Among the many personnel losses incurred by Michigan at the end of last season were the departures of Jordan Morgan and Jon Horford. While those two didn’t receive as much publicity as Nik Stauskas or Glenn Robinson III (or Mitch McGary when he was healthy), Morgan and Horford provided the Wolverines with valuable depth and experience on their way to a Big Ten regular season title and Elite Eight appearance.
Without those two Michigan will be young in the front court, with redshirt freshman Mark Donnal and true freshman Ricky Doyle competing for minutes. And while Donnal’s emerged during practices, a nagging ankle injury slowed Doyle down some in practice.
Friday afternoon head coach John Beilein had some good news regarding Doyle, as he stated that the 6-foot-9 power forward will be able to play in the team’s exhibition game Monday night according to Dylan Burkhardt of UMHoops.com.
Doyle has been battling through a ‘slight’ ankle sprain throughout the last few weeks which has limited him in practice. However, the 6-foot-9 center is expected to be full-go in Michigan’s exhibition opener.
“Ricky has had these little nagging (injuries), he wasn’t going full court until yesterday and then he had another slight problem before that we were just overly cautious with him,” Beilein explained. “So most of the minutes have gone with Mark right now, DJ and Max (Bielfeldt) have had minutes and now Ricky is back at full go. I’m hoping to give Ricky some really good time this upcoming game so he gets in there more.”
Fellow freshman D.J. Wilson and senior Max Bielfeldt are also competing for playing time, and the team’s game against Wayne State will give Beilein and his staff the chance to evaluate their options against outside competition. Guards Caris LeVert, Derrick Walton Jr. and Zak Irvin will likely lead the way for the Wolverines, but they’re going to need those big men as well.
Michigan is ranked 24th in the Associated Press preseason Top 25 poll.