October 27, 2012
McCormick sees U-M as contender
Here's Part II of our conversation with former Michigan standout and ESPN analyst Tim McCormick. Having seen the Wolverines already, a number of positives jumped out.
On Glenn Robinson III: "He's bigger than I remember him at the [NBPA] Top-100 Camp. He is more of a get-to-the-rim type of athlete right now. I can see some improvement in his body. He is going to be a really tough cover, because of the fact that he's playing with other good players.
"He's not going to be an emphasis for any opponent's scouting report. He's going to score in a lot of different ways. He's going to get in transition, he's going to get some loose balls, he's going to get an offensive rebound, make a jump shot. I think he's going to fit in very well."
On Nik Stauskas: "Once again, I saw him at the Top-100 Camp. He really reminds me of a Jon Diebler-type of shooter. I think he has the potential to be a better player all around, in terms of the ability to dribble, create offense for himself, grab some rebounds. He's a more athletic player.
"This is probably premature, but I think there's a chance he could potentially fit in at that two and [Tim] Hardaway will spend more time at three."
On Spike Albrecht: "I look at him as very opportunistic. He's probably not the type of player that anyone would say he's a Big Ten-caliber point guard.
"But he had a real edge to him, like 'I belong here.' I really liked that. I think he's going to step in and play six to eight minutes in a backup role, just giving Trey [Burke] a rest for two or three minutes each half. He's a four-year point guard that, towards the end of his career, is going to be able to run this offense and knock down occasional shots.
"He makes good decisions, and he's very fundamentally sound. I really liked him."
On changes he noticed in Burke: "There were two things. He looked like he's gotten stronger. He was very frail last year, and I thought he wore down a little bit.
"The other thing, this was clearly his team. It wasn't overt. It was more subtle. He was telling players where to go. He was running his offense. He had taken ownership of this Michigan basketball team."
On Tim Hardaway, Jr.: "He's pretty much the same. He's a little more confident as a ball handler. He shot the ball well. He's a good player.
"I don't look at him as a guy that is going to leave for the NBA early. He's got some fine-tuning to do. I think he's going to have a really, really solid year.
"The biggest problem I think he had at times last year was that everyone knew he was going to have to score points if Michigan was going to win. That's not the case anymore. There are other options. That's going to make him a more versatile scoring weapon."
On the Big Ten, and Michigan's place in it: "They're like Indiana, or Michigan State, or Wisconsin, or Ohio State. Every one of those teams is going to be extremely competitive.
"If you're going to win the Big Ten title, it doesn't matter who you are, it's going to be really difficult. It's going to be physical, grueling. Michigan has the talent to do it.
"I'm not saying they're going to be the Big Ten champs, but I've seen Indiana enough, and I've seen Ohio State and Michigan State and their personnel. Michigan's players are just as good as anybody in this league."
On present concerns about this team: "If Trey Burke is not healthy, Michigan takes a major, major step back. They have depth at every other position, and capable guys to fill in.
"If Stauskas is good, they're going to have enough firepower shooting the three. That's something that could be strengthened a little bit.
"Then last, they're going to miss the leadership of [Zack] Novak and [Stu] Douglass. There is good character and good chemistry. I don't think, this season, that's going to be a major problem."
On what fans will think when they walk into Crisler Center: "They're going to be extremely proud. Crisler Center is now a game-changer. They can bring in any recruit and be proud of the facilities.
"They're as good as North Carolina, Michigan State, Kansas, anywhere. It's as good of a basketball venue as you will find.
"Mitch McGary would never have visited Michigan with the old Crisler Arena. It just wouldn't have happened. He would never have committed to the University of Michigan.
"If he doesn't commit, then you don't get Trey Robinson. They're bringing in the highest level of recruits. Kids want to play in basketball palaces, and that's what Crisler Center is now."
(You can follow McCormick on Twitter: @TMcCormickESPN).
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