the 2014-15 season. With five Michigan players drafted in the past two seasons, we’ll feature a regular NBA roundup to track their progress throughout the season.

Robinson makes the cut

Glenn Robinson III faced a tenuous situation after being selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves as a second round pick. Second round picks don’t have guaranteed contracts and his status was up in the air, especially after a summer filled with roster moves as the Wolves shipped out Kevin Love. Robinson eventually signed a guaranteed contract with the Wolves before training camp, but still had to make the roster.

“Whatever happens happens,” Robinson told the Star Tribune on Friday. “That’s the mentality I have. I control what I can control and I think that I’ve been playing well in practice and the games. Who knows what is going to happen, but I’ve done all I can do.”

It came down to the final day, but it appears Robinson did just that. The Wolves are planning to buy JJ Barea out of his contract to free up the final 15th roster spot for Robinson.

Robinson could still spend some time in the NBA D-League this season in order to accelerate his development, but making the Timberwolves roster is an achievement. Robinson still faces an uphill battle for playing time as the Minnesota roster also features Andrew Wiggins, Corey Brewer, Chase Budinger, Shabazz Muhammad and Robbie Hummel at the wing positions.

Robinson averaged 10 minutes, four points and two rebounds per game during five exhibition contests. The Timberwolves open the season on Wednesday at Memphis.

Stauskas will come off the bench

Nik Stauskas had a solid preseason, averaging 9.7 points per game and shooting 39.1% from three-point range, but he’s expected to come off the bench for the Kings to start the season.

Kings head coach Michael Malone named Darren Collison,Ben McLemore, Rudy Gay, Jason Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins as his starters, but still speaks highly of Stauskas.

“He has a competitive spirit and fight about him, but getting stronger in the weight room is going to help him out because he can get through the length and demands of the season,” Malone told Sactown Royalty. “He’s a shooter, he knows how to play. He hit some big shots down the stretch of that Laker game for us to come back and win; hit a big three.”

For Stauskas, the more difficult transition has been on the defensive end of the floor.

“Knows how to play, but he’s got to be more than just an offensive player,” Malone said. “He’s got to be able to guard his position on the other end, then when he’s open I want him to shoot it and not hesitate and then be aggressive and look to make plays.”

The Kings will host the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday to open the season.

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Phil Jackson says Hardaway has bright future

Tim Hardaway Jr. was one of the big surprises of the 2013 NBA Draft class and will face steep expectations during his sophomore slate. Hardaway and the Knicks are adjusting to new head coach Derek Fisher and the triangle offense.

Hardaway averaged 13.1 points per game in preseason play, earning one start, and is building off of a very impressive Summer League performance. Knicks President Phil Jackson spoke favorably about Hardaway at the start of camp.

“In most colleges, defense is not really emphasized and the idea is for your player to outscore his opponent. That’s why playing defense in the NBA is such a challenge for a young player like Tim Hardaway Jr,” Jackson said. “He has the aptitude and the desire to be aggressive on defense, and during his rookie season he’s gained a certain familiarity with the guys he has to guard, so we expect marked improvement from him in this area.”

Jackson’s scouting report of Hardaway sounds similar to his role at Michigan, but he expects an improved player this season.

“Tim’s shooting touch has never been questioned, but he has a tendency to stand around and wait for somebody to kick him the ball so he can launch 3-pointers. Tim also has trouble finishing with his left hand,” Jackson said. “Like Shane, Tim’s summer-league experience gives him a head start on learning the offense, which is a significant advantage. Also, Tim is two inches taller than his listed 6-6, which also enables him to play some small forward. I expect that with his talents and his work ethic, sooner rather than later Tim will become an excellent all-around player in this league.”

Hardaway and the Knicks will open their season at home on Wednesday against the Bulls before traveling to Cleveland to face LeBron James in his first game back home.

Trey Burke ready to breakout?

Trey Burke was named to the All-NBA Rookie Team after a successful rookie season, but his offseason was a bit rocky. First, the Jazz raised some eyebrows by drafting Dante Exum, another player projected to play point guard, despite having Burke on the roster. Then on the eve of training camp, nude photos of Burke leaked on the internet and brought the wrong sort of attention immediately before the season.

However, Burke has put everything behind him to start preseason play. He averaged 15.9 points per game and shot an impressive 47% from three-point range. He also played well enough for the Jazz to exercise the third-year team option on his contract.

Burke, like many of Michigan’s other young players in the NBA, has been focused on his defense.

“The thing that was really good about his game today, in my opinion, was … he defended, which he’s starting to do,” new head coach Quin Snyder told the Deseret News after a preseason game. “It’s starting to become who he is.”

“(Coach) kind of challenged me when he first got the job at the beginning of the summer to get better in that area,” Burke said. “He said I would be a much better player if I was more active on the defensive end, specifically on pick-and-roll situations.”

McGary sidelined

Mitch McGary has been sidelined throughout the preseason with a broken foot, but he was still able to enjoy the Oklahoma City Thunder Halloween party. McGary was initially expected to miss six weeks with his foot injury, setting his expected return date sometime in late November.
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