Correction appended: this article misreported the score of the Michigan men’s basketball team’s win over Brown University on Sunday. The final score was 72-57.
Since they’re freshmen, it’s excusable if Kelvin Grady and Manny Harris aren’t fully aware of just how well they played in Michigan’s two wins this weekend.
Asked to critique his and Harris’s combined eight-assist, one-turnover performance against Radford Friday, Grady sounded confused.
“I thought I had a couple turnovers,” Grady said.
He then turned to senior Jerret Smith and asked, “When you throw the ball, and the other team hits it out-of-bounds, is that a turnover?”
Smith couldn’t help but smile and chuckle at the 18-year-old’s bewilderment since a turnover involves giving the ball up to the other team.
But there’s nothing uncertain about how smoothly Grady and Harris have transitioned into college basketball.
Grady followed up his 11-point, four-assist performance against the Highlanders Friday with a 10-point, two-assist showing in Michigan’s win yesterday.
Not to be outdone, Harris – Michigan’s Mr. Basketball last year – began his highly anticipated Wolverine career by scoring 13 and 22 points in the two games, respectively. The pair ignited the crowd yesterday, scoring 16 of the team’s first 24 points.
Friday saw the two connect for several highlight-reel finishes. The duo, who room together in West Quad Residence Hall, have developed quite the connection considering they’ve only known each other for a few months.
“We both have fun on and off the court,” Grady said after yesterday’s contest. “And I think the off the court really comes out when we’re on the court. He’s a fun guy, and all that comes together. Some might not think that really matters, but off the court we really click, and on the court it shows.”
Harris has shown he deserves all the hype. The Detroit native can take it to the rack off the dribble, as well as consistently knock down open shots when defenses respect his slashing skills.
Grady, on the other hand, wasn’t expected to make such an impact from the get-go. But with Smith out for the weekend due to injury, Grady was thrust into a starting role alongside Harris in the backcourt.
Thursday, Michigan coach John Beilein told the two freshmen they would be starting. That left Harris and Grady some time to discuss what needed to be done before hitting the sack in their dorm room.
“We said, ‘We got this opportunity and now we have to go out and go hard so we can keep it,’ ” Harris said following Friday’s contest.
The positive vibes from the freshman backcourt have quickly transferred over to the rest of the team. Last year’s constant apprehension over starting roles is no longer in the locker room between Smith and Grady – who both could see time at the starting point guard position this season.
“Their bonding has brought everybody else together,” senior Ron Coleman said. “They talk and tell us to play hard. And that’s great when you hear young guys trying to lead like that.”
If the duo helps lead the Wolverines back to prominence, Beilein and the rest of the team can stand for a few stat misinterpretations in the locker room.