While analysts across the nation are busy compiling their super-early 2014-15 hoops polls, I thought I’d go with a more exact-inexact exercise and share my top five 2014-15 breakout candidates. You know the names from this season, but they’re certain to be even bigger names next season.
Michigan claimed its first outright Big Ten title since 1986 in Tuesday night’s 84-53 victory at Illinois. The Wolverines, who won a share of the 2012 crown, have now been on top of the Big Ten in two of the last three seasons. For fun, I decided to highlight some of the top moments along the way to the outright crown. There are many top moments, but these are the ones that stick out the most. What do you think?
It’s time for me to reach into my mail bag to answer your pressing questions. Basketball is on your mind. And that’s understandable, as we are in the heart of the season as I type this. So, let’s begin.
The Big Ten announced its latest weekly men’s basketball honors Monday morning, and a pair of Michigan players swept the awards. Star Nik Stauskas took Player of the Week and Derrick Walton Jr. claimed Freshman of the Week, this after the duo helped the Wolverines beat No. 10 Iowa and No. 3 Michigan State to stay perfect in Big Ten play.
It’s fun for me to see when the light finally comes on for younger players, particularly freshmen. Their game appears to the fans as though it’s blossomed out of nowhere, when, in fact, it’s just starting to bloom.
Michigan’s Derrick Walton Jr. hit the kind of shot on Thursday night that kids dream about when shooting hoops in their driveway growing up. The Wolverines’ freshman point guard took one dribble and heaved a half-court shot at the halftime buzzer, which swished through the basket and put the Wolverines up 33-30 over Nebraska heading into the half.
Derrick Walton Jr. showed why he was such a heralded recruit in the Michigan’s exhibition opener Tuesday at Crisler Center. In the span of 37 seconds, the true freshman scored seven points on three consecutive buckets, setting one up with a nifty steal and finish. After his final bucket, Walton grabbed a rebound, dribbled up the court and found Jordan Morgan for a wide open dunk. Watch the full sequence in this post.