Spike Albrecht, Michigan's 'mini Steve Nash,' shows no nerves in first collegiate game
ANN ARBOR -- Eight months ago, Spike Albrecht was a prep school player without much college interest.
Fast forward to Thursday, and the pint-sized Albrecht found himself as a rookie starter in place of Michigan's best player as the team opened its exhibition season at home.
Apparently, though, it was no big deal -- as the Wolverine freshman point guard filled in for the suspended Trey Burke with 16 points, 6 assists and 3 rebounds in a team-high 30 minutes during the Wolverines' 83-47 win over Northern Michigan.
"I call him the 'mini Steve Nash,' " Michigan freshman Glenn Robinson III said. "He'll pass it to you, if not, he'll find his shot.
"He made it rain out there today, a great performance, I don't think a lot of people knew what he was capable of."
With Michigan coach John Beilein's announcement Wednesday that Burke would sit out the team's first exhibition game due to a violation of team standards, Albrecht -- who was thought to be just an insurance policy for Michigan's All-American point guard this season -- showed he's got a bit of game, too.
He scored Michigan's first points of the game on a 3-pointer, then made it 9-0 two minutes later with a driving hoop and the foul.
Was he nervous? Maybe a little -- but he never let it show.
"I think everyone was a little nervous," Albrecht said. "Everyone's got pre-game jitters, but we made a little run and everyone settled in.
"Once we got a lead, we didn't want to relax, we wanted to keep the pedal to the metal."
Spoken like a true veteran who's only played one exhibition game at the college level.
Asked if he was surprised by Albrecht's confident performance, Beilein said he's given up being surprised by his rookie point guard -- because it happens every day.
"He surprises me every day, he just plays out there," Beilein said. "He makes you smile to watch him play. Everybody just says 'how'd he do that?' I don't know either, he just has a presence out there.
"The Doug Fluties, the Joe Montanas, the Joe Theismanns, they don't pass the eye-ball test for an NFL quarterback, but they somehow get things done. He certainly doesn't pass the test, but he continues to be productive."
Burke will make his season debut Monday when the Wolverines play their second exhibition of the season against Saginaw Valley State. And though Albrecht showed he's got some game, and will continue to see minutes, Beilein says there's no point guard controversy.
He'll stick with his All-American.
"There's no point guard controversy," Beilein smiled. "But we have had some times where we've put them both in the game.
"So that's a pretty good lineup as well."