12/31 Practice Nuggets

So I took Steve Pearson to campus for a visit today to watch a full practice before the team heads out to Iowa.

First a few nuggets of interest in terms of the schedule:

Michigan will be in the Battle for Atlantis in 2019

We are tentatively scheduled to be in some sort of non-conference classic/showcase at Little Caesers arena in 2020 along with Duke, Arizona and MSU.

Actual Basketball (caveats apply because obviously its a single 2 hour practice coming off a holiday)

  • Team still has effort issues, at least today they did. JB had to literally stop practice and say “stop it with the shit motions, I’m sick of this”. He then really got on the bigs about finishing in a lethargic manner. I won’t get into details, but Donnal seems to be the whipping boy…probably explains a lot with him

  • Team really focused on breaking a 1-2-2 full court set defense, presumably in preparation for Iowa’s version of the same

  • Team also focused on working against a 2-3 zone defense for quite some time

  • Team focused on defending PnR action, JB wants the big hedging to force the ballhandler (likely Jok) to change direction and go left…JB wants a hard hedge that cuts off the right at all costs. He was absolutely adamant about that. He got on Mo about that quite a bit, will be interesting to see how it plays out tomorrow

  • Not a single word from Donlon in practice. Not that its a good or bad thing, just found it interesting after all the talk of JB deferring to Donlon

Player Notes:

Matthews - was the primary ballhandler against the first team defense, presumably he is the Jok impersonator. He looked good as a scorer out of PnR, finished at the rim, hit midrange jumpshots, and even posted up out of PnR once the guard recovered. However, he looked rough as a passer out of PnR and had several turnovers. Also, his change of direction off the bounce, while not poor, is not great. Didn’t see him attempt a single three in game/scrimmage like settings, didn’t appear to be a part of his game at this point. I’m just taking an educated guess based on very limited viewings this summer (not completely healthy) and this fall/winter, but I don’t think Charles is a primary option on offense for a really good team. I think he’d a be a really good number 2 option though. If I could compare his game to anyone right now, I’d say a poor man’s Demar Derozan.

X - just cannot find roll men out of PnR sets in the half court, and cannot break down a defense off the dribble. Was strictly a catch and shoot guy in half court sets. That said, when he was open, his 3ball looked good and he buried a few. Even when he missed, it looked good. Good defender but his upside is limited in my opinion, as he’s only a legit 5’9, and he’s a developmental project on offense.

Teske - a long ways away from contributing on offense, doesn’t have very good touch around the rim at this point. Appeared to have a nice midrange jumper from the baseline in drills though. Has no back to the basket game at all. What I seen from his HS film is pretty accurate IMO, will be used as a pick and pop guy and garbage man on offense. Again, I think my HS evaluation from him is spot on with defense as well - Teske moves his feet EXTREMELY well on defense for a guy that’s a legit 6’11-7, he runs the floor in transition really well to. Just weird that he’s so gifted with his feet but cannot jump.

Davis - first thing that stands out to me is that he’s nowhere near his listed 6’9-6’10, he’s 6’7…maaaayybe 6’8. Has nice touch around the basket and his midrange jumper from the baseline was a pleasant surprise in drills. That said, he’s just so far behind defensively that its hard to see him making an impact any time soon. He simply has far too much ground to make up athletically.

Ibi - played strictly at the 3 rather than the 2/3, which tells you what you need to know about his ballhandling. Pretty much a catch and shoot guy that fills the lane in transition. His role (not impact) on offense is essentially GR3. Of course, he’s not that level of athlete at all. Good athlete, but not great.

Pointless to speak on the other guys, because we all see them during games for large stretches, so we know what we have there.


I could see that with Charles. Luckily he gets to be a number two with moe around…

Any general impressions from Pearson. He is a kid that I would really like to have… from what I have seen of film, I am sure that Michigan won’t be the only team vying for his attention

To be fair to Ibi, Ant Wright before the season was adamant that Ibi would only be playing the 3 as he believes the offense is too complex for a freshman to learn two different positions (and 3 happened to be the biggest position of need) and that has seemed to generally hold true in the past as well. We’ve probably had 2 guards with worse handles than Ibi, right?

Steve’s dream school is Michigan. And you are correct about his recruitment, as Oakland, CMU, and DePaul are already involved.

I’d say Ibi’s handle is probably less adequate than GR3 at the same age.

Well, that’s not encouraging.

I think that came out harsher than I intended. GR3 certainly didn’t have a good handle as a freshman but it wasn’t horrible for a 3/4. The luxury we had then were 3 guys named Burke, Hardaway & Stauskas that made GR3 handling icing on the cake. I’m afraid this roster doesn’t have that so I think we’re going to need Ibi to develop a handle at the rate THJ did, where he’s serviceable as a sophomore and above average as a junior.

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We’re going to need Ibi to develop a handle, Meaning you anticipate Ibi playing meaningful minutes in the next 2 years? I don’t. Would be great if he’s good enough to deserve them but I see him buried on the depth chart as long as we continue recruiting at a reasonable rate

Yeah, I said it at the time, and I still think the same way now…think we should’ve put the full court press on Seth Towns as a 3. He is proving to be much more college ready in relation to Ibi. Hopefully Watson proves me wrong long term.

Thanks for the update. Very cool. The donlon bit worries me…here’s hoping he had laryngitis.

Sounds like the future is more of the same. We are a good (not great) team which is missing a superstar on the perimeter (3 level player is I think how you’ve termed it).

Disappointing as I think we want more, but after Amaker/ellerbe I appreciate the current ability to beat just about anyone on any given day and to do it above board.

Sorry, wrong thread.

Agree completely in that I’d much rather have Towns. Or Cain. Or a lot of other wings. But regardless, I don’t think we really need Ibi to do anything with his handle. (Hopefully) He’s behind MAAR, Matthews, X, Poole, Brooks next year for minutes, and as long as we can add another quality wing in the next 2 classes I don’t see him ever being a staple in the rotation.