Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Previewing The Roster: Corey Person

A player that typically does not receive a lot of coverage, but has one of the coolest names on the entire team is Corey Person.  He is a fifth year player from Kalamazoo and is actually a graduate student at Michigan right now.  He started his career as a walk-on at Michigan and has gradually improved during his time in Ann Arbor.  There's no doubt that Person is not a player that comes with high expectations, but that doesn't mean he won't be a factor this year.

To be fair, Person has not contributed heavily on the court during his career in Ann Arbor.  He did play in 10 games last season, which is the highest of any season during his career, but he had just 11 minutes total over the season.  Over the course of his three seasons of play, there hasn't been much variation from those numbers.  Some of his contributions that don't show, however, are those of leadership.  He is definitely a leader on this team and most of his contributions likely come through this and on the practice court, which cannot be overstated.  This is hard to measure, but it's going to be an important factor since Michigan lost both of its captains from last season.

Things To Look For In 2012-2013:

1.  Fewer Mistakes
One of the biggest reasons backups don't see the court is because they tend to commit more mistakes than the starters on the team.  If a coach puts a backup on the court, they need to be able to trust that the player is going to go out and play consistent and not do anything that threatens that team's chances at victory.  This is important because most of the time bench players receive are either to rest a starter, during foul trouble, or during a blowout game.  In each one of these scenarios, a backup player needs to go out there and just maintain what the starters have given him.  Play defense, don't take risks, and leave the team in good shape until the starter can get back out there.  This is huge when you're talking about bench players that receive very little time.  Right now, Person is making too many mistakes for the amount of time he gets on the floor.  He only had 2 turnovers last season, but he also only played 11 minutes total.  Considering that each of these turnovers came in games where he just played 1 minute does not help either.  Making sure that he holds onto the basketball and doesn't make bad decisions will be a big factor in determining whether Person can increase his time this year.

2.  Defense, Defense, Defense
One of the aspects of the game that rarely shows up on stats sheets is defense, but any coach or player will talk about its importance.  For Person's role on the team, making sure he is strong on the defensive side is crucial since his main role will likely be to maintain leads the team has already created.  I realize this is a pretty general comment to make, but this is a big thing I'm looking for this year.  If Person can get on the court in some of those early season games and make an impact on the defensive side, maybe Beilein will turn to Person in some of the later games during the season.  When Big Ten play started last year, Person actually went a twelve game stretch and only played one minute in a blowout win over Wisconsin at home.  I realize Person isn't going to get a lot of time, but getting a quick start, especially on the defensive side in the early season, will be key to him getting some more playing time.

3.  Leadership
There's no doubt that Person has been a great leader for the team and someone that helps out in a lot of ways off the court.  These things are hard to measure and not something that most fans will see, but he has done a lot to not only pump up the team, but also for the fans.  He was part of that exciting "pump up" video last year that got the fans into the game on several occasions.  These kind of contributions don't get much appreciation, but somebody has to help get the players and fans into the game and Person has done a great job with that task. To me, this is his best chance to contribute, especially if he isn't able to improve in the areas above and increase his playing time this year.  I don't expect Person to get much playing time, especially in big games, but his transition from walk-on to graduate student at Michigan is an impressive one and something that should be revered from the fans.

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