Spike Albrecht’s role has been pretty defined for his two years on campus – basically spelling the starting point guard with quality minutes, allowing him to play off the ball a little bit in certain lineups, and generally being able to efficiently run the offense. That’s unlikely to change, but it’s a role that Albrecht has done well in for the last two years. Aside from the now-obligatory “he scored 17 points in the first half of a national championship game” mention on the broadcast every time he takes the floor for the first time in a game, there’s always low expectations tinging the narrative of Spike’s game (even above, which could more succinctly read: he’s basically supposed to be competent out there). A lot of that is the completely-off-the-radar recruiting profile he came in with, a lot of it is his unassuming stature and appearance.
He’s a legitimately decent player though – though his usage rate (particularly for a Michigan backcourt player) is quite low, he’s really efficient and his assist-to-turnover rate is excellent. The comparisons are pretty much an even mix between backup point guards and off-ball shooting specialists. Three players appear twice: Michigan’s Kelvin Grady, Indiana’s Jordan Hulls, and Illinois’s Trent Meacham.
Grady is an interesting comparison: he and Spike are pretty close statistically, aside from Albrecht’s much better efficiency. Hulls (one of the best shooters of recent vintage in the Big Ten) and Meacham were primarily three-point shooters, which, aside from Spike’s occasional late-possession pick-and-roll forays into traffic, is often his role. Travis Trice is another intriguing player on the list – State’s backup point guard is similar stylistically to Albrecht, spotting-up off the ball, largely struggling around the rim, distributing the ball fairly well, and being on the floor mostly because of their shooting. Spike handles general point guard responsibilities better, but Trice is better from behind the arc. Josh Oglesby barely missed the cut on the “just a shooter” table above, and that was his game, and Dave Sobolewski and C.J. Lee fit in the “so-so point guard” category.
At this point, it’s pretty clear that Spike is who he is and these comparisons do a lot to contextualize exactly what that means: Spike is an able and efficient backup point guard who shoots the ball often, and well. Because of the lack of size and defensive issues inherent to a two-point guard lineup with Derrick Walton, and because of Walton’s presumptive improvement and ascendance into a really good player, Albrecht might see a decrease in playing time. Spike outplayed Walton at times last year and even finished out a few games instead of him, but Walton is efficient also (though less so) and his defense is the obvious reason to give him minutes over Spike. Still, he’s a capable role player and a key part of Michigan’s rotation.
Alex Cook, the author of this post, can be found on Twitter @alexcook616. Any comparison requests are more than welcome.