A big salute and thank you to Michigan basketball’s remarkable 2012-13 senior class
As we well know, Michigan football coach Brady Hoke stresses the importance of senior leadership. The 2012-13 Michigan Wolverine basketball team has outstanding senior leadership. Despite being one of the youngest teams in college basketball, with some of the biggest pre-season hype, the Wolverine hoopsters were ready to go from day one of the season, and have been poised beyond their years all season long. A great deal of credit for the basketball’s team’s success can be directly attributed to their 5 exemplary seniors: Matt Vogrich, Blake McLimans, Josh Bartelstein, Eso Akunne, and Corey Person.
These young men will never get the notoriety justly heaped upon Stu Douglass and Zack Novak as program builders. These players will largely be overlooked when people look back at the resurrection of Michigan basketball under the guidance of John Beilein. These five have stayed with the program for four years, five in Corey Person’s case and have seen it gone from a fledgling program to one of the best in country. The legacy left by Blake McLimans, Matt Vogrich, Josh Bartelstein, Corey Person, and Eso Akunne, will be something they will cherish in the coming years, and we as Michigan fans should applaud and recognize today.
It is easy as a player to become disgruntled and disillusioned when more talented players join the team, threatening your status on the team, and causing you to lose playing time you think you deserve. After last season, Evan Smotrycz, Colton Christian, and Carlton Brundidge left the team for one reason or another; It happens all the time in college basketball, especially when younger more talented players join the program. Instead of becoming disgruntled, these 5 seniors have continued to exhibit great leadership while operating in the background.
Here is a quick look at the 5 seniors. As you will see from the stat sheet, these guys are at the bottom of stats in terms of the glamorous stat of basketball: scoring points. Between the five, they are averaging about 4.4 points and 3 rebounds per game. In terms of leadership: they are at the top of the charts.
The only one of this year’s seniors to enroll in 2008, the rest came in 2009. In another few weeks Corey Person will become the first Michigan player since Dugan Fife to be a part of 4 NCAA Tournament teams. Quite a lofty accomplishment, and one not many in the storied history of M basketball can claim.
From Corey’s bio on mgoblue: Fifth-Year (2012-13) ...Returned for fifth-year of play ... Enrolled in U-M's Rackham Graduate School ... Senior (2011-12) ... Helped U-M to its first Big Ten title in 26 years .. Junior (2010-11) ... U-M Athletic Academic Achievement…Freshman (2008-09) ... Helped U-M to its 21st NCAA Tournament appearance and the program's first since 1998 ... Prep Career ... Kalamazoo Central High School (2008) ... Associated Press Class A All-State team (2007) ... Detroit Free Press Class A All-State, first team (2007) ... Detroit News Class A All-State, third team (2007) ... Two-time Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference (SMAC) Player of the Year (2007, '08) ..
Has shown great leadership throughout his career and never more so than this season. Vogrich started the first six game of the season, then lost his starting position to freshman Nik Stauskas, then his minutes to freshman Caris LeVert. Not an easy situation to be thrust into but Matt seems to have handled it with great aplomb.
From Matt’s mgoblue bio: Junior (2011-12) ... NABC Honors Court ... Academic All-Big Ten ... U-M Athletic Academic Achievement ... U-M's Sixth Man Award…Helped U-M to its first Big Ten title in 26 years .Sophomore (2010-11) ... Academic All-Big Ten ... U-M Athletic Academic Achievement ... Freshman (2009-10) ... U-M's Bodnar Award for Academic Achievement ... U-M Athletic Academic Achievement ... Prep Career ... Lake Forest High School (2009)… Gatorade Player of the Year for Illinois (2009) ... Associated Press All-State first team (2009) ... IBCA All-State first team (2009)… Personal ... Enrolled in the Stephen M. Ross School of Business ... Business major
Every year it seems Blake McLimans gets pushed a little further into the background, but he has persevered and helped lead to a resurgence in M basketball that few saw coming. My best memory of Blake was a remarkable length of the court outlet pass for a dunk, during Blake’s sophomore season. The outlet pass was as good as any outlet we’ve seen from Mitch McGary.
From Blake’s mogoblue bio: Senior (2012-13) ... Helped U-M go undefeated (13-0) in non-conference play for the first time since 1985-86 and match the program's best start (16-0, 1985-86) ... Junior (2011-12) ... Helped U-M to its first Big Ten title in 26 years…Freshman (2009-10) ... U-M's Rudy Tomjanovich Most Improved Player Award ... Prep Career ... Worcester Academy (2009) ... Three-sport star at Hamburg, lettering in basketball, baseball and volleyball ... Played as an outside hitter in volleyball ... Led Hamburg to two New York State Championships ... 2007 All Western New York second team ... 2007 ECIC Division II conference title ... Right-handed pitcher in baseball with an average fastball of 85-90 mph. Personal ... Given name is Blake Jeffrey McLimans ... Born on May 1, 1990 in Buffalo, N.Y. .. Enrolled in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts ... Economics major
Eso has played some important minutes for M over his four years and has hit a few big shots for the team. Eso takes some flak for his shot selection, but he does have the ability to knock down the three. Not the prototypical point guard but he always gave it everything he had. Eso Akunne has already been a leader even in HS.
From Eso’s mgoblue bio: Senior (2012-13) ...Played in 15 games off the bench ... Helped U-M go undefeated (13-0) in non-conference play for the first time since 1985-86 and match the program's best start (16-0, 1985-86) ... Junior (2011-12) ... Helped U-M to its first Big Ten title in 26 years …Prep Career... Father Gabriel Richard High School (2009) ... . Team captain (2007, '08, '09) ... etroit Free Press Class B All-State, first team (2009) ... Detroit Free Press Class C All-State, first team (2008) ... Detroit News Class B All-State, first team (2009) ... Personal ... Given name is Eso Hyacinth Akunne ... Born on May 24, 1991 in Silver Spring, Md. ... Son of the late Dr. Josephine and Dr. Hyacinth Akunne ... Enrolled in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts ... Political Science major
Josh Bartelstein: For you and I, That’s Team Captain: Josh Bartelstein
For a guy who’s only played 57 minutes in four years and has scored a grand total of 6 points in his career to be named Captain of the team, is truly a remarkable testament to the leadership qualities of this young man. Coach Beilein has called Bartelstein, “one of the best leaders” he has ever seen, and Beilein has also said, when Josh talks, “the other players listen” From Josh’s mogblue bio: Senior (2012-13) ...Team Captain ... Helped U-M go undefeated (13-0) in non-conference play for the first time since 1985-86 and match the program's best start (16-0, 1985-86) ... Junior (2011-12) ... NABC Honors Court ... Academic All-Big Ten ... U-M Athletic Academic Achievement ... Helped U-M to its first Big Ten title in 26 years ... Sophomore (2010-11) ... Academic All-Big Ten ... Prep Career ... Phillips Exeter Academy (2009) ... Team captain ... Set Phillips Exeter record for most three-pointers in a season (52) ... Personal ... Given name is Joshua Max Bartelstein ... Born on July 17, 1989 in Highland Park, Ill. ... Enrolled in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts ... Sport Management major ...
Congratulations to Michigan basketball’s 2012-12 seniors: Josh Bartelstein, Eso Akunne, Blake McLimans, Matt Vogrich, and Corey Person. Michigan basketball wouldn’t be where it is today without the significant contributions of these outstanding young men.