The Wolverine

February 2014

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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ON POINT Derrick Walton And Spike Albrecht Are Teaming Up For A Smooth Sequel S BY JOHN BORTON pike Albrecht went from raining threes in the national championship game to wondering how Trey Burke's departure would rain on Michigan's 2013-14 parade. Albrecht admitted pondering how he and rookie Derrick Walton would replace all of Burke's huge contributions to a Final Four run. "Then I realized we couldn't," Albrecht noted. "But there was plenty we could do." That realization represents a good start, just like the one Michigan's new point guard duo has achieved. Nobody is going to plug into the place of the consensus National Player of the Year and first-round NBA Draft choice and carry on seamlessly. Last season, Burke supplied a team-leading 18.6 points and 6.7 assists per game, while shooting 46.3 percent from the floor, 38.4 percent from three-point range and 80.1 percent from the free throw line. As for his clutch moments in pushing Michigan to greater heights, put it this way: Kansas is still wondering how it got booted by Burke back to Lawrence. Michigan has moved on, its 5-0 start to the Big Ten season demonstrating it isn't bereft without Burke. Albrecht and Walton have played a major role in that effort, but the Wolverines have also featured an allhands-on-deck approach to chugging forward on the post-Trey train. Through 17 games, sophomore wingman Nik Stauskas actually led the Wolverines in assists, with 60. So the Wolverines aren't relying on just one individual for most of the scoring setups. That makes it more comfortable for everyone, head coach John Beilein asserted, just like having a pair of point guards to run the show at any given time. "We went through a couple of years where, if we took C.J. Lee out of the game, or Darius Morris out of the game, or Trey Burke out of the game, anything could happen," Beilein noted, regarding depth at the point. "That has been a really good thing." WALTON GROWING AS THE GAMES GO BY Walton certainly didn't face an enviable task coming in, as the athletic heir apparent to Burke's wizardry. But the freshman out of De-

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