Michigan Basketball: Wolverines Most Likely to Make All-Big Ten Team
The Michigan Wolverine basketball program has seen some great players pass through its doors in the last couple of years. Some have earned All-Big Ten status—think Trey Burke, Nik Stauskas, among others—and this year they have a few candidates who may be able to carry on that prideful tradition.
While the team loses the services of Stauskas, Glen Robinson III and Mitch McGary, they do have some returning players who are in prime position to ascend to all-conference status. The competition will be steep no doubt, as there is plenty of talent returning to the Big Ten this year.
Listed in this slideshow are the top three Wolverines (ranked alphabetically) who could make the All-Big Ten team.
The one Michigan player fans are hoping to see increase his production is the athletically-gifted Zak Irvin.
Irvin had himself a fine freshman campaign, averaging 6.7 points and 1.3 rebounds while shooting 43.4 percent from the field and became a super sub for head coach John Beilein. He showed that he can shoot three pointers at a good clip, nailing down 62 of his 146 three-point attempts. Combine his shooting skill with his God-given athletic abilities, and Irvin has the tools to erupt this year.
With the departure of Stauskas and others, Irvin will be given ample opportunity—his minutes should see a significant boost now that he is likely to start—to leave his mark with the Wolverines this year and expect him to rise to the occasion.
Thus, he should contend for All-Big Ten team status.
Obviously, as Michigan's leading returning scorer (12.9 points a game), Caris LeVert is expected to lead the Wolverines and push for all-conference honors.
It stands to reason that LeVert should take the reins and step up as the leader of this young squad. In his two years in Ann Arbor, the 6'6" guard has demonstrated that he can attack the hoop and shoot from deep consistently (.384 career three-point percentage). Not only does LeVert fill up the box score, but he has shown he can defend, too.
If Michigan is to successfully defend its Big Ten title and make another deep run in the NCAA tournament, LeVert will have to be the driving force, and he has all the attributes you want in a player.
All told, everything is lining up for him to have a career year and earn a spot on the All-Big Ten team, maybe even garnering some national accolades along the way as well.
Derrick Walton Jr.
While deferring to guys like Stauskas, Robinson III and McGary last season, Derrick Walton Jr. learned the ropes in his first year on the job as point guard. And he had fine season to boot, averaging 7.9 points, 2.9 assists and 3.0 rebounds, while being named to the Big Ten All-Freshman team
With the training wheels set to come off in 2014-15, Walton should make big strides in his game. He has the skills, athleticism and know-how to take on a more proactive role and be a fantastic floor general.
Gifted with great vision and a good jump shot, Walton should be knocking on the door of an All-Big Ten team selection.