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Albrecht, LeVert to be honored on UM Senior Night

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Ann Arbor — It'll be weird, Senior Night on Saturday.

Michigan will pay tribute to Spike Albrecht and Caris LeVert, then do as it has done most of the season — go on without them, this time in a wildly critical game against Iowa at Crisler Center.

Albrecht and LeVert, the remaining members of the 2013 national runner-up team, have missed most of the season with injuries, Albrecht's hips and LeVert's left leg.

Neither will play Saturday, when the Wolverines likely will need a win to secure a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

"It stinks," Albrecht said Wednesday. "I wanna get out there and help. It doesn't sit well."

For Albrecht, 23, this actually might not be his last Senior Night.

The fan favorite said he's continuing to "keep my options open" regarding a future in basketball, and perhaps at Michigan.

Because Albrecht was shut down after playing just eight games this season, he is eligible for a fifth year of college basketball.

He said he hasn't made up his mind on the future, but if he's healthy, it'll be hard to walk away from the game he loves.

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"I've been asked that a lot. I really don't know. It all depends on how I'm feeling in a few months," Albrecht said. "I'll have to talk to Coach B, reevaluate things.

"But really, I can't tell the future until I give it a few more months, see how I'm feeling."

Albrecht played through so much pain last season, his parents often had to carry him to the car after games. After the season, he had two hip surgeries, and was told he'd be good as new in six months — and that didn't happen.

Now, he's about nine-10 months into his latest rehab schedule, and has been told he could be back to normal in three or four more.

After the season, he expects to sit down with coach John Beilein, his parents and his doctors to see what his options are.

Michigan would have to clear a scholarship if it wants him back, something Albrecht takes very seriously.

"I always told him I'm not going to come back and eat up a scholarship if I don't think I can play or help," Albrecht said.

Albrecht, who burst onto the scene as a freshman and scored 17 points in a stunning performance in the 2013 national championship game against Louisville, said he hasn't discussed this with Beilein.

Albrecht said he doesn't think now's the time to do it, since he's still rehabbing, and Michigan is still fighting for its NCAA Tournament life. The game against Iowa is the regular-season finale, and could be Michigan's 11th — and most important — Big Ten victory. A loss could send the Wolverines to the Big Ten tournament having to make a significant run.

If it's a no-go at Michigan, though, Albrecht has a hard time seeing himself playing anywhere else, at least in the college ranks. He noted how weird it was to see Max Bielfeldt wearing an Indiana jersey during the Hoosiers' trip to Crisler last month.

"I definitely don't picture myself wearing anything but the maize and blue," said Albrecht, whose role this season has included some guest-coaching during games, and some scout-team cameos. "It was really weird seeing (Bielfeldt), especially for me and how great Michigan's been to me and all the fans, so that's not really something I've given much thought to."

Albrecht has been a fan favorite for practically his entire time at Michigan, signing more autographs and taking more pictures than maybe the rest of his teammates put together. The fans likely were drawn to his style of play, the fact he's a short kid doing big things — an "overachiever," as Albrecht puts it.

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During fan day before the season, the line to take a selfie with Albrecht Spike was well beyond what the naked eye could see.

That's saying something for somebody who averaged fewer than four points a game for his career.

If, that is, his career is actually over.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

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