Walton Jr. To Play, Albrecht's Role Stays

U-M coach John Beilein says Derrick Walton Jr. is expected to play Saturday versus NJIT. Plus, Beilein addresses Spike Albrecht as a starter, his thoughts on Jim Hackett and U-M player has decided to redshirt.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Starting point guard Derrick Walton Jr. has been nursing a sore toe for this past week, but that shouldn’t stop him from missing Michigan’s next home game on Saturday when the Wolverines play host to NJIT, U-M coach John Beilein says.

Walton missed U-M’s 91-62 win versus Nicholls State last Saturday. But with the added rest, he was able to start in Michigan’s 68-65 win over Syracuse on Tuesday, scoring three points in 26 minutes.

Since then, there has been an emphasis of getting the talented sophomore more rest before Saturday’s noon tip-off. “Derrick Walton is not as ready to go as we would want him to be at this time,” Beilein said. “But at the same time, we want to rest him, rest him and rest him so we can get him better.”

When asked, however, Beilein was adamant that Walton Jr. wouldn’t be missing another start versus the Highlanders on Saturday.

“No, absolutely not,” Beilein said. “We’re going to need him in this game. And so we believe he’ll be able to play even if it’s limited minutes. Unless today’s practice is not good that he can’t go at all, then we would have to [sit him]. If it’s best for him, then will do that.”

Starting Spike?

Spike Albrecht scored 11-points, including 3-of-5 from 3s, and hit a clutch three-pointer with :30 seconds left to break a 63-tie against the Orange on Tuesday. A game the Wolverines would go on to win 68-65.

So, with how well he has been playing lately, does he deserve to start?

“No,” Beilein said emphatically. “It depends obviously on injuries. As you know, I love having guys coming off the bench with that spark. But will do whatever we need to do to get off to a good start. “

Beilein continued: “I like having a starting lineup and I like guys coming off the bench. That could change.”

Meeting the Interim A.D. Interim athletic director Jim Hackett has had a busy week.

On Tuesday, he announced the firing of former football coach Brady Hoke.

And while his number one concern is finding U-M its next football coach, Beilein says he has finally had a chance to meet and talk with the new A.D.

“I know he’s had a very busy schedule,” Beilein said of Hackett. “I know he’s been very successful in what he has done. I think all the coaches he has been extremely exceptive to of just helping us go through this transition.”

Announced Redshirt

Walk-on Andrew Dakich is better known for his team spirit on the sideline than his skills on the court.

Currently a sophomore, Dakich has decided to redshirt this season so he can have an opportunity to play his fifth-season somewhere else, Beilein says.

“He’s got a fifth year somewhere, that’s the idea,” Beilein said. “His game is improving every day in practice. … What he doesn’t have athletically, he has mentally. He’s probably a bright as kid as I coached. Really bright.”

The idea to redshirt was collaborated idea by the Dakich and his family, Beilein says.

“It was he and his father’s idea, and I’m sure his mother was part of it too. ‘Wait a minute, if I’m not going to play a lot, let’s redshirt. Because you never know in that fifth year at Michigan or I can get a fifth year at a lower level and still have an incredible college experience.’”

No. 17 Michigan (6-1) will play host to NJIT (2-5) on Saturday at noon at Criselr Center.

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