John Beilein has assembled a small, yet talented 2013 class.
It is never too early to start looking ahead, especially when the future is as promising as ever for the Michigan basketball program. A trio of talented recruits will join eight returning players from last year's group, which advanced to the 2013 national championship game.
Replacing NBA-bound talents like Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. will not be an easy task, but the three newcomers should be able to soften the blow.
Expectations will be high for the upcoming season with three starters back for another go-round. The three freshmen are going to have plenty of chances to make an impact, so there are going to be opportunities to rack up some impressive stat lines.
At this moment in time, incoming 4-star power forward Mark Donnal’s stat line is the toughest to project of the three signees. There are an abundance of big men, while Glenn Robinson III and newcomer Zak Irvin are both capable of playing at the four.
This does not leave a whole lot of minutes for Donnal. What Donnal does bring to the table that Michigan's other big men do not, though, is the ability to knock down jump shots from just about anywhere on the floor. In fact, the main reason Donnal may get on the floor as a true freshman is because of his three-point shooting.
Given the fact Donnal does not have much of a post game, however, this will make it easy for opposing defenses to key in on his shooting.
With Mitch McGary, Jordan Morgan and Jon Horford all established as the top-three big men it would make sense to consider redshirting Donnal in 2013-14. Max Bielfeldt is in line to see an increase in minutes, too.
The best way to do this would be treating Donnal's situation like Caris LeVert's a year ago. Michigan's coaching staff planned on redshirting LeVert, but eventually decided the lanky shooting guard could contribute as a freshman. The same approach could be taken with Donnal.
Since the Wolverines' bigs have been prone to injury, though, there is a good chance Donnal will be called upon. Once the Ohioan gets on the floor, he should be able to make some small contributions.
Projected 2013-14 Stats: 2.0 points, 2.0 rebounds per game and 45 percent from the field.
No prospect in the Michigan Wolverines' 2013 haul will be under more pressure during the upcoming campaign than 4-star point guard Derrick Walton. All-American point guard Trey Burke bolted for the NBA draft as expected, which leaves the Maize and Blue with a massive vacancy to fill. Enters Walton.
Despite the fact rising sophomore Spike Albrecht lit the Louisville Cardinals up to the tune of 17 points in the national title game, Walton appears to be the best fit for the starting lineup. In several ways, Walton and Burke play a similar brand of basketball.
Both have solid jump shots, elite ball-handling skills and are at their best in transition. Getting Walton out in the open floor for fast-break opportunities will be a focal point for Michigan next season.
Do not expect Walton to score as much, or as consistently as Burke (18.6 points per game) did in 2012-13. Instead, Walton will take on the role of distributor rather than scorer for much of the season. It makes a whole lot of sense with rising sophomores Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary both returning.
The Chandler Park Academy star will split time with Albrecht, but Walton will see more minutes than the latter.
Look for Walton to do a little bit of everything during the 2013-14 campaign. The future looks bright for Michigan with Walton and Albrecht running the show.
Projected 2013-14 Stats: 11.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 1.5 steals per game and 44 percent shooting.
The crown jewel of the Michigan Wolverines' 2013 recruiting haul is 4-star small forward Zak Irvin. Opposing forwards will have a tough time guarding Irvin because of his size, pure shooting stroke and overall athleticism.
Irvin is deadly when pulling up from mid-range and is a proven three-point shooter as well. In addition to his shooting abilities, Irvin handles the ball well enough to drive the lane and finish at the rim. Rebounding should not be a problem for Irvin either.
Glenn Robinson III's return to Ann Arbor will cut into Irvin's minutes a bit, but the incoming frosh is still going to see plenty of action this season.
According to John Beilein, the plan has always been to play Robinson at the three. Depending on what kind of rotation Beilein wants to go with, Irvin will either be the backup three, or the starting four. Irvin has the versatility to play both positions, so Beilein will have no shortage of options when it comes to putting the 6'6", 185-pounder on the floor.
There are high hopes for Irvin this coming season. Irvin is a scorer, which is exactly the kind of player Beilein and his staff take pride in recruiting. Michigan's offense should maintain its explosiveness with the help of Irvin, Derrick Walton and the three returning starters.
Projected 2013-14 Stats: 13.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.0 assists per game and 51 percent shooting.