Basketball is back. Thank god.
Tonight there is an open practice at Crisler, and Monday is the first exhibition game. Finally we can focus on what we have become: #basketballschool. To celebrate the much needed return of basketball season I have created a wallpaper. It was tough picking someone to represent this season, but in the end I went with Beilein. It doesn't matter how many players we lost to the NBA, or how skinny the freshman are. I trust that Beilein will put his players in a position to succeed.
BASKETBALL IS BACK. LET'S RAGE.
Little anecdote from yesterday's shitshow:
I work for WCBN (student radio), so I've been watching all the home games from the press box. Since we have so few listeners, I was able to leave the game yesterday once it was clear that it wasn't gonna get going again for a few hours. I was in the elevator, heading down from the press box, and who steps in but John Beilein. Everyone greeted him cheerfully, and I told him "Can't wait for basketball season!" He replied "Can't wait for Big Ten football season. We're getting better, believe it or not."
It's probably just a guy supporting his colleague, but for now I'd like to view it as a sign of good tidings to come. Because if there's anyone or anything we can still believe in, it's John Beilein.
Days like today make me grateful that we have one sport to look forward to consistenly. Really makes me appreciate what Beilein has been able to do here.
To say this award is well deserved would be an understatement. Congrats to Coach Beilein!
NCAA press release: Michigan’s Beilein awarded Bob Frederick Sportsmanship Award
The NCAA Committee on Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct has selected University of Michigan men’s basketball head coach John Beilein to receive the 2013-14 Bob Frederick Sportsmanship Award. This honor recognizes his demonstrated history of sportsmanship while leading the Wolverines.
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John Beilein, Bob Frederick Award
John Beilein, University of Michigan, Bob Frederick Award recipient (Photo:AP)
In nominating Beilein for the award, Michigan Associate Athletics Director Brian Townsend noted Beilein’s work as chair of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Ethics Coalition.
The Frederick Award, first presented in 2009 to honor the late Kansas and Illinois State athletics director, is awarded annually to an NCAA member institution coach or administrator who exhibits a lifelong commitment to sportsmanship and ethical conduct, leading by example and promoting positive fan involvement in and out of competition.
“I am certain there were many other coaches who deserved this award, however, I am truly honored to have been chosen for the Bob Frederick Sportsmanship Award," Beilein said. “I want to thank Fred Smith and the NCAA Committee on Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct for selecting me. I will continue to do all I can to live up to the high standards of sportsmanship and integrity that Bob Frederick represented so well during his time in college athletics.”
Through Beilein’s work with the coalition, he was an integral part of maintaining and improving all aspects of the game of men’s college basketball by emphasizing sportsmanship.
Townsend also touted Beilein’s efforts to reshape the culture of the Michigan men’s basketball program both on and off the court.
Beilein led Michigan to the 2013 Men’s Final Four that ended with the Wolverines being the national runners-up to Louisville. It marked the first time Michigan had reached the Men’s Final Four in 20 years. As a testament to his character, Townsend noted how Beilein’s peers, former players, administrators and college basketball fans rooted for him to win the national title because of “the integrity and class” Beilein has displayed throughout this coaching career.
Beilein has been a college basketball head coach for 36 seasons, compiling a record of 701-412. He is 150-94 in seven seasons at Michigan.
Beilein also devotes time to the St. Louis Center, which is a facility that administers to the emotional and spiritual needs of adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, Motts Children’s Hospital and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America Inc.
“John is a wonderful choice for the NCAA’s Bob Frederick Sportsmanship Award,” said Michigan Director of Athletics Dave Brandon. “He represents the University of Michigan and the college coaching fraternity with great honor, and meets all of the established qualifications for this prestigious award.”
The men's basketball team defeated the Perugia Select Team, 99-60, in the opening game of their Italy exhibition tour. Zak Irvin led the way with 27 points on 10/13 (5/8 2PT, 5/5 3PT) shooting, followed by freshmen Kam Chatman and Ricky Doyle chipping in 12 apiece. Most importantly, Austin Hatch entered the game for the last few minutes, receiving a standing ovation from the crowd:
— Michigan Basketball (@umichbball) August 17, 2014
The full box score, which was compiled by hand by the Michigan staff—hence no minutes played tally—is below (click to embiggen):
Visual proof of Irvin being Not Just A Shooter™:
Postgame quotes from John Beilein, Hatch, and more courtesy of the athletic department:
Michigan Head Coach John Beilein
On the opening victory on U-M's Italian exhibition tour ... "Offensively, that first quarter was not what I was expecting. With us playing so well offensively that led to us playing so well defensively. You don't know what to expect in games like these. The first quarter was probably a little above what I thought we would do. The last three quarters were a little more predictable for a team on a trip like we are on."
On what he learned that will help going into the next game ... "We will have 48 hours before our next game. This film will be invaluable. There will be plenty of it that will coach the coaches on what we have to teach better. The second part is we will have a chance to sit down with players on the train tomorrow when we go to Verona. It will be just a great teaching tool."
On getting Austin Hatch getting into the last three minutes of the game ... "It was a special moment. Austin even led us in the fight song after the game was over. It's something he has worked very hard for. It was a great moment for our team; however, it was truly special for Austin and his grandfather, Jim, who was here in the stands."
Freshman Austin Hatch
On getting into the game ... "(long pause) As you can imagine it has been a heck of a journey to get here. Playing basketball at the University of Michigan has been my goal since I was a little kid. It was unreal to be here and to have actually played a game. I really feel like I have that game under my belt now and I really feel like a Michigan basketball player."
On almost getting an opportunity to score ... "I am not going to take a shot if it is not the right point in the game. For example if I have an open three and I have a teammate who is open under the basket, you better believe I am going to be passing it to him. Yeah, it would be cool if I made a three. It would be a good story, but I am about my team and my teammates."
On leading the team in 'The Victors' ... "It was unreal. To lead the team in the fight song after the game is a big tradition. I learned that early on in the recruiting process and watched U-M sing it a lot on my visits. I always thought to myself, 'I hope someday I am in position to be able to do that.' Just like everything else that happened today, it was just unreal to be able to do that."
Sophomore Zak Irvin
On his opening 27-point, 11-rebound game ..."I really shot the ball well today; however, I have to give my teammates credit because they were looking for me and getting me the ball. The big thing for me was getting to the hole and I was able to do that. I was able to score inside and outside. It was a great start for us, a great game and hopefully we can keep this going."
On U-M's red hot first quarter ... "We came out shooting the ball really well. That just speaks volumes for our team. We are all looking for each other and playing unselfish basketball."
On how this team progressed ... "We are a growing team. There were a lot of things that went well today, but there is plenty we still have to work on. We can do better communicating and on the defensive end. We came out to Italy and had a great game, but we also just have to enjoy and really take in everything on this trip."
On Austin Hatch getting into the game ..."It was great to see that, especially after everything that Austin has been through. To see him step out onto that floor just meant so much. I have known Austin since the eighth grade so to see him out there playing was just incredible. I hope he is able to do that a lot more during this trip and beyond."
Freshman Ricky Doyle
On playing his first game in a Michigan jersey ... "It was a lot of fun. Finally getting out there with all these guys was a great experience. There is a lot more to come. It's going to be a great year."
On Austin Hatch getting into the game ..."He has been through so much and for him to be out here with us, it is phenomenal. He is part of our family. He is one of our brothers. Seeing him going out there was just as important to all of us as it is to him."
For those of you who love basketball and don't care that it comes in NBA form, Zach Lowe of grantland.com should be required reading.
He recently posted this article about Kyle Korver, now of the ATL Hawks. The reason I draw your attention to it is the three gifs partway down the page. Do those actions make you think of anything or anyone? If you said "hey, that looks just like the stuff M ran with Stauskas," then I say "me too."
The difference, though, is who the dribble handoffer or pick and popper is. With M it was either Morford or Walton instead of a Pittsnoglian-type, as it is in the first (Pero Antic) and second and third (Paul Millsap) gifs.
Here's where I get irrationally giddy about Zak Irvin and Mark Donnal running the same stuff. If Donnal can be a credible three point shooter, that could make Irvin, who may or may not be "just a shooter," structurally lethal.
This kind of action puts the opposing big in a terrible position, because they either have to show on Irvin and then try to get back to Donnal, or if they switch, that leaves Donnal able to get a shot off on a shorter wing.
To make it more concrete, imagine Adam Woodbury, Alex Gauna, or even Frank Kaminsky trying to deal with this:
Recall that Wisconsin's strategy for dealing with Stauskas was to sag in the lane and dare him to shoot a 16-footer. If they do that this year, that leaves Donnal either unguarded or switched on to a shorter player.
Anyway, I'm excited to see what Donnal and Irvin can do this year is what I'm saying.