With Glenn Robinson III and Nik Stauskas among the four members of the Michigan rotation having moved on following a season in which the Wolverines won the Big Ten regular season title and reached the Elite Eight, a summer trip to Italy comes as just the right time. Head coach John Beilein and his assistants will be able to evaluate the returnees and newcomers in game action, with the program leaving the States on August 15.
Unfortunately for the Wolverines 6-foot-9 freshman forward D.J. Wilson will only be a spectator in Italy, as it was announced Wednesday afternoon that he’ll be out for 4-6 weeks following surgery to repair the pinky finger on his right hand.
“This is an unfortunate injury for D.J.,” Beilein said in the release. “However, we have the best training and medical staff here at U-M, so we know he is in good hands. We anticipate a speedy recovery so D.J. will be back and at 100 percent when we start our September workouts.”
With Robinson, Jordan Morgan and Jon Horford (graduate transfer to Florida) all having moved on, the play of the front court is something many will keep track of while the Wolverines are in Italy. Heading into the 2014-15 season Michigan has just one upperclassman in its front court and that’s senior Max Bielfeldt, who played just 4.7 minutes per game (19 appearances) last season.
Wilson is expected to compete for playing time alongside the likes of redshirt freshman Mark Donnal and classmates Ricky Doyle and Kameron Chatman (who’s listed as a guard/forward by the school). It goes without saying that the opportunity to see Wilson in game action would have been a positive for Beilein and his staff, but the good news is that they expect him to be ready for workouts ahead of the start of practice.
The injury Stephen Zimmerman suffered on Saturday will keep the star UNLV freshman out for at least a week, a source told NBC Sports.
The injury is not thought to be serious, however. Zimmerman may be kept out for longer as a precaution, but that’s a result of the Runnin’ Rebels being in a situation where the rest of their regular season is relatively meaningless.
They’re not getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament regardless of how they finish out league play. With back-up center Ben Carter out with a torn ACL, it’s more important to make sure that Zimmerman, who is averaging 10.6 points and 9.1 boards this season, is totally healthy for the Mountain West tournament.
That tournament, mind you, will be played at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.
So the Runnin’ Rebels, regardless of how poor they’ve played this season, will always have a chance to land an automatic bid.
Anyway, the more interesting aspect of this story is how Zimmerman injured the knee. It was a completely avoidable play that came after the whistle, but I’m not sure it was what you would call a “dirty play”. You tell me:
With a little more than three minutes left on Monday night, No. 24 Texas held a 57-51 lead on No. 3 Oklahoma in Norman as Jordan Woodard struggled again and Buddy Hield failed to find the rhythm that he had throughout the first three months of the season.
At that point in the game, Hield was 4-for-14 from the floor with 15 points and four turnovers. He had just missed a pair of wide-open threes
“I couldn’t make a shot,” Hield said after the game. But that changed down the stretch. First, Hield finally got a three to drop. On the next possession, he got all the way to the rim and scored. On the following two possessions, he was fouled on a drive to the rim and hit four free throws. And after missing a pull-up jumper, Hield did this:
“I told coach I wanted the ball,” Hield said, “I saw Lammert coming to bite, so I pulled up.”
“It’s all money.”
Hield is already the favorite to win National Player of the Year, and this performance is only going to help his cause further. Think about it like this: Buddy was not good on Monday night, at least according to his (admittedly lofty) standards. But he still finished with 27 points and shook off a cold shooting night just in time to take over down the stretch.
Now think about this: Hield’s head coach has enough confidence in him to hand him the keys in the final minutes despite the fact that he’s struggling and on a team that has two other players that Lon Kruger trusts on game-winning possessions. Think about it. When Oklahoma beat West Virginia at the buzzer, it was Jordan Woodard that the play was drawn up for. When they beat LSU, it was Isaiah Cousins that got the rock on the final possession while Hield was used as a decoy. .
Want to talk about coaching luxuries?
Kruger has three guards that can shoot, penetrate and score, and penetrate and kick, and one of them is the National Player of the Year that doesn’t mind being used as a decoy.