Michigan freshman guard Spike Albrecht came out of nowhere to explode in the national title game against Louisville on Monday night.
April Madness indeed.
Albrecht, ranked 178th in the 2012 recruiting class by 247Sports.com, certainly made the most of his spike in minutes on Monday. Given playing time in the first half against the Cardinals, he erupted for 17 points while going 6-of-7 from the floor and 4-of-4 from long distance. In his previous five NCAA tournament games this season, he had scored 19 points combined. For the season, he had scored 67 points (1.8 points per contest). His previous high in a game was seven points.
Another thing: Albrecht's grandfather had passed away before the season.
The freshman's father, Chuck, said, via USA Today Sports: "His grandpa passed away right before the season. I told him Grandpa was going to be watching. I think that's what's given him the strength."
Albrecht's barrage in the first half helped the Wolverines enter halftime with a one-point lead, despite Louisville's Luke Hancock (who went on to be named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four) posting 17 points off the bench. It symbolized the unpredictability of the NCAA tournament over the years, especially given only one other Division I school offered Albrecht a scholarship in 2012—Appalachian State.
Although Michigan went on to lose to Louisville, 82-76, Albrecht's first-half scoring spree was yet another example of a player stepping up for a contender when nobody accounted for him. It was a credit to him and the Michigan coaching staff.
Who knows what Albrecht's role will be for the Wolverines in 2013-14, but given guards Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. may declare for the NBA draft this summer, it's certainly possible that he could use this showing as momentum going into the offseason to boost his chances of receiving more minutes. It would be a great story, given hardly anybody paid him any attention during the recruiting process in 2012.
The NCAA tournament is always filled with inspirational storylines. Spike Albrecht's story resonated throughout Michigan on Monday night.