Emerging freshman Caris LeVert has gained 20 pounds and grown an inch in roughly 6 months at Michigan
ANN ARBOR -- For most college freshmen, the first few weeks on campus can be overwhelming, to say the least.
For Michigan guard Caris LeVert, the first few weeks at Michigan in June were downright painful.
Like, hard to walk, painful.
"It hurt every time I walked up and down the stairs," LeVert recalled Tuesday.
The reason why LeVert found it painful to move from one room to another lies inside the William Davidson Player Development Center, and sits several feet away from Michigan strength and conditioning coach Jon Sanderson's office.
That, of course, being the weight room.
LeVert came in Michigan in June standing 6-foot-5 and weighing 165 pounds. His prep coach in Pickerington, Ohio once compared his game to that of NBA star Kevin Durant -- and, when he arrived, he shared the same body type as well.
Prior to his time in Ann Arbor, LeVert says the only real strength training he'd ever done focused around pushups and situps.
Sanderson changed all that. Fast forward six months, and LeVert has packed on 20 pounds and actually grown an inch -- now coming in as a 6-foot-6, 185-pound rotation player on the No. 2 team in America.
"That weight room helps people get to the basket," Michigan coach John Beilein said. "He weighed in the 160s when he got here, and he had not trained a great deal that June when he got here.
"So he put on 10 when he got here, and then added another 10. Close to 20. That's really good, but he needs another 20."
LeVert says his added mass has allowed him to do things he might not have otherwise been able to do when he came to Michigan.
From digging in on defense, being able to play longer stretches during the game and attacking the basket on offense -- LeVert's game is beginning to change at the same pace his body has.
"The pace is different, I can play for longer," LeVert said. "Defensively, guarding players and (getting around) screens (is easier).
"I'm really excited right now, I'm helping my team out there and it's just really fun for me."
LeVert -- who has become Trey Burke's personal one-on-one partner in practice this season -- is now averaging 4.1 points in 14.1 minutes per game for the Wolverines this season, going 8 of 17 from 3-point range and handing out 15 assists as one of the first reserves off the bench.
LeVert's hit at least one 3-pointer in his last four appearances, and has played at least 15 minutes in each of those games.
"He's gaining weight every day, and he goes out there and gives it his best," junior Tim Hardaway Jr. said. "He's always last in the gym when practice is over, playing one-on-one ... getting extra reps and extra time.
"That's what'll make him a great player in the future."
Beilein doesn't exactly have a target weight in mind for LeVert, he just wants him to continue to gain strength and add bulk in a healthy manner.
LeVert actually won't turn 19 until August 25, just before the start of his sophomore season. So the possibility of adding more height to his improved weight isn't a foolish one.
At this point, LeVert's a contributor for the Wolverines. But down the road, Beilein expects he'll become much, much more than that.
"I told him yesterday at training table (while we were eating)," Beilein said. "If you ever go to the weight room, just do a few curls, have a drink of water and get out of there. If you go to training table, have a piece of meat and one green bean -- it's the same deal. This is your training table, you need to treat it like a fitness center to get stronger.
"(I'd like him) to eat all day long, if he can. ... He's going to be 18 the entire year, and he's still growing. I think he's actually growing vertically as well. He might not be done growing."
Michigan certainly hopes not.
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