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Sunday, April 22, 2012
Loss Impact: Zack Novak

By Chantel Jennings

Loss Impact is where WolverineNation takes a look at how much the departure of a starter or major contributor will mean to Michigan.

Former guard Zack Novak was Michigan's blue-collar guy from day one it seemed. Google his name and you'll find images of him screaming at his team, or with blood on his face. And yes, that sort of sums him up. He would do anything for the team and ended his career as one of the most memorable Wolverines, despite coming in undersized and underrecruited. The lefty definitely left his mark on Michigan basketball. A recap of that, along with his thoughts on his career can be found here.

But what does his loss really mean for Michigan coach John Beilein and the rest of the Wolverines?

What Michigan loses: The face of its program over the past three years. Not only that, but he was the emotional beacon of the team on the court, in the locker room, during the summers. As far as his on-court production, the Wolverines lose a player that made a lot of difficult mismatches. Not many 6-foot-4 guards could hit the boards like Novak, and he was able to give Michigan a four-guard offense, being that fourth guard who could shoot outside and defend inside. That’s rare, but makes Beilein’s offense hard to prepare for.

Who replaces him: I don't know if there is a single senior or junior on the team that will be able to replace Novak's total contributions individually. However, collectively, I would assume players such as Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Matt Vogrich would be able to assume that position. But there's something great about a single player contributing in all the ways Novak contributed that really made him unique. Players didn't have to look at one player for a leader in practice, another player for performance during games and another player for how to interact with Beilein. Each player on that team could look at Novak and basically know what to do.

Loss impact: Immediately? It's irreplaceable. The Wolverines will definitely go through some growing pains without Novak around. He was the emotional compass of the team. Simply put, without Novak, Michigan will lack the leadership it has had over the past three seasons.