COLLEGE PARK – It has been a big year for David DeJulius.
After a difficult freshman season struggling for playing time and riding the bench behind senior guard Zavier Simpson, DeJulius has grown by leaps and bounds in his sophomore year. He’s played significant minutes in every game this season and has proven himself a reliable piece of Michigan’s backcourt, averaging seven points and three rebounds a game.
His performance at Maryland on Sunday was proof positive of how far he’s come. He delievered 20 points, a defensive rebound and a steal on 20 minutes. It was a stat line DeJulius could only have dreamed of a year ago today: He was the only Wolverine to top 20 points against the Terrapins in an 83-70 loss.
“I just said ‘To hell with it, I’m going in aggressive,’ ” DeJulius said. “I don’t have anything to lose at this point, so I might as well come in and give the team all I can in all phases on the floor.”
With junior guard Eli Brooks and junior forward Isaiah Livers playing unusually quiet, only scoring six points apiece on the day, most of the spark on offense came from DeJulius, be it from a drained 3-pointer or a quick screen pass on the outside.
It was a boost Michigan sorely needed, especially as it struggled to score early on. DeJulius’ points were a big part of what helped the Wolverines stay in the game for as long as they did.
“Big lift, especially in the first half, when we struggled to score,” Michigan coach Juwan Howard said. “There were some possessions when the ball wasn’t going in, wasn’t getting anything to the basket, and then David came in. Which is his role, and he’s embraced his role of being a guy who can come in and bring some energy.
“He’s another guy who can be an attacker on the floor and another guy who can make some decision-making for us when he has the ball in his hands. When the ball was in David’s hands, good things happened.”
Against a Maryland team that had a size advantage of at least a few inches at every position, DeJulius caught on early to Maryland’s switches and attacked them effectively throughout the game, an adjustment many of his teammates didn’t make until halftime.
“He’s a very confident player,” associate head coach Phil Martelli told The Daily. “He attacked the switching, which is where I think we got in trouble a little bit. That lull in the first half, that was because we didn’t attack their switching. David did a very good job of going at that.”
DeJulius’s performance in College Park is a testament to his growth. At the time his team needs him most, he’s giving them exactly what they’re missing. But more than that, DeJulius is coming into his own as a player. The blow to his confidence he suffered with that year on the bench is long gone — just take it from him.
“This is good for my confidence,” DeJulius said. “I’m just going for it going into the postseason. I’m just going to continue to build off of this.”