Big takeaway from this Q & A with JB is the confidence he has in Walton taking a big leap forward this year. From the context of the comments, I think some may need to temper expectations for Irvin.
On Walton - “His maturity both mentally and physically has really kicked in. He spent a complete summer in the weight room and I’m not talking about a half a summer – I’m talking about a whole summer. It’s not about getting stronger, it’s about getting quicker and more agile. He’s more explosive now than he was last year as a freshman and he’s got more confidence in his jump shot. He knows Spike Albrecht is right behind him and wants to take his minutes, but we may actually play the two of them together because they’re both so good with the ball.”
On Irvin - “He’s going to have opportunities to do just that. I said the same thing two years ago – Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. are gone – who wants some? Now I said the same thing last year – Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson are gone – who wants some? Zak is definitely going to have a chance, and so is Caris LeVert. For Zak to emerge as a sophomore, it would be huge for our team but sometimes it doesn’t happen for players during their sophomore seasons. Sometimes it takes a little longer, but Zak is definitely going to have a chance to emerge.”
The confidence in Walton sounds really good. If we do see Spike and Walton on the floor at the same time, who isn’t out there? Do we see that when LeVert needs a rest, or do we see either Irvin or Chatman on the bench with both of them on the floor.
Also if Walton is going to be that good, is it still critical that Irvin takes a big leap, or are we still good if Irvin only turns out to be marginally better than last year but still can shot the lights out?
The comment on Zak is not surprising to me, with Levert and Walton, he could be a nice third option. I hope that he improved defensively.
Didn’t surprise me at all…quite frankly I would be surprised if Zak is anything more than what he was last year, with 6-8 additional shots per game. Defense/rebounding is the big question. Can he slide his feet and box out.
The comments on Irvin COULD possibly be coachspeak to motivate him, but I agree this seems pretty compelling that Beilein expects bigger things from Walton than Irvin this year. Honestly, if we have Irvin as a freshman-ish Stauskas level with slightly better defense, that’s still a decent third option.
In no way do I expect Irvin to approach freshman level Stauskas in terms of creating off PnR, or creating offense in general. His PPG may say he is the second option, but from the standpoint of actually handling the ball, I think he will be the third, possibly 4th option. That being said, I don’t think we need Zak to be a creator this year. He just needs to shoot >38% from 3 and play decent perimeter D (I’m not holding my breath) and give us 4 boards a game (this is more likely).
My bold prediction is that Irvin has more 3ptFGM than Stauskas did last year. I think he’ll end up as the 3rd option in terms of FGa.
10 FGA per game.
7 3pFGA per game.
~370 FGa on the year
70% of 370 = 259 3ptFGs over the season.
If he shot 40% from three, that comes out to 103 3pt FGs on the season.
A lot of people, outside of Michigan fans, wrongly labeled Stauskas as a pure shooter. He was much more than that. Zak Irvin, though, might end up being a pure shooter. This isn’t really a bad thing. Walton and LeVert will create plenty of offense. Having a 6’6 sharpshooter to spread the floor will open up the lane for the PnR.
Nik was a pure shooter, he was also a great ballhandler and passer. Zak is a pure shooter and not much else. Difference between pure shooter and strict shooter
Yes, pardon my lingo. Nik’s shot is silky smooth. He most definitely was a pure shooter. You got what I meant, though. A lot of people wrongfully thought Nik was a one trick pony. Zak might end up only being a one trick pony, in fact that’s what I expect. It’s fine, though, because he does that one trick extremely, extremely well.
Agree with MattD, Nik’s ball handling is good enough to back-up PG if necessary. Zak is far from that.
Zak is in “show me” territory with respect to versatility of his offensive game. Nik showed flashes as a freshman and then took off right away as a soph, had a down period when teams decided to focus on him, then figured it out and finished the season strong. I think that Beilein is trying to temper expectations that Irvin will be that guy from the get-go this season, and maybe not at all this season. Stauskas is a rare bird. I do think that Irvin can defend.
Sane - what have you seen at the collegiate level that suggests Irvin is an adequate defender either on the perimeter or in the post?
Yes, pardon my lingo. Nik's shot is silky smooth. He most definitely was a pure shooter. You got what I meant, though. A lot of people wrongfully thought Nik was a one trick pony. Zak might end up only being a one trick pony, in fact that's what I expect. It's fine, though, because he does that one trick extremely, extremely well.
I think Zak has shown some glimpses of being a decent off the bounce shooter, especially in high school. He gets decent lift on his jumpshot, goes right up and down and has a high release. If he can add a bit of a floater and find a way to innitiate contact going to the hoop he can kind of play off his shot like Nik was so great at off those handoffs coming from the right side. I don’t see him being much of an iso, break you down off the bounce creator though. Just think he has a lot of room to improve in terms of diversifying his offensive game because of the threat of his jumpshot, and solid athletecism, length, height and strength.
I am no pundit, just a former HS player and big fan of UM basketball (must see TV in my house). I believe there is no way one wins Mr. Bball in Indiana being a one dimensional player. I believe Zak played within his assigned role last year (true team player) and I think Zak will explode this year (Caris and Derrick too). The presumption is he will start, and I expect this to be a huge difference in his mentality and performance.
I fully expect our Big3 (Caris, Derrick, and Zak) to be spectacular, providing mucho entertainment, lots of wins capable of another deep run in March!
No offense, but in what world is Irvin a team player? The guy shoots nearly every time he touches the ball. Not saying Irvin can’t play, because he can certainly fill it up. However, I wouldn’t go so far as to say Irvin makes his teammates better. The guy does one thing, shoot
He passed up a sure two points to pad his line last year with an alley-oop to GR3. If he was concerned with only scoring points, he would have taken it himself. And how does anyone know what exactly his instructions were when he entered the game? Never said he makes his teammates better, just meant that I believe he did what the coaches instructed him to do.
I can’t help but have high expectations from Irvin this year.
He’s just too talented and our coaches are just too good. My hopes may be dashed but I just think he’s going to be a sleeper this year in the Big 10.
I also hope Walton can add more to the offensive end this year beyond catch and shoot opportunities.
JBlair - I think you are selling Walton short. The guy excels in transition and has ability to finish over taller defenders off PnR. Not to mention he’s probably the best rebounder in the country at his size. Add in the fact that he’s an above average on ball defender.
I think Walton has all the tools necessary to be an elite college PG, he just needs more experience and skill training to know when to pick his spots inside the arc. That will come with time, possibly this year.
Didn't surprise me at all.........quite frankly I would be surprised if Zak is anything more than what he was last year, with 6-8 additional shots per game. Defense/rebounding is the big question. Can he slide his feet and box out.
Yeah, that’s where I’m at. As the third option he doesn’t need to be able to create for himself. He’s not afraid to shoot, so he’ll get shots up whether he can create his own or not. He’s a good enough shooter that it should work out well enough in the end. He’s a good third option, who will have the occasional game where he just goes off from deep and gets 18+.
But with the questions on the interior, we’ll need him to take a HUGE step forward in the rebounding department. His numbers were better in Europe, but that competition was such a joke, the only thing you can really get outta that is that it’s better than having the same numbers.