Every Thursday our writers sit down to chat about Michigan sports and the issues surrounding them. Today, they look at redshirts, hypothetical 3-on-3 basketball tournaments and early offers.
1) Of the 2013 class, which player do you think would benefit the most from a redshirt?
Michael Rothstein: Shane Morris. While offensive linemen usually redshirt to gain size and strength, Morris would be a huge benefactor of an extra year. He won't be Michigan's starter and barely played as a senior due to mononucleosis. Having a year to understand Al Borges' system would be extremely beneficial to his college career. However, he might not have that luxury due to the injury to Russell Bellomy which leaves him as the second healthy quarterback on the roster this fall.
Chantel Jennings: Kind of a strange answer, but I’m going to go with Derrick Green with the understanding that he’d benefit from a redshirt if the Wolverines had enough depth at running back. Obviously, he might come in and start, but I think Michigan coaches would rest easier and the offense would function better if he had a season (since he didn’t early enroll) to adjust to the speed of the game and get his eyes working at the level of a top college running back rather than a top high school running back. I think he’ll do fine, but it’ll be baptism by fire for sure.
Tom VanHaaren: This is an interesting question, because there are probably a lot of options. I'm going to exclude the offensive linemen, because that's obvious. I would narrow it down to Morris, Mike McCray II or Ben Gedeon. Morris might get thrown in the fire anyway, and with Jake Ryan's injury McCray II might need to be ready just in case. But I'll go with Gedeon. If he can take a year to put on some good weight and get acclimated I think he has a chance to be very good for Michigan.
2) If you were comprising a 3-on-3 basketball team of one Michigan player, one Ohio State player and one Michigan State player (from 2012-13 rosters), who would you choose and why?
Rothstein: I'd take Trey Burke, DeShaun Thomas and Adreian Payne. Burke was the best player in the country last season and is a do-it-all point guard. He can shoot, defend and was the best distributor in college ball last year. Thomas can score from any spot on the floor and when motivated, can defend well. Payne is the interior presence all good 3-on-3 teams need. He has shot=blocking capability, good post moves and if necessary can stretch the defense by making a 3-pointer. This team would beat any other combination in the Big Ten.
Jennings: Nik Stauskas, Aaron Craft and Derrick Nix. We’d have outside shooting, an inside presence and a ball-handler who no one would want to deal with. Most importantly, we’d have swagger. Plus, I think we’d outsmart any team that Tom or Mike would try to field.
VanHaaren: Stauskas, Gary Harris and Thomas. That gives me a good combination of shooting, ball-handling and size.
3) When it comes to offers, how early do you think is too early for Michigan to offer a player?
Rothstein: Any time before they are ready. Too often players feel pressured to commit because they either aren't a highly sought-after prospect or fall in love with a place without first doing their due diligence. But once a player has done that, it all depends on personal preference.
Jennings: I really don’t know how I feel about offers going out to players who haven’t even set foot in high school. I think for the sake of players, it would be nice to say that offers can’t go out until the end of a player’s sophomore year. That gives guys two years in high school to do what they do without the football offer pressure.
VanHaaren: College coaches can do whatever they want, but if I were the guy in charge of making some of the NCAA rules, this is what I would propose when it comes to offers and a few other parts of the process. No verbal or written offers until February of a prospect's junior academic year. I would allow official visits starting in March of a prospect's junior academic year as well. They would be allowed five visits that could be taken up until signing day of the prospect's senior year. That would take pressure off coaches and prospects and help make things easier on both sides.