- Number: 30
- Position: Forward
- Height: 6-7
- Weight: 210
- Year for 2008: Junior
Offense: The beginning of the season, Prince rarely saw the court and was relegated to mop-up duty. However, during the Stanford game something changed. You can see here, where I've annotated his game log, that Prince, at one time, could be effective if given an opportunity. During this 14 or 15 game stretch leading up to conference play and a small portion of conference play, Prince was doing the little things that make a team go.
Offensively, he rarely contributed, which was part of the problem. Prince averaged 1.7 shots a game, he never shot the ball, and I don't think he ever shot with confidence. There was only one time this year that Michael shot more than 8 shots, against Texas during a blowout loss. I think Knight lost his patience with Prince against New Mexico where he played 25 minutes but only shot the ball twice and missed both shots. He had no free throws, he was a man you did not have to guard. I don't think there's any question that Knight likes guys who can both score and play defense. Prince met the requirements of the defensive part of the equation, but not the offensive.
I don't think there's any question that at some point during the season, Prince lost minutes and then he lost his way. Much like Voskuil, he deferred his shot to Zeno or Jackson when he was perfectly capable of pulling up for a jumper and making opposing defenses guard him. It will be interesting to see how Prince reacts this offseason, in other words, what is he going to do to improve his offensive game, especially now that he's got Decensae White, D'Walyn Roberts, Mike Singletary and possibly Hardeman all wanting the same minutes, and my gut tells me that it will come down to who can be a threat offensively.
Defense: I thought that Prince was a very good defender and it seemed obvious to me that he was able to get low and really take on smaller and quicker players. Not that he could consistently take on guards the entire game, but that he had the ability to divert a player from the lane.
For a short stretch of games Knight was a very effective rebounder, especially for his size and was even able to block a few shots along the way.
Defense is not the issue with Prince, it's fairly obvious that Michael cares about defending and is well-equipped to guard various types of players, from shooting guards to power forwards.
2008 Expectations: At some point during the season, Knight had to make a decision about getting the most offense from his team, while not detracting from the defensive side of the ball. I think that Knight realized that he was going to have to play guys who may not be the best defenders on the team, but at the very least, could potentially keep the defense honest. Michael's offensive game was not quite up to snuff and so his playing time was sacrificed. Knight looked around and saw that White gave him the same type of minutes as Prince, but with the offensive punch that Prince lacked. The team was already to a point that it was not the most efficient offensive team and as a team, they needed all of the help they could get. I don't think that there's any doubt what Prince should begin working on for the 2008 season:
- Develop mid-range jumpshot.
- Develop the ability to score inside.
- Be able to take your man off of the dribble.
Prince is facing a real test here. If Michael is able to improve his game, he's got a legitimate shot to share a number of the small forward and power forward minutes, however, he's got to compete with White, Roberts, and Singletary. White we know about and Roberts and Singletary have both shown enough offensive prowess to garner minutes next year.
Thus, I hedge on the side of caution when projecting statistics for Michael Prince. These numbers are base on if Michael does not improve, which I hope like hell that doesn't happen, averages 9 minutes a game and 2 points.