Sims goes for 20 and 20 in win

December 22, 2008

simsfgcuMichigan did not play their finest half of the season in the opening stanza. However, against a wild and sloppy Florida Gulf Coast team it was good enough to take a 39-18 lead at the break.

DeShawn Sims led the first half charge scoring 9 points and grabbing a career high 13 rebounds. Laval Lucas-Perry chipped in 7 points and 3 rebounds.

Michigan shot a miserable 6-22 on three point attempts in the first half. In the first half 7 Michigan players scored. Manny Harris and Kelvin Grady each shot 2-6 on three pointers in the opening half. Michigan shot 7-8 on first half free throws to build upon their Big Ten leading free throw shooting percentage. The Wolverines also out rebounded the Eagles 28-16 in the first half including 11-1 on the offensive glass.

gradyfgcuFlorida Gulf Coast scored the first 5 points of the second half. Michigan finally got on the board on 2 CJ Lee free throws. Soon thereafter DeShawn Sims and Stu Douglass hit back to back three pointers and Michigan had opened the lead back up to 49-25. Michigan continued to kind of coast along in front of a lackluster holiday crowd. The Wolverines were holding the Eagles at bay but not really playing that well. Then all of sudden Florida Gulf Coast bangs a couple of threes and goes on a little run to cut the lead all the way down to 8 points. DeShawn Sims, who was the player of the game with 20 points and 20 rebounds, hit a three ball and then scored on a dunk to keep Michigan up by 10.
douglassdunkThen finally some three balls started dropping for
Michigan as they closed out the game with 3 point daggers courtesy of Laval Lucas-Perry and two from Kelvin Grady. Grady scored 8 points in the closing minutes and Stu Douglass sealed it with a dunk to score Michigan’s final points. Michigan won 76-59 and that is the important thing. However they did not play that well and certainly there will be some teaching points for the coaching staff on the film.

Kelvin Grady scored 14 points, Stu Douglass scored 12 and Laval Lucas-Perry chipped in 10 points. Manny Harris scored 6 points to go along with 6 rebounds, 5 assists, a steal, and 4 turnovers. 

Inside the numbers: Michigan was 12-42 on three pointers for 28.6%. After the back to back games of exceptional assist to turnover ratios the Wolverines only picked up 15 assists and turned the ball over 15 times. Florida Gulf Coast turned the ball over 26 times. 

Notes: Michigan will be off until next Monday when they play North Carolina Central and follow that up with the Big Ten opener at home against Wisconsin on New Years Eve.

DeShawn Sims is the first Wolverine to post a 20-point, 20-rebound performance in 31 years. The last Wolverine to accomplish the feat was Phil Hubbard, who had 22 points and 26 rebounds vs. Detroit (March 17, 1977).

With his 20 rebounds, DeShawn Sims posted the most rebounds by a Big Ten Conference player this season. The previous best for U-M and in the conference was by teammate Manny Harris, who had 15 against Norfolk State (Nov. 25).

Michigan played 10 players with the lowest minutes going to Zack Gibson and Jevohn Shepherd who both played 13 minutes. I would expect that Coach Beilein is going to want to trim down the rotation a bit as they head into Big Ten play. He has said in the past he likes to use 7 or 8 guys in his rotation. 


Michigan Hammers Norfolk State

November 25, 2008

novaknf11Let me start out by saying I love the chemistry on this team. These guys are really functioning as a unit on the court. They are playing hard and they are playing together. Coach Beilein said you can beat anybody when you believe in what you are doing. These guys believe.

Michigan had to win this game and preferably in convincing fashion and that is exactly what they did with an 81-49 victory over an outmatched Norfolk State team.

Michigan actually started the game 0-10 from the field and did not score until Stuart Douglass hit a three pointer at the 15:21 mark. Zack Novak provided a huge spark in the first half with 10 points.

Manny Harris continued his incredible start to the season by scoring 16 points, hauling down a career high 15 rebounds, dishing out 4 assists, and picking up a steal.

shepherdnfJevohn Shepherd had the best game of his career scoring 11 points to go along with 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 1 block and 0 turnovers.

Anthony Wright started the game 0-5 but finished 4-5 good for 12 points and he had 5 rebounds

Michigan was really pushing the tempo especially when Kelvin Grady was in at the point. Grady was playing very fast and under control. Grady only scored 3 points but had 5 assists against 2 turnovers.

Coach John Beilein said in the post game that Michigan’s offensive transition game was “exceptional tonight”. He said he wants to run on every rebound and every turnover at full speed, just go.

He also mentioned that Manny Harris had 10 defensive rebounds and “that is the greatest face break you can have because everyone has to go at his (Harris’) speed, which is very fast”.

The Wolverines had some very good ball movement as they played very unselfish basketball. They really seem to be coming together as a team and that great chemistry that Coach Beilein said this team has is becoming very apparent.  


Tim McCormick did the color commentary. Being a Clarkston native I have always respected McCormick and I have noticed that he is not afraid to tell it as it is. When things don’t look good he will say that and not try to serve any maize and blue Kool-Aid. On this night McCormick had a lot of good things to say, which I take as a good sign about the team. Here are some of his comments:   

On Laval Lucas-Perry: He said that Lucas-Perry has a unique ability to separate and he said “this guy gets it”. He also said that LLP will be the best point guard Michigan has had since Rumeal Robinson. 

 On Zack Novak: Novak understands the offense at the level of a junior or senior. 

On Manny Harris: Manny reminds him of former Michigan great Mike McGee. He also said Manny is the best scorer in the Big Ten and that he can score in many different ways. 

McCormick also said what I have heard several other basketball people say about Michigan, “they play hard”.  

Inside the numbers: After starting the game 0-10 Michigan shot 32-61 good for 54% from the field. The Wolverines had 21 assists on 32 made field goals. Michigan had 14 turnovers, 7 steals, and 5 blocked shots. Michigan did out rebound the Spartans 49-35 and had 16 offensive rebounds. Michigan was 9-27 on three pointers and had 6 different players make a three pointer.

Notes: Ben Cronin played 8 minutes and scored 6 points to go along with 2 rebounds.
Zack Gibson tweaked his back in the first half and did not return.


Another Look at the UCLA game

November 21, 2008

I like how ESPNs Andy Katz said it in this article, It was just one game, but it was against one of the most famous programs on one of the most famous stages.


83742129NL028_2K_SPORTS_CLAThe first half was a bit rough. Coach Beilein said this about the first half,

“The first half to me looked a lot like last year’s team,” said Beilein, who watched his team fall behind by as many as eight points in the opening half. “We’d act like there’s a grenade in our hands and think the ball’s going to blow up if we didn’t do anything with it.”

They were down but not out. UCLA coach Ben Howland said, “When they got down 10 it didn’t rattle them”.

I think back to what Coach Beilein said last week, that this team has great chemistry. I am a big believer in team chemistry. I could see evidence of great chemistry on this team last night.

One of the most dramatic plays of the game was proof of that. With :34 seconds left in the game Anthony Wright hit DeShawn Sims on a back door cut for a dunk and a 4 point lead. Here is what Sims said about that play, “I knew Anthony was going to make that pass”.

How did he know that?

With less than a minute left, Beilein let Anthony Wright know in a time-out huddle that the Bruins, who were over-pressuring Sims in the five position, were leaving themselves open to a backdoor cut to the basket.


When I was taking a lot of heat for my 21 wins prediction one of my reasons for that prediction was John Beilein. The guy is a great coach and you cannot discount that. We have not seen a coach like this in my lifetime at Michigan.

I remember when Beilein was hired that Tim McCormick said John Beilein will be the best coach Michigan Basketball has ever had.


These guys trust each other and they trust their coach. Their coach believes in them and they believe in their coach. Coach Beilein said, “You can win against anybody if you just believe in what you do.” I think they believe.



Inside the numbers: Michigan was out rebounded 38-25. Michigan had 15 assists against 10 turnovers and forced UCLA into 17 turnovers. I think that is the difference in the game right there. Michigan’s execution of the 1-3-1 forced UCLA into those turnovers and the Wolverines converted those into easy baskets on numerous fast breaks.

In the final 6:50 of the game UCLA scored 9 points. In the final 2:30 of the game UCLA scored 2 points.


This was Michigan’s first win against a top-five ranked opponent since the 1997-98 season when U-M beat No. 1 Duke 81-73 on Dec. 3, 1997, at Crisler Arena.


83742129NL035_2K_SPORTS_CLAFreshmen Stuart Douglass had a break out game and showed off his quick release and unlimited range last night. He also continued to show the ability to set up his teammates as a playmaker.

Michigan Defeats #4 UCLA 55-52

November 20, 2008
Michigan UCLA BasketballMaybe this surprised some folks but of the 143 votes in the poll on this blog 64% said Michigan was going to win this game. Well, Michigan pulled the upset defeating the #4 UCLA Bruins 55-52 at Madison Square Garden.
Michigan kept hanging around and staying within striking distance. I could sense early on that Michigan just might pull this off.  

Michigan took their first lead of the game when Manny Harris hit a 3 pointer at the 16:39 mark of the second half. That was after being down at one point 29-19 and making 1 of 12 first half three point shots.

Michigan came out battling in the second half and freshmen Stuart Douglass provided the spark. First Douglass hit a mid range jumper to cut UCLAs lead to 29-25, moments later Douglass hit a deep three to pull Michigan within one point at 29-28.

DeShawn Sims was ESPNs player of the game. Peedi scored 18 on 9-15 shooting and grabbed 5 rebounds. 

Michigan UCLA BasketballThe team played with a great flow. The 1-3-1 defense was causing havoc for UCLA. Meanwhile the Wolverines were executing on offense. Michigan continually worked for and found good shots. Here are some examples of that execution:
Manny Harris drove into the paint and 3 Bruins converged on him. Manny found DeShawn Sims open and kicked it out to him and Sims knocked down a long jumper and
Michigan was leading 40-36.

Stuart Douglass made a nice dish to Anthony Wright for a lay up to put Michigan up 44-41.
Manny Harris picked up a steal and hit Douglass on the outlet pass, Douglass dropped the ball off to Sims in the paint and DeShawn finished to put Michigan up 51-48.

 Perhaps the most clutch execution came with 34 seconds left in the game and Michigan leading 51-49. Anthony Wright executed a perfect bounce pass to Sims on a back door cut and Sims finished the play and put Michigan up 53-49. That play was simply humongous. 83742129NL027_2K_SPORTS_CLA

Manny Harris capped things off by draining two clutch free throws with 4.1 seconds left to put Michigan up 55-52. For good measure Manny blocked Darren Collision’s three point shot at the buzzer to seal the win.

Stuart Douglass had a break out game scoring 10 points and going 2-3 on three pointers. Douglass also dished out 4 assists. 

Manny Harris finished with 15 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 blocks.
Michigan coach John Beilein is now 3-1 against UCLA in his career.  

Michigan (3-0) will play Duke in the championship game of the 2K Sports Classic on Friday (11/21) at 7pm. Ironically Michigan will also play Duke on December 6th at Crisler Areana.


Michigan vs. UCLA Preview

November 17, 2008

First of all, thanks to everybody for voting in the poll and for all the feedback I have been receiving so far. Let us know who you think will win the game by voting in the poll at the end of this post.


Michigan has a tough assignment going against the 4th ranked UCLA Bruins. The game will be played at 9pm on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. The game will be televised on ESPN2.

UCLA features their own version of the Fab Five with their freshmen class, headlined by point guard Jrue Holiday. However, they still rely heavily on two seniors in Darren Collision and Josh Shipp.

Collision is fresh off PAC-10 Player of the Week honors and he was named the MVP of the Los Angeles Regional of the 2K Sports Classic. Click here to read more about Collision’s awards.manny2k


Manny Harris was named the Big Ten Player of the Week and he was named the MVP of the Ann Arbor Regional of the 2K Sports Classic.



UCLA is certainly an outstanding team but they are a team that Michigan is somewhat familiar with. This will be the 7th straight season Michigan has played UCLA. Michigan has lost 4 straight to the Bruins after beating them in 2002-03 and 2003-04.

I am sure Coach Howland will have his team paying close attention to Manny Harris. The keys will be for Zack Gibson and DeShawn Sims to be a factor in the paint and for some of our shooters to bang down some three balls to help open up things for Manny.

The good thing is that Coach Beilein seems to have a nice crew of shooters when you consider that Stuart Douglass, David Merritt, Kelvin Grady, Anthony Wright, CJ Lee and Zack Novak are all capable of knocking down some three pointers. Also the defense will need to be very active and we can’t afford to get crushed on the boards.


  All of the experts out there are giving Michigan no chance to win this game. I don’t know what is going to happen. I do have the feeling that Michigan is going to play a lot better then people think they will. 


It should be mentioned that on Saturday Northeastern went to Providence and beat the Friars 70-66.


Duke will play Southern Illinois prior to the Michigan vs. UCLA game. The winners of the two games will play on Friday as will the losers of the two games.





2009 Recruiting Class

November 14, 2008

Michigan kicked off the early signing period by receiving 4 letters of intent. The 2009 recruiting class is a good one and fills many of the needs the team has. Here are the commits:

Darius Morris: 6-4 PG, from Los Angeles, California
Blake McLimans: 6-10 F, from Hamburg, New York
Jordan Morgan: 6-8 F, from Detroit, Michigan
Matt Vogrich: 6-4 SG, from Lake Forest, Illinois

MGoBlue has a good write up on the class, including Coach Beilein’s comments on each player.
Here is the link MGoBlue

Morris is a highly rated point guard. Vogrich was recently named the best shooter in the 2009 class by The Sporting News. McLimans is a versatile big man who Beilein thinks could be a star. Morgan is a good all around player with good size.


The Wolverines will lose 3 players from this years squad and they are David Merritt, CJ Lee, and Jevohn Shepherd.

This is what the roster should look like next year:

Jr. PG – Kelvin Grady
So. SG/PG – Laval Lucas-Perry
So. SG – Stuart Douglass
Fr. PG – Darius Morris
Fr. SG – Matt Vogrich
So. SG – Stuart Douglass
Jr. SF- Corperryale “Manny” Harris
RS Jr. F – Anthony Wright
So. SF – Zack Novak
RS Sr. C – Zack Gibson
Sr. PF – DeShawn Sims
So. C – Ben Cronin
Fr. PF – Jordan Morgan
Fr. PF – Blake McLimans

Michigan vs. Northeastern

November 14, 2008
 Before I get started here I want to mention something that I forget to comment on after the Michigan Tech game. I love the new court. The big block M at center court looks awesome.

Michigan played game number 2 this season against Northeastern in the regional final of the 2K Sports Classic. Coach Beilein went with the same starting five that he used against Michigan Tech.
Northeastern had the lead briefly at the beginning of the game. They were up 2-0 and maybe 4-2. At the first time out Michigan was up 10-7 and never trailed the rest of the way.
I wondered how Manny Harris would follow up his 30 point 7 rebound performance. Well all he did was score 26 points, grab 10 rebounds, dish out 8 assists and for good measure he notched a steal and a block. Wow, Manny was great.

Inside the numbers: Michigan shot 53.5% from the field and held Northeastern to 29.3%. Michigan had 15 assists against 14 turnovers. Michigan was 5-14 on three point shooting.
Michigan was getting hammered on the boards by Northeastern in the first half but by the end of the game the rebounding tally was tied at 29 for each team. However Northeastern did have 18 offensive rebounds to Michigan’s 9.
Manny Harris

Manny Harris

He flirted with the second triple double in Michigan history. Gary Grant is the only Wolverine to ever record a triple double and he did it on 3/14/1987 against North Carolina.
Deshawn Sims chipped in 19 points and 7 rebounds in 32 minutes off the bench. He was on the receiving end of at least 4 nice feeds from Manny. Jay Williams remarked during the telecast that Manny was spoon feeding Sims down low. He sure was and that was great to see Sims making his presence felt in the paint.
At the half Michigan was up 29-23. The good was that the Wolverines had gone 11-11 on free throws in the first half. The bad was Northeastern tallied 11 offensive rebounds in the half.
Coming out to start the second half Douglass knocked down another triple. Douglass followed that up moments later by picking up a steal and feeding Harris on the fast break for a 3 point basket that put Michigan up 42-29.

Stuart Douglass launches a 3.

Stuart Douglass launches a 3.

Northeastern chipped away at the lead and had it down to 49-41. However, Michigan went on a nice run to put the game away for good.
In the second half Zack Novak nailed a 3 pointer and was also fouled on a missed three pointer and he converted all 3 free throws. Speaking of free throws Michigan shot 25-26 from the line, which is good for 96.2%.
The final score was 76-56 and Michigan punched their ticket to Madison Square Garden and a likely match up on Thursday (11/20) with UCLA.

From the who cares department: I noticed that Jevohn Shepherd is starting to look like Jerod Ward.

Jerod Ward

Jerod Ward