Big man rotation

I don’t really understand all of the angst as to why Donnal is starting. He’s not really playing major minutes… No one else is really proving they deserve more. He wasn’t good yesterday and had a couple awful missed layups (so did Doyle) and got destroyed in man to man post defense… But I honestly think that the PNR had the best flow when Donnal was out there, he just needs to finish.

On the other hand, perhaps other guys will up their games to try to work their way into the starting rotation. Either way… the true question will be who Beilein plays in a close game in the second half.

Beilein said himself he’s eventually going to cut things down to more of a 2.5 man rotation at the five spot. So once we see that narrow up we’ll know more what he’s thinking.

Does DJ Wilson look like a viable option at the five? I’m not sure he gets pushed around any less than Mark. And I can’t even decide if he looks better at the four or five. How many minutes can Wagner play right now (and be expected to be in the right spots on the floor)? Can Doyle play consistently on both ends and stay out of foul trouble?

I suspect those are all questions that go into the equation. Either way I think we’ll see a much more merit-based approach on Friday because those Xavier bigs can play.

What occurred to me watching the Elon game and considering the new rules, I almost wonder if Beilein was extra willing to burn Wagner’s redshirt because there’s a real possibility they will have to go 4 deep at the 5 due to foul trouble this season. It will really be interesting to see how how different coaches approach that. It may be really good just to have the extra body to throw at the position, regardless of who starts.

I hope you are right about the merit-based approach. And I think the primary criteria for “merit” should be in-game performance, not “understanding the system in practice” or whatever. Because Michigan is going to face a lot of big, strong bodies this year who can’t be simulated in practice.

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I think the angst is because (a) we are pretty clearly going to be good 1-4 (b) people thought Doyle was going to be really good and haven’t noticed he hasn’t been, and © folks are excited about Wilson.

So, 1&2: Walton’s shot looks good and a couple from yesterday weren’t toe-on–the-liners. Great in transition. Looking better in half court shot creating, still could be weakest area. LeVert will vacillate between really good 2 who dribbles too much and crusher. Spike and MAAR as backups. All set.

3&4: Dawkins is attacking the boards and looks better on the bounce, and is still bouncy and can shoot it. Irvin looks to have maintained his well-rounded game. Robinson’s shot will translate, will have trouble keeping up on D. Chatman looks to have improved, really helps the offense flow, active on D with long arms. If he can shoot at all from the perimeter he will be a big asset. Wilson looks quite viable at the 4, just has to make good decisions. All set.

5 = ??? I thought people we’re overrating Doyle coming into the year based on his taking it at Kaminski in that last game – it’s not like Frank was getting his accolades for on one-on-one defense – and some uneven performances. He’s flashed a short jumper this year which is very nice. He looks better but still inconsistent, sometimes confused, and foul prone. He’s also not huge or a great athlete. He could be really solid in there but has to pick it up. Donnal so many times on offense seems to do everything right but finish – he had an easy layup off a drive and dish from Chatman that he botched. Donnal seems like he makes the least mistakes out there and is the most solid, so it’s a bit hard to see him falling completely out of the rotation. Wilson hasn’t quite looked ready to lay claim to the 5 spot. I could see them eventually having a pretty set rotation, but I could also see some fluctuation over the nonconference. Hopefully we can get enough out of the 5 for some good results over the next 5 games, which could really set the table for the season.

Donnal has some ugly misses and can not play man to man post D, but I would start him. Wilson is more of a 4 and looks far more comfortable there, Wagner is a project. When it comes to conditioning Doyle is a mess. Between Donnal and Doyle, neither rebound well, Doyle is better defensively but still isn’t great on D, and Donnal fits better on offense and gets more quality looks. I kind of like Donnal starting and it should give him a confidence boost.

I was going to say more about Donnal yesterday, but seeing how much he was being ripped on, I decided to hold back.
I think Donnal suffers from poor body language.
He also suffers from what I think Coach Beilein would call “bad balance/positioning”. If he would catch the ball with his body in a position to attack the rim, or attack the defender, people would have a better perception of Donnal. This he does not do. He always seems to be off balance, throwing up a weak effort. I would love to see him play with more authority.

Regarding Wagner: I have no doubt he can thrive at the 5… This year. His weight isn’t ideal, but he’s not anemic, and he’s not intimidated. He’s my first choice among the four Bigs to challenge opposing 5’s.
I look forward to Wagner battling Swanigan. Going to be great if they get matched up. Swanigan is very good but so is Wagner.
I haven’t seen the big freshman on Maryland and MSU so I won’t comment on them now, but it looks to be a banner year for big men in the BIG. I did see the big kid on IU, Bryant, he’s good too.

Deyonta Davis will be very tough if he can stay out of foul trouble. Can only assume the same about Stone. Hope the new rules hurt State in a big way.

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I’ve still got hopes for Doyle going forward. He’s the most physically ready to compete in the post of our available options. He needs to grab the opportunity and give us 20-22 solid minutes a game. He showed some promise last year and needs to rediscover that.


Dylan in regards to Donnal for me is that it’s his 3rd year in the program now. He was a borderline top 100 recruit and is quite timid inside, he doesn’t finish strong down low(he’s not the only one that misses the easy ones), routinely gets beat on the defensive end. Shouldn’t the bar be a bit higher for a guy like that? DJ Wilson is still relatively raw, Doyle can be serviceable not sure how much upside he has. Wagner nobody really knows about yet.

I don’t know who’s going to guard Reynolds, or who will guard Brimah(7’0 240 pound defensive player of the year). I know my expectations are quite low in regards to those matchups though. If the 5 is really the only position holding Michigan back then it’s up to Beilien to figure it out.

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I know we haven’t had stellar play from anyone at the position yet this season but although Doyle has not revealed a ton of growth the fact that Wilson and Moritz are so much more promising than anticipated has to be accounted an overall plus. The aggregate numbers from the position last night were just fine. And Donnal has to be showing something in practice that might yet translate.

Guess I was never as high on Doyle as some people, so maybe I’m a little less dismayed.

So difficult to take once “skinny” wing-perimeter players ( DJ and MO ) redevelop their bodies and expect them to compete in an arena that’s foreign to them ( the post ). Doesn’t mean they can’t be serviceable situationally, but the nuances of post play ( positioning, leverage, physical defense ) are difficult to attain when you’ve never done it. Both of them will severely struggle in a league loaded with quality bigs this year. Just not strong enough in the lower body yet.

I doubt he will be intimidated by anyone. I also bet Wagner will get under the skin of a few opponents. He will probably intimidate some too. Look at him. He comes across as more than a little crazy. (Crazy in a good way.) Someone else mentioned a similarity with Rodman. I can see the comparison.

If any offense can handle the switch, it would be Beilein’s. There isn’t a lot of back to the basket play, so the lack of post-up skill and experience is mitigated. On defense, I think there is a tradeoff. Wilson and MO are likely going to lose their position easier (due to size/strength and learning positioning/footwork), but they are much more active with their arms and hands. They will probably give up more easy baskets but also create more turnovers.

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Maybe Wagner will pair well with Chatman. I could see Coach Beilein experimenting with Chatman setting screens and Wagner dragging the opposing Big out to the 3 point line.

If you think about it, we are better off at the 5 this year than we were last year. Last year we had tow freshmen and Bielfeldt. This year, we have two sophomores and two freshmen, all we lost was Bielfeldt.

Won’t it be great when we have juniors and seniors at the 5?

Do you still not understand the angst with Donnal. Not only should he not be starting, he should not be playing. The guy is a total waste of space on the floor. Give his minutes to Mo and DJ and save Donnal for nights where everyone is in foul trouble. This is his third year on campus and he has shown almost zero improvement or toughness.

At present I see all the bigs pretty equally in terms of what they bring so it does not bother me that Donnal is getting minutes. It is a wash. If I was the coach of Donnal, Doyle, Wagner, and DJ, then I would temporarily ignore the fact that DJ and Wagner have much higher ceilings. I would use the competition to bring out their maximum effort from DJ and Wagner over the beginning of the season so they improve as quickly as possible. I suppose one could argue that they will learn more in game time. I don’t know if that is true if there are specific weaknesses they are training hard to improve on off days…I seriously don’t think giving Donnal minutes will decrease our chances of winning over the course of the next month. However, a month from now I expect DJ and Wagner to be significantly ahead of Donnal. Also, could they be sharing minutes in order to not interfere with their weight training schedule? JB seemed to suggest Wagner is on a different training regiment (power lifting?). Perhaps the same is true for DJ?

Fair points all around. I agree that we can get away with playing Donnal some now until the other guys are ready. I just think that if he is still getting significant minutes in conference play we are in deep doo doo.

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