2010-2011 Season

Michigan Practice: Player Impressions

Photos from Michigan Basketball’s Facebook Page

I was on hand at Crisler Arena today to check out Michigan’s practice, which was open to the media.  Crisler was a hot box and while the player are used to it by now, the reporters certainly aren’t.  It was really valuable getting a look at some of the things they’re focusing on leading up to the trip to Europe and seeing how the freshmen are progressing. We’ll also have more video from practice as well as quotes from several players. [More from practice: Beilein presser / Practice video part 1]

Player impressions

  • It’s become apparent that the two strongest leaders of the team are Zack Novak and Darius Morris.  I think all of the non-freshmen have been pushed into a leadership role because of how young the team is, but I think Novak and Morris are the ones to whom it comes naturally.  You could tell Novak was like that at times last year, and Darius has been dying to take over the role because that’s the role he’s always had as a point guard.  Say what you will about the talent, but those are a couple of strong leaders.
  • Blake McLimans is ready to play.  Jordan Morgan looked good and healthy as well, but McLimans looks really good.  He’s put on a ton of weight since he got here and he looks like he’s ready to compete in the post in the Big Ten.  He’s retained the excellent touch around the basket and the smooth jumper he arrived with, but his build is much stronger than where it was.
  • Colton Christian look like he can do a little more than just play defense and get rebounds.  He showed off a nice jumper and he’s real quick for his size.  He could do some slashing and he can play a lot of different positions, so he’ll get his opportunity.  He seems to have his mind set on doing more than garbage work as well.
  • I was impressed with Tim Hardaway, Jr. His shot is silky and he seemed to have a confidence on the court that most of the other freshmen didn’t have.  I didn’t realize how tall/long he was.  He’s going to be very useful on defense as well as on offense knocking down shots.  He’s also vocal and very supportive.
  • I went to see Jon Horford play last year for Grand Ledge, and the dude couldn’t keep his shorts up he was so skinny.  When I saw him today, he looked like he’d put on some weight, but he still has work to do.  He said he hasn’t put on as much as he would have liked but he’s still working.  He had some trouble during a post scoring drill where Ben Cronin would nail the post players with a big pad to simulate contact.  Matt Vogrich has gotten bigger as well and John Beilein said it has added a lot to his game and making his shot more consistent.
  • Evan Smotrycz is still slightly injured, but he seemed to be moving pretty well during drills and running sets.  His quickness isn’t all the way back, but his passing was good in sets and I think he’s definitely the most versatile player on the team.
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