The situation, which had its share of ups and downs for the Michigan men’s basketball team, began to flourish, and just in March.
Wolverines showed unwavering confidence in graduate guard Devante ‘Jones all year, they stayed with him when he had trouble adapting to Michigan and fought so hard in the beginning.
Now Jones has become a reliable playmaker, but it wasn’t just him. Freshman bodyguard Frankie Collins also found a way into form, especially during Tuesday night’s victory over Michigan.
Wolverines need both playmakers to reach the championship if they want to get into an NCAA tournament and maybe even win there or two games.
“DeVante’s game has intensified,” said acting head coach Phil Martelli after the victory over the Spartan. “Frankie’s game has intensified because DeVante’s game has risen.”
In his role, Collins should make the most of his limited time on the floor. Sometimes this season he struggled to do so, but even remained ready to go. Against Michigan, Jones recorded his second foul just three minutes into the game. According to Martelli, Collins immediately got ready for the game when Jones received a second whistle.
Collins claimed his presence throughout his 12 minutes of the first half, succeeding with his dribbles and dazzling the crowd with head gear. He had four assists in half to zero, while Michigan held a 16-point lead in that half, while Jones played just three minutes.
“Frankie (could) just be who he is,” said freshman Caleb Houston. “Pushing the pace in the transition, finding the guys, he was definitely a spark from the bench. He played very well. “
Collins did not play much in the second half, but his contribution to the first – this is exactly the production that Wolverine needs from him in the future.
Jones picked up where Collins stopped in the second half, continuing his stellar game lately. He was calm with the ball, aggressive, and he helped organize the Michigan attack. He did what Wolverine had to do.
What Jones has to do is usually different from game to game. Sometimes, as against the state of Michigan, he is asked to retain control of the game, give the ball to central sophomore Hunter Dickinson and play well in defense. But other times, Michigan looks at Jones as one of his main killing options. In the defeat against Illinois on Sunday, Jones proved he can do it. He scored 25 points and made ten assists, all with effective shots from the field and a perfect score of 7 to 7 from the free throw line.
“We felt that if he could influence his man, he would be able to play an intermediate game,” Martelli said after the defeat by Ilina. “And I thought he did it extraordinarily well.”
The Raamahi tandem did not always play at the level they are now, feeding on each other’s energy and maintaining continuity when they test each other. But looking back on how Jones and Collins got to that point isn’t really that important. Now the important thing is that the couple plays complementary and they both thrive.
Just in time.