2008 Michigan Wolverines Basketball Preview
John Beilein starts his second season as the head coach of the Michigan Wolverines (10-22 overall, 5-13 Big Ten). In his first year, Beilein missed the post-season by a wide margin as the Wolverines ended up in tenth-place. This year, he’ll attempt to guide the team to, at the very least, a NIT appearance.
On offense, Michigan posted the worst field goal shooting percentage mark (39.5) in the league, and they were also last when it came to three-pointers. For this team to move up in the standings in any way, their shooting must obviously improve. Power forward is a problem for Michigan. Gone is Ekpe Udoh (6.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 2.9 BPG) and his fine defensive play. Six-foot-ten junior forward/center Zack Gibson (13.9 MPG, 5.4 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 0.3 APG, 48.2 FG%, 72.7 FG%) has put on 15 pounds of muscle and looks to start at center. He’ll be playing a lot more this season as he tries to match Udoh’s output. Junior DeShawn Sims (28.1 MPG, 12.3 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 0.9 APG, 39.5 FG%, 69.2 FG%) is fine in the post and also from downtown. Anthony Wright (18.8 MPG, 5.1 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 0.6 APG, 32.9 FG%, 48.3 FT%) must connect more consistently on his shots for this team to excel.
As a freshman guard last season, Manny Harris (33.0 MPG, 16.1 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 2.7 APG, 38.1 FG%, 81.7 FT%) was the leading scorer in the conference. Along with driving in for two, he ably picks up fouls. The versatile Harris can play either guard spot. Arizona transfer Laval Lucas-Perry, a combo-guard who can drive to the basket, will start playing in December when his eligibility kicks in. Sophomore point guard Kelvin Grady (24.4 MPG, 5.6 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 2.8 APG, 40.3 FG%, 83.3) returns as the club’s best foul shooter.
If this team can get to .500 in 2008-2009 that will be a major
accomplishment. Three starters are back and the new guys are talented.
But there is little depth and an injury in any area will be disastrous.
The NCAA Tournament would be nothing short of a miracle, but next
season certainly looks more promising than last.