Michigan Wolverines: Zack Novak

WolverineNation mailbag 

May, 8, 2013
5/08/13
10:30
AM ET
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Replacements and leadership are topics which come up during every offseason for every sport.

We'll examine those topics in this week’s WolverineNation Mailbag, featuring your questions. Have questions for next week? Send them to @chanteljennings on Twitter or at jenningsespn@gmail.com.

Now, on to this week’s queries.

M2go4blue from The Den asks: How well can we expect Michigan basketball to continue the success from the last two years, with the lack of upperclassman leadership this coming season? From last year, five seniors and a three-year starter in Tim Hardaway Jr. are gone. That's a lot of leadership missing.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider



EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Some thoughts after No. 8 Michigan State's 75-52 pulverizing of No. 4 Michigan on Tuesday night at the Breslin Center.

Overview: As Adreian Payne lifted his arms toward the home crowd, trying to get it louder with 7 minutes remaining in a game no longer in doubt, the Spartans forward looked like he wanted more.

All of Michigan State appeared to want more. Meanwhile, Michigan looked like it just wanted to travel the one hour southeast back to Ann Arbor as fast as possible. The Wolverines had already gone deeper than usual into their bench to play guard Eso Akunne and by then it didn’t matter, because nothing John Beilein's team was doing worked.

Michigan State dominated, almost from tip to final whistle.

Yes, it is tough to win on the road in the Big Ten, but for a program touted as a national-title contender all season, this was Michigan’s last chance to win a significant road game in the Big Ten. And it failed. Miserably.

The second-half comebacks Michigan had at Indiana and Ohio State didn’t show up, either, mostly due to Michigan State’s ability to control the paint and body up the Wolverines’ big men.

It all led to Michigan State’s first 20-plus-point victory over Michigan in over a decade, when the Spartans beat the Wolverines 71-44 on Jan. 30, 2002.

Turning point: Michigan State guard Keith Appling made three consecutive jumpers, including a 3-pointer in transition with 16:32 left, to give Michigan State a 48-29 lead and whipped the already-hyper Breslin student section into a loud, jumping, delirious frenzy of white shirts going nuts at every possible opportunity.

Key player: Spartans senior Derrick Nix punished Michigan’s four-headed big-man rotation inside in the first half and helped to open up everything else for the Spartans. Nix finished with 16 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists on 7-of-10 shooting.

Key stat: Zero first-half points for Tim Hardaway Jr. After scoring 18, 23 and 18 points in the previous three games, respectively, Hardaway couldn’t find anything in the first half. He missed all six of his shots, including four 3-pointers. This from a player who brought Michigan back a week earlier against Ohio State by making six 3-pointers, then followed it up by making what was almost the game-winner at Wisconsin on Saturday. Without Hardaway's production, Michigan struggled to shoot 27.3 percent from the 3-point line in the first half. Hardaway would finish with two points.

Miscellaneous: Michigan football coach Brady Hoke, defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, former coach Lloyd Carr and former Michigan basketball player Zack Novak all watched the game from behind the Wolverines' bench. Hoke and Michigan State counterpart Mark Dantonio had a brief chat before the game right behind the benches. … After not scoring in double figures for almost a month, Nix now had back-to-back games with 10 points or more.… This ends a rough four-game stretch for Michigan, which started the sequence as the No. 1 team in the nation. After a 1-3 swing with games at Indiana, Michigan State and Wisconsin and a home game against Ohio State, the Wolverines have some major regrouping to do.

Next game: Both teams receive something of a breather in the Big Ten. Michigan State travels to Nebraska for a game Saturday; Michigan has a home game against Penn State on Sunday.

WolverineNation mailbag 

October, 10, 2012
10/10/12
9:30
AM ET
Fitzgerald ToussaintDennis Wierzbicki/US PresswireFitzgerald Toussaint must re-emerge if the Wolverines are to achieve their goals.
Michigan football started its Big Ten season with a bang. The basketball team starts practice Friday. And recruiting is, well, recruiting is an all-day, every-day type of thing. But there's a ton to talk about in the realm of Michigan sports, so let's get to it.

We love hearing from our readers so make sure you keep sending mailbag questions in. Next week, Mike will be taking care of it though, so tweet your questions to him at @mikerothstein or email him at michaelrothsteinespn@gmail.com.

Now, on to our questions…

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Five Questions: Tim Hardaway Jr.

September, 20, 2012
9/20/12
11:00
AM ET
Editor's Note: In the buildup to Midnight Madness, we are taking an in-depth look at Joe Lunardi's top five seeds in a series called Countdown To Madness. In addition to the Insider stories, Eamonn Brennan will offer Three Big Things about each team and we'll have Five Questions with a player or coach from each squad.

For Tim Hardaway Jr., the scenario is becoming routine. Every single day on the Michigan campus -- whether he’s eating lunch with a teammate, sitting in class or walking to practice -- someone stops him to talk about Wolverines basketball.

“We could be out and about, and a group of fans will just walk up to us,” Hardaway said. “They’ll wish us luck and say, ‘Oh, we’re so excited for the season.’”

The buzz in Ann Arbor is certainly understandable.

One season after claiming a share of the Big Ten title, the Wolverines are expected to contend to reach the Final Four thanks to a mix of talented returnees, such as Hardaway and Trey Burke and highly touted newcomers Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III.

“There’s a lot of hype,” Hardaway said, “but I think we’re doing a good job of just making sure that everyone settles down. The season hasn’t even started yet. We’re all just preparing to play anyone in the country. Everyone is excited about the season. Everyone is trying to make it seem like we’re back. But we have a long way to go."

Hardaway, who averaged 14.6 points as a sophomore last season, spoke with ESPN.com earlier this week.

[+] EnlargeTim Hardaway Jr., John Beilein
Rick Osentoski/US PresswireTim Hardaway Jr. said Michigan coach John Beilein, left, puts great trust in his guards.
What’s the most encouraging thing you’ve seen from your teammates thus far?

Tim Hardaway Jr.: Just the mindset of everyone coming in, with everyone having the same intensity and passion about playing Michigan basketball. Everyone sees that and we’re all trying to fulfill our dreams and get back to where we were last year and win a Big Ten championship.

Who will be the “surprise player” on this year’s squad?

TH: Everyone has been making a lot of improvement. Jon Horford is coming off an injury and has been playing really well in the summer. Matt Vogrich has been shooting the ball really well. Blake McLimans is getting better. Jordan Morgan -- just everyone in general. Everyone has added little pieces to their game to make them more successful and help the team out any way they can.

Even though you had a great season overall, you went into a major shooting slump and made just 35 percent of your shots in February. How were you able to snap out of it and finish so strong?

TH: It was a team effort. We had a lot of guys coming into the locker room with me and having conversations about what I needed to work on. During the Nebraska game, Zack Novak talked to me at halftime before we walked onto the court. He said, "Hey, you can help the team out in different ways than scoring." Once I heard that, I think I just snapped out of it from then on. That’s what helped me out the most.

What did you do in the offseason to better prepare yourself for your junior year?

TH: I feel like I’ll be playing a lot more at my normal position [combo guard] instead of being at the 3-spot. We lost two of our main guards, Zack Novak and Stu Douglass, from last year. So I’m working on my ball-handling, guarding the point guard and guarding the shooting guard. I’m just trying to have fun and play Michigan basketball. Wherever Coach Beilein wants me to play, I’ll play. I’m not a picky guy. I just want to be out there on the floor and have fun and help my team in whatever way I can.

What’s the best part about part about playing for John Beilein, and what goals has this team set for itself?

TH: [Beilein] is an excellent coach. He lets us play. He lets the quarterback, the point guard, call out the plays. He has the utmost confidence in his guards to make the right decisions out there.

As far as goals, the first thing is to get better every day. We’ve been saying that since the first day of the fall semester. We’re not focused on national championships or Big Ten championships. We’ll worry about those later in the season. Right now we just want to do everything we can to get better as a team, build our chemistry up with these new freshmen and get better every single day.
The Michigan men’s basketball program announced on Wednesday that guard Corey Person, who finished his degree and graduated in May, would be returning to the program for his redshirt senior season.

“It was unexpected,” Person said in a news release. “It is actually kind of funny because coach [John] Beilein always joked around last season whenever I would be talking. He would say, ‘Don’t start thinking about a fifth year.’ … So for Coach Beilein to actually want to bring me back, on top of that with me being a walk on, I know how rare that is.”

As a walk-on, Person has never been a contributor on the floor for the Wolverines. He appeared in just 22 games during his career but in a loss to Ohio State in the 2012 Big Ten Tournament he had his career-best game, scoring seven points and grabbing two rebounds.

However, several of his teammates looked to him for his leadership qualities over the past few seasons. One of his roles last season, leading the pregame huddle dances, will continue, he said.

(Read full post)

The National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) honored three Michigan basketball players on Tuesday when graduate Zack Novak and rising seniors Matt Vogrich and Josh Bartelstein were named to the 2011-12 Honors Court.

The three players comprised half of the members honored in the entire Big Ten. Novak, Vogrich and Bartelstein also honored as U-M Athletic Academic Achievement recipients and were named to the Academic All-Big Ten list.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

The Michigan theme of recruiting basketball players who are fast risers in the rankings has continued.

Last season, the Wolverines had no players in the Super 60 for the Class of 2013. Now, with the ESPN 100 released Thursday, three of Michigan’s four verbal commits have made the rankings, along with a fourth player the school is targeting.

The Michigan portion of the list is headlined by point guard Derrick Walton (Detroit/Chandler Park Academy), who went from unrated in the Super 60 to the No. 39 player in the nation in the initial ESPN 100.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

WolverineNation Roundtable 

May, 24, 2012
5/24/12
10:00
AM ET
Roy RoundtreeRick Osentoski/US PresswireSenior WR Roy Roundtree will switch from No. 12 to the honorary No. 21.
Each week the writers at WolverineNation sit down and discuss three pertinent issues regarding Michigan sports. This week they look at the No. 21 football jersey, Michigan basketball coach John Beilein's system and 2014 football offers.

1. It was announced last week that wide receiver Roy Roundtree was given the No. 21 uniform, were you surprised to find that out?

Tom Van Haaren: No, I don't think I was surprised. I wasn't necessarily expecting it to be announced right now, but it wasn't surprising. I think there's some motivation factor with the jersey, and I think Roundtree has shown that he deserves that jersey. He's the most deserving on the team of the receivers, there's no doubt about that.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

WolverineNation roundtable 

May, 3, 2012
5/03/12
10:25
AM ET
Mike Martin, Will Campbell, Ondre PipkinsIcon SMI, Getty Images, ESPN.comAs Mike Martin passes the torch to guys such as Will Campbell and Ondre Pipkins, the D-line will look vastly different.
Every Thursday, your WolverineNation writers will discuss three pressing issues in Michigan sports. This week, Mike, Tom and Chantel look at changes in the Michigan football team, Trey Burke’s growth as a point guard, and recruits with NFL potential.

1. Which part of Michigan's game will look the most different this year, as opposed to last?

Michael Rothstein: Personnel-wise, it is the defensive line and that isn't close considering there are three new starters and four players at new positions. In scheme, though, it'll be how Michigan moves the ball on offense. Although much has been made of Michigan looking for wide receivers, it wouldn't be shocking to see Michigan move the ball with shorter throws to get guys such as Jeremy Gallon open in space.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

WolverineNation Mailbag 

April, 25, 2012
4/25/12
11:53
AM ET
Kim Barnes Arico AP Photo/Carlos OsorioKim Barnes Arico comes to Michigan with a successful resume, but then again, so did the Wolverines' past two women's basketball coaches.

Summer is a time for student-athletes to recharge and prepare for their next season. But for fans, it's a solid few months where their questions pile up and turn to torment if they can’t be answered.

Well, good thing we're here with the Wednesday mailbag.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Loss Impact: Zack Novak 

April, 22, 2012
4/22/12
1:40
PM ET
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?

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

WolverineNation mailbag 

April, 11, 2012
4/11/12
12:23
PM ET
Shane MorrisMiller Safrit/ESPN.com QB Shane Morris leads a class for which expectations will be sky high.
Trey Burke is staying at Michigan and Wolverines fans breathed a deep sigh of relief, as it looks like the basketball team has a chance to make some serious noise next season.

Then there's the football team, which seems to be having a solid spring. With its 2012 recruiting class getting to campus in about two months, the countdown to Alabama is on. But our first look at that squad will be this weekend in the annual spring game.

That being said, there must be questions. We love hearing from readers. Next week, Mike will be taking care of the mailbag so send your questions to michaelrothsteinespn@gmail.com or tweet them to @MikeRothstein.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Basketball banquet roundup 

April, 10, 2012
4/10/12
10:43
PM ET
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- After a season in which the Michigan basketball team won a share of the Big Ten title, the Wolverines' end-of-season banquet entitled a "celebration" seemed just that. It was jovial and lighthearted, jokes were made and shots were taken at teammates.

Even Michigan basketball coach John Beilein got in on the action.

While introducing each class he picked on juniors Matt Vogrich and Blake McLimans, telling the crowd both needed to get a hair cut. Later, he looked over at Vogrich and asked, "Have I really never started you? I must not know what I'm doing."

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

With holes on their roster from recent defections, Michigan has already been looking around for players to add to the class of 2012.

The Wolverines will host a potential candidate this weekend, when point guard Spike Albrecht (Crown Point, Ind./Northfield Mount Hermon) visits the school Thursday through Saturday.

“I’m really looking forward to getting on campus, meeting with all the coaches face to face, the players, how they run things,” Albrecht said. “They got me set up with meetings with people in admissions so it’ll be good to see the academic side of things as well.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

The Michigan basketball roster had a major overhaul Wednesday afternoon when sophomores Evan Smotrycz and Colton Christian along with freshman Carlton Brundidge decided to transfer.

This is a big shift for a program that had been trending upward the past few seasons. It loses a former starter in Smotrycz and someone who was looked at as a likely backup point guard to Trey Burke in Brundidge.

It also leaves Michigan with more holes to fill than it had 24 hours ago. Here's the immediate aftermath:

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Michigan Outlook: 2014
Brian Bennett discusses the outlook for the Michigan Wolverines' football program in 2014.Tags: Michigan Wolverines, Braxton MIller, Brian Bennett, Devin Gardner
VIDEO PLAYLIST video