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Player Profile: Jon Teske set to be the interior anchor for Michigan’s defense

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Teske could develop into the best center in the Big Ten.

NCAA Basketball Tournament - West Regional - Anaheim Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The train keeps churning on our player profile analysis here at Maize n Brew. We will be breaking down every notable player on the Michigan Wolverines’ basketball roster, and this time it is senior center Jon Teske.

Teske committed to the Wolverines in August of 2014 as a 3-star prospect from Medina, Ohio. He was a member of the 2016 class in that included Zavier Simpson, Ibi Watson (who later transferred, and Austin Davis.

Let’s take a deeper dive into Teske’s career in Ann Arbor.

Here’s the scoop

Teske really got things rolling in his sophomore season after appearing in 20 games as a freshman, mostly in garbage time. In his second year, Teske earned the backup center spot and played in every single game. He even started 2 games when Moe Wagner went down with an injury.

His numbers were about what you would expect from a backup in his sophomore season: 3.4 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. Teske excelled on the defensive side of the ball, and was even favored over Wagner in some cases to shut down some big men in the Big Ten conference. With Wagner opting to go pro after the 2017-18 season, it was Teske’s time to shine as a junior in 2018-19.

Everyone knew that Teske would be a solid performer on the defensive side of the ball as a starter, but I don’t think anyone expected to see the production offensively that Teske had last season. The seven-footer developed an adequate three-point shot and a really good elbow shot that he hits with consistency.

The junior was probably the most pleasant surprise on the team averaging 9.5 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game. He shot the ball well going 52.1 percent from the field and 29.9 percent from deep.

His role on this year’s roster

Teske will surely be the starting center this season barring any significant injury. The team was best last season when Teske could expand the defense and hit shots from behind the arc. The biggest question is whether or not Juwan Howard will want to use him that way in his system.

The shot from the elbow may just be good enough for Howard, and I’m sure Teske would be just fine with that because it could be the best in his repertoire.

New head coach, Juwan Howard, told MLive’s Andrew Kahn that he would like Teske to use his huge frame better around the hoop on offense:

“In my opinion, (he’s) underrated offensively,” Howard said. “It’s my job to help him really tap into his offensive skills and bring it out of him, encourage him to not only shoot the basketball more but also play a little more with his back to the basket -- because he can shoot and score in that low post. We’re going to lean on him a lot.”

Defensively, the senior center will be the anchor in the key. With all the talented big men in the conference, and guards that love driving the lane, Teske’s long reach and court vision will lead him to sending plenty of shots back.

Teske was second in defensive win shares (how many win your team attains based on your defensive ability) to only Zavier Simpson. A great part of this was because he led the Big Ten in blocks with 75.

If Teske can continue to develop on the offensive end, and maintain his dominance on the defensive side of thing, he could find himself being ranked as the top center in the Big Ten by season end.