Michigan has convincingly shown that they are not only one of the better teams in the Big Ten, but also in the entire NCAA. Surprisingly, enough no team in the Big Ten is getting more scoring production from freshmen than the Wolverines, accounting for almost 47% of their total offense.
Making the most impact on the Wolverines is small forward Glenn Robinson III. While the 6’6” small forward doesn’t lead the Michigan freshmen in points (that honor goes to Nik Stauskas at 13.5 ppg), he has made more of an overall impact on the teams’ 15-0 start beyond his 12.5 ppg).
An impressive athlete with above average speed and leaping ability, Robinson has shown a diverse offensive arsenal, being able to score from the perimeter and inside the paint. Not know as a great shooter coming-into college, he has worked hard at refining his shooting stroke and has proven to be a threat, not only in his mid-range game, but also beyond the three-point arc (38% 3PT%). What has been very impressive, is the maturity level he shows within the set offense, rarely forcing up a shot and showing a willingness to share the basketball.
Robinson isn’t just an offensive threat, but also has value on the defensive side of the ball. His quick hops and length has allowed him to co-lead the Wolverines with 6.1 rpg, including a team-high 38 offensive rebounds. He is also second on the team in steals, despite committing very few fouls.
Despite the stat-stuffing numbers that Robinson has been able to put-up in his debut season, coach John Beilein would like him to improve his ball-handling skills and show more consistency with his on-ball defense. A strong work ethic likely ensures that will happen, and could catapult him into one of the better small forwards in the NCAA.
As a prep-player, it might have been a stretch to think Robinson would have been able to follow in his father, Glenn Robinson, Jr.’s footsteps into the NBA, but not only is that a reality, it is very possible that he joins his father as a first-round NBA Draft pick.
Week one of conference play exposed a few teams, but also proved that 10 of the 12 teams are capable of winning at home on any given night. The premier match-ups for this week, include Minnesota @ Illinois on Jan 9, Minnesota @ Indiana on Jan 12, and Michigan @ Ohio State on Jan 13.
Big Ten Power Rankings
1. Michigan 2. Indiana 3. Minnesota 4. Illinois 5. Ohio State 6. Michigan State 7. Iowa 8. Wisconsin 9. Nebraska 10. Purdue 11. Northwestern 12. Penn State
Deric McKamey is a Midwest Scout for NetScouts Basketball and cover the Big Ten. Thanks to the Detroit Free Press for the photo.