New Michigan basketball coach Dusty May shares vision for Wolverines

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan basketball went from one style of play under former coach John Beilein to what was supposed to be a more NBA-style approach under Juwan Howard. The problem with the latter is that if you don’t have a lot of natural shooters, it can be easily disrupted — especially if you’re not good on the defensive side of the court.

Now, the Dusty May era begins in Ann Arbor in earnest and he shared a bit of his vision for his Wolverines. Though he won’t commit to exactly what it will look like given there are currently just three scholarship players on the roster, he knows what he wants it to look like. And it’s awfully enticing to Michigan basketball fans who just endured an 8-24 season.

“If we ever walk the ball up the floor, if we’re not at least jogging or moving at a solid pace, then the guys will hear from me,” May said. “It needs to be free-flowing. They don’t want the defense to ever get set. We shoot probably too many 3s. We finish at the rim, we play modern basketball. We do use analytics, use the metrics, but we try to find the best way for us to play that usually centers around what do your best players do well? And then what do the other guys bring for skill set?

“And then you mold (them), but fast-paced, energetic guys that want to share the ball, playing together, all five guys are connected on both sides of the ball. It’s more like jazz, we’re playing off of each other, reading each other.

“So I can’t say we’re going to shoot a ton of 3s this year, because I haven’t seen a roster yet. But they are worth more so we’ll sure a lot of them.

“And defensively, we try to be a little bit different. We try to be as disruptive as we can with our personnel. And we’ve always taken a lot of pride and trying to play a little bit different than everyone else than the groupthink just so you’re not preparing for us every single day in your own gym. But what it looks like to the detail, I don’t know yet. But I do know what I want it to look like at the end of the day. And it’s fast. There’s a lot of action. Very, very few stoppages. And hopefully, we’re scoring a lot of buckets.”

The reliance on 3s isn’t exactly a new thing but what will be interesting is to see how May uses his rotation, ball screens, and playing quickly to help that along.

What will be new is playing at a faster pace. Under both Beilein and Howard, the offense was more about ball rotation than it was about pushing the ball down the floor. If May can get the conditioning component right along with players who can execute his vision, then the Wolverines could be, as he says, very enjoyable to watch.

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