ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- What a difference a year makes.
After arriving to Michigan’s campus in summer of 2012, sophomore guard Caris LeVert’s body has transformed physically. He has gone from a skinny 6-foot-4, roughly 160-pounds, to now where he is up to 6-foot-6, 187-pounds and it’s showing on the court.
Last Friday, in Michigan’s opening night 69-42 win over UMass Lowell, LeVert used his new size and strength to lead the Wolverines with 17 points – also a new career high – to start off their 2013-14 campaign.
“I have seen pretty much all positives so far.” Levert said on the added weight. “Just being able to play longer. Play harder for out there. Rebounding, playing defense, so it has really helped me a lot this season.”
But even with the added weight, Michigan coach John Beilein says LeVert is still the Wolverines top threat in the fast break.
“North-south now, he’s a quick son of a gun,” Beilein said. “And so when he gets going downhill, he’s hard to stop. So we try to put him those situations, but encourage him. He may be right now our best speed guy in the fast break with the ball, just going with it. And still playing with his feet on the floor. So that has really been a great addition to his game. And then you turn around and I think he capacity to be one of our best defenders as well.”
Levert appeared in 33 games last season as a freshman, only starting one. He was considered a role player and wasn’t asked to do too much in the scoring column. But this season you can expect LeVert to do more scoring like he did in the opener, said sophomore Glenn Robinson III.
“I have been seeing that throughout practice and even spurts of it last year,” Robinson said. “And really this is the year kind of to get to show some of the things he is capable of doing. But all around -- he is looking great out there, assists, points, steals, everything. He’s doing it all.”
Although LeVert has gained added muscle this season, he admits his end goal is near 200-pounds and has seen the nothing but “positive” affects since adding the weight.
“I have seen pretty much all positives so far,” LeVert said. “Just being able to play longer. Play harder for out there. Rebounding, playing defense, so it has really helped me a lot this season.”