Sunday, November 11, 2007

Hoops and Hockey

The John Beilein era is well under way as the Wolverines got off to a 2-0 start this weekend with wins over Radford and Brown. You can easily say that it is just Radford and Brown, but Michigan looked much different on the court compared to previous years. And I'm not just talking turtlenecks...

Freshman Corperryale (aka Manny) Harris and sophomore DeShawn Sims both got off to good starts and should be quite the dynamic duo this season. Through 2 games, Sims is averaging 20.0 points and 5.5 rebounds while Harris is scoring 17.5 points and dishing 4.0 assists per game. There are enough role players around them that the Wolverines could give some top teams some real problems this year. Player by player brief previews:

#1 Jerrett Smith - the 6'3" junior point guard is still limited in foot speed, but is a good passer and can knock down the open shot

#2 CJ Lee - a 6'0" junior point guard that transferred from Manhattan. He's got speed and is looking to force his way into the lineup.

#3 Manny Harris - reportedly up to 6'7" with long arms, this kid is multitalented. His strongest suit is defense, but he is also dynamic taking the ball to the rim. Once his outside shot rounds into form more consistently, he will be one of the best players in the Big Ten.

#5 K'len Morris - the 6'4" redshirt freshman can play almost anywhere on the floor and he figures to be a valuable player off the bench this year. A natural passer with good basketball smarts.

#12 Anthony Wright - 6'4" redshirt freshman with broad shoulders (he outweighs Morris by 50 pounds) and a smooth outside jumper. He'll be battling Ron Coleman for PT at the 3/4 spots.

#15 Jevohn Shepherd - 6'5" junior with outstanding athleticism. He's a great defender, but struggles mightily to contribute on offense. It will be interesting to see if Beilein can improve him.

#22 Ekpe Udoh - 6'10" sophomore center with long arms and a knack for blocking shots. He has decent range to about 1o or 12 feet, but he will not be shooting three pointers this year. He should provide very solid defense on the interior.

#24 Ron Coleman - 6'6" senior (the only one on the roster) is mostly a role player. He can knock down open shots and can grab some defensive rebounds, but that's about it. He is a poor passer and is slow and subpar defensively.

#32 Zack Gibson - 6'10" redshirt sophomore transfer from Rutgers is a big kid with a good shooting touch out to three point range. Can you say Kevin Pittsnogle? Well, I won't. But he will provide some scoring touch.

#34 DeShawn Sims - 6'8" sophomore is a dynamic talent that can score both inside and out and might be one of the tougher covers in the conference.

#44 Kelvin Grady - 5'11" freshman point guard that has blazing speed in the open court and a good shoot touching behind the arc. He figures to challenge Jerrett Smith and CJ Lee for most of the point guard minutes this season. He could be a Dee Brown type player as he gains experience.

I'm giddy with excitement that Michigan basketball will once again be worth watching.

On to hockey...

Michigan swept the UAF Nanooks this weekend at Yost to improve to 9-1-0 on the season including 6-0-0 in CCHA play. It's too hard for me to follow the hockey team from a distance, but suffice to say they are off to a great start. Considering they weren't picked to do much this year, Red Berenson is doing a great job so far. It will be interesting to see how they do in the Showcase against Minnesota and Wisconsin and also how they fare against current #1 Miami in CCHA play.

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