Sunday, March 9, 2008

Purdue 69 Michigan 58 1:03 Remaining

So I wasn't exactly right about Michigan losing a close one. But I was for the first thirty or so minutes...Story of the season. Michigan was tight throughout leading a majority of the game until the last 10 minutes. All of a sudden the Wolverines couldn't play defense or make a shot even if they could get one off before throwing the ball away. The score of the final 10 minutes was Purdue 26 Michigan 8. Regardless of numbers, even when Michigan was winning it wasn't pretty. A couple of things really bothered me with the play.

Deshawn Sims wants to be the leader of this team. Sims wants to be the best player. He criticized Tommy Amaker for letting guys off too easy last year and for the players not giving their best effort. Sims' play to end the season has made him look nothing short of a complete hypocrit summed up by today's effort. Yes, he finally broke his slump and was 7-15 from the field, but he did not play well. I sat in the student section for the first time today (which by the way is terrible) and could see Sims' effort or lack thereof up close. Sometimes it seems like he is not thinking at all on the court and is just mindlessly going through the motions. Once on a fast break Sims took the ball and saw a defender coming back to block his layin. He turned and there is no doubt he saw the player. At this point, most players would do one of two things A. Attack the basket with power and try to dunk it (drawing a foul) or B. Stop, compose themselves wait for the defender to jump then go up (drawing a foul). Instead, Sims sees the guy yet still goes up weak like no one is there getting rejected by the rim and not even coming close to drawing a foul. Another time, Kelvin Grady made a great steal when Michigan was trying to come back and after the great play kicked it out to Sims at the 3 point line. But Deshawn, without a defender around him looked up away from the ball practically rolling to him, and let it go out of bounds. Opportunity lost. Not to mention throughout the game he stands out on the 3 point arc instead of doing the dirty work that a guy his size is capable of doing (setting picks, posting up, boxing out). I loved Deshawn Sims for the majority of the season and see NBA potential in him. However, he doesn't stand a chance of making the NBDL if he continues to put forth this lackadaisical effort. It's obvious Deshawn, just wake up.

That rant went on a lot longer than I would like, but here's a few more things:

Kelvin Grady: hold on to the ball, you are supposed to be a point guard whose job is to take care of the ball.
Manny Harris: hold on to the ball and play hard the entire game, you are the most athletic player by far on this team and if you give an effort the whole game teams would have nightmares about you. 8 shot attempts is unacceptable.
Ron Coleman: Goodbye and Good Riddance, you made it obvious that you have not worked at all during your four years being the same player if not worse than you were freshman year. We won't miss you.
Zach Gibson: You are the worst player by far on the team and perhaps in the NCAA. Having said that at least you try which some of the talented guys cannot say for themselves.
Maize Rage: 1. Be in unison. Example: If when an opposing player commits a foul you want to say "it's all your fault" actually have everyone say it bc otherwise, noone outside the section can hear you and it just sounds stupid. 2. Actually make noise when the opponent is shooting a free throw, you are only supposed to be quiet for Michigan free throws. 3. Having said that, this team is terrible and having sat in the student section today, I really cannot blame you for being quiet. It is extremely hard to cheer loud for this team. So big props to those who have come out to most games this year because they really aren't that fun.

Let's end with some quick positives.

Epke Udoh: You are the only one who gives a complete effort out on the floor and you showed it today. Great job defensively as usual and especially on offense today. You typically have a hard time scoring, but today carried the team on your back early which should show your teammates what happens when you actually work hard. Gasp.
C.J. Lee: You continue to impress me with your leadership on the court and effort. You might not be the best player, but you lead by example which this team needs. Being up close I could see when you are out on the court, there is more communication and you give it your all.

Despite this negative post, I still have hope for this team. This is just anger after witnessing that my criticism of the maize rage might be SOMEWHAT unwarranted due to how bad the team is. The maize rage is still stupid in the examples mentioned above, but just showing up for this team when they don't give an effort is laudable. Anywho, back to the matter, this team is talented no matter what other people say. Talent still needs to put forth an effort to succeed, though. That starts with Deshawn Sims and then Manny Harris the two most talented guys on the team. Sims should follow the lead of Epke and Manny of C.J. Lee and then they will blossom into the players they are capable of being.

I expect to see a better effort in the Big Ten tournament and will stick to my prediction of a Big Ten tourney championship until they lose. No matter what happens, Belein has to make sure he keeps these guys working hard in the offseason and next year. If he does, this team can turn alot of heads next year.

But for now, we just suck.

Be sure to tune into Extra Points tomorrow at 6 PM on 88.3 FM Ann Arbor, or at click listen live. You can hear everyone rant tomorrow.


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