Throughout the summer, fall workouts and preseason camp, coaches and players raved about the ability of freshman shooting guard Caris LeVert. The last addition to Michigan’s five newcomers, LeVert was on schedule for a redshirt as long as John Beilein and the Wolverines could afford to hold him back.
Those plans changed just six games into the season when LeVert checked in to the game for Michigan in their first true road test at Bradley.
Just what his role will be this year is still being worked out, according to Coach Beilein.
“I don’t know still what we’re going to get from him,” Beilein said, “because just two weeks ago we weren’t even thinking of doing this just yet.”
“He’s doing --- right now --- everything that we want him to do, gradually. Now we’ve just got to continue to just let him learn and keep getting better. Once again, some of the reasons we used that redshirt --- he’s very bright and he picks up our things very quickly.”
When Beilein told him he was being moved up from redshirt status into the playing rotation, it was welcome news for the freshman of course.
“We had a little meeting in his office,” said LeVert. “I was really excited—just getting a chance to play here is a dream come true.”
With roughly eight to ten minutes a game now going to LeVert, despite last night’s career high 14 minutes in the win over Binghamton, seniors Matt Vogrich and Eso Akunne knew their minutes would dwindle significantly. But true to the culture and camaraderie of this team, the veteran leaders were very supportive of the move and continue to be.
“We kind of did (talk about it),” said LeVert, “but of course they were okay with it. They were just doing what was best for the team, I felt like.”
“My teammates are doing a great job of getting me comfortable out there. So I feel real comfortable just coming in and giving great energy.”
Not only has LeVert altered his role in game situations, practices have changed dramatically as well. Through the first six games, LeVert spent his time attacking the starters as a part of the scout team, but is now on the opposite end of the ledger. Regardless of who is responsible for guarding the versatile freshman, LeVert will only become a tougher and tougher defensive assignment as he continues enhancing his game.
“lavall jordan said no one wants to close out on Caris LeVert,” said Beilein. “He can shoot it in, and he can go by you so quick with that first step. And then he sees really well, and with his length, so he’s earned these minutes now to be in there, and he’s taking advantage of it.”
“If the balls bouncing in the gym [are any indication], he’s probably out there a lot of times all by himself. First one in, last one out.”
To watch video of LeVert after the win over Binghamton, press play below.