Wolverines fan favorite Spike Albrecht ends career over nagging hip injury

ANN ARBOR -- A nagging hip injury is putting an end to Spike Albrecht's basketball career at Michigan, he announced Friday morning.

The senior guard had bilateral hip surgery this summer and has struggled with pain in the joint for most of the past year. He decided this week he needed to step away from basketball to complete his rehabilitation. The two-time Wolverine captain was a co-MVP during his junior season.

"This has been the toughest decision I have ever had to make," Albrecht said in a statement on the school's website. "After taking a hard look at what is best for me, and this team, I will be stepping away from the game that has meant so much to me."

The undersized Indiana native became a fan favorite at Michigan and beyond thanks to his performance in the 2013 national championship game against Louisville. Albrecht, a freshman at the time, scored 17 points off the bench to keep his team close to the Cardinals. He played in all 39 of the Wolverines' games that season -- Michigan's best in more than two decades.

"He is a tremendous young man who has had a very special career," head coach John Beilein said. "His important role in our 2013 NCAA Tournament run and his incredible performance in the national title game were straight out of a storybook. His sophomore year, we would not have won the Big Ten title or made a second straight trip to the Elite Eight without him."

Albrecht defied the odds to play in 115 games during his Michigan career, finishing with 453 total points and a 3.2 assists-to-turnover ratio. He played limited minutes in eight of the Wolverines' nine games this season, including three in the team's most recent loss to Southern Methodist.