The Wolverine

November 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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36 THE WOLVERINE NOVEMBER 2018 2018-19 BASKETBALL PREVIEW signed a one-year deal with the Mi- ami Heat) and Muhammad-Ali Ab- dur-Rahkman, who combined to ac- count for 214 of Michigan's 361 made triples a year ago. First impressions from overseas were at least a bit concerning. Michi- gan shot 54.0 percent on two-point- ers, but only 17.8 percent on three- pointers — although it's worth noting the team played on a 24-second shot clock, compared to the 30 they'd nor- mally play with, and the three-point line used was the international line, a foot further away from the rim than the collegiate line. They also seemed hesitant to shoot them. Freshman Ignas Brazdeikis, for one, didn't attempt any triples, and he's a good shooter. "The line was that much further," Beilein explained, holding his hands a foot apart. "For Duncan Robinson and Jordan Poole, maybe it's not a big deal. For the rest it's probably a big deal right now. I think it was that, and then we didn't really shoot a lot. We didn't get really comfortable with it, didn't have workouts in between … we were limited to three games, that's it. No practices, nothing. "And let's face it … we lost our three top shooters. That's a lot of threes in those three, high-percentage guys. We have to replace that some- how. I think we have guys that can shoot." Very few, though, have been vol- ume three-point shooters where that's what they do best, he noted. But Abdur-Rahkman became a good shooter, and that's what Beilein will ask of many on this team. "That personality change is im- portant with our guys," he said. "It's okay to go 0 for 3, because you might go 3 for 3 [next time]." SEVERAL NEED TO EMERGE AS SCORERS Poole and Livers are the best re- turning shooters on the squad, hav- ing shot 37.0 and 36.2 percent on threes last year, respectively. They'll be asked to hoist more this year from their positions. Guys like Simpson and Matthews have plenty of room for improvement in that area, while Brazdeikis and fel- low frosh Brandon Johns boast plenty of potential as shooters. There's room for others to produce in other ways. Beilein was also im- pressed with what he saw from red- shirt sophomore center Austin Davis overseas, for example. Davis aver- aged 10.7 points per game and domi- nated on the glass. "I really wasn't surprised, but ex- cited about what he did over there against the big boys," Beilein said. "I watch those Spain teams; those teams are good. For him to get of- fensive rebounds … what he's got to do is get stuff we've never really lived off. Loyola [in last year's Final Four game] was one of those games we lived off the boards because they were so small. "That's where his lifeblood should be. He has great hands, a great body, so get in there." Teske had a great summer — he has really improved and will be the favorite to start — but Davis is push- ing for time. On the perimeter, Poole is the most likely high-volume shooter, but he will also be the player most likely to fill Abdur-Rahkman's role as a guy who can get to the rim. Redshirt junior guard Charles Matthews, who flirted with leaving U-M early for the NBA, is the Wolverines' leading returning scorer at 13.0 points per game. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

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