Michigan Basketball: The 5 Most Underrated Wolverines in the Past Decade
The Michigan basketball program has had some fantastic players pass through its doors in the past decade, but sometimes we still often overlook certain Wolverines.
Sure, you're familiar with the names Trey Burke, Nik Stauskas, Tim Hardaway Jr., etc., as they were impact performers in their time at Michigan who just so happened to make the NBA as well. However, there have been some solid players who have not enjoyed deep NCAA tournament runs or success in the NBA, but who still hold a place in Michigan lore.
So, in this slideshow will be the five most underrated Wolverines of the past decade. And to clarify whose underrated, here is a list of some players who were properly rated based on their place in the record books or the fact they left early for the NBA:
- Trey Burke,
- Nik Stauskas
- Tim Hardaway Jr.
- Mitch McGary
- Glenn Robinson III
- Manny Harris
- Daniel Horton
- DeShawn Sims
- Courtney Sims
- Dion Harris
5. Brent Petway
While he played on some underachieving teams in Tommy Amaker's final years with the Wolverines, Brent Petway was nevertheless a fan favorite and highlight machine waiting to happen.
Known as a tenacious rim-protector and awe-inspiring dunker, Petway was a player who did things that usually didn't show up in the box score. To his credit, though, Petway's career block average of 1.23 is good for fifth all-time in the Michigan record book.
Although he did not get to enjoy appearing in an NCAA tournament game, he still gets credit here for being a trooper on some underperforming Michigan teams.
4. Jordan Morgan
Perhaps no Wolverine has a more decorated career when you factor in team success than Jordan Morgan, as he is the only player to enjoy going to four straight NCAA tournaments under John Beilein.
Granted, he was no game-changer, but Morgan always put his body on the line and was a great rebounder and defender.
When McGary was lost for the remainder of last season, Morgan stepped up his game big time. Not only did Morgan help keep Michigan afloat, but he also helped Michigan secure the Big Ten title outright while also being part of a team that made it back to the Elite Eight. Morgan was quite the soldier for Beilein, and while he didn't post eye-opening stats, he was as reliable as they come.
3. Darius Morris
Darius Morris is another fine Beilein recruit who was instrumental in getting the Wolverines back on the right track.
Although he left after two years, Morris was a fantastic point guard while he was enrolled at Michigan. He could do a little bit of everything. In two years with the Wolverines, Morris averaged 9.9 points, 4.8 assists and 2.9 rebounds. He was best known for notching Michigan’s third-ever triple-double, when he recorded 12 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists in a game against Iowa on January 30, 2011.
Burke effectively replaced him at point guard, so Morris often goes overlooked. But he was a dynamite playmaker in his short two years in Ann Arbor.
2. Stu Douglass
Although he didn't come to Michigan amid much fanfare, Stu Douglass was an integral part of Michigan becoming a perennial NCAA tournament team under Beilein.
As a co-captain in his junior and senior years, Douglass embodied what Michigan was all about under Beilein: hardworking, intelligent and willing to sacrifice oneself for team glory.
Douglass played in 136 consecutive career games, which is a Michigan record. He also finished fifth in the Michigan record books with 205 career three-point field goals made.
While guys like Stauskas, Burke and Robinson III get a lot of the glory, Douglass was just as instrumental in getting Michigan back on track as a program. He'll forever be remembered for being a gutsy, all-out player whom Michigan fans came to know and love.
1. Zack Novak
Again, although guys like Burke, Hardaway Jr. and Stauskas receive most of the glory for reviving the Michigan program under the guidance of Beilein and getting the team to the 2013 NCAA title game, Zack Novak was the key recruit who got things started for Beilein and company.
Along with Douglass, Novak was a captain his junior and senior years. For his career, Novak scored 1,082 points (40th all time), while also hauling down 609 rebounds (25th all time). Novak was an extremely versatile player who excelled at both ends of the floor.
Blessed with a great touch from deep and the ability to attack the rim as well, Novak was an exciting player to watch. Although he never got past the second round of the NCAA tournament, he was a key player in the resurgence under Beilein.
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