LeVert's return bolsters Michigan's 2014-2015 backcourt, experience

Gregory Shamus

Caris LeVert is returning for his junior season. LeVert will be looked upon to help his backcourt mature on -- and off -- the court.

Caris LeVert showed up to Michigan as a lanky, 6'6" three-star recruit that got lost in the shuffle of John Groce's jump to Illinois. Expected to redshirt, LeVert earned sparse playing time his first year on campus behind the likes of Tim Hardaway Jr., Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III and Matt Vorgrich. His defense ultimately earned him his playing time, as he never scored in double figures.

The story of LeVert and Stauskas working together in the offseason after their freshmen year is well documented. What's not mentioned, is that LeVert was arguably the most improved player in the Big Ten this year. That work led to LeVert being named to the second All-Big Ten team in 2013-2014 and to him being the Wolverines third leading scorer trailing only Stauskas and Robinson, who both declared for the NBA draft earlier this week.

Another offseason of improvement for LeVert will do his body wonders, as well as his offensive game which is still developing rapidly. LeVert was one of only four players to shoot over 40% from behind the arc this season. (Andrew Dakich went 1-1, for what it's worth.)

LeVert was easily Michigan's best on ball defender this year, and it was on full display against Kentucky in the Elite Eight. If LeVert can develop a little more offensively, then look out, Big Ten.

LeVert was also Michigan's best creator off the dribble. He's pretty gifted at creating his own shot, albeit unorthodox. This will come in handy next year as the team gets younger yet again.

2014-15 Outlook:

LeVert will slide right into the 2 spot in John Beilein's offense come time to tip off the season. We haven't seen LeVert in too many high ball screen situations, but thinking about Mitch McGary -- possibly -- and LeVert running that together is a lot of fun. (McGary hasn't announced his future plans yet.)

LeVert will have the task of helping will-be sophomore Derrick Walton Jr. develop on the court. Walton picked his shots well last year, and maybe having LeVert next to him will open up some more lanes for Walton to get to the rim.

LeVert returns with possibilities of being named to the preseason All-America team and will definitely be in contention for Big Ten Player of the Year.

Michigan's season definitly rides on the shoulders of the only projected starter that is an upperclassmen. Look for the likes of Zak Irvin and incoming freshmen Kameron Chatman to feed off of LeVert's energy and hustle. LeVert needs to step into a leadership role, especially for his backcourt mates. If LeVert continues to improve, Michigan could make a deep run into March again on the wings of his unorthodox play.

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