Redshirt junior Max Bielfeldt's hip surgery is the latest blow to Michigan's frontline following the losses of Jordan Morgan, Jon Horford and Mitch McGary. That's opened the door for the freshmen, and Fort Myers, Fla. forward Ricky Doyle hopes to seize the opportunity.
Doyle is already on campus and working out on his own, plus lifting with strength coach Jon Sanderson.
"He's done with school and finished a while ago," head coach John Beilein said. "He knows a little about our situation. D.J. Wilson is 6-9, not slated as a center but he can rebound and block shots. The rules of allowing the freshmen to practice with us, go to summer school early, make these summer trips early has gone a long way toward the assimilation of college basketball, and it's perfect for us and our culture."
Sacramento's Wilson, a Rivals.com four-star, has already added 15 pounds to his frame and might be called upon to provide some minutes, as well. Beilein and staff will get to work with the frosh starting June 25 for two hours a week. The team will then travel to Europe Aug. 15 after having spent a few months getting acclimated to the university.
Conditioning will help determine whether or not Doyle will be able to contribute.
"He's allowed to work with Jon, but not with us at all," Beilein said. "That was by his choice [to report early]. High school ended early as it does down in the south sometimes, so he came and he wanted to come up and get an early start.
"DeShawn Sims had a great back to the basket game, but was certainly a different type of athlete. He could see what was behind him. We used to throw in to DeShawn a lot. Ricky is old school and feels the game behind him. He's got really long arms this way and this way, as long as we've ever had. That's going to be an asset for him."
Besides Bielfeldt and Albrecht, everybody is in the same boat, Beilein noted. It's a rebuild of sorts following back-to-back deep runs in the NCAA Tournament.
"We're not starting over but I think the foundation is there," he said. "Putting the bricks back in is not as hard as seven years ago, but another building point for us. We'll have to reexamine so many things.
"You guys [in the media] have the expectations. My only expectation is we are really working hard, educating these young men on and off court and getting every bit we can out of them. Those sometimes have been very profitable as far as our success. We'll change what we do as far as schemes, defense and offense, but as far as hard work and conduct as student athlete, that's not going to change."