John Beilein has dealt with young teams his entire time at Michigan. That trend will continue for the Wolverines next season.
The projected starting lineup for the 2013-14 Michigan Wolverines will have three sophomores and two true freshmen. Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary are the three returning sophomores, while Zakarie Irvin and Derrick Walton are the two top-50 freshmen who are expected to start immediately. The five will have a combined 80 career starts, with 72 of those coming from Stauskas and Robinson. Needless to say, there will not be very much experience in this squad next season.
Just last season, Michigan had only two players past their sophomore year who averaged at least six minutes a game. The “Fresh Five” made up of Robinson, Stauskas, McGary, Caris Levert and Spike Albrecht were five freshmen who all played substantial minutes and made up five out of the nine members of Beilein’s normal rotation.
Obviously, the youth has not prevented Beilein from having success. Although there were many times where the inexperience of the team was obvious last year, they still were one game away from being national champions.
Overall, youth has been more present in the top college basketball teams, as the elite players are leaving after their freshmen year more and more. This makes a system where the most talented players in the country are often freshmen and sophomores, like Michigan’s Trey Burke last season. The best players don’t stay to play their junior or senior years, if even their sophomore season, resulting in the most talent concentrated in freshmen and sophomores. Michigan is a great example of this with two underclassmen leaving after this past season and a projected starting lineup next year that includes three sophomores and two freshmen.
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