Michigan Basketball: What Each Projected 2014-15 Starter Brings to the Table
While the Michigan Wolverines lose three starters (Glenn Robinson III, Nik Stauskas and Jordan Morgan— not to mention Mitch McGary, when he was with the team) from last year's squad, they still have plenty of talent to contend in the Big Ten and on the national stage once again in 2014-15.
The Wolverines return two key starters in Derrick Walton Jr. and Caris LeVert. They will no doubt carry the team, but the team will need increased production from some of their other returnees and incoming freshmen to continue competing at a top-20 level.
The five players (listed alphabetically) in the following slideshow should be the projected starters (or at least be in line for significant playing time) for Michigan. What follows is what each member of the projected starting five should bring to the table this upcoming season.
F- Kameron Chatman
The jewel of Michigan's prized 2014 recruiting class has to be 6'6” wing Kameron Chatman, a Scout 5-star recruit from Portland, Oregon.
Although it may take him sometime to adjust, Chatman should fill the void left behind by Robinson III. He has the skills, drive and tenacity to succeed as a freshmen. Chatman can shoot, defend and rebound very well for his size.
Michigan fans should expect a comparable season from Chatman that Zak Irvin enjoyed his freshman season, whereas he'll have his flashes of brilliance but defer to the upperclassmen while getting his feet wet.
F-C- Mark Donnal
Although incoming freshman DJ Wilson may have more talent and upside and could potentially force himself into the starting lineup, Michigan will need some height and bulk along the frontline and that's what Mark Donnal could provide the team.
After redshirting last season as a freshman, Donnal is still a bit of an unknown, but at 6'9”, 230 pounds, Donnal has the height and bulk to bang with some of the bodies in the Big Ten. And like most big men in John Beiliein's system, Donnal has the reputation for being an inside-out player with good range on his shot.
You shouldn't expect a lot of offense from Donnal, at least this year, but look for him to rebound well and play some solid defense while playing a complimentary role to guys like LeVert, Irvin and Walton Jr.
G- Zak Irvin
Zak Irvin's progress in his sophomore year could possibly be the X-factor when assessing Michigan's chances to having another long journey in the NCAA tournament.
Irvin had a solid freshmen campaign, averaging 6.7 points and 1.3 rebounds while shooting 43.4 percent from the field and being Michigan's super sub. With the personnel loss that Michigan endured, Irvin will be asked to take on a bigger load this year.
Coming out of high school, Irvin came to Michigan with some hype, as he was on many scouting services top-50 lists. So you know Irvin has the requisite talent to compete in the Big Ten.
With great range and ability to fill the lanes, Irvin should make a nice leap in his game while likely being Michigan's secondary scoring option next to LeVert.
G- Caris LeVert
With the loss of Stauskas, Robinson III and McGary, the Wolverines will undoubtedly be Caris LeVert's team in 2014-15.
While he had himself a solid season last year averaging 12.9 points, look for 2014-15 to be LeVert's coming-out party. He has all the skills to be an All-American and potential 2015 lottery pick.
With off-the-charts athleticism and dead-eye shooting skills, LeVert should be the unquestioned leader and leading scorer for the Wolverines.
The only hold up is LeVert getting back into shape after offseason foot surgery, but he should be fine by the time October rolls along. Although he'll only be a junior next year, he has the talent to become Michigan's next early entrant into the NBA.
G- Derrick Walton Jr.
Starting all but one game at point for the Wolverines last year and earning a spot on the Big Ten All-Freshman Team, Derrick Walton Jr. had himself a fine freshman campaign.
However, Walton Jr. has only begun to scratch the surface of his potential. Last year, he averaged 7.9 points, 2.9 assists and 3.0 rebounds. With the team losing Stauskas, Robinson III and McGary, Walton Jr. will be asked to become more of a vocal leader and he has the skills to deliver and then some.
Blessed with great vision and an equally good jump shot, look for Walton Jr. to come close to doubling his point and assist totals while possibly be on the verge of becoming an All-Big Ten performer.
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