Mailbag question: Will the basketball team be better next year


I predict a big improvement in the basketball team, what do you think? Do you take a chance making a prediction or are you going to play it safe and say we will see next year?



Thanks for the basketball question.

I do not play it safe too often, so here it goes:

You bet I think this basketball team will improve next year. Everybody will be returning and there’s a pretty good class coming in, plus Cronin might be healthy next year. I think this team can improve big-time, even in a very difficult Big Ten conference. If you watched the BTN Conference show the other week, the first team were all sophomores and most likely they will be back.

Regarding Michigan, I think this team can battle for third-fourth place in the Big Ten conference next year. Who knows, maybe even higher, but I do not want to get my expectations too high. Nevertheless, they are headed in the right direction. You can tell that Coach Beilein IS turning things around. If other teams lose certain players to the NBA, then it might change my predictions, but I think a 3rd place is probably high and 4th place is probably about right.

If Manny Harris keeps on improving like he did from his freshmen and sophomore year, he is going to be a great one at Michigan. He will also be getting more weapons around him which should improve his game even more because he doesn’t have to carry the team on his shoulders.

Under Coach Beilein, DeShawn Sims is getting better and better each year. He has transformed his game into that of a complete player to where he can play down low and also go outside and hit a twenty footer. Hopefully, Cronin can come back and make an impact next year so DeShawn could play the four-position more instead of having to battle as the fifth man. That brings up Zach Gibson, who at times seems like a contributor on this team and helps out, but at others seems lost out there. He can be a decent player and help shore up the inside. Kelvin Grady adds depth and can help the offense, but one thing I would like to see him do more of is drive to the bucket and look to dish it, because sometimes he seems like he just stays out by the arch.

Stu Douglass and Zach Novak are both players that will only keep getting better in this system. Getting Manny or Grady to drive to the basket and either kick it out when the oppossing players crash down on them or take it to the hoop when they stay out on their outside players. I hope LLP gets more comfortable in the offense, keeps on improving, and gets his confidence back. I just do not see where Anthony Wright is going to get any minutes, especially with the depth and the players coming in next year.

Two big factors next year are Matt Vogrich and Darius Morris. Both will add to the depth of the team and also see quality minutes. Vogrich is probably the best shooter in high school basketball this year — told by a very close friend of mine who’s opinions I trust. Morris will help on the floor by driving to the hoop and dishing the ball. Jordan Morgan and Blake McLimans both will not have to get a lot of minutes and it’s possible McLimans might be able to redshirt. Having DeShawn, Gibson and possibly Cronin means Morgan will not be seeing serious minutes, but he can come in and help this team and get five to ten minutes a game.

Then there’s Eso Akunne, who comes in as a walk-on next year, and who is in contention for the state of Michigan’s Mr. Basketball title. He has gotten several scholarship offers, but wants to come to Michigan and play for Coach Beilein.

This team only loses Merritt, Lee, and Shepherd.

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Written by ErocWolverine