A few hours after Michigan capped off its regular season with an exciting victory of the Indiana Hoosiers on Senior Night, I’m sitting here, wondering who in the world actually holds it all together for the Wolverines. Is it Nik Stauskas, the man who has no range and can also put it on the deck? Is it Caris LeVert, who has added muscle to compliment his freaky length? Is it Derrick Walton, Jr., who has emerged as a freshman and has become a central piece of Michigan’s offense?
Think about consistency, people. Is that not the name of the game? When you gaze up and down John Beilein‘s lineup on any given night, the starting five combine to be one of the best in the country. But the man who makes it work is coming off the bench. It’s Spike Albrecht and Jordan Morgan.
Let me begin by saying Spike has the best set of eyes in the Big Ten. There is no one in this talented conference who can see the court as well as Albrecht. He does a tremendous job of finding shooters and distributing. I’m falling in love with the baseline drive that ends with a dish to a cutting Glenn Robinson III or Caris LeVert.
Now let’s dwindle this window of time down the very last few minutes of the ball game. When there’s a play that needs to be made, nine times out of 10, Spike isn’t the guy to make the play; he’s the guy who creates the play to begin with. That is what’s so special about him.
The same sort of clutch gene resides in the heart of Jordan Morgan. Enough can’t be said about the leadership he has displayed this season as the lone senior on a young Wolverines team. The desire and passion with which he plays is enough to get your heart racing as a spectator.
His body down low on defense often comes up huge for Michigan, especially in late-game situations. He’s able to man up on his guy and direct the defense around him. He’s like the puppet master on that end of the floor. It’s truly incredible to watch him direct traffic with such ease.
I am well aware of Stauskas’ ability to shoot the ball from just about anywhere on the court; I know Caris LeVert is creative off the dribble and has a length advantage on everyone; I have seen Glenn Robinson start putting in buckets late in games. But if you give me two votes for my team in the final three minutes, they’re immediately going to Spike Albrecht and Jordan Morgan.
You can’t teach what these kids do. That’s the thing of it. They have such a special knack, and uncanny ability to just get the job done. More time than not, it’s awkward and unattractive, especially when it comes to Morgan, but these two kids are the two of the most reliable and willing. You can’t ask much else from a leader.