2008-2009 Season

Basketball Prospectus Released: Notes & Quotes

The AD released the basketball prospectus today (read the whole thing here) and here are a couple things worth noting.

First we have the freshman numbers (and number changes):

  • Cronin #35
  • Novak #0
  • Douglass #1
  • Lucas-Perry #31
  • Shepherd #22
  • Merrit #15

CJ Lee and Dave Merritt are listed on the roster, there was speculation that one or both of them would not be returning. Once you add in Corey Person, there is a good amount of point guard depth on this team.

Cronin is listed at 7-0 and 265 pounds, 30 pounds heavier than the next heaviest player (DeShawn Sims). Gibson is still listed at 220 which is the same as last year, so it doesn’t appear he has been Barwis-ized (I know Barwis doesn’t work directly with the hoops team). The weights of returning players seem to be pretty much the same so maybe they just aren’t updated?. The other freshman heights and weights are notable though. Stu measures in at 6-3 and 175 pounds, while Novak is listed at 6-5, 210 pounds.

Here are a couple quotes from Beilein (full quotes after the break):

“We are a young team progressing right now. We had several players log major minutes last season. Guys like Manny Harris, DeShawn Sims and Kelvin Grady. Guys that we feel will be a big part of this team. Then there are the others who have never really played signifi cant minutes — Zack Gibson, Laval Lucas-Perry and Ben Cronin, just to name a few. They are going to have play and gain experience early. If you look at our roster, we lost one senior; we’re still going to be a young team.”

On DeShawn Sims’ improved play from a year ago

“He really understands some of the things he has to do. He was one of the most improved players in the country, going from one or two points a game to 12 points a game, not many people jump 10 points. He will be working on some things — consistency and some different things that are very important to him. I sense that he his extremely excited about the opportunity that is in front of him right now to lead our team”

On the differences going into this season …

“We lost 22 games, we were so inexperienced. Forget the schedule, forget the system, forget the new coach — we were young. Playing the tough schedule, it’s attractive to do it sometimes and it is going to help us in the long run, but in the short term that will be the biggest difference this season. There were some things learned on a daily basis — whether it is a practice drill, how to travel or a kid understanding how to eat properly. We were young in so many different areas that only experience can teach. We have some of that now. We are able to move slightly forward and we will continue to keep doing that.”

On adapting in the new players …

“Generally in college basketball if you look at most kids from freshmen to juniors and even seniors , no matter where they are playing, there is a world of difference. So that will be the big thing. We will have to have more than just four coaches teaching. We expect that DeShawn, Manny, Kelvin, Zack and Jevohn (Shepherd) to be substitute teachers for us when we are not out there. It will be a group effort.”

On goals for this season vs. last season …

“It will be the same thing. If we get better everyday we’re going to accomplish our goals. We want to have consistent progress towards postseason play, using every day to get closer to playing in March for as long as we can.”

On what Manny Harris faces as a sophomore …

“The sophomore year is a very diffi cult year for an outstanding freshman because they are marked men. He had a great year so he will be a marked man. There will be diffi cult moments that, because he has some experience, he will expect himself to play beyond his years, and he is still probably the youngest sophomore in the country. People have to be very careful and understand that with his age and his freshman year, it was extremely unique. He was forced to play major minutes, forced to play through mistakes. In the long run it will be good but I want to be careful that people don’t expect too much, he is still evolving everyday as a basketball player.”

On expectations of the newcomers …

“We agree with Ekpe’s (Udoh) departure, we are very hopeful that the new players will evolve to have some signifi cant role on the team, whether it’s off the bench, whether it’s starting, whether it’s something. That’s our hope, when you lose two of your top eight, Ekpe and Ron (Coleman), you are only trying to replace two but we are hopeful that they can come in and contribute. If it’s only one or two, that’s fi ne, but we are very hopeful that all of them will be able to fi ll some roles that were needed. For a team that was last in the league in three-point shooting, we have some needs. For a team that just lost its center, we have some needs. You can’t forget about Eric (Puls) and Jevohn, those are guys that have been waiting to play and they very well could get a heck of a chance.”

On the need to improve outside shooting …

“Oh yeah, they have to. I expect them to. We need to shoot the ball better. If you can’t shoot the ball in the Big Ten it is going to be very difficult to win in the Big Ten, very difficult.”

On impressions of the Big Ten …

“I was really encouraged by the crowds that we saw when we went on the road — the excitement in the arenas and things like that. I’ve been in many, many venues but I thought that the Big Ten, as far as a college basketball atmosphere, it was as good, if not better, than anything I have ever seen. For the level of coaching, I would say the same thing it will be a challenge.”

On molding the future of the program …

“The next three recruiting years — 2009, ’10 and ’11 — we are hoping we will be able to put together what we envision for the future. We won’t be able to do it without the guys that came here in 2006, ’07 and ’08; those guys are a major part of it. In the nature of recruiting right now, with the early decisions being made, it is not as easy to build a program as it was four or fi ve years ago, unless you are going to go for quick fi xes because of early commitments. So I think that our recruiting for ’09, ’10 and ’11 will really shape the mold the way we want it to.”

To Top