Today in the Focus Series we look at freshman Michael Hurt, his numbers, and talk year one impact

Minnesota freshman Michael Hurt is a player that is expected to come off the bench and play a role as a shooter as well as a high IQ defender and offensive decision maker.

Hurt is today’s focus in the Focus Series getting ready for the season.

Statistically Speaking

The Good

Michael’s senior year numbers were fantastic.  So good that people wondered how they could be that good but then I went to four of his games and I actually had bigger numbers than the school for Hurt! He was that good. Hurt averaged of 19.2 points, 9.2 rebounds, eight assists, 2.6 blocks, and 1.9 steals per game in 31 minutes per contest.

These numbers are a product of several things: 1) Hurt is a very skilled player, 2) he’s a high energy, high IQ guy that seemed to be involved with every play, 3) he’s an excellent defender, and 4) he played with his five star brother Matthew Hurt last year and the two had just a fantastic understanding of one another that they were constantly working together for high percentage numbers.

Michael shot 55.8 percent from the field last year playing both forward spots and at times handling the lead guard spot.  That near 56 percent from the field was on a dozen shot attempts per game. Hurt shot 43.8 percent from the arc a year ago and that was based on Hurt taking five threes a contest.  He also made 75 percent of his foul shots.

The Not so Good

There is next to nothing to say about Michael’s senior year numbers that you can say much bad about.  Michael’s high school frustration was that he was not able to get to the state tournament as Lakeville North beat them in the section final every year. Looking through the numbers, the only struggle he had was missing the last ten threes of his season.  Other than that, not much you can complain about with Hurt’s numbers.

Focus on 16-17

The off-season talk about Michael was how hard he works, how well he listens, and how well he has soaked up coaching.  Everything about him has been a positive and right now it feels like he will be in the ten man rotation coming off the bench as a shooter and worker.  And the Gophers need a guy off the bench who can shoot like he does, a guy that is excellent moving the ball making the right decisions (that’s Michael), and a guy who works hard and will be in the right place defensively (which is also Michael). He fits the role of a guy off the bench that you can count on for consistency based on the way he has played at JM and D1 Minnesota.

We know what Michael is expected to do for this team: hit open shots, play hard defensively and be in the right positions as he comes to the team with a high defensive iq, and be a guy who is in the right position offensively who cuts hard, moves well off the ball, and makes the right passes. Consistency. 

The bigger question is how does the rotation look at his position?  Michael is a three who works hard enough to play some four in a small line-up.  He will be one of the several trying to get minutes at the three spot.  He will likely be competing for time with other guys that will play the three and maybe some four, Davonte Fitzgerald and Ahmad Gilbert specifically.  In addition, guys like Amir Coffey, Stephon Sharp, and Akeem Springs are wings that will play the two and three that Michael will also being battling for time with. 

I fully see Michael playing this year because he is what you want in a player coming off the bench.  He has really good size for a three and moves his feet laterally well but even more important, he knows positioning.  And Michael has shot a good percentage from everywhere on the floor which this team needs.

The Right Stat Line

I would guess that Michael will play somewhere between 13-17 minutes a game off the bench this year.  With that will likely come about two scores a contest on average so about 5-6 points a game with three rebounds, and an assist or two on average.  Shooting wise young players often go through stretches up and down.  I would guess Michael shoots about 36-37 percent from the arc on average overall.  If he could do that and more importantly defend like he’s expected to it would be a strong first year at Minnesota.


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