“We love the talent, character, toughness and work habits that Max brings to our basketball program,” said Beilein. “His size and strength at approximately 6-8, 240 should help us a great deal around the basket. Max’s high basketball IQ, shooting ability and outstanding perimeter skill level allows him to have some versatility in his game. We plan on utilizing his talent in a variety of ways.”
Tim Hardaway Jr. had missed his first five shots from the field and Michigan was down nine points with under eight minutes to play. The stage was as about as small as can be for a Big Ten game, a relatively innocuous Sunday noon tip off at Penn State in front of a mere 8300 fans. Regardless of the setting, the next eight minutes transformed Tim Hardaway Jr. into a star. Hardaway went on to score 13, and assist five more, of Michigan’s final 26 points as the Wolverines stormed back to escape Happy Valley with a three point win.
Hardaway never looked back. Up until that game, the freshman wing guard averaged 11.5 points per game with a 46% effective field goal percentage. Respectable numbers but nothing compared to the 17.5 points game, and 70% eFG%, that he averaged over Michigan’s final 12 games. Suddenly Michigan was instinctively running its offense through the freshman and, time and again, he was producing. He wasn’t just making shots, he was making the most important shots. He was usually the Michigan player that would spearhead one of the Wolverines many herculean second half comebacks over the final month of the season. And he was no longer just a jump-shooter, he was creating offense for himself and others, picking up 26 of his 59 assists in that final 12 game span. A star was born before our eyes.
2012 big man Sean Sheldon doesn’t receive as much exposure in Northern Michigan but he quietly continues to develop into a solid prospect. He played well at the Motown Showdown, leading ACB/Bank Hoops to an upset over the Michigan Mustangs in pool play, and is one to watch this summer. A number of major-conference schools traveled up to see Sheldon play this winter including Michigan, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Iowa, Oklahoma State, Xavier, USC and Penn State but right now he holds offers from Central Michigan, Lehigh, Miami-OH, Toledo, William and Mary, Western Michigan and Wright State.
Joe Eberhardt of IndyHSHoops.com passed along this video (and interview) of VJ Beachem from the IndyBall.com Shootout. Beachem is a 2013 wing prospect that lists Butler, Indiana, Purdue, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan, Michigan State and Cincinnati. He only has a Purdue offer at this juncture but has visited Indiana, Xavier, OSU, Purdue, Notre Dame, Michigan and Butler. Here are the highlights with a video interview after the jump.
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The award winners went as expected with Darius Morris winning the MVP, Jordan Morgan most improved, Stu Douglass best defender and Zack Novak winning seven awards spanning academics to taking charges.
Tim Hardaway Jr. didn’t take home an award, it might be time to award a “Newcomer of the Year”, but it was announced that he will tryout for the USA U-19 team this June in Colorado Springs.
Full award listing after the jump. (Photo: AnnArbor.com)
Now with video:
Kudos to our resident video guru, Josh Houchin, who did an amazing job with these videos. We’ll have more videos in the coming days and weeks.
There are plenty of players that talk about how badly they want to win games but a much smaller group consistently demonstrates their will to win on the court. Zack Novak falls into the second category. He says things like “I hate losing more than I like winning” because he’s brutally honest and not because it makes for a good sound bite. Anyone that has seen him in the locker room after a loss understands his honesty.
Novak posted career bests in almost every statistical measure during his junior season including points, rebounds, three point shooting, effective field goal percentage, offensive rating, free throw percentage, free throw rate and turnover rate. His improvement wasn’t as dramatic as Darius Morris or Jordan Morgan but, quietly, Novak turned himself into a better player during the offseason. More importantly, he took ownership of the team and provided the direction and leadership that was so sorely lacking a year before.