October 31, 2012
Borton's Blog: Ready for action
Given the announcement of sophomore point guard Trey Burke's suspension for Michigan's opening exhibition game at Crisler Center, true freshman Spike Albrecht gets to run the show. That's okay, according to junior Tim Hardaway, Jr., given Albrecht's showing so far.
The freshman point is one of the two rookies that came to mind when Hardaway was asked about pleasant surprises so far. U-M coach John Beilein calls Albrecht "crafty," and Hardaway loves his toughness.
"Spike has been taking a lot of charges," Hardaway said, noting the freshman leads the team in practice in that category. "A lot of freshmen normally won't take charges their first year in, but Mitch [McGary], Spike, Glenn [Robinson III], Caris [LeVert] all take charges."
The two least-recognizable names among them have turned his head the most, Hardaway admitted.
"All the freshmen, but Caris LeVert and Spike - they've been doing a great job of exceeding our expectations," Hardaway said. "I really didn't know Caris that well, because he was the last signee here. Just watching him play and seeing how he can use his body any type of way
"His frame is so small, it's ridiculous how he can get to different spots on the court. And Spike, learning from Trey and Eso Akunne how to be a good floor general out there
it's key for him to keep doing that out there."
As a group, Hardaway assured, the Wolverines aren't buying into the hype. Regardless of lofty rankings, they're not strutting around Crisler Center with five fingers aloft.
"Even though we've got a lot of hype, being ranked No. 5 in the country, we've got a lot of humble individuals out there, a lot of guys who have been working hard every day, ever since the summer started," Hardaway said. "There's a lot of improvement in individuals' games.
"We're doing an unbelievable job of blocking it out. We don't talk about the rankings in our locker room at all. We're doing a great job of just going out to practice and working very hard at what we can do to get better as a team."
And there's a little grit as well, the junior insisted. It didn't all walk out the door with Zack Novak.
"The intensity of this year's team and last year's team is still the same," Hardaway said. "Everybody is still grinding it out, staying humble, staying focused, just trying to get better each and every day. It's the same. There's nothing different."
His advice to the newcomers, for Michigan's opener in the redone Crisler Center? Stay focused, but revel in the ride.
"This is supposed to be fun," Hardaway said. "You're not supposed to be tense. You're not supposed to be stiff. Be loosey-goosey out there. Have fun and enjoy it. Enjoy the moment."
...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now for a FREE Trial