Albrecht Playing a Key Role off the Bench

STORY: Sophomore Spike Albrecht continues to spark the U-M offense coming off the bench.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- John Beilein has a luxury that not too many coaches have, and that's having two quality point guards in Derrick Walton Jr. and Spike Albrecht.

Walton Jr., a freshman, has gone through the normal ups and downs that first year players go through. And when he's having an off day, Beilein can go to Albrecht, who plays a key role as sophomore coming off the bench.

And in Michigan's 77-76 overtime win at Purdue, Albrecht sparked the Wolverines' comeback with four assists in 21 minutes down the stretch.

"(We're) flying by the seat of our pants sometimes on that one really," Beilein said on who to play between Walton and Albrecht. "Because it is just a feel of (who) the matchups are, who might be tired. Just when we were ready to make a change in overtime, Spike made those assists in back-to-back (plays)."

There is no question that Walton has superb quickness and can energize the Michigan offense, but still has work to do with his vision in the passing lanes, says Beilein. He noted that Albrecht's court "vision" is a step ahead of the young freshman.

" Derrick, obviously, has great quickness," Beilien said. "And at the same time, he is still working on some other things with defense. Spike was not blessed with that great quickness. But his instincts are really good. We just try to figure out what is best for the team. We do know that Spike sees some things – and he should. He's three years older than Derrick. He sees something a little bit earlier than Derrick does right now. But Derrick is catching him quickly."

Albrecht's numbers won't blow you away, he averages 3.3 points, 2.5 assists in 15.6 minutes per game on the season. But, he only has 11 total turnovers on the season, good for nearly a 6-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.

"Well, I think he has always been pretty much like that," Beilein said. "I think as he got used to the speed of this game. But to some of things he sees out on the court that you just don't see."

A perfect example of Albrecht's vision was an pass to Glenn Robinson III for a dunk, a play that Beilien says was a broken play, that only Albrecht had the vision to pull it off.

" I don't know how he saw Glenn coming (for an alley-oop)," Beilein said. "It was a broken play on the dunk he threw to him. And I told him, it was one of the best plays I have ever seen. It was just like, ‘where did that one come from?' Glenn knew it was happening. He saw Glenn. I don't think anybody else saw that coming. He's just got great instincts.

"I mean, to have that ability to give Derrick a rest, and also have that type of court presence that you just put in the game, it's really helped us this year."

No. 16 Michigan (20-7, 12-3 Big Ten) next plays host to Minnesota (18-11, 7-9) this Saturday at 6 p.m.

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