NBA Roundup: Glenn Robinson III makes the cut

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.

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Recruiting Notebook: Michigan showing late interest in five-star wing


According to a report from On the Radar Hoops, a Michigan assistant coach was in to watch class of 2015 five-star Jaylen Brown yesterday. Brown is the No. 2 prospect in the country and this is the first reported interest from Michigan.

Brown’s recruitment is already at a very advanced stage. He’s taken official visits to Kansas and Kentucky and is also planning to visit UCLA and Georgia on officials. His fifth remaining visit has yet to be determined and, according to this report, North Carolina and Georgia Tech are the primary schools trying to earn the final visit.

Where will Jaylen Brown take his fifth official visit? “We haven’t decided on the fifth visit yet,” his mother said. “We’re just going to leave that open for now, and see how things go.”

Jaylen recently told reporters that he is considering an official visit to North Carolina after coach Roy Williams flew to Atlanta a couple of weeks ago to observe his workouts. Georgia Tech, which was the first school to offer Brown, may also be a contender for that fifth visit.

Is it fair to say that Brown will decide between North Carolina and Georgia Tech for that fifth visit? “That could possibly be it,” his mother said.

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Burning questions facing Big Ten teams (Part 2)

Frank Kaminsky NCAA Basketball Tournament 9RDSg4I7N3_l[1]

Big Ten players and coaches took to Chicago last week to face the media for the first time this season and answer questions about expectations, offseason development and more. With the start of the season less than a month away, we ran through the conference to look at one major question facing all 14 teams. Previously: Part 1 

Wisconsin: Can the Badgers handle expectations?

It’s no surprise that the conference’s consensus favorite has to answer the easiest question. Bo Ryan returns four of five starters and his critical reserves from last year’s Final Four team. While losing Ben Brust’s 244 3-point field goal attempts will hurt, more playing time for Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig is a good thing.

And if there’s ever a program that won’t be affected by lofty preseason expectations its Bo Ryan’s.

“Well, it really doesn’t affect when we’re doing our transition defensive drills,” Bo Ryan quipped from the podium in Chicago. “I don’t think my guys are thinking about (expectations).  Our guys live in the moment, or at least we’re trying to‑‑ it appears that way.  They’re trying to get better.”

People generally question a team’s ability to handle expectations when they don’t know what else to criticize them for and the Badgers fit that mantra. They have the league’s best big man, best NBA Draft prospect, an experienced point guard and all of the right role players. It’s hard to argue that the Badgers don’t have a legitimate shot of winning the league and competing for a trip back to the Final Four.

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Burning questions facing Big Ten teams (Part 1)

Big Ten players and coaches took to Chicago last week to face the media for the first time this season and answer questions about expectations, offseason development and more. With the start of the season less than a month away, we ran through the conference to look at one major question facing all 14 teams. 

Iowa: Can the Hawkeyes bounce back from last year’s disappointing finish without Devyn Marble?

In mid-February, Fran McCaffery appeared to be on the verge of his big breakthrough in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes were 19-6 and looked like a team headed for a top-5 NCAA tournament seed. Then Iowa finished the season losing seven of its final eight games, ending the season with a NCAA tournament play-in defeat to Tennessee.

It’s going to be tough to shake the bitter taste of last year’s finish and it’ll be even tougher without Roy Devyn Marble. Despite the fact that Iowa was the deepest team in the Big Ten last season, it was still as reliant on one player as anyone in the conference other than Nebraska. Now the question is who will replace his production? McCaffery gave Aaron White the nod at Big Ten Media Day.

“Well, the leadership and talent, obviously it shifts to Aaron White,” McCaffery said. “ It’s Aaron White’s team.  But again, he’s got two other seniors and four juniors all of whom played a lot, and they’re all good people and they’re all good players.”

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LeVert improving jumper, distribution as season approaches

Michigan 73, Tennessee 71-2
Dustin Johnston

The moment was emblematic of Michigan’s run to the Big Ten title last season.

With the seconds ticking down in the first half of the Wolverines’ game against Michigan State on February 23rd, Caris LeVert caught a pass and immediately elevated for a three from his sweet spot, the left corner. As the ball arced toward the hoop, the guard turned and began sprinting back to the locker room.

He didn’t need to keep watching to know the shot was going to drop.

LeVert finished with 23 points that afternoon as part of a breakout sophomore campaign that saw his transformation into an elusive ballhandler who was deadly from three.

The lanky guard was one of the best players in the conference last season, but John Beilein and the rest of the Michigan coaching staff believe there’s substantial room for improvement this winter.  [click to continue…]

2014-15 Player Preview: Zak Irvin

Michigan 79, Wayne State 60-6

With the start of college basketball around the corner, we’re breaking down Michigan’s roster player-by-player. Previously: Spike Albrecht. (Photo: Dustin Johnston)

Zak Irvin was Michigan’s sixth man last season, but he never had trouble making himself noticed on the floor.

When Irvin checked into the game he was ready to do one thing: shoot, and then shoot some more. Irvin shot the ball on 25.9% of Michigan’s offensive possessions while he was on the court. That’s more than Nik Stauskas, Caris LeVert or Glenn Robinson III, the focal points of last year’s offense.

If there’s anyone that should be comfortable with a dramatic increase in offensive opportunities it’s the 6-foot-6 scorer from Fishers, Indiana.

Irvin played just 15.4 minutes per game last season and is very likely to double that this year. If he does double his playing time and produce at a similar level, his scoring average would project to 14 points per game and he could realistically push toward 300 three-point field goal attempts after averaging over 10 3-point attempts per-40 minutes last season. While that’s nowhere near the Division I record of 395 it would crush the Michigan record of 222 3-point attempts set by Robbie Reid in 1999. [click to continue…]

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