Guess Who’s Back?

Posted on Posted in Michigan Basketball
Ann Arbor News file photo

The University of Michigan Basketball Team is back at it.

Personally, I am not ready. I am stuck trying to figure out whether or not the football program will make it through the next few conference games with success.  Hoke and his boys finally picked up a win that actually seemed like, well, a win. Either way the team is 5-0. As Team 134 keeps pushing through conference, it may be time to balance our focus and start getting excited for Michigan Basketball.

Are you ready for Squad 98?

Michigan returns three starters from last years Final Four team. Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary are all back and hungry for another big season. If they can stay healthy (Hopefully McGary’s back issues fade away), these three should be the core of all production for the Wolverines. Robinson III and McGary have been first round draft projections since last May, and both have another season to improve thier stock. More importantly, they have a chance to better their team. Add Stauskas, who on any given night can outshoot the nation, and Michigan has yet another weapon to bring to each battle. I am not already predicting that Michigan makes it to Arlington, TX, but it certainly isn’t out of the question.

Jordan Morgan, Spike Albrecht, Caris LeVert, and Jon Horford are a few others that also return. They all had their own special moments during last years 31-8 season.  These four may not be the “stars” of the team, but they are equally important. If Michigan’s role players are having a solid night, they are going to be hard to beat. 

On a side note, it feels like Jordan Morgan has been around forever, but I love it. His minutes have fluctuated more then anyone I can remember during their Michigan career, but that doesn’t mean much in my opinion.  He will not be the go-to guy on a nightly basis, but he has shown he can fill the position if the night calls for it. He has been there during games when it seemed like no one else was. Back in February of 2012, Morgan matched the play of All-American Jared Sullinger in a game where Michigan came out on top against the then ranked #6 Buckeyes. Morgan will definitely be used this season, and he needs to be able to play efficiently whether it’s 10 minutes, or 35.

The same goes for the others. The Wolverines were so deadly last year because they had high quality players throughout their depth chart. Sure, Trey and Tim have exited, but the Wolverines talent level is still of great abundance. On any given night someone different could breakout, and have the game of their lives. If multiple players can do this during the same contest, Squad 98 will be just as tough to beat as Squad 97 was one season ago.

If you noticed, I have yet to include the freshman. Derrick Walton Jr, Zak Irvin, and Mark Donnal are three players who were in the top-100 of the 2013 graduating class. We know they have potential, because if not, John Beilein would have never recruited them. What they bring to Michigan is unknown, but I am confident that Beilein and the coaching staff will have them ready to compete come first tip-off.

The roster is once again one of the youngest in the country, which means many of the players wearing Maize and Blue have plenty of room to develop. By conference season, Michigan should have at least 10 players that can make plays, and help win ball games.

Squad 98 will never be the same as the historic Squad 97; but they don’t need to be, nor do they want to be. The 2013-2014 Michigan Basketball team wants to have an even stronger brotherhood, create their own spectacular moments, and be even more successful then the team a year ago.

So maybe you are ready, or maybe you are not.

Either way, Michigan Basketball is back.   

Derek Devine
Institutional voice of Alma College during the day, Michigan fanatic at night. Taking TBHR to the next level one post at a time.