What if indeed my friend.
Caris Levert did little more than piss me off his Freshman year. He was the 10th wheel to me on a team chock full of stars (kind of), and I didn't have time for his development while I was on my way to a National Championship appearance. But at that point it had been quite some time since Michigan had experienced success on the court, and I wasn't equipped to deal with it. And we had all forgotten that with that success comes early exits. And when you have early exits, people need to step up. Caris flipped a switch and went from liability to superstar in one hot summer. Pretty safe to say that without him Michigan doesn't win the Big Ten by 3 full games in 13-14, and doesn't fall to the eventual national champion Kentucky Wildcats in the elite 8.
Unfortunately, the bone and tendon God's (or whatever mystical body part it is) haven't smiled upon Caris over the past couple years, and he will end his Michigan career having played less minutes in his Junior and Senior years combined than he did his Sophomore year. He came back to us, twice, shirking the NBA for the greater glory of Michigan Basketball, and possibly harmed his future to do so. For that we are forever grateful.
Spike, Caris, Trey, Tim, Glenn, Mitch, Nik....that's the proper amount of early exits to warrant an excuse for less than stellar play. But we are not in Izzoland. We make no excuses. Play hard. Win the game.
Here's hoping we beat the living shit out of Iowa and Spike and Caris limp out on the court in garbage time to say a proper goodbye.