Michigan Basketball: A Preview Of The 2015-16 Roster


Mar 12, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Michigan Wolverines guard/forward Aubrey Dawkins (24) celebrates with guard Spike Albrecht (2) and other teammates after a basket against the Illinois Fighting Illini during the second half in the second round of the Big Ten Conference Tournament at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Last year for Michigan fans was just not a fun year at all. The football team wasn’t good, which lead to yet another season where the Wolverines were embarrassed by seemingly every quality opponent on the schedule, including arch-rivals Michigan State and Ohio State. While many fans had high hopes for the season, their hopes for a dream season turned into a nightmare.

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A nightmare that featured Brady Hoke clapping along to The Clapping Song from the ever popular (and kind of creepy), Barney the dinosaur, or even the song Clap by famed one-hit wonder, rapper, and 2016 presidential candidate (no, we’re not kidding) Waka Flocka Flame. (link: here)

Many Michigan fans expected the basketball season would help relieve the pain of an entire football season’s worth of ineptitude.

Well, it didn’t.

The Michigan basketball team struggled mightily last year, finishing with a 16-16 (8-10) record and missing out on a postseason birth for the first time since the 2009-10 season. However, they did show signs for optimism during the season. Even with Caris LeVert and Derrick Walton Jr. injured, the young Wolverines played some good teams down to the wire towards the end of the year. They took two teams from the Final Four, Wisconsin and Michigan State, and took each of them to overtime once, losing of course.

With that said, let’s take a peek at the roster for the upcoming basketball season.

Projected Starting Lineup

G – Derrick Walton Jr.- This is the year for Derrick Walton Jr. to finally take the reigns of the offense. If he is healthy and able to lead the offense like he is capable of, along with preventing turnovers (1.8 TPG last year), he should be able to finally fulfill the hype that he brought with him from Chandler Park Academy.

G- Caris LeVert- Easily the best news coming from this offseason was that Michigan’s Swiss army knife was coming back for his senior year. LeVert led the team in most of the offensive categories before he came down with the foot injury (14.9 PPG 4.9 RBG 3.7 APG), along with being Michigan’s best player on defense. If Caris can play how he is a-typical to playing, expect Michigan to make a serious run for the Big 10 championship, or maybe even the national championship. With a good season, Caris may be able to make himself a lottery pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.

F- Zak Irvin- Irvin really came into his own last year, as he finally showed that he can do more than just shoot the rock. Although he had his own struggles during the year, he saved his best for last, scoring 21 points with 11 rebounds against Wisconsin in the Big Ten tournament.

F- Aubrey Dawkins- Dawkins, a player not expected to play much, surprised many if not everyone during his freshman season. As a three star recruit according to ESPN, he was supposed to be nothing more than maybe a role player at best. But with LeVert and Walton hurt, he was thrust into the starting lineup and immediately impressed. He even earned a Big Ten Freshman of the Week award, thanks to his performances against Illinois and Rutgers where he scored 20 and 31 points respectively. His 31 points against Rutgers was the first time a Michigan freshman had scored 30 points in a game since Trey Burke.

C- Ricky Doyle- All of Michigan’s big men struggled this past year, so it wouldn’t necessarily be fair to pin all of the struggles on Doyle, even if he came to Michigan with the most hype, with him being a four star recruit. He showed flashes of potential, but was  overpowered by most big men in the Big Ten. Like many, he performed better towards the end of the year. He scored 12 points and played valiantly against Player of the Year Frank Kaminsky in the Big Ten Tournament loss to Wisconsin.

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G- Spike Albrecht- Spike played well this last season, even with injuries to both hips. With him being a senior this year, expect him to remain a leader for this team moving forward.

G- Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman- Rahkman, like his roommate Aubrey Dawkins, surprised many during his freshman season, as he was only a 2 star recruit out of high school. While he needs to work on his three point shooting, he seemed to drive to the paint anytime he pleased. He also surprised many with his defense, as he became the best perimeter defender for Michigan after Caris LeVert went down with his foot injury.

F- Duncan Robinson- Robinson played last year for Williams College, a division III school in which he averaged 17.1 points per game while shooting the lights out from three. He created waves during this past season  by beating the record in Michigan’s famed three point shooting drill, one in which you try to make as many three pointers as you can in five minutes. The record was previously held by Nik Stauskas. Head coach John Beilein never said what the record was, nor the amount of three pointers Robinson made.

F- D.J. Wilson- D.J. Wilson was another member of the 2014 class who was a talented, but mostly raw basketball player. He was touted as a 6-9 forward, with a 7-2 wingspan. He played well, but got hurt early in the season, which earned him a medical redshirt.

F/C- Mark Donnal- Donnal, the other half of the center platoon, just didn’t play very well last year. Max Bielfeldt wound up taking his spot, and ran with it. However, Donnal does have the capability of becoming the stretch four that John Beilein loves. He showed that against SMU, a game in which he scored 13 points (2-3 3PM-3PA).

F- Kameron Chatman- To say that Kameron Chatman struggled would be putting it nicely. In his first four games, he only shot 4-20, and didn’t score in both games in which Michigan was upset against NJIT and Eastern Michigan, shooting an abysmal 0-8 from the floor. With that said, Chatman still has plenty of tools and is one of the most talented players on this roster. He’s got a silky stroke, and has shown the ability to catch fire from the behind the arc. His best game came against Rutgers, where he scored 13 points on 4-5 shooting, making all three of his 3 point attempts.

F- Moritz Wagner- Wagner was the only player in the 2015 class, and will add to the depth of the forwards on the roster. Per ESPN, “he’s a faceup 4, good size and skill,” one college coach said. “Can handle and shoot. Needs strength and he’s not quick. He’s young, still needs two years in the States.” He was touted as being a top 50 recruit if he played in the US.

Walk Ons

G Andrew Dakich, F Sean Lonergan, and F Brent Hibbitts will all have the chance to play this upcoming season. Dakich and Lonergan both played sparingly last season, with Dakich playing more. Brent Hibbitts was told by John Beilein that he has a chance to play because of his versatility. “He said if I come in and work hard that I’ll have every opportunity as everybody else. They said they’ll need me to do a bit of everything because I can play a lot of different positions. Anything that’s needed for the team, that’s what I’ll do.”