November 30, 2012
McCormick: Best talent since...
Michigan basketball hasn't seen talent like this since
well, when? That's a question a lot of people are asking these days, and one former Wolverine and present ESPN analyst Tim McCormick hesitated roughly one millisecond before answering.
On finishing the statement: This is Michigan's best talent since
: "The Fab Five. One through 10, this is the best talent they've had. They have all the ingredients. They've got size, speed, athleticism, shooters. They've got future pros. They've got role players. It appears they're very coachable.
"They seem to like each other. I feel like a lot of times on talented teams, the guys who are getting all the shots are really happy, and the rest of the guys are jealous. This team does not appear like that. It seems they are enjoying the whole environment."
On who among the newcomers has impressed him the most: "[Nik] Stauskas. He reminds me of Jon Diebler, from his build and his shooting ability. But he has got so much more to his game. He can put it on the floor, he's a solid passer. I don't think very many freshmen are good defenders, but he seems like he will develop into a solid defender. He's the kind of guy where you feel better when he's on the court.
"I'm also really impressed with [Glenn] Robinson. All three of those freshmen [including Mitch McGary] were at the Top 100 Camp. So I had a pretty good idea of who could play before they came in. I didn't realize that Robinson was such a good rebounder. He looks like he's really worked on his body."
On how much better this team will be by mid-February, and in what ways: "I believe the biggest improvement will come on the defensive end. They have so much length. It's going to be a good deflections team, where they're getting hands on balls, because of those long arms.
"Now, if you get deflections on balls, you can become a really good team on contesting shots. The last part of it is, with their coverage, they're going to get their hands on a lot of rebounds.
"It's interesting to me. We talked last year and the year before and the year before that. We always talked about the same thing - is Michigan going to be able to deal with big, physical teams on the boards? Well now, all of a sudden, Michigan is long and they're physical."
On sophomore guard Trey Burke's growth: "He looks stronger and a little bit more sturdy. His legs look bigger, his shoulders look bigger.
"It felt like last year, his offense and his overall play was dictated by his point total. In the N.C. State game, I saw a really mature kid who didn't care a whole heck of a lot about his points. He got the team involved. He didn't score a single point in the first half, but they were winning and he seemed very content with that.
"The team knows he's got the ball in his hands and he'll get plenty of opportunities to get his offense later."
On junior guard Tim Hardaway, Jr.: "There is not one thing that really jumps out, where you say, 'Wow, that was a flaw and now it's a strength.' It's just that now, he's better.
"It seems like every single element of his game keeps taking a step. There's nothing dramatic. He could make jump shots last year. He could finish in transition last year. He was a good transition player last year.
"But now, in all of those things, he's just better. That's a really good sign. He's clearly worked on his game. The next step, as he adds strength and confidence and a little more consistency in his jump shot, you're going to see him be able to put the ball on the floor to the basket a little bit better. That's the one area where I'd like to see him become more proficient."
(You can follow Tim McCormick on Twitter at @TMcCormickESPN)
...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now for a FREE Trial