Junior Sherrod Harrell insists that his role hasn’t changed.
“One thing you can’t get into is changing what you are,” Harrell said. “That’s when teams get in trouble. Just because we had a few guys go out, guys still have to do what they do.”
This assertion might be true as far as duties as tri-captain of the Michigan men’s basketball team is concerned. But Harrell’s presence on the court and on the stat sheet has become much more prominent in the last few weeks.
“He’s a very unselfish person and player,” Michigan coach Tommy Amaker said. “I think his contributions — you won’t see them so much in the stat sheet — but it’s in how he plays in practice and how he helps the guys along.”
On Saturday, Harrell proved that he could make significant contributions, with both subtle and explicit plays.
He scored a career-high seven points, easily surpassing his previous high of four. His shooting was conservative but also quite accurate, as he shot 2-for-3 from the field including 1-for-2 from beyond the arc. Harrell also managed to sink both of his free throws.
His play was both aggressive and plentiful, as he grabbed five rebounds and remained on the floor for 22 minutes.
“He is our only healthy captain for us, and Sherrod is a terrific leader,” Amaker said. “He’s a team-first player — a person players respect. He’s a tough guy. He’s mentally tough. He’s going to fight through things, and he’s willing to do anything for his teammates.”
While his teammates are relying more heavily on his leadership, Harrell still looks to the other captains for guidance.
“I asked Lester (Abram) tonight while we were sitting on the bench, ‘Les, why can’t we get open on the wings?’ ” Harrell said. “He told me what to do, I spread the word, and we went out and did it. We still use them.”
Hit the Wohl?: Just when the Michigan faithful hoped the injuries that have inflicted several key players would cease, they received more bad news — junior Dani Wohl is out indefinitely with an elbow injury.
The guard fell on his elbow at practice on Thursday, and his status remains unknown. He will receive an MRI later in the week.
“I was disappointed for a kid like Dani Wohl, who has worked all his life to get to the point where he’d get the chance to play in a game like this, and he gets hurt just before we’re supposed to play,” Amaker said.
Wohl had seen very few minutes in his Michigan career until Tuesday’s game against High Point, when, in the absence of junior starter Daniel Horton, Wohl got the chance to play 30 minutes. He scored four points, snatched two rebounds and committed four turnovers in his time on the court.
The upside to Wohl’s injury is that sophomore Ashtyn Bell, another nonstarter, saw a significant spike in playing time on Saturday. The junior notched one assist in 10 minutes on the court.
“It felt good,” Bell said. “I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for a long time, so I wanted to take advantage of it. I went out there and did the best I can.”
His game may have been hampered by the protective, plastic mask that he had to wear in order to prevent re-injuring to his nose, which he broke in practice at the beginning of the season.
“The one I was playing with was real bad,” Bell said. “I couldn’t see anything. But I’m getting one on Monday fitted to my face, so it should be better.”