Big 10

Spike Albrecht commits to Purdue for final season of college basketball

May 3, 2016

ANN ARBOR — Former Michigan point guard Spike Albrecht, fresh off his graduation weekend in Ann Arbor, will stick around the Big Ten for his final year of college basketball.

Albrecht, a Crown Point, Indiana, native, announced Tuesday he will play as a graduate transfer at Purdue. The 5-foot-11 guard shared his decision on his Twitter account. He did not immediately respond to a call from MLive.

Coming off an injury-plagued senior season at U-M, Albrecht is eligible for a redshirt season and was previously granted his transfer release. Following a public hubbub over Michigan’s decision to place restrictions upon that release — not allowing him to transfer within the conference — those restrictions were lifted, freeing him to pursue Big Ten opportunities.

Albrecht visited Purdue on April 20. At the time and in the week’s since, he was pursued by the likes of Wichita State, Syracuse, Indiana and others, but will spurn those options in favor of the Boilermakers.

Returning to Michigan was not an option for Albrecht. With the Wolverines returning point guard Derrick Walton Jr. and adding incoming freshman point guard Xavier Simpson, the roster, in coach John Beilein’s estimation, does not need a third point guard.

So now it’s off to Purdue, a familar spot, for one season. The Boilermakers primary point guard on the roster is starter P.J. Thompson, who averaged 5.7 points and 2.7 assists last season.

Albrecht grew up less than an hour from West Lafayette and Chuck Albrecht, his father, is a Purdue-Calumet alum.

“There are certain Big Ten schools he would never consider, but Purdue and Indiana — he’s an Indiana kid, Purdue is an hour from here, my other son went to Indiana and I’m an Purdue graduate,” Chuck Albrecht told MLive on April 19. “So I think those are schools he will consider. But, really, those might be the only two in the Big Ten.”

In five career games against the Boilermakers, Albrecht averaged 15.2 minutes, 5.2 points 1.6 assists in five career games. His best performance came as a junior on Jan. 2, 2013, when Albrecht scored 17 points in 29 minutes in a loss at Mackey Arena.

The hero of the Wolverines’ 2013 national title game appearance, Albrecht averaged 3.9 points and 2.0 assists per game in 115 career appearances at Michigan.

A two-year captain, his best season came as a junior in 2014-15. Carrying the Wolverines without injured teammates Caris LeVert and Derrick Walton Jr., Albrecht won team awards for co-MVP, sportsmanship, hustle, leadership and most assists. Despite playing on two ailing hips, he averaged 7.5 points, 3.9 assists and 2.3 rebounds in 32 minutes per game, making 18 starts in 31 appearances. His 3.0 assist/turnover ratio (121 assists, 41 turnovers) ranked No. 1 in the Big Ten.

Albrecht was averaging 1.7 points and 1.2 assists this season before lingering pain forced him to shut down his senior season in 2015-16. He played only nine games, falling below NCAA-mandated limit of 30 percent of his team’s games to constitute a season of eligibility.

On Dec. 11, 2015, Albrecht held what amounted to a retirement ceremony, saying his playing days at U-M were over. At the time, he kept the door of his future slightly open, saying he’d continue to rehab and “see where things go.”

Through the latter part of the season and in the offseason, though, Albrecht met with several doctors at U-M and in Chicago. MRI results improved and the Albrecht was told that he had simply needed more time to recover from last summer’s double-hip procedure.

“Looking at the most recent MRIs, it looks like the surgeon did a great job, but he just needed more time to recover from that type of surgery,” Chuck Albrecht said in April. “It shouldn’t have been a four-to-six month recovery. It was more like a 12-to-15-month deal.”

Since being granted his release from U-M, Spike Albrecht expressed interest in returning to Michigan if the opportunity arose. Prior to the program’s awards banquet on April 13, he told reporters that he’d rejoin the program, even at the risk of less playing time.

“It’s Michigan,” Albrecht said. “So if it was the right opportunity and if (Beilein) wanted to bring me back, and it opened up and things like that — if we both agreed that that was what’s best, I think I’d like to go out like that.”

This marks the second straight offseason a Michigan graduate transferred within the Big Ten. A year ago, Max Bielfeldt enrolled at Indiana and went on to win Big Ten sixth man of the year honors, along with a conference regular-season championship.

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