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Posted on Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 12:50 p.m.

In first scrimmages, Michigan basketball freshmen 'destroy' veterans and show their chops in the process

By Nick Baumgardner


Michigan freshmen Glenn Robinson and Mitch McGary have already shown their stuff to the team's veterans in the three weeks they've been on campus.

Robinson: Jeffrey D. Nicholls | Post-Tribune; McGary: Courtesy Bloomington Herald Times

Tim Hardaway Jr. thought he knew how good the Michigan basketball team's 2012 recruiting class was before it got to Ann Arbor.

He knew they were athletic, he knew they had talent and he knew they could do a lot of things in several different areas.

He thought he knew it all.

And then he really found out.

"The first two or three (scrimmages), they destroyed us," the Michigan junior guard said with a laugh. "I think they were pretty excited."

Teaming together, Michigan's five freshmen -- Mitch McGary, Glenn Robinson III, Nik Stauskas, Caris LeVert and Spike Albrecht -- showed the veterans a thing or two during the early portion of the team's summer schedule.

Hardaway said in the first two games, played to 11, the rookies got the best of the old guys -- by scores of 11-6 and 11-7.

Things eventually turned around, as Hardaway said he and fellow junior Jordan Morgan explained how they needed to "show them what Big Ten basketball was about." But the message had already been sent.

In 1991, when Jalen Rose, Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Ray Jackson and Jimmy King arrived in Ann Arbor as freshmen, stories of early and repeated rookie to veteran whippings became stuff of legend -- and eventually helped further strengthen the Fab Five moniker.

This wasn't exactly the same, Hardaway said, but still -- one thing's clear.

The kids can play.

"We ended up beating them 11-1, 11-2," Hardaway joked.

In less than a month, Michigan's highly-touted class has surprised and awed the coaching staff and the team's veterans.

Sophomore point guard Trey Burke noted how Stauskas made 78 3-pointers in five minutes earlier this month during a shooting drill, something he said was nearly a Michigan record.

Both Burke and Hardaway also made mention of the several different wrinkles the 6-foot-10, 260-pound McGary adds to the club both offensively and defensively -- from a shot-blocking, rebounding and post-scoring standpoint.

And, perhaps most impressive, the duo said they witnessed Robinson make a flat-footed broad jump of 11-feet, 11-inches.

All of a sudden, the Wolverines apparently have more talent than they know what to do with.

"(None of) that surprises me, that's the type of players they are -- they're really good," Burke said. "They have size, they know their roles and they can play.

"It's really different from last year, we're much more versatile. ... It says a lot about all of the freshmen. This class is really special, and I don't think a lot of people really know what we've got, but when the season comes, it should show."

Michigan coach John Beilein has repeatedly expressed his hope that the new freshmen class will be able to make the Wolverines a much more versatile and deeper squad in 2012-13 -- a process the players say has already begun.

And equally crucial, they all get along. Hardaway raved about the group's raw ability on the floor in one breath, and then explained how humble and easy-going they were in the next.

"It's been very fun," he said. "There's a lot of (pieces) we can use, you see them out there in practice and they're just really humble guys when it all comes down to it.

"They want to learn, they don't talk back, they want to do whatever it takes to win. Coming into a freshman year, that's very good. They're not trying to just make an impact on offense, they're doing it on defense and making hustle plays -- they're doing whatever it takes."

So far, the kids have proven they can hang inside the William Davidson Player Development Center.

They made their point on the floor, and everyone took notice.

But, according to Hardaway, there won't be any repeat performances.

"They got their time," he said. "But it won't happen again."

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan sports for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.


Captain Dave

Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 3:52 p.m.

I am excited about the upcoming season with the new kids.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 5:53 p.m.

inter squad scrimmages prove nothing.let's wait till 1/2 way through the regular season before we annoint these kids.

Howard the Duck

Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 5:31 p.m.

Nothing more than a hot lunch for the Spartans!


Thu, Jul 19, 2012 : 4:15 p.m.

Really??? What's the record of the last four head to head match ups between the two teams?

Chad Williams

Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 2:29 a.m.

The good about this is that there is depth. Start Burke, Hardway, Robinson, Morgan, Mcgary. That will be a very formidle line up. It has size and scoring, brings a little bit better defense to the equation. You also have flexibility in the the back court and the two wings. Front court with horford coming back will be pretty solid maybe not athletic but solid. This is sweet 16 or bust for this team they are among the top 10 on paper of course but thats expectations from the media and fans. Belien has 2 years to get to the sweet 16 and he might be on the hot seat. For the AD Brandon, Its Michigan and no more cheers for whats expected to be considered great.

Paul R Lamse

Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 11:19 p.m.

I don't worry so much for 4 reasons: B-Line, Burke, Hardaway and the freshmen's humility. But I also liked the Fab Five for their innovative(ness). Different times. Go Blue


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 9:28 p.m.

Big did Ohio...


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 8:22 p.m.

Great to see our freshmen showing early signs, and great to see that Michigan basketball recruiting is heading in the right direction now. Let's hope the best for the future and John Beilein.


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 7:46 p.m.

Better to watch on TV, than try to get to Chrisler with the Stadium Bridge out. Does anyone actually believe the bridge will be done before the Spring of 2013? GOOD LUCK getting to the Big House!


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 7:31 p.m.

WOW! Keep it up and enjoy the upcoming season!


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 6:24 p.m.

Every other college program in the country, including a few year in and year out elite ones in the BIG, are just as prepared and re-loaded as this bunch. Summer ball, is, summer ball. Show me March. Show me March, then, I'll believe that the hype is real.


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 6:21 p.m.

The fact that they are humble, coachable, and getting along with the upperclassman is fantastic news! Can't wait to see this team hit the court!


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 6:20 p.m.

I don't think U-M is going to have any trouble selling their season tickets this year! Should be fun to watch.


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 5:53 p.m.

'INFAMOUS Fab Five moniker' ?? they were never 'infamous' in my household or among my circle of friends.


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 5:38 p.m.

A few thoughts--it scares me to team up the frosh vs. the vets because it divides the team (similar to the Fab five), even if they are supremely talented. Though the 1991-92 team did well by making the NCAA finals, that was like 2 teams in one which is not ideal. It is great to see how talented the frosh are. It is equally refreshing to see Hardaway take an active leadership role. I think that will be excellent for him and should improve not just his game, but his maturity overall (the point of college, no?)


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 7:44 p.m.

I don't think you have much too worry about with this team. 1) I doubt anyone ever said the fab five "Didn't talk back" or are real "humble guys". I'm sure those were part of the reason that pissed the veterans off and seperated the team 2) Let's face it, we are not going to see all 5 freshman start this season unless we suffer some serious injuries. Guys like Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr aren't losing their spots. Jordan Morgan is going to get his minutes. That was a big thing to the Veterans on the 91 team that they lost their starting spots.


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 5:11 p.m.

SWEEEeeeet. Can't wait for the season opener! (on TV, that is, can't afford to attend the games anymore, THANKS for nothing Mr. Brandon)


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 1:57 p.m.

Basketball tickets are still some what affordable. Are you sure you're not talking about the $90 football tickets?