Stu is vastly underrated as a passer. From the first time I saw him play in the Michigan jersey I was impressed with how confident he was with the ball, especially passing it. I also think that Stu is the best player on the team at feeding the post. The numbers back Stu up as a good, not great passer. His assist to turnover ratio was 1.7 to 1, 16th in the Big Ten, but his assist numbers weren’t quite so high with 2.1 assists per game but that translates out to 4 assists per 40 minutes, the same as Grady and Lee, and his assist percentage of 19.3% is also in the same ballpark as Michigan’s point guards. Stu definitely has room to grow in this regard but he definitely displayed the ability to pass the ball.
- Three Point Shooting
The percentage isn’t necessarily gaudy at 33.5% but it’s not bad either. In the “hot” games he turned everyone into believers with his quick and pure stroke. The shot looks good all the time and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a big jump in Stu’s shooting percentage next year.
If I wrote this mid-way through the season I probably would have listed defense as a weakness. Stu improved by leaps and bounds on the defensive end of the court over the course of the year. He still has a long ways to go as an on-the-ball defender but he is one of the best in terms of fighting through screens and playing defense off the ball.
Stu showed flashes of brilliance shooting the ball but really struggled with consistency. A lot of this has to do with being a freshman and being asked to do a lot from the get-go, as well as his role changing pretty dramatically a couple times throughout the season. Stu had 10 games without a three pointer, 10 with only one, and 15 with two or more. This is a little bit too inconsistent in my book, if Stu could cut down on the 0-5, 1-7, 1-5 type games he could be very solid.
Stu made two baskets and four free throws in the ten games where he didn’t record a three point field goal. He needs to develop at least one more key cog to his game whether it is a mid-range jump shot or the ability to drive the lane and maybe get to the lane. Adding another dimension to his game has to be the number one priority for Stu because when the three point shot wasn’t falling last year, Stu was very ineffective.
- Decision Making
Stu clearly has ability to pass and shoot but he still needs to learn what is a good shot and what is a good pass. The alley-oops, three point shots from 6 feet behind the line, and bounce passes between three people need to stop. I give him a break because he is a freshman but if Beilein’s facial expressions say anything about how he really feels, you can bet that he let’s Stu know what’s a good decision.
Point guard. There are a growing number of options at the two-guard on this roster and if Stu wants to keep playing big minutes he’s going to need to play the point. He’s not going to be a full time point guard but he needs to be able to play the position for 10-15 minutes per game. I think you definitely still want to play him at the two because that allows him to come off screens and get good looks from three point range. However Laval Lucas-Perry, Zack Novak, and Matt Vogrich will all be vying for playing time at the two-guard so being able to play two positions would be a great way for Stu to differentiate himself from the pack.
Grade: I’ve been struggling with figuring out a means to “grade” players in these report cards. I have basically two sides: grading versus expectation versus some kind of all-encompassing grade of production.
There were essentially zero expectations for Stu headed into the year. He was supposed to be a shooter but likely a ways off from being a contributor — after all he was just a 2-star recruit when he committed to Michigan. Stu also hit some huge shots this year, UConn and UCLA stand out, and his confidence continued to grow over the course of the year. Stu slipped out of the starting lineup in January but I really think that he started to believe that he belonged as the year progressed.
B-. Stu showed that he has the ability to fit into this team and showed flashes of great play but the lack of consistency and versatility are holding him back.