Upcoming Season

Regardless of who starts, they are both likely going to get about 20mpg give or take.

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I feel like with Donnal, we pretty much know what we’re going to get. While it’s certainly possible for him to make a big jump this year, I don’t expect it. Wagner is a bit of a wildcard. His ceiling is definitely higher than Donnal’s, but his floor might be a bit lower.


I think all Mo has to do is cut down on fouls (like, a lot, though) and work on his high ball-screen defense (though not an especially easy thing to teach), and his floor will match Donnal’s floor.

I think Mo will be better at the best thing Mark brought, which was rolling and finishing, which is so dang important. But he was inconsistent. Then Mo’s quickness, motor, and touch around the rim leaves a significantly higher ceiling, as you said. But the kid has to stay on the floor and learn how to hedge.

Basically agreeing with everything you said, just teasing out the sentiment a bit.

Yes, I think we’ve seen Donnal at fairly close to his ceiling. Wagner, as you say, is more of a wildcard, but if this team is going to move into the upper tier of the Big Ten next season, significant improvement from him is one of the few ways I can see that happening.

Donnal had 25 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 blocks on the road at #6 MD (3-4 3 pt shooting). I’d say we’ve probably seen him very close to his ceiling on an individual game basis. He had another 26 point game on the road in B1G play. But we haven’t seem his ceiling on a season-wide basis.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a high degree of confidence that he will get there because I’m not sure he’s got the right mental set. But neither would I be shocked to see him have a much more consistent season than last year.

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What Donnal brings to the table will be adequate. But if you are looking for more we better hope Wagner makes the jump. Donnal’s best work is done in pick and pop. Picking and rolling to the basket against most of the big boys is an exercise in futility with Donnal. Defensively he also struggles because of strength/athleticism and rarely blocks shots. In saying this if Donnal is the starter for the season then the other four starters better be on their games.

Well, I really don’t think that Donnal is a natural center (though he did an OK job as a “5” last year), whereas Wagner is probably closer to that role. Donnal still seems more like that mythical creature, the Stretch 4, often rumored to exist, but with no confirmed sightings in a Michigan uniform.

What I’d love to see is Wagner playing well enough to be a 25-30 mpg guy at the 5, with Donnal out there some of the time as a 5 and some time as a stretch 4. I doubt that will happen though, even given our lack of wing talent. It just isn’t Beilien’s way to play two bigs at once for any length of time. Maybe if Irvin or Robinson got hurt and Wagner and Donnal were both playing too well not to have them both out there, that would force his hand, but I’d rather not have another injury crisis just to test that out.

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I guess I agree with you in theory but… I think based on his high school film everyone anticipated Donnal would be a pick and pop player. I don’t think we have really seen it in college yet. Maybe this year? Regarding his rolling to the basket–I really think he is not that bad at it—and honestly, at this point it has seemed to be his bread and butter. He is definitely a below the rim finisher but he finishes at a decent clip and I think is pretty reliable at catching the ball as he rolls.

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He does an adequate job but when it is against same size or bigger competition as I stated above its usually not pretty. Wagner is able to rise up above the better competition better. Don’t get me wrong Donnal is going to be important to this team this year with nothing but freshman behind him if he does not start.

How do we know Wagner is able to rise up against better competition?

I hope not. I really hope Wagner could play 25 -30 minute this year. Also I really think Wagner didn’t do much because he wasn’t given the chance/ time to work out some of his early season hiccups like say Mitch was.

By the end of the year, Wagner was outplaying donnal and rebounding at a pretty good rate. Donnal is not a good rebounder. Personally, I’d be pretty shocked to see donnal in the starting 5 opening night. Then again, Doyle started and even continued to into big ten play. So who really knows.

I don’t get the narrative of maar can’t shoot. He shot 36.5 last year. That’s not good but it’s also not terrible. I expect him to creep towards 38 this years maybe more

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Donnal’s per 40 minute rebound rate was higher than Wagner’s last year. I hope Wagner is the answer at the 5 too but his rebounding rate is not the reason he will improve the position for us IMO

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Yes, as I mentioned above, the end of the year is when Wagner started playing really well. One would think he would continue is to improve and be our guy this year. He’s longer, more athletic and plays a more physical style of basketball. He played vs Indiana very well last year and followed that up by playing very well vs Tulsa. For this team to be more competitive, we need Wagner to be better than donnal and be on the court more.

I agree hundred percent. Plus when you drop it off to him, he finishes with a dunk.

Not sure where the notion that Wagner was outplaying Donnal by that much at the end of last year came from.

Here are the stats for the last four games (and before that, Wagner had 7 straight scoreless games, btw):

Indiana- Donnal: 20 mins, 12 pts, 4 rebs; Wagner: 16 mins, 9 pts, 2 rebs
Purdue- Donnal: 15 mins, 7 pts, 1 reb; Wagner: 9 mins, 3 pts, 2 rebs
Tulsa- Donnal: 13 mins, 2 pts, 2 rebs; Wagner: 22 mins, 4 pts, 8 rebs
Notre Dame- Donnal: 29 mins, 9 pts, 3 rebs; Wagner: 8 mins, 6 pts, 2 rebs (with 4 fouls in 8 minutes)

Totals: Donnal: 77 mins, 30 pts, 10 rebs; Wagner 55 mins, 22 pts, 14 rebs

Neither one was exactly lighting it up, and there’s not that big a difference for a small sample size. Does Wagner have breakout potential? Probably. But he wasn’t clearly better to the point where I’d project him as the most likely starter at this point.


He’s a huge piece this season if we are going to be improved.

He shot 31% on threes in the Big Ten last year, which was the worst on the team, and not very good at all.

If donnal doesn’t start the first five games, and is healthy then Wagner will be all B1G in some way shape or form. JB starts returning starters. Wagner would have to blow donnal away bc donnal is a legit B1G center.

Pg Walton/x
SG MAAR/Walton
SF Robinson/Irvin
4 Irvin/(Wilson)
C donnal/Wagner

I hope Wilson really steps up this year, just haven’t seen much from him in past years. He and donnal might benefit from a more intense coach, if donlon is fiery and in their face enough it could’ve huge.

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