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Will Tschetter discusses the path to becoming a key role player this season

The redshirt freshman has become a key contributor as of late.

NCAA Basketball: Central Michigan at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

In recent games at Crisler Center, the signs and chants have gotten a bit cheesier than normal.

No, not in a bad joke kind of way — rather in support of Michigan Wolverines redshirt freshman Will Tschetter. After recieving only a handful of minutes in the early out-of-conference window, he has quickly become a key rotational player for the Michigan basketball team; playing double-digit minutes in five of the Wolverines’ last eight games.

For Tschetter, that increasing reliance as a role player has paid dividends in his own confidence on the court.

“I feel like over the past couple games, I’ve definitely been able to be more comfortable out on the floor,” Tschetter said in a media availability on Saturday. “Defensively, offensively, just kinda being able to find a niche on this team for sure.”

As Tschetter will plainly admit, the player he is now wasn’t the one that came to Ann Arbor in 2021. As the lowest-ranked member of Michigan’s 2021 recruiting class, it was expected he’d be a long-term project rather than a plug-and-play answer.

While some of the higher names above him have already come and gone, Tschetter has stayed — putting the work in on his way to his current spot on the team.

“I was a very below-average defender and communicator in high school,” Tschetter said. “I really came in and that was something I had to develop. Last year in my redshirt year, I took a lot of time to develop more of my defensive side of the ball, but the communication didn’t really come in until this fall. It was one of those things they said I needed to do to be able to find my spot, so that was something I really took to heart.”

In a season where communication and cohesion on defense has been a glaring weakness, Tschetter has provided a spark whenever he’s recently walked onto the floor, which brings us back to the fans. Calls to “unleash” Tschetter have grown louder and stronger, both in Crisler Center and on social media.

While Tschetter acknowledged the growing support, he played it cool when asked about it — simply showing thankfulness ahead of his team’s second matchup of the season with the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

“I try to stay off of social media as much as possible, especially during the season,” he said. “Obviously, just from people telling me that and stuff, it’s great to have that kind of support for the program, the team, people that really care and just hoping that can continue. It’s great to know I have that kind of support behind me for sure. It gives another level of confidence knowing that the people who’re cheering really do believe in you.”