Roster turnover — and adjusting to it — is an inherent part of college basketball. A top program’s best players tend to move on annually to the professional ranks as a new batch of heralded freshmen take over.
John Beilein jumped to the professional ranks. Nine days later, “Fab Five” member Juwan Howard returned to Ann Arbor as the Wolverines’ head coach. From there, Luke Yaklich and DeAndre Haynes moved on, while Phil Martelli and Howard Eisley moved in. On July 6th, budding German star Franz Wagner committed to Michigan — his brother’s alma mater. And finally, just two weeks ago, Howard landed his first five star recruit, 2020 forward Isaiah Todd. Tomorrow night though, after a six-month long hiatus, the Wolverines will play a basketball game.
Charles Matthews, Jordan Poole and Ignas Brazdeikis. If you followed Michigan basketball at all last season, those three names probably ring a bell. Names like Brandon Johns Jr., David DeJulius, Adrien Nunez, and Franz Wagner likely don’t, at least not to the same degree. And yet, some combination of this youthful quartet, the former three all sophomores and the last, a true freshman, will feature significantly for the Wolverines this year. The departures of Matthews, Poole and Brazdeikis — who accounted for 56% of Michigan’s scoring last season — make it so.
That play came with 16 minutes to go in the second half, as sophomore forward Derick Broche connected on a cross from freshman midfielder Harry Pithers to give Michigan (6-2-3 overall, 2-0-2 Big Ten) the lone goal en route to a 1-0 win over the Titans (3-7-1 overall, 0-2-1 Horizon Valley League).
It may seem strange to consider a seasoned, 19-year NBA veteran with five years of coaching experience as an assistant for the Miami Heat a “rookie” in anything basketball related and yet, at his first Big Ten Media Day as Michigan’s head basketball coach, Howard was in fact the lone newcomer amongst the league’s 14 head coaches.
Those three words typified Jackson Ragen’s play Friday night against Cornell. Thanks in large part to the junior centerback’s goal and defensive performance, the Michigan men’s soccer team (2-1) dominated the Big Red 3-0, earning their second victory in a row.
With just under four minutes remaining and the Wolverines probing for a go-ahead goal, the ball was played back to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville goalkeeper Noah Heim. What was supposed to be a routine clearance turned into anything but as Michigan sophomore Derick Broche came flying in to block his kick. The ball ricocheted off Broche and into the path of fellow Wolverine Nebojsa Popovic. With Heim chasing back towards goal and the Cougar defenders out of position, Popovic coolly finished off the unexpected opportunity to restore Michigan’s one-goal advantage.