October 30, 2013

Horford, big men stepping up

Michigan big man coach Bacari Alexander wants to see sophomore Mitch McGary back in the lineup as much as anyone. In the meantime, though, Alexander likes seeing the depth the Wolverines have among trees.

Certainly, redshirt junior Jon Horford didn't take a back seat in Michigan's 117-44 win over Concordia on Tuesday night. In his 22 minutes of action, Horford grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds, to go along with four points, an assist, a steal, a pair of blocked shots and several others that he altered.

A healthy Horford can't be overlooked, Alexander pointed out.

"In the last two preseasons, Jon Horford has demonstrated the ability to ascend to arguably the best player at the center position," Alexander opined. "His opponent has been injuries. He's been battling against that in recent years. Due to his consistency and health, this coming year, it gives him the opportunity to really showcase his skills set."

Beilein pointed out that McGary can play some power forward if he can defend the position. If that happens, a big combination of Horford and McGary isn't out of the question.

"Those two guys together in the game makes us formidable on the offensive glass," Alexander noted. "It also gives us an opportunity to match up with the traditional beef that you see in the frontcourt, with some of our contemporaries.

"As we continue to develop those guys in particular, and talk about the idea of a McGary and a Horford being on the floor together, it's something that can be entertained as those players continue to improve."

Fifth-year senior Jordan Morgan supplied 10 points and seven rebounds against Concordia, as well as a blocked shot. Redshirt sophomore Max Bielfeldt added a bucket and three rebounds, and freshman Mark Donnal added a basket and free throw as well.

Michigan still looks forward to getting McGary back, Alexander assured.

"The investment he made in the summer gives him the opportunity to move in a faster track," Alexander explained. "Mitch has had a focus level and a passion to improve that has been very different from the transition coming from prep school to college.

"Now, having had the taste of a full season and the agony of being so close to a national championship, it has fueled his work ethic."

In the meantime, his fellow big men aren't waiting around.

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