By Jesse Wood
April 9, 2013. After Spike Albrecht of the Michigan Wolverines lit up the Louisville Cardinals in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship for 17 points in the first half with long-range threes and successful drives to the basket, the telecasters were scrambling to figure out where this unheralded 5-foot-11, 165-pound player came from.
During 38 prior games this season, Albrecht averaged less than 2 points per game in less than eight minutes of playing time, and now he was excelling on the game’s biggest stage.
Until Michigan offered him a scholarship him March 2012, Appalachian State University was the only other Division 1 school to show enough interest to offer him a free ride, according to the Detroit Free Press. As soon as Michigan expressed interest, Albrecht, a freshman out of Northfield Mt. Hermon Prep (Mass.), immediately jumped on the offer.
Michigan was worried that Trey Burke, who was recently named college basketball’s best player of the year, would jump early to the NBA last year, leaving the school without a competent point guard. Luckily for Michigan – and not ASU basketball fans, Albrecht played AAU basketball with two other current teammates at Michigan – Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary, so the scouts for Wolverine basketball were aware of the young player’s ball handling skills and three-point proficiency.
With Burke in foul trouble during the first half against the Cardinals, Albrecht single-handedly kept Michigan afloat, heading into half-time with a slight advantage. At one point the lead was in double digits when he was shooting lights out.
Albrecht went on an amazing stretch in that first half, although he did end up turning the ball over a few times with wild drives throughout the match and completely disappeared offensivley in the second half, when the game finally slipped away from the Wolverines.
As for one of those “what if” moments – it’s interesting to ponder how ASU basketball, which finished the season with a 15-16 record and no bid to the NCAA tournament, would have fared with Albrecht at the point.