Thursday, May 15, 2008

Forecast: A Lonely Winter

Before I start, I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the live blog from Rob. Thanks to him and his Sixers, Kyle Korver got to show why he was one of the most underrated players in the league due to a trade for which the Sixers got... nobody, just a pick. Can't wait to see which athletic player with no jump shot (see Iguodala, Thad Young, Sam Dalembert) they draft next.

(Sorry, Rob. That was for the DET shots in the live blog. By the way, I'm holding you to the Dalembert Hawk thing if the Phils win the Series. No exceptions.)

OK, time to transition now from the pro game to the college game. According to a report off, University of Detroit Mercy landed another transfer played to their roster. The Titans have reportedly recruited Jason Bennett, a 7'3 center out of Tallahassee Community College. Bennett played at Kansas State for one season before transferring to TCC. Played in 27 games at KSU and averaged 2 points, 2 boards and 3 blocks a game. Bennett will join transfer Eli Holman, 6'11 forward from IU who was recently denied reinstatement to IU's basketball program by incoming coach Tom Crean, as part of new coach Ray McCallum's first recruiting class. U of D's front line next year will be 3 players with heights of 6'9, 7'3, and 6'11. And for a mid major, that's plain nasty.

WAIT! Don't stop reading yet....I would not waste 2 minutes of your life on U of D Mercy Athletics for no good reason. I'm just not that cruel. This story has meaning for two reasons: The first was that coming out of high school, Rivals had Michigan listed as Bennett's second choice in 2006. This means that although there was a vested interest in the University, Coach Beilein decided not to go after him because he appears to have a lot of vested confidence in Ben Cronin, the 7'1 incoming freshman. Let's hope this Cronin kid turns into the next Joe Alexander (and not the second coming of Zach Gibson) or else passing on a chance to get a 7'3 Center with Michigan ties could be costly .

The other (and more important) reason this move is terrible for Michigan is that it now could potentially mean that the state of Michigan could send four teams to the NCAA tournament next year, NONE of which would be the Wolverines. U of D now becomes a huge contender in the Horizon League (with Butler being the only big opponent), Oakland University will dress an experienced team that will be the favorite for the Summit League crown (and almost beat MSU and Michigan last year), and Western Michigan (who faltered in the MAC tourney last year) will be the favorite to get the automatic bid from their conference. And, of course, MSU will be among the top teams in the Big Ten despite losing Drew Nietizel. Kalin Lucas went under the radar for most of the year but had a huge NCAA tourney and will continue his progress. Lucas would've started at the point guard spot last year, had Neitzel not lost his mind and forgot how to shoot a basketball at the end of last year.

Having 4 solid programs in the State of Michigan will do great things for the game itself in the State, but it will also magnify Michigan's disappearance as a once proud basketball power. These schools will also be competitive, making it hard for Beilein to recruit big in-state talent (Two of the Top 3 players in Michigan will be headed to Oakland next year). This could make the rebuilding process far longer than anyone could have guessed.


Matt Boyer said...

Post Script: Korver was traded for Gordon Giricek and a pick... but the pick was the only thing of ANY value in that deal.

Rob S said...

The Sixers got 6.5 million of salary relief off of the cap from the trade. I'm not sure that Korver helped the Jazz last night.

Matt Boyer said...

Agreed. But after he joined the team, the Jazz went on like a 13-2 streak which propelled them to the 5 seed in a very competitive Western Conference.