ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Michigan's starting point guard Derrick Walton Jr.’s brings more than just the ball up the court.
In fact, his backup, Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, noted Walton Jr.’s leadership ability is what tends to stand out the most this season.
“As a floor general, I think he controls the game,” Abdur-Rahkman said. “I think he calms everybody down on offense. It’s just good to see him out there controlling the game. It helps his teammates a lot.”
Walton Jr., who averages 10.1 points, 3.7 assists and 5.2 rebounds per game, also benefits the team by his style of play in practice, says Abdur-Rahkman.
“It’s on a daily basis, him and Caris (LeVert) are definitely the two hardest people to guard,” he said. “Going against them definitely helps the team. And it helps them too.”
That being said, Michigan coach John Beilein has told Abdur-Rahkman to be more “aggressive” and be more of a ball distributor like Walton Jr.
“He wants me to be more aggressive,” he said. “But don’t force anything. Be aggressive to look for open players. And get other players open shots, things like that.”
Michigan (12-4, 2-1 Big Ten) plays host to No. 3 Maryland (15-1, 4-0) today at 9 p.m., with the Wolverines looking to get their first win against a rank opponent this season.
However, Abdur-Rahkman says getting a win is more important than focusing on beating a top-five opponent.
“I think it’s more important that we need a win over a Big Ten team,” He said of playing Maryland. “But them being ranked, is definitely a plus. We definitely need a win.”