Podcast: Big May Takes on portal moves, Jaelin Llewellyn, what U-M and MSU need, and, yes, Emoni Bates


The thing about playing unproven players is that this is what Michigan did for all of Belein’s tenure and they had tremendous success. Every year we’d look at transfer targets and talk about how Michigan needed to add this or that, and they never did (aside from Simmons who hardly played, and Matthews who had to sit out a year). I specifically remember people wanting Matt Mooney heading into the 18-19 season because people thought we couldn’t rely on the unproven Jordan Poole and Eli Brooks.

I’m all for adding a transfer or two under the right circumstances, and clearly adding a transfer guard to this roster was warranted. But you also have to trust the guys you bring in (and the coaches charged with developing them) and give them a real opportunity to grow and show what they can do. You can’t expect certainty at every position, every year.


I get this point, but that 19 team brought back Simpson, Matthews, Teske, Livers as proven experienced rotation players IMO. Michigan needed Iggy to fill a spot and Poole to fill a spot.

This year’s team could hypothetically bring back Hunter Dickinson as a proven experienced rotation player. That leaves 4 spots not 2 (really 1.5 IMO).


I guess this is more about what I like as a fan than what’s best in terms of wins/losses. I love watching a freshman Derrick Walton start on the 14-15 team as a facilitator then developer into the big-time shot maker who led UM to a B10 tourney title as a senior. Today, UM would never hand over the keys to a true freshman point guard of Walton’s incoming rank, and who knows how his career at UM would play out. I was looking forward to a similar four-year journey with Frankie (no one come at me with Walton v Frankie freshman shooting numbers, that’s not the point).

The winning moments mean more to me when I’m invested in the players as opposed to a bunch of one-year mercenaries.


I just don’t think that is necessarily true. Franz Wagner, Caleb Houstan, Moussa Diabate, Hunter Dickinson all started and played huge minutes as freshmen in key roles.

I don’t think you can say that Frankie Collins not playing much as a freshman is because of a core philosophy as much as it is about Frankie Collins not being ready to play. If Dug McDaniel looks awesome this year, he’ll play.

Walton was really good as a freshman.


Yeah and Walton had the conference POY next to him and a future pro in Caris LeVert. You can afford to play a freshman pg next to those guys. Granted Walton fit right in and could play off ball and be an overall benefit, but there’s nothing about Howard’s coaching that makes me think he wouldn’t have played Walton.


Interesting podcast, particularly the segment about recruiting time investment, losing players to the portal after a year, and undergrad in-transfers (admissions). College bball still has the same unresolved tension between academics and athletics. The solution is starting to pop up in professionalized opportunities, in terms of NIL, G-League ignite, and Overtime Elite. Ultimately I think this all trends towards European academy model, where you have kids signing their first professional contracts at 16. More radically, I could see a future where the revenue sports spin-off into independent academies, which would avoid the whole title 9 issue.


I don’t really see the academy model being the answer. The academy model is fine if you aren’t monetizing youth sports but college sports is a monster business here. That’s the difference.

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Was it Walton’s freshman year where he had a couple huge plays at the end of the MSU game to really seal the game?


I recall an and1 late and he went like 6-6 or 8-8 on FTs in crunch time


he also destroyed OSU in Columbus


On MSU: I think it’s a good point that 3 or 4 of MSUs best players are guards/ wings already on the roster, especially if Christie is back. They have a solid top 6 - Walker, Hoggard, Akins, Christie, Hall, Hauser. Two bodies in Sissoko and Kohler to either figure out a serviceable big man rotation or at least have bodies to use up fouls in conference play.

You could have multiple first team Big 10 guys in Christie and one of Akins, maybe Walker, or even big years from Hall or Hauser with all the minutes available. I would think that even rolling with Sissoko as a 20mpg+ Center with 10% usage could be a top 4 big 10 team and a 6 seed or so. A lot changes if you don’t have Christie though.

Stop discussing Christie coming back. If we ignore it as a possibility, it can’t happen.

If they have Christie back they’re top 25. And a decent transfer big from being legit. But I see no reason to think he’ll be back thus far

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Can’t wait for Christie to be invited to the combine and shoot 90% in shooting drills while showing off a 40 inch vertical. Let’s boost his stock up

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I wouldn’t be surprised if MSU was waiting to see which players flirting with the NBA decide to come back and into the portal.

One time transfer deadline to enter the portal has passed.

A player would have had to also request their name be put into the portal in order to back out of the draft and still be eligible to transfer without having to sit out.

Yeah to add to your point, Walton didn’t exactly get handed the key by JB. He played off the ball a lot as a freshman but he was very good in his role. If Frankie can shoot like Walton, he would’ve found more PT last season but he was a non-shooter which limits his contribution as a PG. Plus you consistently mentioned that Frankie isn’t a true PG because he’s not a distributor or have an inclination to run PnR.

Dug is a slightly better shooter but is more of a natural PG. We’ll see how quickly he’ll adapt to the D1 level but he’s tiny though. A year of Camp Sanderson would make him a lot better player as a sophomore in addition to gaining experience from his freshman year.


And then return to compete for a title