After pummeling No. 11 North Carolina on Wednesday night, the No. 7 Michigan Wolverines are off to a red-hot 7-0 start and they are looking like one of the best teams in the nation.
One of the main reasons why the Wolverines are rolling is freshman sensation, Ignas Brazdeikis. In his first seven college games, he is averaging 16.9 points and 5.7 rebounds in just 26.7 minutes per contest.
Heading into the 2018-2019 campaign, the Wolverines, who advanced all the way to the National Championship game last season, were forced with the task of replacing forward Moritz Wagner, who decided to take his talents to the NBA. Wagner, who was selected by in the 1st round of the 2018 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers, led Michigan in scoring and rebounds during the 2017-2018 season and his fire on the court spread throughout the team as they made their Final Four run.
Even before he played his first game of the season, Brazdeikis was compared to Wagner and it goes much further than the fact he wears the same No. 13 jersey that Wagner wore while at Michigan.
But guess what? Brazdeikis will not be the next Moritz Wagner, he will be even better.
In the win over North Carolina, “Iggy” led all scorers with 24 points as the Wolverines rolled 84-67. It was the third-straight game in which he scored at least 20 points and he has clearly established himself as one of Michigan's go-to players, along with Charles Matthews, when the team needs a bucket.
The scoring is great, but the passion and fire Brazdeikis brings to the game is contagious. You can just see it in his eyes that he is determined to make something happen on each and every play, whether it be on offense or on defense.
If you have been paying attention through the Wolverines first seven games, you know exactly what I am talking about as you have seen it with your own eyes.
There is no question about it that “Iggy” believes he is the best player on the court each and every game and though that may seem cocky to some, it is more of a confidence that fuels him to prove it.
At 20-years-old, Brazdeikis is not your average freshman and he certainly has not looked like one so far this season. Instead, he has looked more like a seasoned veteran who knows how to win and how to make his team better.
During his final season at Michigan, Moritz Wagner averaged 14.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per contest while leading the Wolverines to a Big Ten Tournament Championship and trip to the National Championship game against Villanova.
By the time all is said and done (which may only be a season or two), Ignas Brazdeikis will surpass what Wagner did in the maize and blue and that would be pretty impressive.