While he may not see time on the floor, senior Dani Wohl may be the best weapon for the Michigan basketball team against Binghamton tonight.

The Wolverines will face a dominant threat in the frontcourt in the form of 7-foot Binghamton center Nick Billings. Billings is a shot-blocking machine: He is currently 10th in NCAA history in shots blocked per game (3.87), and was fifth in the nation in blocks last year and second in the nation two years ago, behind Connecticut’s Emeka Okafor. But his weakness might come from Wohl, who is his friend, and won’t hesitate to share his scouting report with his teammates.

“I know what he does well and I know his weakness, too,” Wohl said. “He has a tendency to go for everything — ball fakes and stuff like that will get him into foul trouble. I’ll definitely help (my teammates prepare).”

Wohl played his freshman year at Binghamton before transferring to Michigan in 2002. After sitting out the 2002-03 season due to the NCAA’s transfer rule, he saw his first action as a Wolverine last season. He remains close with Billings and the coaching staff despite being two years removed from Binghamton.

“The main guy I keep in touch with is Billings,” Wohl said. “We met up last summer and hung out.”

After being a four-year starter at West Bloomfield High School and All-State honorable mention in 2001, Wohl took his game to Binghamton. The school, located in Vestal, N.Y., made the move to Division I from Division II during Wohl’s freshman year. But something didn’t seem to fit for Wohl during the season.

“Binghamton is a great school, but it wasn’t for me,” Wohl said. “I didn’t like it — the education, being far from home, family, everything else. The basketball was good but I felt I needed a change. I didn’t feel right there.”

Binghamton coach Al Walker made some calls on Wohl’s behalf, and contacted Michigan assistant coach Chuck Swenson to inquire about a transfer. During his first season at Michigan, Wohl saw action in eight games and scored his only basket of the season against Northwestern on Jan. 7. While he doesn’t have any animosity for Walker or Binghamton, Wohl is glad he decided to transfer closer to home.

“Everything seemed to fall into place and I feel real lucky,” Wohl said. “(The Preseason NIT) is a great opportunity for a school like Binghamton to come into Michigan and give them great exposure. They’re a tough team — they really get after it, play tough ‘D.’ They run a lot of defensive sets, so we’ll have to get ready for them.”

Wohl has been preparing the Michigan frontcourt around Billings’ game, especially Courtney Sims and Graham Brown, who will likely match-up against Billings on offense. On defense, the Wolverines will also slow down Billings, who averaged 12.5 points-per-game last season. With the advice from Wohl, Sims feels that he can shut down the potential NBA prospect.

“As long as I play my game, I don’t think anybody can stop me,” Sims said. “I think I’ll be fine.”

In the end, it’s obvious where Wohl’s allegiances lie. He has done all he can to help Michigan prepare for tonight’s game, but still hopes that despite his preparations, his friend can still put on a show.

“I hope he has a good game, but I hope we win,” Wohl said.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.