Michigan has done it before, but can the Wolverines pull it off again?
It seems every year now that the Michigan Wolverines loses its top scorers to the NBA Draft and has to look to a new underclassmen to step up into the Crisler spotlight to carry the Wolverines through the Big Ten -- and beyond lately.
Here’s a closer look at returners and new comers that will help fill the void.
Replacements from the 2014 Recruiting Class:
It has become a trend that Michigan players have names that are missing mainstream consonants. Newcomer Kameron Chatman will keep that trend going strong as he will take the floor for the Wolverines this winter. The lefty small forward from Portland, Ore., will need to have a huge impact on the floor to directly fill the void of Stauskas’ scoring. He will get assistance from another west coast forward, D.J. Wilson of Sacramento, Calif. Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Ricky Doyle won’t have as much of a direct role in replacing Stauskas, but production from all positions will be key to Michigan’s success.
As far as freshmen stepping in to replace Nik's production from behind the arc, Chatman will have the most playing time to give it a shot, though he's not quite the sharpshooter Stauskas was his freshmen year -- or that Zak Irvin was last year for that matter. Austin Hatch could step in and knock down some long range shots for John Beilein, but his playing time will be determined by his development this summer. If Hatch develops decently from his senior year in high school, he could help Michigan spread the floor which is pivotal to Beilein's scheme.
Replacements From Within the Program:
With the explosive Caris LeVert waiting in the wings to replace the dynamite shooting Canadian, the task of replacing a leading scorer doesn’t seem quite as daunting. All eyes are on number twenty-three in Ann Arbor, but contributions have to come from more than just LeVert for John Beilein and company for Stauskas’ departure to have limited impact. Stauskas was a sharp-shooter his freshmen year, and evolved into a bonafide scorer in his sophomore year. Zak Irvin looks to do the same; with LeVert getting most of the attention, the doors should be open for Irvin to step in and be a more well-rounded offensive contributor.
In addition to the tandem of shooting guards, Derrick Walton Jr. should help replace Stauskas production from behind the arc, as he comes into his second year off of a 41% shooting clip. Also look for Walton Jr. to be more assertive this year, as he will have more responsibility on his shoulders this year due to losing several leaders from last years team. Walton will need to evolve into a floor general of sorts for Michigan in Beilein's system. Look for Walton to be put in pick-and-roll situations more often to create opportunities for his back court mates and Michigan's younger big men on this years squad. Walton's development as a point guard will prove of paramount importance to Michigan's offense this year due to taking pressure off of his two guard, LeVert.