We learned earlier in the week that C.J. Lee would leave his position as Director of Program Personnel to join (Beilein protégé) Mike Maker at Marist, as Maker's assistant coach. C.J. Lee was in the unique position of watching the program rise from the doldrums of the post-Amaker/Ed Martin era to its current stature.
Today we have an ARTICLE from Brendan Quinn replete with C.J. Lee insights on the program and on Beilein in particular. It's worth your time to read, but here's a quote to whet your appetite, relaying Lee's observations on how Beilein has changed over the years:
“There isn’t a noticeable difference in him, but he says it to me in personal conversations all the time, ‘I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t been willing to change and listen to others,’” Lee replied. “That’s what stands out. He keeps learning and continues to develop, which is crazy. I mean, he’s 61 years old and keeps getting better.”
It will surprise very few here that Beilein was instrumental in getting C.J. in front of Maker for this opportunity.
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Caught this article on my twitter stream by Gary Parrish of CBS Sports. It essentially says what those of us who follow MBB closely already know - the development of late has been off the chart, esp the 2012 class and Burke. But it is good to see more and more of the basketball media catch onto it. Also has a fascinating stat - UM has the only 2 players drafted selected in the top 10 of the past 2 drafts who were not top 75 recruits and/or 3 year players. Lots of talk about Caris in the article too, as well as how shooting is taught. Would have liked to see some Jordan love here too though as the wings/guards development has been under his eye as well.
No, Beilein doesn't have a national title like each of those coaches do, and he hasn't put as many players in the NBA, either. But what he's done is arguably more impressive, because what he's done is help turn borderline top-80 high school prospects into top-10 picks in consecutive NBA Drafts, and he just might do it again next year, which is pretty bananas.
Of the 20 players selected in the top 10 of the past two NBA Drafts, 18 were former top 75 prospects and/or players who spent at least three seasons in college. The only exceptions? Burke and Stauskas -- both of whom enrolled at Michigan as unheralded recruits, earned Big Ten Player of the Year honors as sophomores, turned pro and were selected in the top 10 of the subsequent NBA Draft.
Beilein: What he looks for, rather, are versatile players who haven't yet peaked, and that's why recruiting rankings rarely matter to Michigan, because what Beilein cares about isn't always what analysts value.
"We try to project whether a player is on the rise or if he's already where he's gonna be," Beilein said. "A lot of the [analysts'] early projections on players, I think, are made because the players' bodies are ahead of everybody else's bodies. And if you saw Nik or Caris, back when they were 16 years old, their bodies weren't ahead of anybody else's bodies."
I thought this would be fun for a Monday morning... In Bill Simmons's "The Book of Basketball" he spends what was probably my favorite chapter on "The Wine Cellar" team. The premise is "If aliens come to earth with a time machine and demand to play basketball for the sake of the world, who do you pick?" The time machine is because you don't just pick Michael Jordan - you have to decide which vintage (like wine) of Mike you pick (Simmons took 1992 MJ over 96 MJ). The game is taking place today - meaning 2014 NCAA rules like the 3 point line length are in play.
With that theory in place, who makes your Wine Cellar Team? Does 2013 Trey Burke start over 1992 Jalen Rose? Does Tournament McGary get one of your 12 roster spots? Does Cazzie's game translate with a shot clock, 3 pointer, and 7 footers? 91 or 92 CWebb? Simmons's team was quite versitile, able to go big or small, run a press, have a lockdown 5 for defense, and able to score lots of ways.
Build your starting 5 (or full roster of 12) and defend your picks/years.
I just spoke with Coles father. He was very excited about the McGary news. He expressed that he feels bad for McGary and that "unfortunate situation" but he is excited for Cole to get that offer. He spoke with coach Jordan for about an hour last night and coach Jordan told him what we all assumed which is that with McGary out, Cole will have an offer regardless of what Aubrey Dawkins decides (it appears Cole was in line for an offer anyway if Dawkins committed to Dayton).
I told him that Cole seems like the prototypical John Belien player and he told me that Coach Jordan said Cole is what the coaching staff looks for and calls "80/40 guys." That's 80 percent from the line and 40 from 3. Coles dad expressed how it's hard not to get excited just seeing that block M with all the tradition behind it.
Coles dad said that they have only been in contact with coach Jordan and haven't heard from Belien directly yet but they understood that was because they were still not sure if Cole was getting an offer until very recently. As we know, Michigan told him they only offer in person but he will get his offer when he visits which he will now be scheduling.
There are a few other tidbits about each school and coach that I am not sure he would be ok with me sharing so I will keep those to myself but I would not expect him to commit until he has taken all 4 visits.
This part is pure speculation but after talking to Coles dad, I would say Michigan is a slight favorite once they offer.
Also, Roger is going with Cole on his visits so the updates will be sparse since he will only be at work a handful of days for the next couple of weeks.
I said this in a comment below but I thought it should go here as well. Cole does not have any interest in aquiring a waiver to play immediately. He wants to take the year to get in the wieght room and put on weight/increase his vertical, etc. Coach Sanderson is a big reason why he is interested in Michigan and I did a good deal of talking up the strength and conditioning program to Coles dad.
I'll also add that Coles dad seems really excited about the prospect of Cole going to Michigan and I think I can say with some confidence that if it were up to him, Cole would definitely end up there.
I mentioned in the last Cole Huff thread that I work with his father at a High School in Inglewood. He stands outside my classroom between each class period and we talk basketball so I have a fairly good relationship for aquiring inside info in this case. I just spoke with him an gathered some valuable intel.
Cole "won" his appeal to Nevada's blocked schools. They unblocked 5 schools: Pepperdine, San Diego State, UCLA, USC and I think Santa Barbara. Cole is not interested in USC because he does not like their coaches (there was a situation with one of their assistants when Cole was a senior in high school that has soured him to that staff). The only one of those schools that he is really interested in is UCLA. He is still waiting to hear from them. His former AAU coach told him on Saturday that UCLA wanted to do an in home visit today or tomorrow but he has not heard anything since. IF UCLA offers, they will be the favorite.
The current favorite is Iowa. Cole and his dad are planning a visit and have very strong interest. Creighton has been pushing hard and he likes them as well but they seem to be behind Iowa.
It does not sound like Michigan has acctually given commitable offers to Cole or Byron Wesly just yet. Cole's dad told me that Belien is only really interested in the two of them if McGary decided to leave and the coaching staff is still waiting on that decision (from the sound of it the Mitch is still genuinely undecided). It was somewhat unclear if Huff and Wesley were only interested in Michigan if McGary left or if Michigan was only interested in them in McGary's gone. Either way, those two are only in the fold if McGary is not. I realize that that doesn't really make sense since they would have to sit out a year and McGary is likely gone after next year either way, but that is the information I was given. Maybe with MAAR's commitment they don't have the scholarship to offer but I was under the impression that they still had one spot open.
I will try to gather more information and clear up some of the ambiguities in the post after the next class period ends.
Kenpom has done some analysis of end-game and in-game coaching ability and identifies Steve Fisher as possibly the best. Beilein also rates highly.