“Quite honestly, when you look at it, it’s a buncha guys that probably shouldn’t be here or weren’t wanted here and, you know, whatever,” he said. “A guy like Moe (Wagner), hardly recruited; Muhammad(-Ali Abdur-Rahkman), two-star whatever; everyone wanted X to be done at Michigan; myself, I had to beg for a freakin’ scholarship. Didn’t get one out of high school. Charles, in the SEC, Kentucky, he didn’t cut it. So it’s like, when you get these personalities and these guys who have kinda been overlooked, whatever, their whole careers and kinda come together and believe in something collectively, it’s pretty special.”
This is straight from Duncan Robinson's mouth. This is the archetypal Beilein team. He finds players that no one else knows about or wants, and he puts the pieces of the puzzle together like a fictional movie character playing chess 15 moves ahead of the competition. There is, and will be, all sorts of over the top praise for Beilein this week (not unlike mine here). He deserves all of it. This roster of players and their accomplishments represent one of the best coaching jobs in modern college basketball history:
32 wins (school record), B1G tournament champions (B2B), Final 4, dominators of rivals, win with flair (Poole), win with class (Wagner), win clean (Beilein/everyone), inspirational fans (Jude Stamper, Mo's mom), ridiculous in season improvement (Z), darkhorse regional MVP (Matthews), ice in veins (MAAR - Maryland free throws), losing starting role with class and becoming B1G 6th man of year (Duncan), transfer from program as possible conference POY to backup PG who stands by his decision and is thrilled to even be in the tournament (Simmons), True freshman starter who plays hard and rarely shows up in the box score (Livers), 7 footer who went from lost boy to incredible defender playing the perfect role off of the bench (Teske) best defensive assistant in the country (Yaklich), unheralded contributor to incredible guard improvement (Haynes), humble yet efective developer of big men and coach who only wins B1G tourney championships (Washington, 2 for 2)...
Those are just a few tidbits of what make this team special.
TELL ME WHY YOU LOVE THIS TEAM...
3 freshmen headline AP All-America team for first time
61 total players, including 46 honorable mentions. Clayton Custer of Loyola of Chicago is an honorable mention player.
Jalen Brunson, Villanova
Deandre Ayton, Arizona
Trae Young, Oklahoma
Marvin Bagley III, Duke
Devonte’ Graham, Kansas
Keita Bates-Diop, Ohio State
Trevon Bluiett, Xavier
Jock Landale, Saint Mary’s
Miles Bridges, Michigan State
Jevon Carter, West Virginia
Keenan Evans, Texas Tech
Carsen Edwards, Purdue
Mikal Bridges, Villanova,
Luke Maye, North Carolina
Kyle Guy, Virginia
Honorable Mention (alphabetical order)
Jaylen Adams, St. Bonaventure
Peyton Aldridge, Davidson
Grayson Allen, Duke
Mo Bamba, Texas
Trae Bell-Haynes, Vermont
Joel Berry II, North Carolina
Bogdan Bliznyuk, Eastern Washington
Desonta Bradford, ETSU
Tony Carr, Penn State
Gary Clark, Cincinnati
Xavier Cooks, Winthrop
Jermaine Crumpton, Canisius
Clayton Custer, Loyola of Chicago
Mike Daum, South Dakota State
Angel Delgado, Seton Hall
Kahlil Dukes, Niagara
Tre’Shaun Fletcher, Toledo
Marcus Foster, Creighton
Brandon Goodwin, Florida Gulf Coast
Isaac Haas, Purdue
Aaron Holiday, UCLA
Jordan Howard, Central Arkansas
Jemerrio Jones, New Mexico State
Nick King, Middle Tennessee
Kevin Knox, Kentucky
Fletcher Magee, Wofford
Caleb Martin, Nevada
Kelan Martin, Butler
Yante Maten, Georgia
Martaveous McKnight, Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Kendrick Nunn, Oakland
Shamorie Ponds, St. John’s
Jerome Robinson, Boston College
Junior Robinson, Mount St. Mary’s
Collin Sexton, Alabama
Landry Shamet, Wichita State
T.J. Shorts II, UC Davis
D’Marcus Simonds, Georgia State
Jonathan Stark, Murray State
Brandon Tabb, Bethune-Cookman
Zach Thomas, Bucknell
Seth Towns, Harvard
Allonzo Trier, Arizona
Grant Williams, Tennessee
Johnathan Williams, Gonzaga
Justin Wright-Foreman, Hofstra
For those unfamiliar, Brian sometimes proposes an idea that the teams in the final four/championship should protest the NCAA (mainly amateurism) by delaying the start of the game and just waiting in the locker room, sending the message that the players are the show and that the money doesn't flow without them there. I agree with Brian that this would be incredibly effective. TBS would just air commercials, sure, but the message would get sent somehow.
What if it was our team? How insane would it be if the actually clean programs were the ones to make this statement? (Not throwing shade at Nova because I am mostly unaware of their reputation, but we know our own coach is Mr. Clean and I doubt Loyola has much of a bagman network.)
Wouldn't it be more effective that way? I really doubt the country would have any sympathy if two teams like Duke and Kentucky staged a protest, but what about us?
Important note: I'm not saying I want this. I would rather they didn't; it seems very nerve-wracking and stressful at a time where you want 100% focus. I also really doubt they'd do it for a lot of reasons, especially given that Beilein would probably not agree to it and I don't think the team would want to do it without their coach's consent/participation. It's interesting to think about, though, and it just hit me.
Also: I don't intend this to devolve into an argument about amateurism or various other MGoBoardian ways of missing the point of the hypothetical.
Luke Yaklich, fortuitiously enough, just keeps adding value. As an assistant at Illinois State, Yaklich's team went 7-1 against Loyola. In February 2017, his team faced 3 of their 5 starters in a 65-63 win. Luke has many friends on Loyola's coaching staff. He knows a lot about this team. Solid article (warning it is a Freep link to the easily offended):
ESPN has an article detailing the in-depth scouting reports the Loyola coaches pulled together and presented to their teams last weekend. This included papering the walls of their locker room with diagrams of the opponents plays and profiles of opposing players.
Based on everything we've discussed on this board about John Belein's offense, is it safe to say there isn't enough wall space in the Alamo Dome to present all the sets and plays the Michigan will run on Saturday?
Seriously, for someone that knows more about the intracacies of Belein's offense, how much more complicated is it than the typical D1 program?
Seems like Beilein and Moser are cut from the same cloth when it comes to preparation and it will be interesting to watch the chess match between the two.
The Athletic Department sent out an email asking for fans to help send off the basketball team in style. The send off will be on Wednesday, March 28th at 5:45 PM. Meet outside the northeast entrance of Crisler Center.