I watched that video that Scout’s Xavier guy made and I think the thing that stuck out to me is when he said “He is already good defensively and he has the potential to be great.” We talk about how his athleticism would fit in for our offense but if he can become a defensive stopper this becomes invaluable.
There’s a reason that he was listed as a junior last season. I think he’d need a big year to earn the fifth year.
Simpson, Teske, Matthews…all 3 KNOWN for being defensive players. Donlon - a coach KNOWN for his defensive mind. Interesting.
Yea exactly but I see a lot of people posting like we only got two spots left for 17. I think we got three all day. Teske Davis Wilson Wagner is a lot plus another pf in 17.
Pretty much said MSU is the king of the Big. Belien could go to Matthews and say want to be the next wing I put in the league and beat out Illinois. Says if Groce doesn’t make the tourney he’s out.
Some more thoughts from me on the front page:
With Matthews in the fold, I wonder if it makes it more likely for Donnal to keep his fifth year. For 17-18, you’re looking at lineup of PG - Simpson (So), SG MAAR (Sr) (with Poole (Fr) or Watson (So) playing back up guard minutes), Matthews (RS So) and Robinson (RS Sr) (with Wilson or Watson or '17 recruits playing back-up). Then at center you have Wagner (Jr) (assuming he doesn’t move on) and Teske (So) and Davis (so). We’ll see how those guys are deployed, but neither are guaranteed instant impact guys. In sum, you have a pretty deep, experienced lineup 1-4 with some potential to do big things and then uncertainty after Wagner. And what happens if Wagner does down? An experienced, at worst-serviceable big like Donnal could be a huge plus on a team like that. I’m not saying they will save him a spot if recruits they really like want to commit, but I’d be pretty surprised, especially with Matthews in the fold, if they were to just let Donnal go like with Albrecht and Bielfeldt – unless they are very confident in Davis and/or Teske.
This tidbit from the article on the front page was very encouraging:
“In high school, the signs were somewhat more promising. Matthews shot 59% in the paint (206 attempts) in his senior season, 36% in the mid-range (103 attempts) and 37% from three (124 3PA).”
Shooting obviously isn’t going to be his calling card and we need him regardless, but if Matthews can be even a decent shooter then he could really excel for Michigan. This ups my assessment of how likely that is.
From your front page article: “If you pencil Xavier Simpson, Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Duncan Robinson into the starting lineup that season, Matthews seems like a natural fit as a slasher and defender with that group. That leaves Jordan Poole, Ibi Watson and DJ Wilson as additional wing options off the bench to go along with any other prospects that Michigan signs in the 2017 class.”
I like that starting lineup, alot. But I am wondering how the defense will shape up. Matthews is penciled in as a good (probably our best) defender, but he seems too lean to guard the 4 (20 pounds lighter than Zak, who got pushed around this year) and the staff doesn’t appear to trust Duncan to guard the 4, either (didn’t do much/any of it this year, even though that meant Zak had to).
I think a fifth year for Donnal comes down to what Wagner does. If Mo comes back for a third year (which I suspect he will), then I don’t think there will be room for Donnal.
I think Donnal’s 5th year depends on four guys: Donnal, Wagner, Davis and Teske.
I think that it is premature to conclude that the staff does not appear to trust Duncan Robinson to defend the 4. For one thing, last year was his first at the DI level, and it is entirely possible that the staff, as they have done with the vast majority of other first year players, decided to teach him one position, not multiple ones. For another, given Zak’s back issues, and corresponding reduction is explosiveness, the staff might have decided that Zak would suffer if he had to play extended minutes chasing wings around the perimeter and through picks. We have several new faces on staff, a possible new emphasis and philosophy defensively, and a guy brought in with the expectation that he can/will be a defensive stopper on the perimeter. I think they’ll be flexible enough to play Matthews and Robinson where they best fit.
If we can land impact recruits, I think it’s pretty likely Donnal is gone. In fact, highly likely. I think all of Cain, Young, Jackson, Wilkes, and Bowen are potential NBA talents, and a few of them highly likely to play in the NBA. You don’t keep a fourth center at the expense of offering one of those guys. The more interesting question would be whether we take a Davison, Livers, or Tillman over a fifth year for Donnal - a decision we may have to make now. I think we probably do.
I agree with Champions and Dylan that it mostly comes down to Donnal’s own play and what those other three guys do. But my guess is that if Beilein sees a potentially big Final Four type year, he’s more likely to keep Donnal around. I think JB will be here another five years, at least, but he also knows there’s no guarantees. Having Matthews here ups the chances of '17 being a big season (vs, say, the other '17 recruits not named Wilkes or Jackson), and therefore tilts the scales a bit more to keeping Donnal than ensuring Teske and Davis get opportunities to develop.
Again, I’m not saying we don’t take recruits we really like to keep him, but it (a) makes it less likely we’d just let him walk like Spike and Max, and (b) might make us a little more hesitant about a guy we like but don’t love.
But I’m clearly outnumbered and other folks are probably more plugged in. My main point is that with Matthews in the fold, '17-18 is looking pretty darn solid and potentially very, very good 1 through 4.
I also think the staff will do the best with what we have, that’s not really the question. And I think the Zak-back-surgery point is actually the reverse: I think it says something that, even after back surgery, Zak was still asked to take a physical beating (for many games) while banging with opposing 4s. And even though Duncan is longer, I think Zak would be better suited for chasing shooters. And, while I dont think it is anywhere near impossible that Duncan could learn to guard 4s, he did have an entire year of practice (during his redshirt) and still wasn’t used that way.
I don’t think you could start those 4 players against a lot of lineups in conference play. I just don’t see Duncan or Matthews ever effectively guarding the 4 spot. Same with Cain. We need to add a true 4 like Young, Tillman, etc.
It’d be extremely impressive if a freshman could keep Duncan (will have started the previous 2 years) or Matthews (will have both a year of playing–albeit limited minutes–for Kentucky and a year of practicing with UofM) off the court. You could be right, and if a freshman 4 is good enough to start, that’s the best case scenario in terms of lineup construction and depth. Just seems unlikely to me.
It will be interesting to see if Duncan improves his D. He was easily the worst defender for Michigan this past year. They will still need to score points but with a new assistant coach it will be interesting to see if Donlon can hide Robinson on the defensive end, if he improves or if he’s still the weak link and his court time will diminish.
Duncan has a long ways to go defensively, but Aubrey Dawkins was the worst defender on the team IMO.
I didn’t include him because he wasn’t starting and his minutes dried up like the Sahara. Robinson played 30 minutes a night and he may end up playing more with attrition this upcoming year.