The Michigan basketball team got some sad news in the aftermath of their first tournament appearance in over a decade: Point guard Kelvin Grady is leaving the program. Largely seen as a potential successor to fifth-year senior captain CJ Lee, Grady's loss will have a huge impact on the team next season.
Although he did not start much this past season after starting his whole freshman season, he was a crucial figure in some games. Against Duke in the regular season, he assisted on two key three pointers to Zack Novack by getting the ball up the court and driving to the lane before kicking it out to him.
Those two plays were the six-point swing that the Wolverines needed to be able to pull off the upset, because before that happened Michigan was trailing by three with six minutes left in the game. Less than a minute later, thanks to Grady and Novack, they led by three.
Another game in which Grady was a huge help was in the NCAA tournament's opening contest, in which Grady relieved starter Lee and was able to get the ball past Clemson's full-court press in the first round. Without his ball handling skills, it's quite possible that Michigan's tourney appearance would have been one and done.
Which begs the question: Who will be Michigan's point guard next year? For now, the answer will probably be either be redshirt sophomore Laval Lucas-Perry or incoming freshman and four-star recruit Darius Morris.
Perry is generally a shooting guard despite his point guard size; he is not generally the one to bring the ball up the court, although he can do it. Morris is highly regarded as the top point guard out of his home state of California, and it was a steal for Michigan to get his commitment before their tournament run, but he's also a freshman and can be expected to make freshman mistakes.
Morris has the potential to be the best point guard at Michigan since Jalen Rose, but he will need some space to grow, which is where the loss of Grady hurts. Without another true point guard on the team, Coach John Beilein will have to scramble to find somebody to give him that growing space.