Wednesday, December 1, 2021


Tonight we are watching Michigan basketball for the first time this season.

So far Juwan hasn't punched anyone.  And Dick Vitale is older than 100.

North Carolina doesn't look very good.  Michigan looks awful.

The two players I wanted most to see before it were Devante Jones and Caleb Houstan.  Vitale is repeating himself.  I had read some fan reactions and they are not positive.

Devante lived up, or down, as it were.  He is terrible; I have never seen anyone put their head down like that, dribble around in circles, and accomplish nothing.  He provides nothing.  He is not a ballhandler--even a 5-year old is taught to keep his or her head up when dribbling.  He does not rebound or create shots and he doesn't pass unless he circles around to your chest to hand you the ball.  He has no jump shot and if he tried I would look away; it would be a paraplegic nightmare.  Someone wrote that he looks as if he was in a car wreck--heaven forbid--and he sustained two severe knee injuries.  He has this floater, but it looks tortured--he doesn't look at the basket, or the defender, or the court, or his teammates--and it doesn't go in.

I read Moussa is good and he is.  But he and everyone else on the team is playing one-on-one.  I haven't seen a pass yet.

Houstan--someone hit a pretty nice jump shot and I think it was him..  Then he fell down shooting a free throw.

Johns doesn't start anymore.

Earlier Houstan looked...  remember that woman on Seinfeld who couldn't swing her arms when she walked?  Vitale is babbling incoherently.  I remember from recruiting that he has a large torso.  He looks too pumped up on weights, steroids, or both.

Frankie Collins made a pass and could have gained an assist.  Michigan has no perimeter shooters, a la Beilein at all.  Can Juwan coach?  (Not saying Beilein with walk-ons and stubborn benching is the standard.)  If  this team doesn't learn what a pass is it is going to be a very long season.  They look like an ad hoc pick-up team.

Which is why Hunter Dickinson and Eli Brooks are barely contributing.  Dickinson has expanded his repertoire (small jump shot, trying 3's); he may regret coming back because he could have done that in the NBA with a million dollar paycheck.  He is not being utilized and he is not the player he was last year because of it.  He is still young and he cannot lead the whole team from the center position.  At the moment, he is a wasted talent.

This was commented on by others too:  Collins helps form the offense.  Did I mention, Devante Jones is awful.  But yeah, he removed himself from the NBA draft.  Anyway, Frankie is one of those hair flowing, fast running, energy guys.  

Diabate is good and he is the reason Michigan is ahead, but he just got chewed-up in the low post.  Dickinson is out and North Carolina is, almost, will they...

Oh God, Jones is dribbling the ball up court now.  That was the worst offensive set and shot by Brooks I have seen.

Frankie looks like a Cheech and Chong movie.  

They did it North Carolina 29 Michigan 27 at the half.

Vitale, if you don't hit the cough button I will.  The guy from Duke was really good in the State game.

I don't know, Zeb Jackson is injured.  Terrance Williams, haven't seen or noticed him yet.  From the box score:  Brandon Johns has 1 rebound, 1 assist, and 0 points.  Jace Howard?  Don't get me started.  Whatshisname, checks roster, Adrien "I want to graduate" Nunez has played in four games and averages 4.5 minutes; if I see him in this one I will turn it off.

Who is the halftime talking head.  Diabate all one-on-one.  Spacing.  Dickinson 3 shots.  "Michigan:  they just don't have it."

Actually, I'm pretty bored by the whole thing.  Carolina and their new coach, maybe they are on the upswing; they get recruits and they should be a top 20 team every year.  They're playing and they'll win.

Big news, checks ESPN...

He doesn't look like an athlete, or skilled basketball player, to me.

I agree with Vitale in that Dickinson (on the bench with 4 fouls) looks out of it because he needs a team to support him.  Michigan shouldn't have been ranked; they should not have been favored, and Brooks--smash a guy his off hand--looks lost without a team too.

41-33 UNC.

What are they saying?  Carolina doesn't have great big men but they have talent.  Hubert Davis looks intellectual; Howard looks like the screaming father-coach of a middle school team.  Wait.  He is the father-coach of a pick-up team.

46-35.  Brandon Johns--in your face!  (In his face.)

Devante Jones:  1/7 with one assist.  Dickinson is sulking.  Michigan seven deep only.  It is very weird; it is as if Juwan Howard is not coaching at all.  The young players are trying but they need coaching!  

Let's think here.  Jones is not a D1 basketball player; Eli is not going to the NBA; Johns is a role player if you can find a role for him.  Dickinson is on the way to becoming a head case.  

Diabate is showing the biggest motor and skill.  He set screens.  He is trying to be court-aware.  He has a ways to go in terms of strength, defense, and post play.  He is Michigan's best player but not a Big Ten game winner by himself.

T. Williams is in, 53-38 eight minutes to go.

I missed it:  Jones with the reach in foul.  Did you see the one in the Seton Hall game where he...  That is not reaching-in.  It is never going to work.

Last year's Michigan basketball team was this year's Michigan State football team.  Transfers and they were really lucky it worked.

Back to the roster.  Houstan and Collins can probably play in time as average Big Ten players.


Devante Jones plays basketball with his shoulders.  Three times he has put his head down and banged someone with his shoulder.  That is, when he is not reaching in.  Eli Brooks is kind of a clod too.  He just knocked someone else to the floor, from behind, while he was shooting?  From what I read he has been doing it all year.  He has added 3 more turnovers too.

Michigan is now getting creamed (68-43).  Gotta get a coach, Coach!

Geez, Jaron Faulds is playing now.  Kobe Bufkin (long, thin, wild) is in too.  

It is embarrassing.  Most of the players played hard.  As a team they never even tried to win.


What I remember most is Dick Vitale screaming "He was a big-time scorer at Coastal Carolina!"  That was the last straw for both of them.

I am not onboard with Juwan Howard as head coach yet.  It is not going to change anytime soon--the coach or the team--so I will have plenty of time to observe.  

As I read on Mgoblog just yesterday (game day) Big Ten teams are going to see this and salivate.  I didn't look but I don't remember seeing any BLM patches this time around.  I think Howard should provide Michigan scholarships to deserving recruits outside his family.  I don't know what this collection was doing (trying to) play in Las Vegas at midnight.  I would have to do some research (which I am not going to do) but I don't think top recruiting classes necessarily translate into great teams; look at Kentucky and now everyone will transfer anyway.  Finally, I think a one-year extension to whatever contract he had would have been more appropriate.

In terms of the team, the one brightspot was a double post with Dickinson and Diabate.  Due to all kinds of other problems, they only did it for a few minutes, but they were getting shots and rebounds.  It didn't actually work, but it looked promising.

The stars are gone from last year and the year before that.  What is left is a collection of bit- or role-players.  The transfer-in market this year looks to be a total failure.  What else could Howard do?  He recruited the best class he or just about anyone could get.  In all reality it will take another one, maybe transfer help, hard decisions and a lot of coaching to get anywhere.

And yeah, the fans, the bloggers, and the very intelligent alumni are going to tear it apart.  The biggest thing I learned from Michigan football this year is that Harbaugh wanted tough guys over ones with extraordinary talent or rankings.  Sainristil and AJ Henning are under the radar examples; Haskins and Ojabo are blatant ones.  You need to want to play in Michigan Stadium.  And you have to weather it when it rains down like it does on me (i.e., Jim Harbaugh).

We saw it with the very-experienced former coach:  the best teams ever at Michigan and some really rotten ones too.  It is like a writer with a blank page; can you do it, Coach Howard?  It is a completely open question right now.

In the meantime, or for a long time, it will be ugly.

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