2017-18 Roster Breakdown


Good points. And I agree, need to look at realistic use patterns for the roster. Beilein is a coach who prefers a smaller rotation that other coaches — usually a 7or 8 man core rotation, although in '17-18 I can see potential for a 9-man rotation.

Either way, IMO the baseline for the '17-18 squad is:
Simpson, MAAR with Poole & Brooks in the rotation
Wagner with either Teske or Davis as the backup
Robinson, Matthews on the wings with Wilson as the primary reserve (and maybe some small ball with MAAR/Poole on the court together)

Watson seems to be injury insurance/odd-man out in '17-18. One of Teske/Davis seems to be relegate to foul trouble emergency use. Any recruits for scholarship slots 12 & 13 will either be injury insurance/odd-man out OR will relegate one of the above to such role.

The goal, IMO, with the final two scholarship spots is for Beilein to find one more player to crack the rotation and boost the “on paper” look; most susceptible would appear to be Wilson, especially if an instant impact big wing is added.

But to me, the floor of the '17-18 group looks like a rotation that should be ranked in the 20s/others receiving votes range and earn a 6-7-8-9 seed in the NCAA Tourney. Upgrade the “Wilson” spot in the rotation — either through recruiting or internal player development — and the upside improves a line or two on the Tourney S-curve.


Lets say we get a five star 3 (Bowen or Wilkes), how does that effect a projected lineup? I cant see Robinson or MAAR to be coming off the bench as a seniors. Who would be guarding the other team’s 4? Would MAAR guard the 1 and shift Robinson to a 3, five star recruit to the 2 which would open Wilson or another 4 to jump into the starting lineup?


Depends on what five-star we get, but MAAR or Robinson could come off the bench as seniors if that’s what’s best for the team. For example, Stu Douglass started his senior on the bench after starting the end of his junior year to make room for Hardaway (and Smotrycz at the 4). I do not think that MAAR will be the “PG” in the main lineup for '17-18.

As for Watson, it’s easy to write him off as insurance or at the end of the bench with Poole, Matthews, MAAR, etc. – and I’ve done it too – but we’ll see. He’s got good height for the 2 and enough for the 3 and appears to have a varied skill set: he can shoot the ball, handle and pass, etc. I certainly wouldn’t assume Jamal Cain, for instance, would play as a freshman over a sophomore Watson. It’s easy to forget for all the hype Cain gets here that his profile in terms of offers and rankings is relatively similar to Watson’s.


IMO, it is normal for seniors to come off the bench if it is better for the team–it is senior leadership in action.


I wouldn’t pay too much attention to who starts. It’s more about distribution of the minutes. Beilein likes to open the season with upper classmen in the starting lineup, but in some past years the “bench guy” saw more minutes. When the rotation only goes 8-deep there are a lot of minutes for non-starters.

And, if Robinson’s defense doesn’t improve, for example, he could be a guy who starts in '17-18 but may struggle to average much more than 20min/gm. Where maybe a stud freshman wing with better defensive presence could come off the bench but average 25-27min/gm.


@gtfomycourt that makes sense. WRT Duncan not starting, I still think he has “instant offense off the bench” written all over his role. I also echo the hope that it wouldnt create discourse for senior to come off the bench if it was best for the team.

@YostsGhosts Agreed that it is more about distribution of minutes. I guess to clarify the question: what would be the most used lineup?

To your point about Duncan, i completely agree. His success is so largely based on who is around him. In other threads there has been comparisons to the role that Forbes had for State this year. If we can set up a system where we penetration to kickouts or other ways to get open looks for Duncan on a regular basis, there will always be a spot on the floor for him. I highly question his effectiveness, though, if other players are not creating those looks for him


So minus transfers our 2017-18 roster is almost set. Right now we have:
C: Wagner, Teske, Davis
PF: Livers, Wilson
SF: Robinson, Matthews
SG: MAAR, Poole, Watson
PG: Simpson, Brooks

Doesn’t look all that bad to me but I would love to see one more player who can play the 4 (Mainly Jaren Jackson). What do you all think?


Updated scholarship depth chart.


With that roster, I would presume MAAR-Matthews-Robinson are Beilein’s starters on the perimeter when 2017-18 season opens. And in that case, Wilson, Poole, Livers can provide more than enough quality minutes from the bench … not to write off Watson’s potential after an off-season in the system.


No Simpson?


Presuming Simpson as PG.
And guessing Wagner most likely as C

I was focusing more on those 2-3-4 positions in Beilein’s lineup, where roles can often be interchangeable … at least roles of the 2&3 and of the 3&4.


Gotcha. That makes more sense. Will be interesting to see how the four plays out this year and how badly Livers is needed to balance that position out immediately. Two deep is coming together though.


Not to get too far ahead of the conversation, but looking to fill 120 mins/GM at the 2-3-4 spots In '17-18

MAAR pencils in for 30-32mpg (he avg’d 32 during conference play this year)
Robinson pencils in for 27-30mpg (avg’d 30 during conference play this year)
Matthews pencils in for 25-30mpg

Leaves around 30-35mpg to fill.
If Poole earns 15-17mpg, that only leaves 15-18mpg for Wilson or Livers to grab (and if Wilson isn’t ready to play 15-18mpg in '17-18 he will be reclassified as a SR and won’t be in the program in '18-19)

And that assumes Simpson & Brooks only account for 40mpg at the PG spot. If they play well enough to warrant playing both together, then back down those minutes available to Poole & Wilson/Livers.


That leaves only Poole as a backup 2/3. I’d pencil in some minutes for either Watson or whichever freshman wing we end up getting.


Historically Beilein likes to cut down to an 8-man rotation. As is, that’s listing out a 9-man rotation (when you add in the two guys who will man the “5” spot).

More likely, if someone works in to the rotation it will be in place of someone else.

That might not be the way you or I would coach, but that’s historically the way Beilein has. The 10-13 scholarship spots are usually more “injury depth” or “development” spots on the roster.


That’s a good point. I do however believe that this will be Beilein’s deepest team in terms of quality bench players. I wouldn’t mind seeing that 10th player get 5 minutes a game.


Now if UM stuns the pundits and ends up reeling in Bowen or Wilkes to close out this class — then the distribution of minutes would get real interesting… But that’s going a little too far in to hypotheticals at this moment


I think a lot of us over looks Watson for some reason.whenver I watch his senior year final film I always think why is he somewhat of an afterthought? I think kid could do something. Sooner the better.


A contributor to this board said elsewhere that Ibi Watson has impressed so far. We usually don’t go more than a 3-man rotation at the 3-4, so could he get playing time above Wilson this year, increasing his chances for the following year? We’ll see.


WTKA had their annual sit down with the assistant coaches. As always it was an interesting and entertaining listen. Nothing earth-shatering, but its good to hear some quality hoops discussion.