Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Michigan game: the roster.

To the extent that anyone is saying anything nice about Michigan's basketball team, the praise tends to be centered on freshman Corperryale "Manny" Harris. Harris was an IU recruiting target, and my recollection is that his decision to spurn IU (I believe he made his decision before it was clear that Eric Gordon was going to come to IU) was met with much consternation. Certainly, Harris, a 6-5 guard, has quite a bit of potential, but Harris's production hasn't necessarily been good production. On the season, Harris is shooting 38 percent and 26 percent from three point range. When at his best, Harris has been able to get to the free throw line, and shoots 75 percent from the line. In two Big Ten games, Harris is 12/29 overall and 2/10 from three point range. Harris's best games, in terms of scoring output, have been against Oakland, Western Kentucky, and Purdue. He shot poorly from the field in all three games, but got to the line effectively in all three games. Harris is a talent, but even with his good free throw shooting, Harris's effective field goal percentage is only 41.3, compared to 59.2 for Gordon. So let's dial the comparisons back a notch. Harris's assist numbers are good, especially considering how many of Michigan's shots he takes, but he turns the ball over even more often. In short, Manny Harris is likely to be a very good player, but will be back at Michigan next year.
The Wolverines' most efficient regular is Deshawn Sims, a 6-8 forward who shoots 38 percent from three point range. Sims has an EFG% of 54.2. Ekpe Udoh, a 6-10 sophomore, averages 3 blocks a game, and Pomeroy's per possession rankings have him #13 nationally in blocks. As an offensive player...well, did I mention the shot blocking? Statistically, the most intriguing Wolverine is 5-11 freshman guard Kelvin Grady. Grady averages only 6.2 points per game in 22 minutes per game, but is making the most of his time. He shoots 47 percent from the field, including 42 percent from three point range (where he takes the majority of his shots). Despite no significant presence at the free throw line (he's 9-9 on the season), Grady's EFG% is 62.5. Considering the way Beilein's teams at WVU shot three pointers, I would bet that in two years everyone in the Big Ten will hate Grady's guts.
As Maize-n-Brew notes, Michigan is down several scholarship players. Two guys who were on the team at the beginning of the season, Jerret Smith and K'Len Morris, have left. Two other players, Reed Baker and Kendric Price, left in the offseason. John Beilein doesn't have much to work with this year, but he has two freshmen who should make Michigan better soon. Hopefully not tonight.

1 comment:

MaizenBrew said...

Sims is probably our best player, but has a tendency to shrivel as the game goes on. For some reason Beilein's not starting Grady (He started CJ Lee against Purdue). Harris, as you pointed out, is talented but really lacks polish. He tends to turn the ball over trying to do too much rather than letting the game flow to him.

This team should be better than it's playing, but the system is set up for jump shooters and Michigan is currently all post and mid range players. Unless Michigan makes a concerted effort to bang down low, I don't think this game will be remotely close.