Go through the gallery for a player-by-player analysis on the Michigan basketball 2018-19 season, by James Hawkins of The Detroit News.
Throughout much of the regular season, nobody was talking about Michigan basketball.
The Wolverines had no one-and-dones, no consensus first-round draft picks and no preseason All-Americans on the roster.
All they had was each other. And in the end, that proved to be more than enough.
“It’s just that it’s more than basketball. It’s a brotherhood. We’re a family,” senior guard Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman said following Monday’s national title game loss to Villanova.
“We’ll always remember this run, this team. We’re 33-8 and nobody expected us to be here. And we’re just always going to remember each other and being part of this team.”
There was no flash, all substance. Michigan showed the nation what can be accomplished with teamwork, unity and a constant commitment to grow every game.
It took every piece — from standouts Moritz Wagner and Charles Matthews to freshmen Jordan Poole and Eli Brooks — to come together and carry the Wolverines to a Big Ten tournament title and one win from the program’s second national championship.
“We had talent for being really young,” Michigan coach John Beilein said. “We only had one third-year player and two fourth-year players. Everybody else was really a novice because they never really played minutes. Just think about that.
“In the beginning of the season, we’re down in the second half to Southern Mississippi, Central Michigan and North (Florida). … They didn’t start pointing fingers or doing anything when we lost. It’s just, ‘Let’s get better.’
“There was the quiet leadership. There was leadership from Moe. They were much more vocal. That was just incredible growth because they were connected. And that’s what I’ll remember about this team.”