Five Key Plays: Norfolk State at Michigan

I like your take on Brooks. I think you mentioned this on your podcast, but I love the MAAR and Brooks comparison. Makes a bunch of the right plays, not super flashy, more wired to play the 2 than the 1 but can in a pinch make the offense go. He will be a great glue guy for the next 3 years, but likely never THE guy

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A guy who doesn’t need the ball all in his hands all the time but can do something with it when required is important to an offense. Especially if you have a lot of other players who are more wired to shoot.

I think that Cole Bajema will be that sort of player as well. He can handle a bit, create a bit, but he’s not afraid to just make the extra pass or hit the open shot. Although he has a higher ceiling as a playmaker IMO. Just a very different DNA than someone like Jalen Wilson or Ignas Brazdeikis.

Completely agreed, but I do expect Bajema to develop into a 1b initiator later in his time at Michigan to someone like Wilson’s 1a (thinking Lavert’s compliment to Stauskas).

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Definitely agree on that. Really think Trimble’s role will be similar to Huerter’s next to Trimble/Cowan in many ways.

Perspective from Game # one last year…North Florida. LOL, I need to give them a chance to get better.

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More action can’t come soon enough! I’m just glad we have some good discussion going on around here though.


I see the Brooks/MAAR comparison to some extent, as quality but more complementary offensive pieces, but they strike me as fairly different players. Brooks is a much more natural passer than MAAR, and I believe a better shooter, despite the fact they both shot poorly their freshmen years. MAAR was a bit of a ball-stopper but significantly more aggressive and better at getting to the rim and finishing there.

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The early positive vibes on Livers, Brooks, Davis as well as last season’s second year leaps by Simpson and Teske should be a reminder to us all about not writing off players too quickly in their early years.

Brooks is a player. He understands how to play the game. He just needed a year to adjust to the higher level of play. He will improve every year just like Rahk did.


That is definitely fair. Each player has different strengths and weaknesses and I think that your assessment of each is pretty spot on. I was trying to convey role and position on the team more than the style of play

I agree with this in the sense that where MAAR really stood out was with his ability to get down hill in random situations where no one else on Michigan’s roster could.

I was more referring to how he could be on the floor but never really dominated the ball or usage.

I was also really pleased with Livers’ performance. While we certainly shouldn’t underestimate how much difference a year of experience makes in confidence and familiarity, I wonder if we’re seeing the impact of being on the other side of the floor on offense. He seems comfortable dribbling with his left hand, but I think he’s a superior passer with his right. We saw him make crucial long passes against Maryland and Houston last year - maybe we’ll see more of his passing ability early in games this year.


I agree with you and nswan about this, and those can be really great four-year guys to have on your team, especially in today’s game.

@umhoops Interesting take on Livers playing more of the 3. I noticed it during the game, but as we typically just write them off as the same position but on different sides of the court, I just figured it was a matter of Iggy being better suited at the 4 as a lefty.

Livers looked very comfortable with the ball in his hands, were you inferring there is more to the position “switch” than just the dominant hand?

I do think that it is a sign that Beilein is showing a bit more trust in Isaiah to make plays. Playing with his natural hand helps, but in the exhibition I believe Livers played most of (all?) of his minutes at the four and Michigan used Poole for most of the backup minutes at the three.


This team will be running like a well oiled machine very soon when the vets are used to working with the freshmen and vice versa. Hopefully the free throws will come along much better than last year.

I don’t know if I’m making a hot take, but at this point I just view free throws as a issue that probably won’t be fixed with this roster. All we can do is hope it doesn’t lose a major game for us.


I still can’t believe we live in a world where the greatest weakness of a John Beilein team is the inability to shoot.


If that’s the case (which it could very well be), makes me wonder aloud which five would be out there if the opposition is in a close-game, late-game fouling situation. Poole, Iggy, Brooks, Livers, and Teske would be my best guess; curious what others think.


As I recall, Beilein didn’t do this last year. Matthews and Simpson were often still on the floor (although, we tried like hell to get the ball to Robinson).

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