- The 2010-11 College Basketball Prospectus is out! John Gasaway’s masterpiece has been expanded to cover all 345 D-I teams this year and features ten different authors – including yours truly, who previewed a pair of a conferences. You can buy the digital download for $9.94 and the paper back edition will be coming soon.
- Amir Williams is expected to make his official visit to Michigan this weekend. However, it would be a minor miracle of Williams ends up in Maize ad Blue. 2012 guard Sherron Dorsey-Walker, who nabbed a 4.0 GPA on his recent report card, is also expected to take an unofficial visit.
- New Michigan assistant coach Lavall Jordan was profiled by MGoBlue.com.
- Josh Bartelstein blogs about the strength and conditioning staff.
- DeShawn Sims’ contract with PAOK was terminated after he apparently disappeared from Greece.
- The Only Colors compiles a list of some of the highly touted 2013 point guards in the state of Michigan.
- Discounted tickets are available for the Bryant, Purdue, and Penn State games if you become a fan of Michigan basketball on Facebook or Twitter.
- Luke Winn previews the Big Ten, picking Michigan 9th in the conference and providing a friendly link to this very website.
- Daniel Horton and Kendrick Price were both picked in the NBA D-League draft.
- Indiana big man Guy-Marc Michel’s amateur status is under investigation by the NCAA.
- This is an interesting panel on sports journalism and ethics featuring ESPN Vice President and Editor-in-Chief of ESPN.com Rob King, Washington Post columnist Mike Wise, Deadspin.com Editor-in-Chief A.J. Daulerio, and WISH-TV reporter Ashley Adamson.
- Visit Bangthebook.com for free sports picks and bookmaker bonus information.
On the eve of Michigan’s first exhibition game, Joe and I compared notes to aggregate as many notes as possible from Michigan’s practices over the last couple weeks. Michigan held an open practice for student ticket holders this evening and we received several reports from students that attended the event. Beilein also shared a number of tidbits when he stopped by WTKA on Wednesday. Here is a run-down of that information as well as tidbits from other various reports that we’ve received:
- The starting line-up in Michigan’s scrimmage versus Eastern Michigan was Darius Morris, Zack Novak, Tim Hardaway Jr., Evan Smotrycz, and Jordan Morgan. We have no reason to believe that group won’t start on Friday night.
- Darius Morris has been performing extremely well in practice. It remains to be seen what happens when the lights go on, but he’s opened some eyes the past several weeks. He was the best player at the Maize Rage open practice and his shot looked much improved.
- Jordan Morgan has also been playing well — reportedly pulling down around 10 rebounds and taking a charge in Michigan’s scrimmage versus EMU. He played well in the open practice, especially on the offensive glass, and showed off some post moves to boot.
- The buzz coming out of summer practice surrounded Tim Hardaway Jr. and he’s established himself as one of Michigan’s top options — leading the team in scoring versus EMU. He was slowed down by illness at tonight’s practice but his ability was evident.
- Evan Smotrycz is a scorer. He loves to shoot and during the open practice, he was one of the team’s top scorers (along with Novak). Smotrycz has also been one of the more consistent outside shooters on the squad but Beilein is telling anyone that will listen (pressers, radio, etc) that Smotrycz still has a ways to go distinguishing between good and bad shots.
- Speaking of consistent shooters, Matt Vogrich has shot the ball well this fall. His problem is that he continues to drift a little too much on the offensive end preventing him from being more assertive.
- Zack Novak is starting at the two guard but Stu Douglass saw most of his minutes at the two rather than backing up Morris at the point. This is a good sign because the more minutes Morris can play at the point, the better the team will be. Sophomore guard Eso Akunne ran the point guard position for the second team in the open practice.
- Inside scoring is a huge question mark for this team — where will it come from? Your guess is as good as anyone’s.
- Jon Horford has probably the best rebounding instincts of any of Michigan’s bigs but, despite looking noticeably bigger than he did this spring, is still going to have problems with his strength down low against Big Ten bigs.
- As expected, Blake McLimans’ offensive game is focused on the perimeter. He reportedly shot the ball well in the open practice but didn’t do a whole lot in the post. Every report from practice mentions that his shot is smooth and looks good but he needs to continue to become more consistent.
- Colton Christian played on the perimeter quite a bit in the open practice, as expected from a Beilein four man, and he has the makings of a mid-range jump shot but is still continuing to develop his perimeter offensive skills.
Everyone will finally have the chance to see the team in action on Friday evening and begin to make their own judgments. Considering that Michigan fans have only seen four scholarship players on this year’s roster play in a game before, there is a surprising amount of intrigue for just an exhibition game.
John Beilein appears to be set on playing Zack Novak at the two, ridding himself of “the smallest four man in Division-I basketball” and leaving Colton Christian and Evan Smotrycz battling to be the starting four.
Smotrycz is the most highly touted recruit in John Beilein’s freshman class. He exploded on the AAU circuit during the summer of 2009, earning a spot in various top 100 rankings and invitations to a number of prestigious camps. Christian’s recruitment wasn’t nearly as glamorous, he was a Tulane decommitment that received very little recruiting interest from high major programs while playing at Hargrave Military Academy.
Christian and Smotrycz not only had drastically different recruitments, they also have contrasting styles of play and bring different elements to the table. Smotrycz is bigger, more skilled, and an offensive player. On the other hand, Christian is the more athletic player, a high energy guy that looks to contribute with his defense and rebounding.
Instead of writing player profiles for each player, we’ll compare their games and try to figure out how they fit into this year’s plans.
- Scrimmage madness! Michigan held their annual “secret-but-really-not” scrimmage versus Eastern Michigan yesterday evening. These scrimmages are typically very structured, allowing coaches to experiment with a number of line-ups and situations. There are plenty of tidbits surrounding last night’s scrimmage around the internet, but in short: Michigan struggled early, falling behind, before warming up and beating Eastern by double digits. Three names that seem to consistently be mentioned as performing well are Tim Hardaway Jr., Zack Novak, and Evan Smotrycz. We’ll learn much more on Friday during Michigan’s exhibition contest, which we can see with our own eyes, versus Saginaw Valley St. (who plays MSU tonight).
- Manny Harris is keeping a Rookie video diary on Cavs.com that will be updated daily.
- Beilein’s radio show begins on December 13th.
- Iowa’s recruiting violations involved Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore have been, unsurprisingly, deemed secondary violations.
- The MidMajority’s Kyle Whelliston has joined the staff at BasketballProspectus. He also began posting his collection of preseason essays.
- The Only Colors discusses “how early is too early” in regards to basketball recruiting.
- In case you’ve missed it, we’ve posted a number of Big Ten team preview interviews: Michigan State, Ohio State, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Penn State, and Northwestern.
Next up in our Around the Big Ten series we have the Northwestern Wildcats. We interviewed Lake the Posts for an all encompassing look at the Wildcats’ upcoming season.
Last year was supposed to be the year that ended Northwestern’s NCAA tournament drought but the Wildcats fell short. Is this the year that they finally get over the hump?
From a guy who lived several years on Addison Street a couple blocks from Wrigley – of course THIS is the year! I’m not going to lie – the Kevin Coble departure sent me back in to the "Forgive me basketball Gods, for what have we done to deserve this?" plea AGAIN. The ‘Cats would’ve been returning the top 2 scorers in the ENTIRE conference over the past two seasons. I think many NU fans and the program are so in shock that we’re clinging to the notion that we lost only Jeremy Nash from last year and added our highest rated recruit in memory with JerShonn Cobb to ease the pain. I’m not buying the fact that a 20 ppg scorer and a winner wouldn’t have made this season a lock for the Big Dance. Seriously, though, this has to be the year. Drew Crawford is the man to watch as I believe he will be our make-or-break to the season.The competition in the conference certainly isn’t getting much easier.