Michigan Basketball: Final Regular-Season Grades for Wolverines
The Michigan basketball program has come a long way under head coach John Beilein, but the Wolverines failed to win a second straight Big Ten Conference title this season. Failing to meet lofty expectations is not something the Maize and Blue want to get used to, though.
Big Ten title or not, the Wolverines still had a very successful campaign. Michigan won 25 games, went 17-1 at the Crisler Center and were a rotation of the basketball away from being co-champions of the league.
With the regular season officially in the books, it is time to dole out report card grades for all of the Wolverines. Some will be smiling and other will be wishing they would have done more.
Note: Only players that appeared in at least 20 games are eligible to receive a grade for the regular season.
There were five Michigan Wolverines that failed to meet the minimum requirements for report card grades.
Guards Eso Akunne, Josh Bartelstein and Corey Person along with forwards Max Bielfeldt and Blake McLimans were not major contributors during the 2012-13 campaign. Bielfeldt is the only one of the aforementioned players returning to Ann Arbor next season.
Bartelstein served as one of Michigan's captains this year, but missed a significant amount of time recovering from ankle surgery.
The highlights of McLimans' senior season came early on. McLimans scored three points in games against Slippery Rock and the Cleveland State Vikings. The 6'10", 240-pounder managed to grab a season-high three rebounds against the Eastern Michigan Eagles as well.
Person only saw action in 10 games for the Wolverines. The Kalamazoo, Mich. native scored in three of those appearances and pulled down a rebound in another.
Akunne made the most of the limited minutes he played in 15 contests. The senior shooting guard had a quick trigger and attempted a shot in all but two of his appearances.
Bielfeldt, a redshirt freshman, showed plenty of promise in 17 games this season. An 18-minute effort against the Wisconsin Badgers is the most Bielfeldt played for Michigan during the regular season.
Matt Vogrich, Shooting Guard
Overall Player Grade: C-
One of the biggest examples of how far the Michigan Wolverines basketball program has come talent-wise is departing senior shooting guard Matt Vogrich.
Unfortunately for Vogrich, he is an example for the wrong reasons. Vogrich started five games for the Wolverines before losing his spot in the rotation to true freshman Nik Stauskas. The switch left Vogrich on the bench for just about all of the 2012-13 season.
The 6'4", 200-pounder struggled with his shot throughout the opening month of the campaign as a starter. Vogrich made just 2-of-10 attempts against Division I opponents in November.
Once Vogrich entered his new role as a reserve, his minutes and field-goal attempts were very limited. Vogrich never took more than two shots or played more than six minutes in a game after Nov. 23.
Since Vogrich is bordering on incomplete, and never really had a chance to fit in with the Wolverines after losing his starting spot, he receives a slightly below-average grade.
Jon Horford, Power Forward
Overall Player Grade: C
There is no doubt that redshirt sophomore power forward Jon Horford is a warrior. Horford battled through a dislocated kneecap to play 24 games and make critical contributions to the Michigan Wolverines' Big Ten title chase.
The injury only allowed Horford to play two minutes between Dec. 20 and Jan. 17. Once Horford returned, though, he made his presence known in the post.
Horford's top two games were in victories over the Illinois Fighting Illini and Northwestern Wildcats. With redshirt junior forward Jordan Morgan sidelined, Horford averaged 8.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 18.5 minutes in those league contests.
Overall, Horford racked up just 2.2 points and 2.5 rebounds per game.
Although Horford turned in quality minutes in a number of Big Ten games, he did not play above-average on a consistent basis. Horford gets some extra credit for coming back from a nasty injury, but his mediocre play keeps his grade in the average range.
Caris LeVert, Shooting Guard
Overall Player Grade: C+
There were not a whole lot of expectations for shooting guard Caris LeVert's freshman year. LeVert was supposed to redshirt, put on some weight and try to contribute next season. The coaches decided LeVert had too much talent to keep off of the floor.
In fact, LeVert even started one game in his first season with the Michigan Wolverines. LeVert scored nine points against the Central Michigan Chippewas in the only start of his young career.
Just 10 days later, LeVert tied his career high of nine points in a 95-67 rout of the Iowa Hawkeyes. LeVert went on to score eight points in two of Michigan's remaining league games.
Defense was a struggle all year for the Wolverines, but LeVert helped them improve at that end of the floor. The lanky 6'5", 170-pounder played outstanding defensively against the Michigan State Spartans, which helped guide the Maize and Blue to a 59-58 win.
LeVert only managed to knock down 33 percent of his field-goal attempts, though, his efforts on defense earned him an average grade for the regular season.
Look for a lot more production out of LeVert next year if Tim Hardaway Jr. opts to bolt for the NBA.
Spike Albrecht, Point Guard
Overall Player Grade: C+
Thanks to freshman point guard Spike Albrecht, Trey Burke did not have to play entire games for the Michigan Wolverines this season. Albrecht managed to seize the few opportunities he had to produce as well.
The Crown Point, Ind. native scored seven points in just 11 minutes in a road loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes. Albrecht's scoring surge helped dig Michigan out of a 21-point hole, though.
The crafty reserve also dished out two assists and hit an important three-pointer in the Wolverines' heartbreaking loss to the Indiana Hoosiers on Mar. 10.
Albrecht never really had a chance to earn significant playing time with Burke on the roster, but head coach John Beilein began to put the two point guards on the floor together toward the end of Big Ten play.
Beilein's willingness to play Albrecht more often near the end of the season speaks to his development and talent. For this reason, Albrecht earns a slightly above-average grade.
Mitch McGary, Power Forward
Overall Player Grade: B-
The Michigan Wolverines have been in need of a dominant post player for quite some time. However, freshman power forward Mitch McGary may fill that void next season. McGary has a lot of work to do defensively, but his offense helped him stand out this year.
The 6'10", 250-pounder averaged six points per game to go along with 5.3 rebounds.
McGary's best stretch of games came when Michigan need him the most. In three straight games against the Indiana Hoosiers, Ohio State Buckeyes and Wisconsin Badgers, McGary scored at least 10 points. The young big man also shot better than 53 percent from the field in those contests.
McGary made quite an impact on the glass as well. The Wolverines got at least eight rebounds out of McGary nine times this season.
The only knock on McGary's game throughout the regular season was his defense. This will have to be the focus of McGary's offseason workouts as he prepares for the 2013-14 campaign.
For now, though, McGary managed to turn in an above-average season, despite his struggles boxing out and guarding the veteran big men of the Big Ten.
Jordan Morgan, Power Forward
Overall Player Grade: B
The Maize and Blue faithful found out just how important Jordan Morgan is to the Michigan Wolverines' interior defense, after the redshirt junior missed nearly four whole games with an ankle injury.
Even when Morgan made it back into the starting lineup on Feb. 17, he still had to deal with the lingering effects of the injury, which caused his production at both ends of the floor to dip.
Morgan finally returned to form on Feb. 27 against the Penn State Nittany Lions. The University of Detroit Jesuit alum scored 11 points and grabbed five rebounds in the stunning loss in Happy Valley. Morgan also had a solid eight-point performance in Michigan's loss to the Indiana Hoosiers at the Crisler Center.
Much of what Morgan does will never show up in the box score, though. Morgan is essentially the quarterback of the Wolverines' defense. Without Morgan at full strength, Michigan was dominated on the interior by mediocre offensive teams. Games against the Ohio State Buckeyes and Penn State come to mind more than others.
Still, Morgan averaged 5.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game for the Wolverines. Morgan also knocked down 60 percent of his shots this year.
The undersized power forward earns an above-average mark for the 2012-13 season, thanks to his defensive prowess, passing abilities inside and occasional scoring outbursts.
Glenn Robinson III, Small Forward
Overall Player Grade: B+
The best pro prospect the Michigan Wolverines have is not Trey Burke. It is in fact freshman small forward Glenn Robinson III.
In Robinson's first season with the Wolverines, he piled up 10.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Those numbers were good enough to earn Robinson a spot on the Big Ten's All-Freshman team. Robinson also garnered an honorable mention from the media.
The 6'6", 210-pounder did not perform as well against the league's top four teams (6.7 points per game) as he did against the rest of the league. Robinson improved against the Big Ten's best in the closing two weeks, though.
A more aggressive style of play allowed Robinson to score eight points on 4-of-6 shooting in a win over the Michigan State Spartans. Robinson hung 13 points on the Indiana Hoosiers as well.
Robinson lived up to expectations in his first year with the Wolverines, and the best is yet to come for this standout.
Nik Stauskas, Shooting Guard
Overall Player Grade: B+
Much like Glenn Robinson III, freshman shooting guard Nik Stauskas had a tendency to disappear against the Michigan Wolverines' tougher opponents. Those performances were few and far between for the Canadian sharpshooter, though.
Stauskas scored at least 10 points in all but five games this season, which is impressive to say the least.
Although Stauskas did much of his damage from beyond the arc, he still shot 47 percent overall and pulled down 3.1 rebounds per game.
The 6'6", 190-pounder started the season as a reserve, until he scored 20 points on 6-of-10 shooting against the N.C. State Wolfpack. John Beilein knew he could not make Stauskas come off of the bench any longer.
Stauskas finished the season as Michigan's third leading scorer and will be a major factor in postseason play.
The consistent scoring from Stauskas helped him earn an above-average grade for the 2012-13 season.
Tim Hardaway Jr., Shooting Guard
Overall Player Grade: A-
Despite some midseason shooting struggles, Tim Hardaway Jr. still managed to turn in his most impressive campaign with the Michigan Wolverines.
Hardaway shot a career-high 45 percent from the field, scored 14.8 points per game and pulled down an average of 4.7 rebounds.
The Miami, Fla. product scored more than 20 points six times this season, which helped Hardaway garner first team All-Big Ten honors.
Hardaway's best performances of the season came against the Ohio State Buckeyes and Minnesota Golden Gophers.
In an overtime victory over the former, Hardaway knocked down five straight three-pointers and finished with 23 points. Against the latter, Hardaway caught fire and hit 7-of-8 field-goal attempts, including 4-of-5 from beyond the arc. The 21-point effort helped Michigan top Minnesota 83-75.
The Wolverines would not have been in contention for a Big Ten title without Hardaway, and he performed far better than average for much of the regular season.
Trey Burke, Point Guard
Overall Player Grade: A
The only thing keeping Trey Burke from earning a perfect grade is the missed free throw and layup at the end of the de facto Big Ten title game last Sunday. Otherwise, the sophomore point guard had the most complete regular season out of anyone in the league.
Burke led the Big Ten in assists (6.8 per game) and finished second in scoring average (19.2 points).
Only two teams were able to hold Burke below 15 points this season, and none of them were league foes. Burke was the only player in the Big Ten to score more than 15 points in every conference game. Burke's 3.68 assist-to-turnover ratio ranked No. 1 in all of college basketball as well.
All of this led to Burke being named the Big Ten Player of the Year and a unanimous first team All-Big Ten selection.
Burke carried the Michigan Wolverines when some of his teammates slumped throughout the course of the year, which makes his season even more impressive.
Michigan will likely be without Burke come next November, but his swan song will be one to remember even if he bolts for the NBA draft.
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