One Final Quick Hits

By · Monday, June 7, 2010 · 11:04 AM |  Share | Leave a Comment 

Basketball Quick Hits: Beilein Talks Manny’s Future, Tourney Expansion

By · Saturday, February 13, 2010 · 3:14 AM |  Share | Leave a Comment 

Recapping Michigan Madness

By · Tuesday, October 20, 2009 · 1:28 PM |  Share | 1 Comment 
Photo by AP/Tony Ding

Photo by AP/Tony Ding

Michigan Madness was held last Friday to help kick off the start of basketball practice and to help get fans ready for the upcoming season.  This was the first time that there has been a “basketball season-opening event” at Michigan since 1996, according to the Michigan Daily, and hopefully this is just the first of many more to come.  There was a decent crowd of around 3,500 people in attendance for the event, and it would have been bigger had it not been fall break at U-M.  Either way, I’m sure that as time goes by, this will become a bigger and bigger event that every Michigan basketball fan looks forward to.

After having a BBQ for students that included some great food, the festivities moved inside Crisler Arena for the Greek Shootout.  It was a comical event for the students in the crowd, as most players weren’t very good, but more than anything it was an event to kill some time before the teams were announced.  The best part was getting to see David Merritt again, as he hosted this particular event. (He and C.J. Lee sat courtside for the rest of the night.)

Right around 9 p.m. is when the lights dimmed and the team introductions began.  One player from the men’s team and one player from the women’s team were introduced together, and they came down to the floor from the crowd.  The most memorable moment from the team intros happened when Stu Douglass and Courtney Boylan made their way to the court.  Those two are dating, and the person in charge of the music was aware of that, changing their entrance music to the wedding song just as they hit the floor.  It got a big laugh from the crowd and their teammates, though that probably wasn’t quite as funny as watching the coaches dance when they were introduced.  Some of the coaches were really getting into it and dancing quite well, such as Jerry Dunn.  For others it was more awkward than anything, like with Kevin Borseth, but it was all in good fun.  John Beilein came out last and ran around the court, pumping up the crowd and dancing a little bit himself.

After each of the coaches spoke to the crowd, the skills competition took place.  Each group in the competition was made up of a member from the men’s and women’s teams and a fan from the Maize Rage.  Each member had to dribble two basketballs from a baseline to near half court and pass one of them away, and then came the tricky part for almost everybody who participated in the competition.  The challenge was to bounce a ball through a rim that was propped up on a chair, and nearly everybody had trouble doing that.  It was quite funny to watch the actual basketball players struggle with it.  After they finally got the ball through the rim, the end of the competition was a bit easier, as the course finished with a layup, dribbling through some cones, passing the ball off of a pitch-back type of thing, and then doing another layup.  In the end, Blake McLimans’ team won the competition, edging out Ben Cronin’s team by one second.

The next event was the three-point contest.  I thought it would be like the usual three-point contests where you shoot a rack of five balls at five different stations, but it ended up being a team competition.  One member of the men’s and women’s teams competed together and the contest was to see who could make a shot at the most stations in a minute.  The stations were the same five as a usual three-point contest, and the two players rotated on each shot.  To move on to the next station, someone had to make a shot.  For this event, there was a tie for first between Anthony Wright/Dayeesha Hollins and Stu Douglass/Courtney Boylan with one pair remaining.  Manny Harris and Carmen Reynolds needed to make 11 shots to win the event, and just as time expired, Reynolds hit their 11th three-pointer to move into first place.

The most anticipated event of the night — the dunk contest — was up next.  Darius Morris got things started by throwing the ball off the shot clock, catching it, and dunking it, good for a score of 39 out of 40.  Zack Novak got the same score by throwing the ball up in the air, catching it, and doing a windmill dunk.  Laval Lucas-Perry and DeShawn Sims were the other two competitors, but it was Morris and Novak who were headed to the finals.  It looked like Morris had the event wrapped up after he caught a pass from Matt Vogrich, who was 10 or so rows up in the crowd, and dunked it for a perfect score.  Novak had other ideas, though, and he made the crowd explode by tossing the ball to himself on the baseline and doing a perfect through-the-legs dunk.  It was a given that he got a perfect score, as the four judges from the women’s team threw all of the score cards into the air and went crazy with the rest of the people who saw Novak pull off that dunk.  Although Novak technically tied Darius Morris with a score of 40, John Beilein declared Novak the winner for obvious reasons.

Following a short break, each team finished off the night with an 8-minute scrimmage.  There isn’t much to say about the scrimmages, but it was nice to see them play some actual basketball at the end of the night.  Afterward, the teams gathered at center court and sang The Victors with the crowd to close out the first ever Michigan Madness.  It was an entertaining event for sure, and I can’t wait for it to become even bigger in the future.

For more on Michigan Madness check out:

Tuesday Quick Hits: Schedule Set for Michigan Madness

By · Tuesday, October 6, 2009 · 4:40 AM |  Share | 4 Comments 
  • Michigan’s night game against Iowa on Saturday is going to be nationally broadcast on ABC.
  • The Delaware State game on October 17 will start at noon and be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.
  • The E:60 story about Elliott Mealer is going to air tonight at 7 p.m. on ESPN.
  • The schedule for Michigan Madness, which takes place a week from Friday, has been released.  Gates to Crisler Arena won’t open until 8 p.m., but “Borseth’s BBQ” for Michigan students will start at 7 p.m. and be held outside of Crisler.  The basketball-related activities will get started shortly after 8, and the list of events includes a skills competition, a three-point shootout, a dunk contest featuring DeShawn Sims, Manny Harris, Zack Novak, and Darius Morris, and finally a 10-minute long scrimmage for the women’s team and another one for the men’s team.
  • It looks like freshman cornerback J.T. Turner is going to be redshirted.  Obviously there is still a chance that he could play, but considering he hasn’t even played yet at a position hurting for talent outside of Donovan Warren, I highly doubt he will progress enough to see the field this season.
  • Braylon Edwards allegedly hit a friend of LeBron James early Monday morning outside of a club.  The situation definitely doesn’t look good for Braylon, especially now that LeBron has called him out for what he described as “childish” actions.

Tuesday Quick Hits: Slow Ticket Sales for Camp Randall Hockey Classic

By · Tuesday, July 7, 2009 · 2:53 PM |  Share | 1 Comment 

Tim Hardaway Jr. Commits to Michigan

By · Monday, June 29, 2009 · 1:35 PM |  Share | Leave a Comment 

John Beilein picked up his second commit for 2010 today, as Miami guard Tim Hardaway Jr. verballed to the Wolverines. Hardaway participated in a team camp at Michigan this past weekend and played so well that he received an offer from Beilein. After getting the offer, it took Hardaway very little time to decide to commit to Michigan.

Hardaway is a 3-star shooting guard on both Scout and Rivals. ESPN grades him as a 93, which is very good. By comparison, Michigan’s other 2010 commit, power forward Evan Smotrycz, is graded as a 95. Obviously stars and rankings aren’t that important when you consider how unheralded Stu Douglass and Zack Novak were coming out of high school, but it is still nice to see future Michigan players rated highly by a site like ESPN.

One of the early criticisms of John Beilein was that the majority of his recruits were more like Douglass and Novak than highly rated players like Darius Morris and Tim Hardaway Jr. Well, I think it’s pretty obvious that those criticisms weren’t accurate, as Beilein has proved he can find diamonds in the rough and land some big names as well.

As you probably guessed by now, former NBA All-Star Tim Hardaway is the father of Michigan’s latest commit. Hardaway Sr. played in Golden State and Miami for the majority of his career and was a very talented point guard. He was a five-time All-Star and won a gold medal with Team USA in the 2000 Olympics. Obviously Hardaway Jr. has some good basketball genes.

Kelvin Grady Decides to Transfer

By · Thursday, April 2, 2009 · 2:47 PM |  Share | Leave a Comment 

Kelvin Grady has decided to transfer from Michigan. I imagine he is transferring in part because his playing time quickly diminished after January. His defense and C.J. Lee kept him off the floor, and in the final two months of the season, he usually played only a few minutes or didn’t get in at all.

Here are some quotes from the release on MGoBlue:

“Kelvin has asked for his release from the program and we will grant that to him,” said Beilein. “Over the last two years, he has been a positive influence in helping build the foundation of our program. He is a wonderful young man on and off the floor. We wish him nothing but success in the future.”

“It’s been a wonderful experience both as a student and as a player here at the University of Michigan, but I feel I need a fresh start,” said Grady. “I love this university and want to thank the coaching staff, my teammates and everyone else who has supported me over the past two years. However, I have decided to explore other academic and playing opportunities at this time.”

I always liked the way Grady played due to his speed and his handles. He can push the ball up the floor very quickly, perhaps best shown off in the Duke game at Crisler. He is also a good three-point shooter and someone that can take it to the hoop, though he has trouble finishing.

It will hurt to lose Grady for depth reasons since C.J. Lee and David Merritt are out of eligibility. That means Michigan is essentially losing three point guards. Even so, Beilein’s offense doesn’t necessarily rely on a true point guard. Stu Douglass played a role where he was a point guard at times and a shooting guard as well. That could be similar to what Darius Morris does, though I expect him to be more of a PG. Either way, while losing Grady isn’t ideal, it’s not a huge blow, either. Although his speed and handles are great, his defense is what got him a spot on the bench in the last couple of months of the season. I am a fan of his play, but Lee and Merritt were simply more trusted defensively.

Friday Quick Hits: UCLA Is Next for Michigan

By · Friday, November 14, 2008 · 3:52 AM |  Share | 1 Comment 
  • Michigan will play UCLA next Thursday at 9 p.m. on ESPN2 in the semifinals of the 2K Sports Classic. It actually looked like Michigan’s opponent was going to be Miami (Ohio) at some points during UCLA’s 64-59 win over the RedHawks. Miami and UCLA exchanged the lead until the Bruins barely pulled away in the closing minutes. I was rooting for an upset since Miami seems like an easier opponent than UCLA, but then again, the Bruins showed that they are beatable with such a close game.
  • Following the Michigan-Northwestern game tomorrow, the basketball team will scrimmage for 25 minutes and the public is welcome to watch. The scrimmage is a part of what is being called the “Garden Party,” which “will serve as a send-off for the Wolverines” prior to their departure for NYC. For full details, check out MGoBlue.com.
  • The early signing period began for many sports earlier this week, including basketball and baseball. Starting first with men’s basketball, all four of Michigan’s commits signed their letters of intent. That means that Darius Morris, Matt Vogrich, Jordan Morgan, and Blake McLimans are now all officially Wolverines. John Beilein can now turn all of his attention toward the class of 2010.
  • Moving on to women’s basketball, Kevin Borseth brought in six signees, three of whom are from the state of Michigan.
  • The baseball team also added six recruits, and all of them are from the state of Michigan.
  • Terrelle Pryor’s coach from high school is not a big fan of Charlie Weis.
    “Arrogant as hell,” Reitz said.

    When Reitz told Weis that Pryor might attend a USC quarterbacks camp, he remembers Weis replying: “Why send him there? If he’s with me for one day he’ll be good, two days he’ll be great and three days he’ll be incredible.”

    When Weis visited Pryor’s school in 2007, Reitz recalled, he said that if Pryor couldn’t cut it at quarterback, “we’ll use him on the outside.”

    No other school introduced the idea that Pryor might play receiver.

    “Here’s the best part,” Reitz recalled. “He says to Terrelle: ‘Call me tomorrow at 6. I’ll be watching where Brady Quinn gets drafted.’ “

    Perhaps arrogant isn’t the right word. I believe douchebag is a better description of Weis.

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