Now that Kelvin Grady has decided to transfer it’s time to take another look at the roster and where everyone fits.
First, here’s one last word on Grady. There is no denying the fact that Kelvin was a great kid and a hard worker who gave his all to the program. Kelvin Grady was probably the most popular topic to debate in the comments over the second half of the season so I’m sure there are plenty of opinions out there but in the end he just wasn’t a good fit. His struggles on defense have been discussed at length but Kelvin also struggled in the half-court offensive set. The offense just didn’t seem to have the right flow or crispness that it did when it was running at its best. There is no denying the fact that Kelvin was a great ball handler, a solid shooter, and a human press break. In the end he didn’t have the length or grasp of Beilein’s system to be a contributor down the road. Hopefully he lands on his feet and makes the most out of his remaining eligibility at his next destination.
Here is a quick rundown of the roster by position. I broke people into four groups: Guards (1 and 2), Wings (3 and 4), Centers (5), and Hybrids (any combination of the first three) and the each group is roughly sorted from 1 to 2 and 3 to 4 (i.e. Darius Morris is more of a point guard than Matt Vogrich or Manny is a 3 while McLimans is a 4).
- Guards (1/2): Darius Morris, Stu Douglass, Laval Lucas-Perry, Matt Vogrich
- Wings (3/4): Manny Harris, Anthony Wright, Blake McLimans
- Centers (5): Ben Cronin, Jordan Morgan
- Hybrid: DeShawn Sims (5/4), Zack Novak (2-4), Zack Gibson (4/5), Eso Akunne (2/3)
The expectations for Darius Morris clearly jump up a notch, he’s going to have every opportunity to start from day 1 in the backcourt. The upside is that Darius was the gem of this year’s recruiting class and the one freshman out of the four that anyone would choose to throw into the fire. The downside is that learning Beilein’s offense is no cup of tea, Beilein has said himself that it’s almost impossible to predict which freshmen pick it up and which struggle. Regardless, Morris was brought in to be the point guard of this program and he is going to have a chance to prove himself.
Stu Douglass was the primary ball handled in spurts this year and I think he can shoulder some of the load. He is certainly not a traditional point guard but luckily this offense doesn’t rely on a point guard:
His team tried to run a conventional point-guard-driven offense, but was not having much success, so he listened to a suggestion from his uncle Tom Niland, a former coach at LeMoyne.
As Beilein explained: “He said: ‘Why don’t you play like we did back in the day, back in the ’40s and ’50s? Get two guards, put your two forwards in the corners, put in a high post and run some scissor-cuts off the post and spread the floor.’ ”
Stu is a good passer and this gives him a chance to get some more minutes per game even with the competition at the two (see more in Stu’s ‘report card’). LLP could also get a chance to run the point but I just don’t think he has a firm enough grasp on the offense at this point. Suddenly the backcourt doesn’t look quite as crowded but there are still plenty of options in Douglass, LLP, Vogrich, and Novak (who could play just about anywhere). It’s safe to say there will be plenty of competition this off season.
With Grady’s departure there are now three scholarships available for the class of 2010. This number could easily reach four or five depending on any more attrition — things like Manny Harris entering the NBA draft next year or Anthony Wright skipping his fifth year would each open another spot. The full year-by-year scholarship breakdown can be found here.
If Michigan doesn’t fill the remaining scholarship for the 2009 class by getting involved with Angus Brandt again (doubtful) or taking a transfer then I could see the open scholarship going to Eso Akunne for his freshman year. Beyond that it would most likely remain open for the class of 2010 and beyond.
The point guard position might become a bit of a higher priority in the class of 2010 but I think the top priorities remain at the wing and in the post. Ray McCallum would be a huge pick up but the odds look long there and would it be worth taking a less talented point guard other than McCallum when they are numerous options in the class of 2011? I guess we’ll have to judge by who Michigan is evaluating this spring and summer.