There are some big changes happening in college hoops and Michigan basketball could be one of the programs to take advantage of it.
After the shocking retirements of Roy Williams, and Coach K (after the 2021-22 season) it is fair to wonder if college basketball will be changed forever. Those two coaches have a combined 79 years of head coaching experience. To say that this news is massive is an extremely massive understatement.
Coach Roy Williams and Coach Krzyzewski were both the embodiment of college basketball. UNC vs. Duke was must-watch TV almost every season. Some of the greatest athletes of all time have come through both of those programs.
With these two legendary coaches finally leaving the college coaching ranks, is it fair to wonder if other programs, like say Michigan basketball, can benefit from these changes?
Now that Michigan is finally back and playing consistently well season-to-season, I believe it is time for Michigan basketball fans to have annual crazy high expectations for this team. We do the same for the football team pretty much, so it is time to get on the basketball hype train.
No, too much hype is not wise, but feeling supremely confident never hurts. Although Duke and North Carolina both quickly replaced both of these coaches, it will still take years to get to their level. Those coaches will have to really work their tails off to earn respect.
Both of those programs are seen as “blue bloods” by every single basketball expert and website. What Michigan basketball has done the past nine seasons is downright remarkable. Few programs have matched it, to be honest.
But what will it take for Michigan basketball to be a “blue blood?”
Elite recruiting is the key for Michigan
First off, Juwan Howard will need to keep recruiting at a very high level. It will be hard to match his No. 1 recruiting class in 2021 year after year. Top-five to top 10 every season as a coach is definitely attainable and should be the norm.
To start to be considered blue blood status, Michigan basketball will need a top-10 recruiting class every single season for the next 10 seasons.
Juwan Howard may not be the head coach at U-M 10 seasons, but hypothetically, let’s just say he is. Out of those 10 seasons, six or seven of the seasons have to have top-5 recruiting classes.
Out of the top-5 recruiting classes, four or five of the classes need to be top-3, and out of the top-3, a few No. 1 (like 2-3) recruiting classes have to be sprinkled in somewhere.
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As more and more professional leagues start to recruit high school athletes, it will be harder for all coaches to get high schoolers to come to college, so maintaining these elite classes will be tougher.
Another factor is the one-and-done type of players. Duke and North Carolina, Kansas, and Kentucky are all known for their one-and-done players. If there’s anything that could derail Michigan’s “blue blood” status, it’s this.
Michigan does not want an entire roster full of one-and-done players. It is not necessary for U-M to be successful. Sprinkling in a few one-and-dones is fine. I believe not meeting this requirement year-to-year is completely fine. Some five-stars decide to stay more than one year anyways.
Next is the fanbase. The Cameron Crazies, Big Blue Nation, Rock Chalk Jayhawk, and The Tar Heels all have very loud and raucous fanbases. It is hell playing their team away, with fans jeering, yelling out obscenities, and just causing various distractions.
Michigan’s Maize Rage student section is great. For the Wolverines to be considered a blue blood, they need their fanbase and student section to keep causing hell for the opposing team.
The opposing team’s coaches and players shouldn’t be able to hear themselves think, and the opposing players and coaches should all compliment the fanbase. Michigan’s win record at home needs to stay at an elite level annually.
Lastly, all of the other “blue bloods” have multiple championships. For Michigan to truly be considered a blue blood, it needs to start winning more championships. I’d say in the decade, at least two or three championships with other deep runs sprinkled in is certainly feasible for UM basketball.
If there’s anybody I’d trust to do everything mentioned (besides the fanbase), it’s Juwan Howard. He’s been killing it on the recruiting trail, his coaching has been great to elite, and he has Michigan poised for some deep runs in March, with hopefully a few championships on the way as well. If Michigan can do a lot of these things, they may become the new “blue blood”.