Plenty has gone right for the undefeated Michigan basketball team this season, but the play of junior guard Tim Hardaway Jr. is perhaps the best development of the season for the team. Hardaway is 17.8 points and 6.2 rebounds per game while obliterating his career highs in shooting, hitting 56 percent of his shots overall and 37 percent of his 3-pointers. Former teammate Zack Novak, who is playing professionally in Europe, recently talked with Dylan Burkhardt of UMHoops.com and the subject of Hardaway came up. Here was Novak’s take on his former teammate:
You are familiar with this roster but what’s the most surprising thing you’ve seen through six games?
Tim. Hardaway. Jr. Wow. Name one player in the Big Ten that has gotten off to a better start. I’ve known that he had the potential to be a really special player since I saw him play at our Elite Camp when he was in high school. Tim had a great freshman season. Last year, he did not play up to the level that he expects of himself. I’ve heard on the telecasts people talking about how he worked hard to improve his handle (which is vastly improved) and how this new and improved Tim is a product of working his tail off this summer. Don’t take this the wrong way because Tim did do exactly that. He works as hard as anyone I’ve played with, but that isn’t the reason we’re seeing an entirely different player. Mentally, Tim took a huge step forward over the summer. He has matured and taken a new approach to the game. From the day he walked on campus, he had the tools to be a stud. Yes, those tools have improved, but I 100 percent believe that it is his mental approach that is the reason for his huge leap as a player.