Dug McDaniel’s freshman year wasn’t supposed to include over 1,000 minutes on the floor. The plan was always for McDaniel to learn under Jaelin Llewellyn for a season before taking the team over as a sophomore, play his way into critical moments but never be a guy that the Wolverines had to count on every night.
That plan went out the window in early December.
I was sitting on the baseline, behind three rows of spectators and a handful of fans, when Llewellyn went down in a heap to my right. Michigan went on to lose the game and t,he story of the weekend shifted from the ridiculousness of Michigan and Kentucky playing a game in London at the same time as England’s knockout World Cup game to a season teetering on the brink.
Up to that point, Dug McDaniel had been a jitterbug on the floor. Flying around and running into whatever play or mistake would have him, in a flash Michigan’s season hinged on his ability to figure it out.
He responded immediately with one of his best performances of the season at Minnesota a couple of days later, and went on the exceed any reasonable expectations over the next four months. He wasn’t always perfect, but we watched McDaniel grow into a Big Ten point guard on the job.
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