- 2012 Flint Powers guard JaVontae Hawkins made the trip to Ann Arbor this weekend to watch Michigan beat UConn.
- MaxPreps posted video of The Family from this AAU/EYBL season that mostly features Carlton Brundidge. A decent chunk is also versus Trey Burke’s All Ohio Red squad as well.
- DeShawn Sims had 14 points, 7 rebounds, five assists, and three steals in his first game in Greece per his twitter account. The game appears to have a been a friendly but I posted a video of Sims being interviewed (with a translator) after the first match.
- 2011 big man Pat Ackerman verbally committed to Penn State over the weekend. Ackerman was thought to be on the verge of a Michigan offer if he visited Michigan.
- Matt Vogrich is enrolled in the Ross School of Business and is the second player on Michigan’s roster (Novak is the other) to be enrolling in the business school.
- Basketball scheduling for the new Big Ten will likely be decided in May, naturally (it would put Minnesota in the easier division) Tubby Smith wants to mimic the SEC scheduling. I still think it would be a terrible decision to revert to a 16 game schedule.
- Prep Hoops Assist put together a consensus recruiting rankings list for the class of 2011. Brundidge checks in at #70, Dom Pointer at #80, and Amir Williams at #40.
- ESPN (which is included in the above rankings) also put out their 2011 rankings: Brundidge #52, Pointer #53, Williams #54, Burke #92. ESPN also has fancy new recruit profile pages.
- MSU guard Korie Lucious pleaded guilty to reckless driving despite being originally charged with OWI after registering a BAC of .09 (and being under 21).
- Bacari Alexander still needs 147 followers before October 15th if he’s going to keep his twitter.
- Indiana received a verbal commitment from a freshman, meaning he can’t sign a letter of intent for over 3 years..
In a very nice gesture, Tom Wywrot, Michigan basketball’s sports information director, and John Beilein had a bunch of Michigan media over to Weidenbach Hall for lunch and to talk to coach Beilein about the Europe trip. Beilein touched on a variety of subjects, including when the team will start working out, the kinds of rotations he figured out in Europe, individual player performances, scheduling and how expansion will affect basketball.
The rules governing the limits on offseason, in-school workouts say the team can work out four at a time until September 15 for two hours a week, then after the 15th all the players can work out buts still for only two hours per week. Also, the first day teams can work out is the first day of classes, which comes late for Michigan. Those extra 20 or so practices Michigan just had are looking more and more valuable.
Beilein said he was able to get a feel for some possible lineups in Europe but didn’t say what they were.
It did give us a better Idea of what we have.
Beilein singled out Matt Vogrich as one of the guys who played really well during the trip, focusing on his rebounding. Tim Hardaway Jr. and Evan Smotrycz seemed very “at ease” during the games.
I liked the swagger of both Tim and Evan immediately. You’d rather have a guy with swagger who you’ve got to tone down a bit than a guy who you have to give permission to go dunk on somebody.
Another interesting tidbit about Tim Hardaway Jr. in Europe. Asked if Tim backed up his standout practice performances in the games, Beilein said this:
Yeah, we did a lot of the things we did with Manny, with him. A lot of similar action. He handled it very well. What was really good was his rebounding in the last game … He weighs 190 right now. I think Manny’s highest weight was 188.
- Colton Christian didn’t play because of the hamstring.
- While Darius didn’t shoot well in Europe, Beilein was happy about the way he took care of the ball against almost constant man-to-man pressure and a 25-second shot clock.
- Regarding Big Ten expansion, Beilein said there haven’t been talks about how it affects the basketball season.
[More: Beilein podcast on WTKA]
It’s obviously very early for 2013 prospects but Zak Irvin is a name to remember. The multi-dimensional rising sophomore is alreadys 6-foot-4.5 with a 6-foot-10 wingspan. Irvin has already picked up several scholarship offers (Michigan doesn’t offer sophomores until June after their sophomore year) but his interest in Michigan is clear. Irvin has already visited Michigan twice and plans to make the trip back to Ann Arbor this weekend for the UConn game along with his high school teammate Gary Harris, Michigan commitment Trey Burke, and 2012 offeree Glenn Robinson III. Here’s what Irvin had to say when I caught up with him last night:
Describe your game. I shoot the ball really well, especially from midrange. I rebound pretty well, my ballhandling skills are average, and I see the floor really well.
What offers do you have on the table now? IU, Illinois, Purdue and Xavier.
You’ll be visiting Michigan this weekend, right? I’ll be going to the UConn game, yes.
You visited earlier as well? I’ve been there twice this summer. One was for an unofficial visit and then the second time was to come and see practice.
You’ve met the new coaches? What did you think? I like them a lot. We bonded a lot and we got to know them pretty well.
What did you do on the visit? The first time I came down we toured campus, we had lunch, and they showed me the gym, the fitness center, the football field, the weight room. The second time I came down I watched practice, wanted to see what their practice looks like.
How did AAU go this summer? It went really well, we played well as a team and I played well this summer, so overall it was a great summer.
Any timeframe for commitment? I will probably have committed to a school after my junior year.
Anything specific you’re trying to improve about you’re game right now? I’m focused on ballhandling and getting stronger.
What do you like about Michigan? I like the basketball court, I love the coaches, I like the weight room and I like the campus in general.
What ultimately goes into your decision? Academics is a big point, relationship with the coach, and I would probably say team prestige.
My eyes lit up when I saw Andy Katz’ original report that the Big Ten would utilize the new divisional splits for basketball too. Katz’ first story (which has been replaced by ESPN’s updated story) stated that schools would play everyone in their division twice and everyone in the other division once – similar to the Big 12′s sixteen game conference schedules.
With the divisions announced tonight, obviously that idea was as enticing to Michigan fans as it was dreadful for Penn State fans:
|Division X||Division O|
Katz began back tracking shortly after his original article was published and understandably so. The number one issue that was emphasized throughout the Big Ten Network’s (far too long) prime time special was “competitive balance.” This divisional breakdown is anything but balanced – placing 5 traditional powerhouses in a 6 team division.
It would be a nice break for teams on Michigan’s half of the split but it’s just not fair. In the last 25 years — MSU has 7 shares of the regular season conference crown, Michigan has 2, and Minnesota just one (forfeited). The rest have all gone to Division X.
According to Jim Delany, it appears basketball will be spared from divisional misalignment:
“In basketball, they will start their own course,” Delany said. “The sport is structured completely differently.”
So how should the conference construct the schedule on the basketball side of things? I’m all for keeping things simple – stick with an 18 game schedule with 7 double plays and 4 single plays.
A 16 game divisional structure would be going in the wrong direction (fewer games and more imbalance) and a 20 game round robin is more balanced but would put the Big Ten at a disadvantage compared to other conferences.
Commissioner Delaney made it clear that the Big Ten along with their athletic directors and basketball coaches would put together a plan that made sense specifically for basketball. Judging by their track record thus far, I’m confident that they will settle for the 18 game “round robin” sans divisions. It’s not perfect but it’s the best option.
It might sound disappointing for Michigan fans, who thought they would be blessed with the significantly weaker division, but looking at the situation rationally there’s really no other option.
Joe Eberhardt (twitter) passed along this video featuring summer highlights from a number of Indiana stars. The video includes footage of a number of Michigan targets including two of Michigan’s expected visitors this weekend: Gary Harris and Zak Irvin. Some other Michigan targets that are featured include Yogi Ferrell, Devin Davis, Basil Smotherman, and Austin Burgett.