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Tuesday, June 18, 2013
WolverineNation Mailbag

By Michael Rothstein

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- We’re almost at the two-month warning before football season starts, so clearly now is the time to discuss the 2014 season. And basketball. And basketball recruiting.

These topics are covered in this week’s Mailbag, filled with your questions. Have questions for us? Send them to @chanteljennings on Twitter or jenningsespn@gmail.com for next week’s mailbag.

On to this week’s conversation.

robbyt003 from The Den asks: What do you think our special teams will look like in 2014? Hagerup at punter, Wile at kicker? Do you think Hagerup will be able to stay out of trouble and even see the field again?

Will Hagerup
There's no doubting Will Hagerup's talent, but his off-the-field issues have forced Michigan to construct a Plan B at punter.
That’s a good question on all counts, Robby. If -- and, frankly, it is a large if at this point considering Will Hagerup has had three suspensions in three seasons -- Hagerup keeps himself out of trouble he will be Michigan’s punter in 2014. He possesses an NFL-quality leg and can be a difference maker on special teams. Matt Wile should slide into the kicker role with the graduation of Brendan Gibbons after this season. The guy to keep an eye on, though, is Kenny Allen. The Fenton, Mich. native has a strong leg and will likely get more opportunities to show what he can do this season with Hagerup suspended for the year. Michigan clearly believes in Hagerup, otherwise it wouldn’t continue to give him chances after suspensions, but he needs to stay out of trouble.

andrewwink from The Den asks: Did John Beilein ever use a two-big lineup at WVU? How did it look? Do you think Mitch McGary can dominate the Big Ten like he did in the NCAA tournament? Or are the referees and style of play of the Big Ten holding him back?

Second and third questions first, Andrew. McGary is in line for a really strong sophomore season if he can continue to build on what he displayed during the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments. There is little reason to think he won’t be able to, especially since his biggest problems -- minutes and conditioning -- were both solved by the end of the year. Teams will have a better idea how to guard him and he won’t have Trey Burke to set him up, so those could be issues, but those close to him said he was looking to expand his game to include an outside shot this summer. If he does that, he should be a Top 5 pick in the 2014 NBA draft.

As far as Beilein and West Virginia, not a lot. In his final season, both Rob Summers and Jamie Smalligan played a decent amount of minutes but neither one a the real focal point of the offense and they never started a game together. Joe Alexander was kind of the stretch four, but he wouldn’t have been considered a big man as Michigan would have. Prior to that, Beilein had Kevin Pittsnogle as his center, so he didn’t really use it. If he goes to a lineup with two bigs, he might look all the way back to what he used to run at Le Moyne.

SkipCarey01 from The Den asks: What do you think the 2014 Michigan basketball recruiting class will look like when it is all set and done? Chances that Michigan lands Devin Booker (Moss Point, Miss./Moss Point)?

Second question first: Michigan has a decent-to-good shot, in my opinion. The Wolverines were the first school to really show interest in the No. 16 player in the 2014 ESPN 100. While he lives in Mississippi during the school year, he summers in Michigan with his mom, so that is another factor. Put it this way -- if the Wolverines lose out on him it will not be due to a lack of effort on their part. They are doing a really good job recruiting him.

As far as the class, I hate predicting the decisions of teenagers because they are inherently unpredictable. Obviously Ricky Doyle (Fort Myers, Fla./Bishop Verot) and Austin Hatch (Fort Wayne, Ind./Canterbury) are in this class. If I were to hazard a guess, I’d say Michigan adds Booker and Kameron Chatman (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) but both of those players are being heavily, heavily recruited and there’s still a ways to go. But both seem to like Michigan a good amount.