Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Fit of Blake McLimans At Miami (OH)

Photo Credit: Getty Images
A few weeks ago, it was announced that senior Michigan basketball player Blake McLimans would be transferring to play for Miami (OH) for what would have been his redshirt senior year.  McLimans was a member of Michigan's 2009 recruiting class and was rated as a 3* recruit by Rivals.  He played during 3 seasons for the Wolverines in a total of 71 games.  He will be a graduate transfer next year, so he will not be required to sit out anytime before playing for the
Miami Redhawks.  This means that he will be available for next season.

As fans, we don't know what occurred behind the scenes in terms of McLimans' relationship to Michigan and its coaching staff, but there doesn't seem to be any indication this transfer was for anything except playing time.  There was decent hope for McLimans to play a factor for the Wolverines, but during his 3 seasons, his minutes have actually decreased every year and last season, he only played in 16 games (the lowest of his career).  This isn't necessarily an indication of his talent level, but just the improvement undergone by the Wolverines' roster.  Michigan now has an experienced and talented frontcourt that will be adding even more pieces for next year.  The odds were pretty low that McLimans was going to get much playing time and for his last year of eligibility, he decided he wanted a little more playing time, so he opted to go to Miami.  Nothing to question about that decision.

So the question now becomes, how will he fit in with the Redhawks?  After reviewing the roster and performance of Miami last season, the easy answer is very well.  Miami was not very good last year (to say the least).  They were ranked #254 in KenPom and 10th in the MAC.  They were 9-22 last year and went just 3-13 in the MAC.  This was the worst record in the MAC East and tied for the worst in the entire conference.  This wouldn't necessarily be that bad if Miami was in a really good conference or an improved MAC, but there were really only a couple teams that were competitive with major conferences and the conference only put 1 team into the NCAA Tournament.  This isn't meant as a rip on the MAC, but more to show how weak the Redhawks were considering they finished so poorly in a pretty weak conference.

Needless to say, Miami could use all the help they can get for next year, but what also helps is that McLimans can fit in pretty well at a position of great need.  The Redhawks were exceptionally bad at rebounding last season (last in the MAC), lose a senior center in Vince Legarzo, and the team's leading rebounder is 6'7" (McLimans is 6'10").  To put that last stat in comparison, that's the height of Max Bielfeldt and one inch taller than Caris LeVert.  Not necessarily bad, but should at least be a concern.  I strongly expect McLimans to start on day one and become their best rebounder almost instantly.  They have a few guys that should be alright at power forward, but they need a true center badly and McLimans should fill that role.

I'm not expecting an All-American season by any means, but I think this will be a good transfer for everybody.  It was clear that McLimans was only going to get limited time on a stacked Wolverine roster and that Miami could really use a big man with McLimans' skillset.  He's going to get one last year of being a real contributor on a team that could really use his skills.  They don't lose much this season, so maybe they can get the right pieces together to play well in the MAC and slide into an NCAA Tournament spot.  Either way, it's going to be fun to watch a player Michigan fans have loved in a more significant team role next year.

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