Michigan Madness was a fun time despite the smaller crowd of only 3,500. Most of the players echoed the sentiment that it was a good first step, you have to start somewhere and this was a building block. Hopefully next year the first day of practice doesn’t coincide with Michigan’s fall break and the Athletic Department puts a little more effort into marketing the event.
Zack Novak was the man of the hour thanks to his impressive performance in the dunk contest. He also looks slimmer and more defined than last year and it’s clear that he focused on getting his body in shape this summer. In response to Novak’s dunk, Beilein put it best, ““I wouldn’t have believed that in a million years.” Novak also knocked down a couple three point shots and looked smooth in the scrimmage.
The scrimmage consisted of two four minute halves and was little more than a glorified open run. It was clear that everyone was taking it easy and the number one goal was to not get hurt.
Not surprisingly, Manny Harris was the most impressive player on the floor. Manny scored in a multitude of ways whether it was in transition taking the ball to the rack or with the pull-up jump shot. Harris also managed to take the three point contest championship along with Carmen Reynolds.
The freshmen (and Cronin) appeared pretty much as advertised. Here are some quick notes:
- The starting lineups in the scrimmage were: Lucas-Perry, Vogrich, Harris, Wright, and Gibson versus Morris, Douglass, Akunne, Novak, and Sims.
- Laval Lucas-Perry was the other Wolverine who looked to have made strides with his conditioning. Laval ran the point for the Blue team and looked a step quicker and smooth in transition. The key for LLP is becoming more comfortable in the offense, an improvement that should come with another year in the system.
- Stu Douglass didn’t shoot the ball that well in the scrimmage but he looked to be more aggressive with the ball rather than settling for jumpers.
- Darius Morris will give Michigan a solid ball handling option but his three point shoot leaves something to be desired.
- Matt Vogrich has a pure shot and I think he has a surprising amount of quickness and length which make him intriguing down the line.
- Blake McLimans played solid defense against DeShawn Sims and has a quick trigger on his jump-shot at a legit 6-foot-10. McLimans also had a buzzer beating layup to win the skills competition.
- Ben Cronin is huge and he even showed us that he can make the three. He looks a little awkward at times but you have to remember just how hard it is to run as a 7-footer.
It’s hard to take much from the scrimmage but if you want to try, you can see the video of the entire thing here.