Our player profile breaks down a Wolverine’s game and compares them to other players.
After posting a career-high five blocks in Michigan’s win over North Carolina, Jon Teske is the topic of this week’s player profile.
Teske, a native of Medina, Ohio, came to Ann Arbor as a three-star recruit according to 247 and a four-star in ESPN’s rankings. As a freshman in the 2016-17 campaign, he saw action in 20 games off the bench and never scored more than two points in a single contest. Last season, his playing time jumped from 60 minutes as a freshman to 506 as a sophomore and he made two starts, averaging 3.4 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. Now a junior, Teske has been in the starting lineup for all seven games. He leads the Wolverines in rebounds, blocks, and steals while ranking fifth on the team in scoring average at 6.9 points per game. In 174 minutes on the floor, Teske has committed a single turnover.
Standing seven feet tall, Teske’s biggest advantage on both ends of the floor is obviously his height. Offensively, he provides an option on the interior and gives Michigan extra possessions with his rebounding ability. Of Teske’s 41 rebounds this season, 29 percent of them have come on the offensive glass. Defensively, his 2.4 blocks per game are tied for second in the Big Ten. In addition to the blocks, he alters the shots of smaller players driving to the basket on a regular basis, which can be every bit as effective as a block but doesn’t show up on the stat sheet.
Questions and expectations:
With Moe Wagner’s departure to the NBA, Teske assumed his place in the starting lineup. Teske’s done an admirable job on the defensive end and on the glass in his expanded role this season. The major drop-off has come in scoring production. Wagner averaged over twice as many points last year as Teske is right now. While they’re clearly different players and Michigan does not need Teske to replicate the numbers Wagner put up, Teske’s ability to be a threat on the interior prevents teams from direction all their attention on Charles Matthews and Iggy Brazdeikis.
Though John Beilein has encouraged Teske to shoot the three when open, he is one-for-10 on the season. As a result, he is shooting 47.6 percent from the field. His 59.4 2-point field goal percentage is a much better indicator of how efficient he is offensively. Through seven games in 2018-19, he is converting on 43.8 percent of his free throws, down from his career mark of 54.2. Teske’s only gone to the charity stripe 16 times, but has as many misses as Brazdeikis, who’s made 42 trips. Step one for Teske to increase his scoring output is limiting the amount of points lost at the free throw line.
Big Ten comparison: Matt Haarms (Purdue)
Like Teske, Haarms is a 7-footer whose greatest impact is on the defensive end. In 44 games at the collegiate level, he has blocked 90 shots. Both players are most effective near the basket on offense, with three made 3-pointers between them in their careers. Neither Haarms or Teske are go-to scorers who have plays designed for them on a regular basis. Their points primarily come from offensive rebounds and slipping to the basket after setting screens. Similar to Teske, Haarms served as a rotation piece off the bench last season before becoming a starter for the 2018-19 campaign.
Similar player under Beilein: Mitch McGary (2013-2014)
Beilein has never had someone with Teske’s size in his time at Michigan, but McGary filled many of the same roles Teske does, albeit in a different fashion. A terrific rebounder, he averaged 2.6 offensive boards per game as a Wolverine. McGary lived in the paint just like Teske does and provided a spark with his energy and intensity. He averaged 7.5 points a contest in his only full season in Ann Arbor, which is in the same ballpark as Teske’s 6.9 this season. However, the impact of both players on their teams stretches beyond the stat sheet. Their presence in the paint is vital to keeping driving lanes open for teammates on the perimeter and clogging them on the defensive end.