Archive for the ‘NCAA Basketball’ Category

This season had its ups and downs for the Michigan Wolverines. After starting an incredible 16-0, they struggled the rest of the year with Big Ten opponents and never really dominated great teams. Going in to the tournament many thought they would flop, including me who had them losing to VCU. They proved everyone wrong and reached their full potential with star play especially from Burke and McGary.  Making it to the championship game really proved how much depth and talent this team has. While no doubt all this success has proven great for a basketball program that has struggled since really the days of the Fab Five, it has left a big question mark on the future of Mitch McGary, Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr, and Glen Robinson III with Michigan. Their tournament run has caused most of their draft stocks to skyrocket expect for maybe Hardaway who never had a strong showing during the tournament.

College basketball, no doubt, reserves its place amongst the most popular sports in America, especially come March. Just like college football, it is a platform for nobodys to become somebodys. Whether you’re a fan of one team or just enjoy watching the sport, there’s nothing like watching these young athletes prove themselves. College sports, as popular they may be, suffer from the reality that for the athletes themselves there is no money to be made unless they go pro. This especially applies to college basketball where players are only required to stay one year in college, before being able to turn pro. College basketball is often a revolving door of young talented athletes and new stars every year. Money is money and however loyal a player may be to his team the opportunity of lifetime is too enticing for most to leave on the table.

As of recently, not one U-M player has declared for this year’s draft, although this could change soon. Star point guard Trey Burke leaving offers a strong possibly as he almost left last year for the NBA draft. Burke, in my opinion, is truly the only NBA ready player on Michigan’s roster right now. After winning so many national awards and achievements, he really proved himself this year. His stock, most likely, will never be this high. If Burke somehow were to stay though, that would definitely put Michigan as a serious contender to win a National Championship next year. Not only would that, but him staying also likely be very enticing for all of Michigan’s star players to stay. While him staying sees very unlikely, there’s no reason for Michigan fans to hold a grudge against him as he has contributed so much in the two years he’s been a Wolverine.

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The case of Tim Hardaway Jr. is an interesting one. While he has shown his talent, he’s had an up and down year. He often shoots the ball too much and can be a little bit selfish at times. Staying one more year certainly would benefit Hardaway as he seems to be the least NBA ready of the four players despite being the most experienced. He should really utilize his senior season to help improve his shot selection and his stock could rise in next year’s draft. I see no reason he needs to leave for the NBA as he comes from a wealthy family. Hardaway proved to be a very versatile player for Michigan this season and he no doubt will be next year if he were to stay.

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Glenn Robinson III came to Michigan mainly just a talented player. This season proved while no doubt he has talent there is a lot of room to improve. He definitely can shoot the ball, but throughout the season he showed inconsistency with his shot. When U-M played tough opponents he seemed to struggle the most which isn’t too alarming considering he’s only a freshman. Nonetheless returning for his sophomore season will really help him develop as a player and he can look at Trey Burke as a great example. Like Hardaway, Glenn comes from an affluent family and while his projected stock right now is high, he could raise it by having an even better season. If Robinson were to choose the NBA path, he could very well struggle his first few seasons as the NBA consists of well pro players who provide tougher competition for Glenn who already seems to struggle at times against great college teams. With Burke’s departure very likely, Robinson could assume the role of the star player on U-M and possibly take them just as far.

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I remember when Mitch McGary first committed to Michigan. I thought of him as talented player who could provide a huge presence for Michigan in the paint and thought if Burke were to stay another year how good this tandem would be. Boy was I right. McGary proved how great of a player he was in the tournament when he started his first game.  Throughout the entire tournament not only did he fill the stat sheet, but his hustle and determination gave Michigan a huge boost. If it weren’t for McGary, there would have been no championship game for Michigan. He came to U-M as top rated prospect from a small town in Indiana and now he’s praised as one of the most talented and athletic big men in college basketball. Earlier in the tournament McGary said he would return for his sophomore season, however, given his recent play which caused his draft stock to skyrocket McGary has not been answering any questions about his future with the team which could be seen as a red flag to some. Hopefully McGary makes the right decision to return to Wolverines where he could take his game to the next level. He contributed so much to Michigan’s great season and the sky seems to be the limit for what he could to for U-M next year. If he does declare for the draft, it is uncertain how well he would do. The best case for Mitch is he could end up like Andre Drummond who left U-Conn after his freshman year and has had a dominating rookie season. Without Mitch McGary though , the Michigan Wolverines would certainly not be the same team next year.

Michigan v Syracuse

While it may seem easy for us as fans to look at these players and wonder why would they leave Michigan just to probably go to some crappy NBA team where there may not be as many fans and playing in a whole other atmosphere, you have to remember these guys are really just kids who are looking at a once in a lifetime opportunity to be a pro basketball player ,which for so many is a dream come true. The other side of this is the money plain and simple. These young guys are all projected to possibly be Lottery picks with the exception of Hardaway which means they are looking at a few million dollars each. Majority of people will never see that kind of money ever and sometimes it is too enticing to pass up especially when you never know what could happen tomorrow. The fear of suffering a career ending injury or never being as good as you were often give players reason to leave for the NBA where they have financial security. These Michigan stars would no doubt improve by staying another year and contend for a National Championship, but U-M fans should not hold any grudges against these players as they are just looking out for what’s best for them in the long run and you certainly can’t blame them.

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