Michigan freshman Sherrod Harrell could have been on the other bench when the Wolverines faced Western Michigan on Saturday. Harrell, a Kalamazoo native, passed up the chance to play for the Broncos on scholarship, to walk on for the Michigan basketball team.

Being a freshman and a walk-on was two strikes against Harrell.

With the dismissal of Avery Queen from the Michigan basketball team, coach Tommy Amaker has only one scholarship player at the point guard position – freshman Daniel Horton. While the blue-chip recruit has shown flashes of brilliance in his first few games as a Wolverine, he is still very raw.

The loss of Queen also hurts because he was projected to backu p Horton at the point. Enter Harrell, who will now be forced to contribute minutes immediately so that Horton can sit for a few minutes each

“I think that with the situation we are in right now, I thought (Harrell) did an admirable job of coming in and spelling Horton and giving us quality minutes and taking care of the basketball and try to get us into things and defending,” Amaker said. “I was very pleased with how he performed for us and we anticipate that we are going to need more of that obviously in the future.”

Of course the increased playing minutes are a welcomed early Christmas present for Harrell.

“I’m fine with it, if coach needs me to step in, I’ll step in and do what I have to do to get a victory,” Harrell said.

While Harrell’s offensive skills may not be like those possessed by Horton, that is not what the Michigan coaching staff has demanded from him.

Harrell brings a solid defensive toughness to the game that Amaker and his staff expect from the walk-on freshman.

“Coach asked me to be a defensive man, so that’s what I focus on,” Harrell said. “I know that defense brings offense so if you play excellent defense then offense will come.”

Unlike, Queen, who stood at 5-foot-7, both Harrell and Horton are 6-foot-3.

The two are also very strong, and were able to challenge Western Michigan’s Robby Collum in Saturday’s 56-52 loss.

“They made me work for everything I got,” Collum said. “(Harrell) and Horton are big and strong, and they are pretty quick. You have got to adjust to how they are playing.”

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