Irvin Ready to Show Other Dimensions of Game

Now a sophomore, Zak Irvin is ready to help Michigan basketball in many different ways on both ends of the floor.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- As a freshman a year ago it didn’t take Michigan’s Zak Irvin long to showcase his greatest skill.

In the seventh game of his career against Coppin State, Irvin pumped in a career high 24-points fueled by six three-pointers.

This would continue to be a trend throughout a strong freshman season, which included a 19-point performance in a big road win at Iowa and five three-point jumpers in another road win at Minnesota.

In fact, of Irvin’s 85 field goals a year ago, 62 of them came from long range, good for 73-percent.

Now a sophomore, Irvin is stronger, more explosive and now stepping into a starting role, eager to show he’s not just a deadeye shooter from the outside -- though he’s a great one, regardless.

“I would just say I’ve been working on not being one dimensional,” Irvin said. “Being able to not only shoot the three but get in the paint as well and create for others as well.”

Standing 6-foot-6 and 215-pounds, Irvin’s role a year ago wasn’t one catering to a need for playmaking out of the pick and roll or pounding his way to the paint to get to the rim.

With Nik Stauskas and Caris LeVert handling most of those duties, Irvin moved around the perimeter, and based on the way he shot the ball, essentially played a game of around the world with himself.

Irvin shot a warm 42.5-percent from beyond the arc, good for second on the team, also behind Stauskas with 62 makes.

Still, after staying for the spring and summer to work with strength and conditioning specialist Jon Sanderson, Irvin feels there’s so much more he can do with his game on both ends of the floor.

“Rebounding,” Irvin said. “I didn’t rebound a lot last year so I think it’s definitely helped with the rebounding, being able to get the balls off the rim. And also getting to the basket as well, just being more athletic.”

His coach John Beilein says he’s seen a big difference since last season.

“When you see him in a workout right now and I think you guys saw him a little in the summer, you’ll see a different athleticism that you saw from last year,” Beilein said. “He’s really worked hard with Jon Sanderson. Jon, again deserves so much credit not only for his ability to develop these young men but the way he does it and with the relationship he builds with them. I think you’ll see a difference there.

“His shooting, we want his shooting to be just as accurate as it was last year but he’ll obviously get a lot more opportunities, be a lot more volume to his shots. But he’s making great progressions in every area.”

Playing with the ball in his hands on the high school level, Irvin’s reputation was that of a player that is more of a spot up shooter than anything.

Learning to play on the ball a little more at the college level, Irvin has leaned on the coaching and advice of others to grow.

“That’s definitely something I’ve been working on,” Irvin said. “Especially working out with Derrick and Caris and Coach (LaVall Jordan) helping me out in those areas. That’s definitely I think a big room of improvement for me.”

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