One of the more exciting players in the Big Ten will have a season end early for the second straight year. And now his collegiate career is over, as well.
Caris LeVert, Michigan's senior guard and unanimously considered its best player, will officially be out for the remainder of the season as he focuses on getting healthy, the Wolverines announced Tuesday. LeVert has played in just one game since injuring himself in the Big Ten opener against Illinois way back on Dec. 30, playing just 11 minutes in a Feb. 13 meeting with Purdue.
"After some prayer and talking it over with my family, coach (John) Beilein and the medical staff, we all feel it is best for me to concentrate on getting fully healthy," LeVert said in the announcement. "There is still some discomfort that does not allow me to help this team the way I want.
"I am so thankful for what coach Beilein, the assistants and the medical staff have done for me during my collegiate career and in particular while I have dealt with these injuries.
"U-M has provided me the chance to live my dream of playing college basketball and to earn a Michigan degree. There are really no words to express my gratitude for that as well as my love for all my teammates. I am so blessed to be part of this wonderful university and will forever represent the maize and blue."
LeVert's career has been dominated by injuries. He missed the final 14 games of last season after breaking his foot and had his second foot surgery in as many years. This season, he entered the year healthy with big expectations to be one of the conference's best players. LeVert averaged 16.5 points per game in the games he did play in, but he's missed a total of 15 games following a lower left leg injury against Illinois.
"This has been a tough two months for Caris," Beilein said in the announcement. "He has worked so hard to get back to this point, and Caris' long-term health is what is most important.
"Caris has been a pleasure to coach; he is a wonderful young man with a brilliant future. I am confident he will have a very successful professional career because his talent, attitude, quickness and versatility make every team better.
"He has always carried himself and handled these situations with such class and a level of maturity that is unmatched. This is not how he wanted to finish his career here; however, we know he can hold his head high for how he has represented this great university and our basketball program."
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LeVert ranks in the top 50 on Michigan's all-time scoring list with 1,070 career points in 103 career games. He was a freshman on the Wolverines team that finished national runner up in 2013, and he appeared in every game during his sophomore season, when the Wolverines came within a basket of reaching back-to-back Final Fours. He was an All-Big Ten pick in that 2014 season.
LeVert is the second Michigan senior to miss the remainder of the 2015-16 campaign to focus on getting healthy. Spike Albrecht, after dealing with multiple surgeries, announced he would miss his senior season prior to the start of the schedule.