Crossroads: The State of Michigan Basketball

Forever we have heard, “Michigan isn’t a basketball school,” but what does that mean? Michigan fans are still upset when they lose to rivals on the court, so why aren’t they a basketball school? They brag about the Fab 5, drool over potential five star recruits and are sponsored by Jordan, all while paying a coach over three million a year to produce wins.

I’m going to go out on a limb and tell you exactly what will make the University of Michigan a basketball school: recruit a different style of player. Sure, Michigan has plenty of talented young men but they’re missing one very important piece to the puzzle. They need guys with some “dawg” in them.  

“Dawg,” meaning a player that you can go to for a bucket, someone you can depend on to for a game saving block, or dunking in the opponent’s face all while screaming in it. Just picture former point guard Trey Burke or Tim Hardaway Jr., those guys had the heart of a champion and they weren’t afraid to let you know it.

Remember Darius Morris? The California born point guard may not have been the most physically gifted player but the guy defended his home court, especially against rivals. He once told a Michigan State team to “get the *bleep* off my court,” after a home Maize & Blue victory.

I don’t know these guys personally but I don’t see a single guy on that team that might say a thing like that. I’m not saying its right but I will say it’s needed. Three point shooters are great but a few dunks from Glenn Robinson III pumps up the crowd just a little bit more.

Moral of the story, head coach John Beilein needs to hit the inner city gyms and pull out the guys that have a motto of ‘ball is life’. Some athletes that all they know is the blacktop of a beat up court with no nets. Beilein’s players are just too nice.

If Beilein wants to win consistently, he will have to get his hands dirty and bring back some athletes with attitude- athletes with some “dawg” in them.

Tuesday’s victory over MSU and Sunday’s win over Indiana showed a few players with heart and the will to win, but the problem is that not everyone is consistently giving that efford. Until that happens, Michigan will continue to be an up and down team from year to year.

Photo Credit: Marc-Gregor Campredon/MGoBlog

Emmitt Jenkins