The Wolverine

November 2011

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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2011-12 basketball preview Senior guard Stu Douglass, who has played in 102 straight games for U-M, averaged 7.1 points and 3.0 rebounds per contest last season. Photo by Per Kjeldsen one program to another, knowing where everybody else will be around you. I think that���s where Darius became really good last year, when he became aware of where everybody else should be and where they were, being able to make that decision. ���Carlton committed early. The vision early was he could get two feet in the paint and make plays, but how would he play without the ball because he���s had it in his hands in high school all the time? It���s about being able to pick up the offense, things like that ��� but he���s done a terrific job.��� Douglass (7.1 points and 3.0 rebounds per game), meanwhile, has seen spot duty at the point over the last few years but is dependable in that role. ���I call him ���steady Stu.��� He���s ready for whatever,��� Jordan said. ���He wants to win. I think whatever we need him to do on any given night, he���ll do, whether it���s 40 minutes at the point or if he needs to slide over and play two, if that���s our advantage. ���He is very versatile defensively and offensively. He can guard both, and play both. That���s a luxury. I 58��� the wolverine��� ������ November 2011 don���t ever take Stu for granted. He���s a valuable part of what we do.��� The hope, though, is that Douglass will be able to play plenty to his strengths ��� spotting up and knocking down shots on offense, locking down scorers on defense. That puts plenty of pressure on the freshmen to learn fast, but they���ve shown (so far) they���re capable. ���They���ve picked it up quickly, just working with them a few weeks,��� Jordan said. ���They are coachable, can make adjustments and apply pretty quickly. It���s exciting, and makes us believe it won���t take as long as we think. ���The good thing about all this is there���s no limit on when you can get it. It may take two weeks, some guys two years, but these are guys that will work at it and get it. It���s been better than expected with both of them, which is good, because they know we���ll probably need them early.��� Wings Ready For the Next Step The wings, meanwhile, all return a year older after enjoying success at some level last year. The now 6-5�� Hardaway Jr. was one of the pleasant surprises and one of the Big Ten���s top freshmen, averaging 13.9 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. He earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors from both coaches and media and has blossomed into a leader, Beilein said. Veteran assistant Jeff Meyer, who coaches the wings, said Hardaway has already established himself as a gifted player. Now he���s ready to elevate his game another notch. ���He���s earned the respect of our players with his work ethic and his demeanor,��� Meyer said. ���He���s going to naturally be a leader inside our program, inside our locker room, and we���ve kind of seen that this fall.��� What they started to witness with him last year ��� a potentially special three-point shooter who was starting to expand his game ��� is what they expect more of this year. That includes more attention to detail on defense. Hardaway certainly has the length to be an outstanding defender, and reports confirmed he was one of the better ones when he played with Team USA this summer at the FIBA U19 World Championships. ���He���s worked really hard at being a good defensive player,��� Meyer noted. ���He expends a lot of energy inside our offensive system, but we want him to have a vision for himself of being a complete player, defensively being able to lead us when we need him in matchup situations. I also think he can get more transition baskets up the floor, just because he���s had a good summer conditioning-wise and a good fall with his strength, and I think he���ll be able to get some put-backs on the glass. ���I see his skill set just expanding ��� leadership, defensively, and rebounding-wise, he���ll be better.��� The same goes for the 6-9 Smotrycz, who arrives a self-reported 36 pounds heavier (now 235) than he was after the Duke loss in March. A summer in the weight room has made him better equipped for Big Ten play, and it���s paying off. The sophomore was Michigan���s leading rebounder in scrimmages through the first few weeks of practice, and he hasn���t lost any of his offensive ability on the wing. Smotrycz shot a very solid 38

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