Michigan Basketball: Will Mitch McGary or Glenn Robinson III Make Bigger Impact?

Zach DirlamSenior Analyst IINovember 9, 2012

Glenn Robinson III might already be the best athlete the Michigan Wolverines have on their 2012-13 roster.
Glenn Robinson III might already be the best athlete the Michigan Wolverines have on their 2012-13 roster.Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary were the two headlining recruits of the Michigan Wolverines' 2012 recruiting class and both of the ESPN Top 100 prospects are expected to be key contributors right away for the Maize and Blue, but which one of the true freshmen will have a bigger impact this season?

McGary will bring a strong rebounding presence to Michigan's frontcourt, which is something the Wolverines lacked a year ago finishing No. 311 in the nation in rebounds per game (30.8). But Robinson might be the best athlete on the 2012-13 roster and will have a better freshman year than his counterpart.

"He's just so smooth," senior captain Josh Bartelstein told Andy Reid of TheWolverine.com. "I joke around with him that he's not even breaking a sweat out there. He is so efficient."

The 6'6", 210-pounder is a natural fit in Michigan's offense at small forward, which will allow Tim Hardaway Jr. to shift over to shooting guard. He will also open up the floor for sophomore point guard Trey Burke to get to the rim.

Robinson has proven to be a dual-threat for the Wolverines in their two exhibition games.

The St. John, Ind. native attacked the basket at will for a couple of alley-oop dunks and some easy layups. He also showed off an improved jump shot en route to knocking down 12-of-17 field goal attempts for 30 points in two blowout victories over the Saginaw Valley State Cardinals and Northern Michigan Wildcats.

"G-Rob, he shocked me today with his shooting," Burke said after Michigan's win over the Cardinals. "I knew he was a good shooter, be he wasn't missing anything"

Burke is not the only one who has been impressed with Robinson's development on the offensive end of the court. While Robinson is humble much of the time, the Lake Central High School product is not afraid to talk about how far he has come as a player since arriving in Ann Arbor.

"I know I'm getting way better at offense than I was when I first was coming in," Robinson told Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press. "Just stepping up and knocking down shots that I get open."

Don't forget about defense either. According to head coach John Beilein, Robinson has proven to be one of the team's top defenders and will make life tough this season on opposing small forwards.

"Glenn Robinson has shown some ability several times to really guard people," Beilein told Nick Baumgardner of AnnArbor.com in the week leading up to Michigan's first exhibition contest. "He's got instincts and he's really worked hard through the years to be a defender. That would be an easy way right now for him to add to this team." 

Robinson will only improve Michigan's offense and will take some of the pressure off of Burke to be the team's primary scorer, which eventually wore the Ohioan down last year.

Expect Robinson to be one of the Wolverines' top two scorers this season and for the true freshman to be one of Michigan's top defenders given his length and outstanding athleticism.

Another factor working against McGary, at least for the early portion of Michigan's 2012-13 campaign, is the fact that he will be coming off of the bench rather than being in the starting lineup with Robinson and Co.

McGary will develop into one of the Big Ten Conference's top power forwards over the course of the season. For the time being, though, his role will be to pull down as many rebounds as possible, take advantage of easy baskets and leave the remainder of the scoring to Robinson, Hardaway and Burke.

Both McGary and Robinson are more than likely the two best players Beilein has ever had at any of his past coaching stops, but the latter will have a much larger effect on this year's team.


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