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Return to the 2006-07 Top 144 Preview

September 26th, 2006

By Joel Welser

Broadcast Basketball

 

Michigan Wolverines

 

Overall Rank: #46

Conference Rank: #6 Big Ten

 

2005-06: 22-11, 8-8, 6th (t)

2005-06 postseason: NIT

 

Every year it seems that Tommy Amakerís Michigan squad has a lot of talent and a lot of depth.  Then that depth and much of the talent is lost for one reason or another and the Wolverines stumble down the stretch, only to make a nice little run in the NIT at seasons end.  Will history repeat itselfÖagain?  Or can this group finally get to the NCAAs?

 

Whoís Out: The frontcourt senior trio of Graham Brown, Chris Hunter and Amadou Ba didnít put up big numbers during their senior campaigns, but each will be missed.  Brown started all 33 games and was one of the toughest post players in the Big Ten.  Hunter averaged 8.1 points and 3.8 rebounds and was a solid option off the bench.  Ba, despite only seeing action in 13 games, was a fan favorite.  Daniel Horton is the big loss on the perimeter.  Horton averaged a team high 17.6 points and 5.3 assists.  While Hortonís departure will obviously hurt the team, Wolverine fans arenít worried due to the young talent ready to take over in the backcourt.  Sherrod Harrell and Hayes Grooms didnít see much action during their senior seasons, but both earned some playing time due to their hustle and work ethic.  Seldom used Alex Brzozowicz and Troy Sanchez wonít suit up in the maize and blue for the 2006-2007 campaign.

 

Whoís In: Nobody likes the long athletic wings like Coach Amaker.  Small forwards Kendric Price, Deshawn Sims and Anthony Wright fit that bill.  Price, who redshirted last year to gain strength and adjust to the better competition, has a tremendous outside shot and is expected to contribute right away.  Deshawn Sims has a nice mid-range game, but lacks the outside shooting consistency.  His ability to work off the block means Sims could see minutes at the three and four spots.  Wright shouldnít make much of an impact as a freshman, but he has a nice outside shot and has plenty of experience playing with great teammates at the famed Oak Hill Academy in Virginia.  Shooting guard KíLen Morris can rack up the points.  During his senior year in high school, Morris averaged 21.1 points, 8.7 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 2.6 steals at Grand Blanc High School in Michigan.  If things go bad at the point, Reed Baker is ready to take over.  The 6-1 freshman is a solid scorer and should see a few minutes off the bench at both backcourt spots.  The Wolverines could use a big, tough guy in the paint to replace Brown, and the Wolverines hope that Ekpe Udoh is the answer.  The 6-10, 240 pound power forward needs to bulk up if he wants to battle under the basket effectively, but he can play facing the basket and can hit the short jumper.  At the least, Udoh will contribute on the glass and in the shot blocking department.

 

Who to Watch: Dion Harris will take over the leading scorer role for his senior year.  After averaging 11.1 points per game last year, this is Harrisí team.  Heís a solid outside shooter, making 2.2 long balls per game last year.  Harris may be asked to take over the point guard duties if sophomore Jerret Smith isnít ready to handle the job.  Smith had his ups and downs as a freshman, but he will get the first shot at running the point.  Lester Abram returns to Ann Arbor for what seems like his ninth year of eligibility.  After a couple years of injuries, Abram is healthy and will be starting on the wing.  Last year he averaged 10.0 points per game in 21 contests and, assuming he stays healthy, the 6-6 Pontiac, Michigan product will get more points than that.  Ron Coleman will provide experience off the bench after earning 13 starts last year and averaging 5.8 points per game and sophomore Jevohn Shepherd looks to make a bigger impact after seeing limited playing time in 2005-2006.

 

Final Projection: The frontcourt has a couple interesting returners in Courtney Sims and Brent Petway.  Courtney Sims averaged 10.9 points and 5.7 rebounds last year and the 6-11 senior hopes to put together a big season this year.  The problem with Sims has been a seemingly lack of hustle and inconsistency.  Petway doesnít lack any hustle, but is limited in his overall game.  He can help out on the glass, but offensively his game is little more than dunks, albeit spectacular dunks.  They donít call him ĎAir Georgiaí for nothing.  The newcomers will have to provide the depth up front and donít be surprised if Petway or Courtney Sims donít spend much time in the starting role before Udoh, Price or Deshawn Sims take over. 

 

Projected Post-season Tournament: NCAA

 

Projected Starting Five:

Jerret Smith, Sophomore, Guard, 2.4 points per game

Dion Harris, Senior, Guard, 11.1 points per game

Lester Abram, Senior, Guard, 10.0 points per game

Brent Petway, Senior, Forward, 5.5 points per game

Courtney Sims, Senior, Center, 10.9 points per game

47 George Washington Ľ Complete List Ľ 45 Florida St

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