Mag Excerpt: Changing Up Styles in the Post

The next issue of GoBlueWolverine the Magazine is our 2014/2015 Basketball Preview. In this excerpt we highlight big man coach Bacari Alexander's breakdown of how the new faces at the center position might alter Michigan's style of play.

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Sam Webb:  Compare and contrast Mark Donnal and Ricky Doyle’s skills and what they bring to the table and then overall, how does it change your dynamics at the position?

Bacari Alexander:  “When you look at Mark Donnal, here is a kid that has the ability to make guys better out of the post with his passing.  He’s shown some abilities to see things happening around him and deliver those type of passes on time and on target for scores and opportunities for others.  That’s something that is really important to note.  In addition to that because he has had a year in the program, there will be some experience advantages, in terms of having familiarity with our offensive scheme but when you shift and talk about Ricky Doyle.  Here is a kid that for lack of a better term, Rocky Balboa approach to his development.  The kid has really came hard.  He’s shown up to campus months earlier than he was supposed to report for traditional summer school.  He had a strength and conditioning coach prompted by his parents to come up and spend some time with Jon Sanderson, learn our program, implement back home during the high school season.  This is a kid that came in as a contact seeking bruiser that can create windows in small spaces, finish over both hands in traffic.  He has really given us this kind of thunder and lightning type of contrast between the two with him definitely bringing the thunder and Mark bringing the lightening.  I think the other thing that Ricky Doyle brings to the table different from Mark is a true back to the basket threat.  Whereas he can operate in small spaces, really welcome contact and relish it.  Often times I even get a little feedback after practice, hey I wish this guy would hit me more, that’s Ricky Doyle because that’s the way he was groomed through the lineage of his father who played several years as a professional at that position.”

Sam Webb:  Jordan Morgan was pure pick & roll guy that got rebounds, put-backs, and those kind of things.  These are guys skill-set wise that do some different things.  You talked about Mark’s face up skills and things he can do and Ricky’s back to the basket skills… how does that change your approach offensively if it does at all?

Bacari Alexander:  “There are early signs of potential with all three of bigs if you talk about Max Bielfeldt as well, who is coming back from a hip procedure, of being able to know down 15-17 foot jumpers.  Where that becomes important on the court is when teams are trying to use their defensive big to sag off and disrupt cutting actions and things of that nature.  When you can develop those guys to a level where they keep defenses honest with the ability to do that, which all three players have shown early on.  It gives us a different dimension.  It gives us an opportunity to explore some different things, where we couldn’t put our ladder on the way in previous seasons due to the limited skill sets of our guys, but we found strengths other ways in those guys to enjoy the success that we’ve enjoyed.  When you look at this group, I think there is an ability to have an inside out approach that allows them the ability to really be a threat, at least from 15-17 and because their young, we can grow that range over time to make those guys remind us of some of Beilein’s previous teams, when he had really deadly big men who could shoot.”

To view this feature in its entirety, our Big Ten opponent previews, in-depth features on freshman impact, Austin Hatch's miraculous story, and much much more, check out the next issue of GoBlueWolverine The Magazine.

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