Is Jordan Morgan's stock rising, or falling?
It has been quite a while since the Michigan basketball program has generated significant offseason buzz for back-to-back years. Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III returning to Ann Arbor has given the Maize and Blue faithful reason to be excited about the 2013-14 campaign.
There will be no rebuilding this season.
Outside of early departures by Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr., the Wolverines have had a relatively quiet offseason. This is not a bad thing, though. Ask any North Carolina Tar Heel fan right now and they will say the same.
Still, there has been enough news about the team to assess the stock of some of Michigan's top returnees. Anyone not listed in the slideshow has not done enough to be considered a riser or faller at this point in time.
Mitch McGary has done nothing but boost his stock this offseason.
Stock Status: Rising
The burden of expected success is not something rising sophomore big man Mitch McGary is taking lightly. Despite losing Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr., the Michigan Wolverines still have enough talent to contend for a Big Ten Conference title. In order for Michigan to be a championship team, though, McGary knows he will have to become a better leader and player.
Everybody looks at me having a big name now coming back to Michigan and trying to lead this program back to Final Four status, McGary told Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press. I’ve been trying to get better every day and trying to go back to campus and prove and show my teammates I want to lead this team.
Given everything the former 4-star prospect has done this offseason, it appears as though he has risen to the challenge.
McGary decided to pass on the NBA draft and return to Ann Arbor. At the Nike Skills Academy in Union, N.J., the potential lottery pick managed to add a few more wrinkles to his game. Developing a more consistent jump shot has been a priority.
Mid-range game, mid-post, different moves, facing up, spinning off, limited dribbles but explosive moves to the basket, finishing around the basket, he told Snyder. Stepping out to the three-point range. Coach (John) Beilein is a little bit more lenient this year, if I work hard at it and prove to him I’m shooting and making those shots, as long as I don’t turn the ball over, he should be OK with it.
To top it all off, McGary was one of 23 college players invited to the LeBron James Skills Academy in July. A Western Conference scout walked away impressed with the improvements McGary has made.
Being named the No. 1 center in the country by Sporting News is never a bad thing either.
McGary has done all the right things during the most important offseason of his career.
Glenn Robinson III has bulked up this offseason.
Stock Status: Rising
Adapting to a new position in the Michigan Wolverines offense has been the focus of Glenn Robinson III's offseason. After spending the 2012-13 campaign at power forward, Robinson is preparing to become the team's staring small forward this year.
All signs are pointing to a smooth transition.
Like Mitch McGary, the rising sophomore has spent much of the offseason improving his game at camps hosted by the NBA's top players. Robinson attended the Kevin Durant Skills Academy and traveled to the LeBron James Skills Academy. Both of those camps gave him the chance to improve his skills as a wing player.
There has been plenty of work going on in the weight room this offseason as well. Less than a week ago, Robinson posted a video on Instagram showing off an improved vertical jump and highlight reel dunks. Yes, the best part of Robinson's game will be even better this season.
According to a recent composition analysis, the Lake Central High School product has dropped below 10 percent body fat. A bench press of 265 pounds and slight weight increase were also positive signs on the report.
One thing fans have not heard much about this offseason is whether or not Robinson has improved as a shooter. Knocking down more jumpers is something Robinson will have to do as a small forward. After hitting just 43 percent of two-pointers and 33 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc as a freshman, this remains a legitimate concern.
"If he’s going to make this work, Robinson will have to improve his confidence and accuracy as a perimeter shooter," The Sporting News' Mike DeCoury wrote in early June. "And he’ll have to be better able to attack defenses off the bounce."
The Maize and Blue faithful are more excited than ever to see how much Robinson has elevated his game this offseason. The Nov. 8 season opener against UMass Lowell cannot get here soon enough.
Spike Albrecht has a tough battle ahead for the starting point guard spot.
Stock Status: Falling
Not even a tweet to supermodel Kate Upton could prevent Spike Albrecht's stock from slipping a bit over the past three months.
Although the starting point guard competition has yet to heat up, the coaching staff is already more than impressed with incoming freshman Derrick Walton. During an interview on WTKA-AM (1050) in June, assistant coach LaVall Jordan compared the two:
I told some of our returning guys -- he's like Spike on steroids, the way that Spike handles the game, has a fearlessness about him, can handle and make plays for others and kind of put the ball in positions where guys don’t have to work too hard to be able to finish a play. (Walton) can do that.
An interview will not decide who will win the starting job, but it certainly does not bode well for Albrecht. It is no secret Walton is the more athletic of the two point guards. Jordan simply confirmed that for everyone.
Regardless if Albrecht starts or not, he will be a valuable asset. The 5'11", 175-pounder spent some time at the 2 last season. Albrecht also proved he can be a reliable backup point guard. The world found that out once he scored 17 points against the Louisville Cardinals in the national championship game.
There is plenty of time left for Albrecht's stock to come back up, though for now it is on a slight decline.
Jordan Morgan is finally healthy again.
Stock Status: Rising
Second chances do not always come around, but you can be sure Jordan Morgan is going to take full advantage of his. After being demoted to the No. 3 center in the NCAA tournament, Morgan only needs to beat out Jon Horford to regain his starting spot for 2013-14.
Mitch McGary is shifting to power forward, which opens the door up for Morgan at the 5.
An ankle injury completely derailed the second half of Morgan's 2012-13 season. McGary's breakout postseason made things even worse for the Detroit native. After starting in 53 straight games, Morgan played more than 20 minutes in just four of the Michigan Wolverines' final 19 games.
Head coach John Beilein believes the ankle injury took its toll on Morgan mentally as well as physically.
I don’t think we’ll ever be able to really put a number on what that cost him, that injury, Beilein told Dylan Burkhardt of UMHoops. That sprain was nagging and threw off his timing, it threw off his confidence. It will really be big for him to come back the way he had played at several times over his career here. There were times he was the best big man on the court – on either team.
The most encouraging sign this offseason for Michigan is that Morgan is finally healthy again.
When at his best, Morgan is an excellent defender and a reliable finisher running the high pick-and-roll. Neither of those things tend to show up in the box score, but both are undervalued for that very reason.
A clean bill of health and a revitalized attitude has Morgan's stock soaring.