January 25, 2013
McCormick on Wolverines' win
Former Wolverine and present ESPN college basketball analyst Tim McCormick saw plenty he liked in Michigan's Thursday night win over Purdue, a team he insists is better than many believe.
On Michigan's improved second-half performance: "They found some different ways to win. I didn't think they were very good in the first half. I didn't think they were cutting very hard, their defense wasn't tuned in.
"Once again, it's easy to nitpick a little bit. They played a very good second half. Purdue is playing a lot better. Their freshmen are very talented, and will be future stars in this league. They just blew out West Virginia on Saturday by 27 or some ridiculous score, and played really good defense.
"I don't want to minimize the fact that they beat a good team. Purdue beat Michigan by double digits last year. It's a very positive victory.
"With all that's happening - with the talk of being No. 1 on Monday, a huge, emotional environment at Illinois on Sunday against a team that wants to have its fans rush their court -- there is a lot in front of Michigan. I give them credit for a very good victory."
On Michigan's staff, and its in-game adjustments, including switching Tim Hardaway, Jr. onto D.J. Byrd for defensive purposes: "I thought that was significant, and I give them high marks for that adjustability. I think it's an excellent staff.
"The best thing about it is, the players listen to them. The first key to having that rapport is a likeability standpoint. The players clearly really like Michigan's staff. There is a great deal of respect there.
"I've seen a lot of times, when players don't believe in the message, they won't listen. Michigan's players clearly like their coaches."
On Mitch McGary, and his role: "I'm a huge fan of Mitch McGary. I saw him play a lot in high school. I thought he was one of the most unique big guys, from the standpoint of playing really hard and emotional.
"Jordan Morgan is one of my favorite players in the Big Ten. If I were coaching, I wouldn't touch my lineup. I would keep Jordan Morgan right there, as long as possible.
"It reminds me a lot of the fine work that Lawrence Frank is doing with Andre Drummond with the Pistons. He's a rookie, and he has a lot to learn. A starting position is a great honor, and it needs to be earned.
"When you give young players too much too early, they don't appreciate it. Jordan Morgan is just a tremendous role player. He does all the little things that people may not appreciate - setting screens, leadership, transition D, talking on defense. All the stuff that people in this slam-dunk, three-point era, SportsCenter Top-10
they don't appreciate the Jordan Morgans of the world."
On Glenn Robinson III's development: "When I watched practice in late November, I walked away and somebody asked me what my first impressions were. I said Glenn Robinson will be the best NBA player of this group.
"He is a prototype NBA small forward. He's long, athletic, coachable. I love his rebounding ability. That's not to say the other guys don't have really bright futures, but from the first time I saw him, he looks like a pro."
On Robinson's name popping up on various NBA Draft lists: "The first time Michigan's coaches saw him on campus playing basketball, they knew this was a kid that is not going to be in Ann Arbor for as long as they want.
"It's hard to say. I keep thinking Taylor Lewan. Some kids just really like their environment. I think of Cody Zeller. Some kids realize that when you get to the league, you might want to have a fully developed game.
"The higher of a pick you are, the more chance you get as a rookie. I don't think he's predestined to leave this year, but I do think the fact that they did not redshirt Caris LeVert is to try to prepare him. Number one, he's really good. Number two, it lets him get some seasoning this year. You never know what happens down the road."
(Tomorrow: McCormick on Illinois. You can follow McCormick on Twitter
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