The element to this Michigan team that has fans and the media so excited it the tremendous freshman class. John Beilein‘s freshmen include three players in the top 100, according to Rivals. They are fast, athletic and very exciting. Oh yeah, they are also winning games for Michigan. So, lets see how each one is doing five games in.
Glenn Robinson III- Robinson has simply been fantastic. As Dan Dakich mentioned a couple of times Wednesday night, Robinson has an NBA body, as a freshman. He is 6-7, and is ripped. He has a huge upper-body, that actually reminds me of ex-Kansas player Thomas Robinson. Robinson adds impressive speed to his strength, with Beilein stating, “Everybody talks about his athleticism, his vertical jump, (but) his speed is amazing.”
Having a great basketball body is one thing, but actual production is all that matters at the end of the day. Robinson has been filling the stat sheet, averaging 13 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists in 31 minutes a game. He is special in his ability to get to the rim, using his athletic abilities and size. However, he also has a nice jumpshot that he showcased against Pittsburgh, late in the game. Dakich marveled at Robinson’s NBA body, but Robinson matches that with an NBA skill set. He is special and should improve as the season progresses.
Mitch McGary- McGary is very similar to Robinson, in his terrific body and elite athleticism. McGary, who as a top five recruit before a mediocre senior year, has shown flashes of why he was so desired by Beilein. He has not been playing as much as Robinson, but has had some great plays. He has a non-stop motor on the court, sometimes to a fault. Though he made some nice defensive plays against Pitt, McGary’s most impressive play was his highlight fast-break layup from the free throw line.
McGary is not very polished, but can be very effective in short spurts. He has so much energy that he can change the momentum of the game with just a few plays, and has been impressive so far.
Nik Stauskas- Stauskas was the proverbial third wheel in the freshman class. He was the lowest rated of the top three, but still a top 100 player. Stauskas has showed he is more than just an outstanding three point shooter. He has made nice defensive plays and driven in to the paint for some nice layups. He is athletic and a good ball handler, for 6-6. Stauskas has been very productive early, being a key to the win over Pitt. He is averaging 12 points a game, and put in 15 Wednesday.
His most important attribute is his three point shooting, though. With the losses of Zach Novak and Stu Douglass, Michigan needed a sharpshooter. They have Matt Vogrich, but he is more one-dimensional, and a weak spot on the defense. Stauskas can do everything on the court, including being a 57% three point shooter.
Spike Albrecht- Albrecht was the only freshman that was not recruited. He has not played much, as a reserve point guard. He did, however, start in Michigan’s exhibition game against Northern Michigan, due to Trey Burke’s suspension.
Things are looking good for Michigan, and their freshmen, who take on Kansas State, Friday in the NIT Season Tipoff title game.