The State of UM Basketball

Don’t get me wrong though, I don’t expect Michigan to be a Duke, UNC, Kentucky’s of the world…but in my own personal view I expect them to be more then what they are right now and have shown last couple years. The brand is there! I would’ve thought after a few nice tourney runs, including the Championship run that more top rated, top level talent kids would be open to Michigan. And it hasn’t been the case. The guys on the team do their best, but they are who they are. The novaks, Stu’s, and jordan morgans of the world. I like Poole’s game but he’s another guy that is like ok, nice pickup but their is no Wow factor. Livers looks solid. No idea about the other PG Brooks.

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I have high hopes for Poole. I think he is more than just a good shooter. He seems to be able to handle the ball with his head up and find team mates. This skill will serve him and the team well. I expect him to get major playing time next year as a freshman. If Livers continues to impress as he has early this year he will be a steal to be the 4 of the future. Brooks we don’t have much film to go on but I believe he was taken for a reason one of them being we need at least one of each a point and combo guard at all times on the team. The biggest miss in my opinion is the wing/3 which in my mind needs to be the teams best athlete and skill person combined and this just has not been the case many times during JB’s tenure. Matthews will be athletic but what about the skill. Duncan is a shooter with some limited ability to drive and dish. Ibi is an unknown and in my mind the biggest miss. I still think we should have taken Jamal Cain for next year who I see as having a better skill set than Ibi. I have a feeling if we don’t get Bamba JB will be looking for a late signee at the wing/3 who has multiple skills and athleticism.

I have a hard time gripping what the argument is regarding JB. Is the argument one that he is stubborn in his ways and therefore doesn’t land top recruits? Or is it that he’s arrogant/confident enough to think he doesn’t need them to win? OR is it that he recognizes what the team needs, but just doesn’t know how to land those players (i.e. the anecdotes MattD has brought to us on several occasions regarding lack of follow up)?

I - like all of you - wish we had better players on the roster right now. But this roster and this coach is what it is…so future recruiting results are obviously the only way reality and results change. Does anyone honestly think JB doesn’t realize that the bar needs to be raised?

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I don’t think he sees it, or thinks its the lead problem. I think he thinks the lead problem is getting more out of the existing team, which could make us a top 20 team each year if we were playing juniors and seniors and they were actually executing with some discipline. My view is that he sees the latter as more achievable and probably 90% of his concern.

I’m not sure if I have just given up on the recruiting front, but I actually agree with him. No recruit is going to look at us, blowing huge leads at home, not being able to get a shot off on a game winning possession, and view it positively when Michigan takes a bit of a leap of faith to consider in the first place. We need to be outperforming expectations on court to have any hope of outperforming expectations in recruiting (with JB).

This makes the Boyd situation baffling. You have an upper tier wing with legit interest, that would clearly upgrade the talent base, not really a threat for a one and done scenario…and you ignore him. By my definition, that is coaching incompetence.

In general, I think JB has recruited very well. I am sorry for my optimism. Our front court is very solid and deep. We have good players coming in. I am very excited about Poole, Livers, Mathews and DeJulius (!). In my opinion, our mediocrity revolves a crucial mistake: JB failed to recognize that we do not have anything more than below average-average lead guards. To be more specific Walton and Irvin just never developed much at all. JB failed to recognize the warning signs, especially with Walton and did not adjust his plans. I hated to say it because I wanted to stay positive about a high school kid but at some point it became obvious that MAttd was correct that the high school X was not going to be the answer to our lead guard problem this year. In defense of JB, with their sophomore injuries it was easy to make excuses for dw and Irvin… Give this team a good lead guard and we have a top 15 team. For that reason I have a hard time being very critical of JB’s recruiting. (Sorry.)

I’ve been a strong Beilein supporter, and willing to give him a pass for less-than-stellar results the last several years due to defections to the NBA–highest kind of success, really, and proof of his strong recruiting eye–and injuries. And I don’t find it easy to fault him for Walton and Irving–they were highly touted players on all sides. But their up and down play coupled with X’s clear unreadiness to contribute are going to keep us from excelling this year. Is what it is. I don’t often agree with Matt D’s hostility to Beilein, but I do think we need an NBA-caliber player on this team next year. Obviously, someone like Bamba lifts the whole squad. But barring that we need a really good playmaking guard.

If either Walton or Irving were to really catch fire–i.e. start playing with serious confidence–that could overcome a host of current ills. But for several years now we’ve had squads that, for whatever reason, just seemed to be as likely to wilt when the pressure comes as to excel. Frustrating.


I agree with you the class 17 appears to be an upgrade. That said, I’d disagree that the rest of the classes have been relatively strong in the recent past with the exception of a PG. I think the bigger issue has been the inability to find a game changing wing. Since landing Nik and Caris in 12, we’ve landed Zak, Dawkins, Chatman, Duncan, Ibi.

JB gets a pass for Chatman as I think the overwhelming majority of scouts (myself included) thought he would be an impact player. The rest, not so much. For close to 4 years we’ve all agreed we need an impact, NBA caliber wing in order to take the next step and every year most folks say ‘we’ll get one next year’. I think the time has come where most are sick of the next year stance.

I pray Matthews is the answer, but I don’t think he’s a triple threat PnR type of wing. And I don’t think the pieces we have at the PG and SG spots can make up for it.


I hate to sound down on Walton and Irvin too. It is what it is. They are both valuable to our team but neither can come close to replicating what Burke, Stauskas, or Levert were capable of doing. I don’t even think we need a lead guard that is awesome like those guys–just capable.

Regarding X. He is actually doing better than I expected. His court vision in full court is already way better than Walton’s. I like his D. It is going to take some time but there is potential there. So, I don’t want to sound too down on him either. I just, at some point, during his senior year, started to think he would not be ready immediately (and maybe not by next year either). Maybe JB too with the Brooks pickup?


Doesn’t need to be a pg. Just a lead guard/ forward.

I think this is the heart of the problem, and something I give JB a pass on more than others. At the time he landed Zak, I think JB knew he had something special in Nik but didn’t realize just how special…and thus short lived. I - like you - also believed he was getting something special in Kam…and would have Caris and Zak to play with. And when it comes to Duncan, for all of his shortcomings, he was/is a lethal shooter and there is always room for a guy like that on a team.

In other words, I understood and liked the plan JB saw in his head. But the contingency plan wasn’t there, and the ability to jump in on new recruitments for elite wings just failed when the rest didn’t pan out.

(I’m conveniently leaving Dawkins and Ibi out of this because I don’t think JB thought he was getting NBA talent in those guys, but good program wings who might just be valuable enough to earn minutes in their college career)

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I think it would be more forgivable if we were able to obtain better surrounding talent at the 1 & 2 spots but that didn’t occur.

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No dispute there, I think having more talent in the backcourt the past 3 seasons would surely have made a huge difference (as i said, there was no contingency plan).

I was just commenting on your remark in the previous post about the inability to find a game changing wing. I think, in JBs head, he was going to be loaded at the wing from 2012 - 2016 (maybe not Jaylen Browns, but certainly All B1G types)

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Just flat out recruit better. Period.


Coaching incompetence if he doesn’t bother to look, but not if he looked and saw something that he didn’t like. Do we know if JB has seen film or talked to the coach?

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I can personally guarantee with 100% certainty that JB himself has seen Boyd live when he had a monster game AND that he has seen other film as well.

Also based on what I’ve seen of Boyd both live and on film, I find it very hard to believe that he didn’t like what he viewed.

Bottom line, no excuses. He simply isn’t a dillegent recruiter when he needs to be.


Man enough here to apologize if I misunderstood. We do differ when it comes to the evaluation but get your point.

I just think its hard to make the leap that they may or may not have won other games based on a typical performance because each is so different.

I see some report he has given a verbal to Georgetown?

I haven’t heard that.

This is all easy enough to agree with, but Caris WAS that lead guard. I genuinely believe that a healthy Caris (even ignoring all of the other injuries/NBA defections we’ve suffered over the last 2 years) would have been directly responsible for winning more games over each of the last two seasons.

I am not denying that we could’ve/should’ve recruited better (the 2014 class is so hard to recover from), or that JB needs to make changes to his approach of in-game coaching; I just think the general perception of the program would be much higher if Caris had stayed healthy. This year, we obviously wouldnt have had caris regardless, I’m just speaking to the general Beilein criticisms.