Last season Coach Beilein as Coach Beilein evaluated his team he knew he needed to get Caris LeVert on the floor because of the work he was putting in at practice. He is the type of player that even if he is not scoring you still appreciates what he does; teammates certainly notice. Jon Horford pretty much paid it out after the Penn State victory.
"He is doing exactly what we need him to do -- we don't need him to score a lot we just need him to get a few buckets," said Horford. "Caris is getting assists, deflections, and playing tough defense. If you want a championship team you need tough guys like that. There were a couple possessions (versus PSU) when we barely had the lead and Caris got tips and was putting pressure on guys. Even if that doesn't turn into a possession for us that makes them hesitant -- I don't want to go there -- because he is in the gaps. All those things matter; so if Caris can keep playing the way he is playing we don't need him to do anything else. He makes everybody better and we're lucky to have him."
Levert has not been scoring as often lately, but when he does score, and with the work he puts in, it is appreciated even by the opposing coach. Here's a notable example:
"He was terrific," Coach Mike Krzyzewski said. Instead of just shooting the ball from the outside, he drove the ball and gave them a huge lift. They were having a hard time scoring, and LeVert put them on his back and was terrific."
Levert has had a few games where he has put up bunches of points, but what is defining him now -- as his points have declined -- is his all-around game. He is getting other teammates involved consistently, helping them to get easy open shots.
"Caris is a very versatile player,"says Nik Stauskas, "and I think you have been seeing that, with his ability to find people open. I think he had like five or six assists today. All we need from him is to be aggressive, get two feet in the paint -- and whether he is there to pass or too score he just needs to keep attacking."
The many roles that he Caris Levert able to play on this team -- whether it's being a defender, distributor, rebounder, or on occasion a scorer -- makes him close to a complete player. It is when he reaches the point of consistency and brings it every game -- then "complete player" will be a tag placed on him. Until he reaches that stage, it is a sight to see how he navigates his way -- to being the player that you know he can be.
VIDEO: Soph. guard Caris LeVert scored 14 points and 11 rebounds in U-M's 75-66 win over Purdue…