Ford in Maui: Michigan-Memphis notes
November, 21, 2011
By Chad Ford | ESPN.com
LAHAINA, Maui -- The EA Sports Maui Invitational got off to great start on Monday, with the first upset of the day as No. 15 Michigan beat No. 8 Memphis, 73-61. I sat on the baseline with a number of NBA general managers and scouts. Here are a few quick observations and notes from the game:
- There was a lot of hand-wringing over what Michigan would do at point guard since Darius Morris left for the NBA. Trey Burke is quickly allaying any fears that Wolverine fans may have. After getting off to a shaky first game versus Ferris State, Burke has steadied. On Monday, he was terrific scoring, 14 points and handing out 4 assists. What stood out most was Burke's poise in the face of an athletic and aggressive defense from Memphis. A number of NBA scouts are keeping a close eye on Burke. While he's not an elite draft prospect yet, the potential -- thanks to a great NBA body, quickness and poise -- is there.
- Tim Hardaway Jr. continues to shine for Michigan. His 21 points led all scorers and he carried UM in the early going and in a critical stretch in the second half. Hardaway grew an inch to 6-foot-6 this summer, but where he's really grown is in his shot selection. Last season, Hardaway shot 42 percent from the field. He's now at 49 percent for the season and is playing under control more and more. While scouts saw him as a marginal pro prospect coming into the season, they are warming to him. Several told me after Michigan's practice on Saturday that they were impressed by his maturity and leadership. If he keeps playing like this all week, he could be a potential late first-round pick.
- Memphis has a ton of NBA athletes, but all of them had a disappointing game against Michigan. Toward the end of the game, both Adonis Thomas and Tarik Black were noticeably frustrated by the perimeter-oriented play of the team. Black should have dominated the Michigan bigs, but instead made just one field goal and had just 3 rebounds. Thomas was the highest-ranked player on the floor, but is struggling to get good touches right now. He began the game with a 3-point field goal and just made one shot the rest of the game. NBA scouts have been worried he's a tweener at the next level. He might be a tweener at the college level too.
- A number of NBA GMs are on hand for the tournament. Danny Ainge, Gar Forman, Sam Presti, Kevin O'Connor, Chris Grant, Mark Warkentein, Chad Buchanan, Mitch Kupchak, Daryl Morey were all sitting baseline for the Michigan-Memphis game, alongside another 30 or so NBA scouts.