The Wolverine

November 2014

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 72 of 161

BASKETBALL14-15 BY JOHN BORTON J unior guards Caris LeVert and Spike Albrecht have played, as they like to say, on Monday night. Not just any Monday night, but the Monday night in col- lege basketball. They've played when the brightest lights of their sport trained directly on them in the crescendo of the sea- son, inside a football stadium recon- figured for basketball. They joined sophomores Derrick Walton, a gritty point guard, and Zak Irvin, a shooter without conscience, in coming within a bounce or two of another Final Four last year. That Core Four of perimeter play- ers understands what Michigan lost in the past NBA Draft. And to a man, they insist it doesn't matter. It's about retooling, gearing up and getting into overdrive all over again. "Every year you've got new faces, but you've got the same expecta- tions," Albrecht offered. "We want to compete at the highest level and develop our players. We've done a pretty good job of that, and our coaches have done a fabulous job of that." So much so, they've seen the Big Ten Player of the Year bolt for the NBA the past two seasons following a sophomore campaign. Last spring, two big men joined the exodus, al- though by last year's NCAA Tourna- ment run, the Wolverines had long since learned to play without sopho- more center Mitch McGary. And while others aren't convinced yet — Michigan is picked fifth or sixth in the Big Ten by most pre- season publications — the Wolver- ines are taking a why-not attitude toward eventual high achievement. "When you have a program, that's the attitude," assistant coach La- Vall Jordan pointed out. "It's about Michigan and how we do things. The names on the back are going to change, but we have a core set of val- ues we believe in. We have a system to the way we do things, a structure we believe in. "Our guys know that. They invest and put the time in, to be able to han- dle the responsibilities and execute it. It's a next-man-up, next-team-up THE CORE FOUR U-M Features A Quartet Of Backcourt Returnees Determined Not To Take A Step Back

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