Michigan Basketball: Predicting Wolverines' Most Improved Players in 2014-15
With the loss of Mitch McGary, Nik Stauskas, Jordan Morgan and Glenn Robinson III, the Michigan Wolverines will need improved seasons from a few players in 2014-15 if they want to continue making deep runs in the tournament like they have enjoyed the past couple of years.
The Wolverines won't be lacking in talent, but if Michigan wants to build on its successful run, some players will need to step up. The three mentioned in this slideshow (ranked in alphabetical order) have both the potential and opportunity to improve on their 2013-14 numbers.
Irvin came to Michigan amid some fanfare, as he was ranked 29th according to the RSCI rankings (which compiles all of the major recruiting services rankings into one composite list). With the loss of Robinson, Stauskas, etc., he has the chance to explode for the Wolverines in 2014-15.
Irvin is coming off of a season in which he averaged 6.7 points and 1.3 rebounds while shooting 43.4 percent from the field. He showed he can shoot from three-point territory, as he nailed down 62 of his 146 three-point attempts. Considering the trusted upperclassmen he was working next to, he had what you would consider a solid freshman campaign.
While he has shown he can shoot, Irvin is more than just a shooter, as he has above-average athleticism and can get to the rim as well. While he deferred to Robinson III and Stauskas in his freshman year, expect John Beilein to take off the training wheels and run Irvin loose this year.
True, LeVert had himself a great sophomore season in which he averaged 12.9 points (good for third on the team), but with Stauskas and Robinson III gone, LeVert should go from complementary player to possible All-Big Ten player.
Suffice it to say, this will be LeVert's team next year.
While he has to overcome a stress fracture in his foot, which he had surgery to fix, LeVert should be a full go by the time practice starts in the fall. LeVert is another gifted scorer who can separate himself from defenders and get his shot off. LeVert shot 40.8 percent (nailing down 60 of 147 attempts) from three-point territory.
LeVert has to work on his overall game, and once he can get to the rim with more authority, he has the chance for greatness.
Derrick Walton Jr.
Although blessed with a nice touch from long distance, Walton Jr. has to be more of a facilitator to take his game to the next level. Make no mistake, though, Walton Jr. has a good chance to become one of the more complete point guards in the country.
Walton Jr. started all but one game for the Wolverines last year while becoming a Big Ten All-Freshman Team member. And like the rest of the players mentioned in this slideshow, he had to make way for guys like Robinson III, Stauskas and McGary—when he was healthy. With them gone, Walton has to be more aggressive and opportunistic this year, and he should be up for it.
He is coming off of a season in which he averaged 7.9 points, 2.9 assists and 3.0 rebounds. Those were fine numbers for a freshman, but look for those numbers to greatly improve while Walton gets more freedom in Beilein's offense.
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