So what did you think about the Wolverines 82-55 victory Friday night? I was impressed. Yeah, yeah… I… it was just Radford. Still, it was refreshing performance by the Maize & Blue. There were very few turnovers (8), they outrebounded their opponent (37-34), and when they put Radford away they never gave them a chance to get back in the game. There were players that stood out in the game as well.
Watching Ronald Coleman Friday gave me visions of when he played at Romulus high school some four years ago. Ronnie’s shot was not falling so he did other things to help his team; he rebounded and handed out a few assists. He also handled the pill with confidence.
“I felt great out there tonight,” Coleman said Friday. “Coach Beilein stresses for us to play comfortable and that there are other things you can do than just score. That is what I tried to do.” It was a showing reminiscent of his games in high school when he did more than just shoot the basketball. Expecting him to become a big time scorer is likely a bit too lofty, but he should be able to do the little things on the court that a team full of young players might take for granted.
I enjoyed watching the freshmen backcourt of Manny Harris and Kelvin Grady in their first game as well. They played a combined 55 minutes, had 24 points, tied for the team lead in assists with 4 apiece, and had just one turnover. Did you hear that? One turnover! Coach Beilein has preached about protecting the ball and they did just that. The two youngsters have fed off of the play of the other thus far.
“He pushes me and I push him,” Grady said of Harris. “That is what we do. I really like playing with him.”
“We knew that we were going to start, so we have this opportunity… let’s go hard so we can keep it,” added Harris. “We have built team chemistry since the first day on campus, so we have a feel for each other.”
Could you be looking at the future backcourt of Michigan basketball? It’s just one game, but those two sure did look good out there. They were getting after it on both ends of the floor. As I just said, this was just one game so the excitement does need to be tempered. One more thought on Manny Harris, whose future is as bright as the sun… he is the type of player the University of Michigan was accustomed to having on there squad back in the day. They came a dime a dozen back then. Tough, long, and can really get after it. He can get to any spot on the floor he wants with those long steps and quick feet. Michigan has not had a kid like Manny in a long time. Fans that can remember know what I am talking about. The kid brings it to the floor every time out there. There is an excitement about him and it is good that a player like that has returned to Crisler Arena.
Zach Gibson and Ekpe Udoh were solid on the front line. Gibson passes better than expected and shoots it pretty well to boot. At some point I would like to see both of them in the game together. Gibson brings a hunger to the floor that grew from having to sit out a year as a transfer and getting limited minutes as a freshman at Rutgers.
“It felt good to be out there after not playing for a couple of years,” he said. “I was definitely excited”.
Udoh was very solid off of the bench. He was a stat stuffer with points, rebounds and blocked shots. Right now he is just trying to find his way and in this offense. While he does that, he will bust his butt trying to find other ways to contribute.
Anthony Wright was another pleasant surprise. I watched him play at Oak Hill Academy and I thought he could really shoot the ball back then. To see Anthony now with his weight down, he is much more fluid shooting his jump shot. His release is better and he gets more height going up for it as well. Look for him to be an important part of the team as the season progresses.
K’len Morris is still working his way through the offense and defense. It is a matter of him just understanding what he is supposed to do. He shot the three pretty well Friday.
Last but not least is the player of the game, DeShawn Sims. He played extremely well. He appears to be the player with the green light. He clearly shoots it when he wants…and they were not bad shots. He seems to be a little more comfortable in the offense than the other players and that might have been the reason for his shot selection.
“I love the offense,” Sims said after his 23-point opener. “It has so much potential, but I still have a lot to learn about it. I just try and listen to my coaches so I can learn more about the offense.”
Sims did it inside and outside on putbacks, threes, and dunks. He put on a nice display of offense. He is without question right now Michigan’s best player (keep an eye out for Manny Harris though) on the court and his confidence in what he was doing proved that to me.
- Coach Beilein is always coaching either to the players on the bench or the
players on the floor… constantly teaching in one way or another. When
the players come off the floor he likes to get their attention by holding
their wrist to talk with them. All the players stop and give him eye contact
when he is talking and when he is finished he lets their wrist go.
- There is so much potential for this offense and watching the players play
in it is so much fun. They didn’t put it all out there… but on
a couple of plays you saw the up-fake and then back door for a lay-up. I just
like the constant movement with this offense. There is no standing around.
- Today’s game will be a little test for the Wolverines. Brown handed
Eastern Michigan a beat down Friday. Brown runs an offense similar to Georgetown
and has a couple of returning players that can play.
- Look for Jerret Smith to serve his suspension today.
- On the recruiting front… Jordan Morgan 6-9 out of U of D Jesuit in Detroit was in the locker room visiting, as was as Tucker Halpern, a 6-8 forward out of Massachusetts. Both are in the class of 2009.