U-M’s John Beilein: Don’t count out Spike Albrecht next season

ANN ARBOR — Last time the nation saw Spike Albrecht he was reaching out to Kate Upton via Twitter after knocking down three-pointers in the NCAA title game against Louisville, stunning the Cardinals on his way to a career-high 17 points.

His coach, John Beilein, wanted to remind everyone that Albrecht didn’t just shoot well in the championship game loss. He shot well the whole NCAA tournament run, draining nine of 10 three-pointers.

Albrecht’s performance, Beilein said this week, should give the sophomore point guard confidence. And that gives U-M something it hasn’t had the last several seasons: a returning point guard to compete with highly touted incoming freshman.

Next fall Derrick Walton is expected to take over where Darius Morris and Trey Burke left off. Walton officially arrives on campus today. But in a wide-ranging roundtable session with the media Thursday, Beilein said not to count Albrecht out.

“He doesn’t see himself as an insurance policy,” Beilein said. “He seems himself competing for a lot of playing time.”

This should help ease Walton’s transition to the college game. It’s easy to forget how rare it is for freshman point guards to come in and do what Burke did. As Beilein noted, Morris had the kind of freshman year that is more

commonplace.

“Darius had ups and downs his freshman year,” said Beilein, “Trey was spectacular his freshman year.”

But neither, he said, faced the kind of competition Walton will face with Albrecht. “This will be good,” Beilein said.

Asked to compare Walton to Burke, he said, “work habits.”

But it ends there. “The style of play will be different,” Beilein said.

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Posted by Tribune News Services

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