Friday, August 20, 2010
Mystery Man -- Guy-Marc Michel Prepares for Indiana Impact
He is mystery, this Guy-Marc Michel. He is a 7-foot, 277-pound invisible man. Few have seen him play. Fewer still can analyze his game.
In time, of course, that will change. Michel will suit up for the Indiana Hoosiers this season and we shall see, one way or the other, if he is project or powerhouse, raw or “untapped potential.”
Here is what we know.
Michel played two years at Northern Idaho, a junior college. As a freshman he averaged 8.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and led his conference in blocked shots. Last year he averaged 7.1 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.1 blocks. He has played on the Under-20 French national team. He is from the Caribbean island of Martinique.
Here is something else we know. Tom Crean didn’t bring Michel to Indiana to sit the bench.
“With that size, the odds are that he will play,” Crean said. “It’s how quick he picks things up that will determine how he will play.”
Michel doesn’t have to be the next Greg Oden or Shaq or Tim Duncan, although that would be nice. What he does have to be is an inside factor.
“His length overwhelms you,” Crean said. “We want him to roam and to be a shot-blocking threat. It’s not so much the shots he blocks as the shots he alters. He’s got to post up. If he can demand a double team, then we’ve made progress. He has a nice touch from the free throw line. The players are excited about him.”
Crean hasn’t seen Michel work out with the Hoosiers because NCAA rules won’t allow it in the off-season. But he occasionally asks the players how the summer has gone, and one question he “loves” to ask is who do the players think belongs in the top eight on the team. To a man, they all mention Michel.
Assistant coach Steve McClain has seen Michel play. McClain tried to get Michel to come to Colorado while he was an assistant there. He recruited him heavily. He kept Michel in mind when he took the IU job. When he realized the Hoosiers needed a dominating inside presence, he mentioned Michel to Crean.
“He’s a great shot blocker,” McClain said. “I knew he could rebound. From watching him in (junior college) practice, I knew he could score. I wanted to bring him to the forefront (of IU recruits).”
Mention Michel and thoughts quickly surface of Tijan Jobe and Bawa Muniru, big athletic guys who couldn’t play the game at the necessary level.
They did, however, look good in a uniform.
Anyway, looking good didn’t translate into playing well, or playing at all. And that, it seems, is not Michel.
“I don’t like to use the word, ‘Raw,’” McClain said. “To me that just means it will never happen. I like untapped potential.”
McClain recruited Michel to IU with the intention of tapping that potential.
“You never recruit a JUCO player unless he can bring immediate help. He’s a big, athletic center. He’s comfortable around the rim. He has a lot of untapped potential.”
Potential is good, but production is what is really needed. If Michel can do that, IU’s patsy days just might be over. And that, at least, is no mystery.