The Michigan Wolverines basketball program is in a predicament, for the first time in quite awhile the team does not have a point guard ready to take over for the program. After four years of Derrick Walton starting at the position and then three of Zavier Simpson, the Wolverines are at limbo at the point guard for the first time in nearly a decade after the transfer of David DeJulius.
Now there are two candidates that stick out: fifth-year transfer Mike Smith and true freshman Zeb Jackson. Two polar opposites with collegiate experience as Smith has played four season at the Division I level and Jackson has yet to reach those ranks.
With the veteran experience came a veteran answer by Smith when he was asked what he believes his role will be by MGoBlueTV.
Transfer Mike Smith talks about transitioning to the Big Ten level, what his role might be this season, and the energy he brings to a team and the court.#GoBlue 〽️ pic.twitter.com/tu6DVP0Hq3— Michigan Men's Basketball (@umichbball) May 5, 2020
“I envision (my role) to be a lot different,” Smith said to MGoBlueTV, “I don’t expect to score 22 or 23 points (per game [like he averaged at Columbia]). I think my role is going to be whatever the team needs. If it is passing, it’s passing. If it’s scoring, it’s scoring. If it’s playing defense, taking that charge or getting that loose ball. It’s important to me that I don’t establish a role yet because you never know what is really going to happen.”
With plenty of major suitors, why did Smith choose Michigan? He told MGoBlueTV: “One thing that is big for me is education,” said Smith. “Having gone to Columbia, Michigan is a top-tier school and you can’t go wrong with that. Secondly, I think Coach Howard is doing something special there... It’s something that you want to be a part of. I think the players that are coming in and coming back; I think we can make a run for (a National Championship).”
Smith admitted that transitioning to the Big Ten won’t be easy, but he is ready for the challenge: “(The Big Ten) is more competitive every day. But it’s basketball. The ball still goes in the hoop, it’s still orange, it’s still round. The rim is still there, it’s not changing. I think if you are confident in yourself and you work hard at it you are capable of doing anything that you put your mind to.”
Two Michigan moments listed as top college sports comebacks by reporters
ESPN’s college sports staff came together and compiled a piece highlighting all of the best comebacks that they have witnessed in their respective careers, and two of them mentioned some of the most memorable comebacks in Michigan sports history.
The first comes from ESPN reporter Andrea Adelson who was working her first job out of college at the South Florida Sun Sentinel in 1999 when she witnessed Tom Brady and the Michigan Wolverines mount a comeback over Alabama in the Orange Bowl.
Adelson: “Alabama led 28-14 in the third quarter as Michigan struggled for most of the night on offense, and I felt comfortable enough to start writing my game story because I had to file as soon as the game ended. But then we got the first glimpse of the Tom Brady we all know today. Michigan started to come back, and I furiously deleted everything on my computer screen to start all over. Brady threw three touchdown passes over 12 minutes to get Michigan back in the game, which eventually went into overtime. Michigan won 35-34 after Alabama missed an extra point. We didn’t know it at the time, but the legend of Tom Brady was born and I was there to see it.”
Relive the Classic battle:
When mentioning some of the top moments in Michigan football history, you have to throw Michigan’s comeback win over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in 2011. One ESPN Reporter was there and detailed the epic scene in the first night game at The Big House:
Tom VanHaaren: “In 2011 I was covering Michigan for ESPN, on assignment at the Notre Dame-Michigan game along with Michael Rothstein and Chantel Jennings. It was a hyped game, at night, with Michigan wearing the alternate uniforms with giant block Ms in the middle. Michigan had trailed the entire game, was down 24-7 entering the fourth quarter, but rallied late and scored a touchdown with 1:12 remaining to go up 28-24. Notre Dame then drove 61 yards in 43 seconds to score and retake the lead. Michigan got the ball with 30 seconds left. The Wolverines drove 80 yards in 28 seconds, including a 16-yard pass in the end zone to Roy Roundtree to take the lead for the final time and win the game 35-31. I have never seen the Big House like it was that night.”
Once again, here is “The Last 1:41”:
- Michigan has two of the top-3 returning defensive ends in the Big Ten according to PFF:
Highest graded returning B1G edge defenders:— PFF College (@PFF_College) May 5, 2020
1. Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan - 82.9
2. Kwity Paye, Michigan - 80.9
3. Samdup Miller, Northwestern - 78.6 pic.twitter.com/PlrHo6t7Xd
- Jalen Mayfield is ranked as the No. 14 player who is expected to go choose the NFL Draft in 2021 according to Mel Kiper Jr.. ($)
- The Los Angeles Chargers named former Michigan offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton their new quarterbacks coach.
- Michigan freshman A.J. Henning posted a highlight video of him catching passes from five-star Michigan commit J.J. McCarthy on Twitter in a display of the future of Ann Arbor:
AYE ANN ARBOR WHAT’S POPPIN?!〽️ #Goblue @jjmccarthy09 @BraedenSchmidt7 pic.twitter.com/EeUDFYgwCw— AJ H3nning (@AJHenning3) May 5, 2020