Report: Michigan To Hire Luke Yaklich As Assistant

Report: Michigan To Hire Luke Yaklich As Assistant

Submitted by Ace on July 29th, 2017 at 3:01 PM

The Michigan Insider's Josh Henschke has confirmed a possibility that The Athletic's Brendan Quinn suggested earlier this week: Michigan is double-dipping on Illinois State assistant coaches, hiring Luke Yaklich to join DeAndre Haynes and complete the staff.

Unlike Haynes, who joined ISU this offseason after coaching at Toledo last season, Yaklich was on staff for last year's team that went 28-7, finished 49th on KenPom, and narrowly (unjustly?) missed an NCAA bid. The Redbirds boasted the 19th-ranked adjusted defensive efficiency in the country and the fifth-ranked eFG% defense; despite being an average-sized team with no major contributor taller than 6'9", their defense dominated the paint. This sounds like your Billy Donlon replacement.

Yaklich, an Illinois State alum, joined the ISU staff before the 2013-14 season after spending 14 years as a teacher and coach. He should have strong Illinois recruiting ties; he coached Joliet Academy (a Chicago-area school that produced M running back Ty Isaac) for six years and also served as the coach of two Illinois AAU squads. He also taught U.S. History, which has to earn him some Beilein points.

With Yaklich on board, Michigan now has a full staff at their disposal. He'll join Haynes and Saddi Washington on the recruiting trail soon, presumably.

Report: Michigan Hires Hoops Assistant DeAndre Haynes

Report: Michigan Hires Hoops Assistant DeAndre Haynes

Submitted by Ace on July 27th, 2017 at 11:42 AM

The Michigan Insider's Josh Henschke got the scoop last night on Michigan's assistant coaching search: John Beilein has reportedly hired Illinois State assistant DeAndre Haynes for one of the two open spots. Haynes hasn't actually coached for ISU; he was hired there in May, and Beilein obviously coveted him if he was willing to put another program into such a tough spot.

When Billy Donlon departed, multiple hoops insiders mentioned that Beilein would try to fill the two open spots with an experienced coach and a younger up-and-comer. Haynes fits the latter bill with the added benefit of being a local guy. A standout point guard at Detroit Southwestern, he went on to be a four-year starter for Kent State and won MAC player of the year as a senior. He left KSU as their all-time leader in assists and steals before spending six season playing pro ball overseas.

After his playing career, Haynes returned to Kent State as an assistant in 2012, spending four seasons in that role before taking the same position on Toledo's bench last season when the Rockets offered a contract he couldn't turn down after he'd previously passed on opportunities to leave his alma mater. He's coached under a couple successful mid-major coaches in Tod Kowalczyk and Rob Senderoff.

ISU planned to have Haynes focus on coaching their guards, and he could have a similar role at Michigan. The other assistant coach spot remains open. Director of Player Personnel Chris Hunter will presumably continue to serve as an interim assistant with permission to recruit until that spot is filled.

Haynes may not be a big name, but he's about the same age as LaVall Jordan and Bacari Alexander were when Beilein hired that pair. That worked out alright.

Basketbullets: Walton, Irvin Ink Pro Deals

Basketbullets: Walton, Irvin Ink Pro Deals

Submitted by Ace on July 25th, 2017 at 11:48 AM

Walton Signs Two-Way Deal With Miami

A strong summer league performance and the NBA's new contract structure got Derrick Walton a gig with the Miami Heat, which signed him to a two-way deal yesterday. That means Walton will play for Miami's G-League (formerly D-League) affiliate, the Sioux Falls (SD) Skyforce, and could spend up to 45 days with the NBA squad if he earns a callup.

Walton landing a contract wasn't a surprise given his summer league performance, which had plenty of Orlando fans hoping the Magic would hold onto him.

Walton has a place in a pick-and-roll league, and it's great to see him get a shot straight out of college, even if he'll have to work his way from South Dakota to Miami.

Zak Irvin had a tougher go in summer league. While he didn't land an NBA deal, he'll still play professional basketball. VL Pesaro of Italy's Serie A (the top Italian league) signed him yesterday. He'll play with a few other Americans, including former BYU standout Eric Mika.

[Hit THE JUMP for Wagner at the FIBA Euro Championships, some 'crootin happy trails, and more.]

Basketbullets: Assistant Coach Search, DJ and the Revolution, Commit Watch

Basketbullets: Assistant Coach Search, DJ and the Revolution, Commit Watch

Submitted by Ace on June 28th, 2017 at 1:04 PM

Exit: Billy Donlon

Courtside seating now available. [Marc-Gregor Campredon]

Northwestern made the hiring of Michigan assistant coach Billy Donlon official on Tuesday, pulling M's defensive guru away from the program after one season in which his impact became increasingly apparent. While the relatively late timing of Donlon's exit is unfortunate, a product of the domino effect caused by Thad Matta's firing at Ohio State, this all went down on the up-and-up.

MLive's Brendan Quinn reports Northwestern coach Chris Collins contacted John Beilein for permission to speak to Donlon and things progressed quickly from that point. There were simply too many connections for Donlon to turn down the gig. Collins and Donlon have been close since high school; their high school coach, who's now—you guessed it—an assistant at Northwestern, says they're like brothers. Then there's the family aspect:

As for Donlon, back home in Chicago, he plans to share a house with his father. The two lived together in Dayton when Donlon coached at Wright State and Billy Donlon Sr. served as his directory of basketball operations. The two leaned on each other. Billy Donlon's ex-wife and daughter live in North Carolina, while Maryann Donlon -- Billy Sr.'s wife and Billy Jr.'s mother -- died in September 2010 after a nine-year battle with cancer. A father-son relationship, along with basketball, has seen the two through some hard times.

Some things are bigger than basketball, or work, or both. Donlon told Quinn he wouldn't have left for any other program. Under these circumstances, it's easy to see why.

[Hit THE JUMP for replacement candidates and more.]

Report: Billy Donlon To Northwestern

Report: Billy Donlon To Northwestern

Submitted by Ace on June 25th, 2017 at 1:49 PM


Number of coaches in this picture still at Michigan: zero. [Bryan Fuller]

Michigan will now have to replace two assistant basketball coaches this offseason. Scout's Brian Snow reports that Billy Donlon, the de facto defensive coordinator, is departing Ann Arbor after one season with the Wolverines to be an assistant at Northwestern, where he has several long-running connections:

According to Scout.com's Brian Snow, assistant Billy Donlon has accepted the position of assistant coach at Big Ten foe Northwestern.

"For me, I think it comes down to, from what I've heard, is that Billy has obviously known Chris Collins for a long time," Snow told The Michigan Insider. "Both grew up in the Chicago area and I don't necessarily know how far back their friendship goes, but they've known each other for a long time. They're very comfortable with each other, [Donlon] is comfortable with Chris, he's comfortable with the area so it's kind of a homecoming for him. He's looking for someone who he has a longstanding relationship with."

Donlon has deep ties to the Chicago area, Wildcats head coach Chris Collins and the Northwestern program. Donlon's father, Billy Donlon Sr., was a longtime assistant for the Wildcats from 1987-94.

Losing Donlon is a serious hit to a team that has some major question marks on defense after DJ Wilson entered the draft early. While Donlon's impact didn't immediately show up in the stats last year, it became apparent as the season wore on and the defense improved dramatically. The most obvious stylistic shift was in Michigan's ability to prevent three-point attempts. They ranked ninth nationally in 3PA/FGA after never finishing higher than 109th under John Beilein, and even that was a bit of an outlier.

We'll see what names emerge as replacement candidates; things have been quiet on that front even after Jeff Meyer took an assistant job under LaVall Jordan at Butler, and now there's another seat to fill. Here's hoping some of Donlon's teaching sticks regardless, as Michigan's best chance of being a decent defensive team next year is to continue creating a three-point gap.

Unverified Voracity Is Getting The Harbaughs Back Together

Unverified Voracity Is Getting The Harbaughs Back Together

Submitted by Brian on June 22nd, 2017 at 12:22 PM

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Exit Jeff Meyer. Lavall Jordan's first act as Butler head coach was to snatch longtime Beilein assistant Jeff Meyer out from under Michigan's Walter White. The parting was amicable:

The list of guys Meyer recruited at Michigan is a long and impressive one; also he got bizarrely chewed out by Tom Crean that one time. He will be missed. Beilein's had a knack for finding new coaches of late, so the program probably won't take much of a hit. The most relevant bit of this for Michigan fans may be what it says about Jordan: being able to snag a high profile assistant from Michigan is impressive. If he can keep Butler at its current level, Michigan's post-Beilein coaching search may well be one phone call.

I haven't seen any names for Meyer's replacement yet, which is somewhat unusual. Saadi Washington was instantly a likely hire when Alexander and Jordan departed for head jobs elsewhere. There is someone available…

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[Bryan Fuller]

Before you spit roast my head, consider that this would get Jim Harbaugh behind Michigan's bench at basketball games? And it would be really funny? And Crean might do it to get his furious revenge on Indiana? Yes? Maybe? No. Fine.

NORM. Here's something barely related to sports but good enough for this here site: Norm MacDonald infuriating a collection of Iowa honchos 20 years ago.

University of Iowa Athletic Department officials were teed off enough about Norm Macdonald’s Sunday night comedy act that they yanked his golf invitation for Monday.

Several members of the audience left during Macdonald’s act, which contained references to sex acts, AIDS and homosexuality. The comic alluded to the stream of people leaving the auditorium, but continued his set. “What do you want to talk about? Losing your luggage at the airport?” he asked as people left.

U of I Athletic Director Bob Bowlsby said Macdonald’s act “would be considered to be in very bad taste in nearly every venue in America.” Athletic Department spokesman Rick Klatt said the U of I was assured during contract negotiations that Macdonald could meet guidelines. “We were very explicit about the details of the event, and about the type of people who would be there,” Klatt said.

Mike Bridenstine, Los Angeles-based comedian/writer who grew up in Muscatine and attended the show as a teen:

“The joke that got the biggest/worst reaction was about bestiality porn. Old people and little kids were filing out. My mom felt so uncomfortable that she walked into the lobby, but complained, ‘They piped the sound out there too.’

“I physically hurt from laughing."

I went to a Norm MacDonald show at about the same time—maybe a couple of years later—and the main thing I remember from it is somehow Norm arrived at a point where it made sense to say "this cake here is my girlfriend. I f---ed it last night." I did not realize it at the time but I now know the show would have been greatly improved if Kirk Ferentz was there, fuming.

Norm himself:

“I didn’t even know anything was wrong. And then the next day these guys ... from some radio station or something, like I was sleeping, and they start asking these questions, you know. I didn’t know what to do, so I just tried to be funny. They go ‘Do you think your act is obscene?’ So I said ‘No, I think what’s obscene is there’s like kids dying in Vietnam, you know?’

“He goes ‘There’s no war in Vietnam!’ He like got all mad at me.”

I like Norm.

Angelique on Speight. He's been working to stay in front of Peters:

After returning from Michigan’s trip to Rome, Speight continued to watch every play from the entire season.

“I watched a little bit before spring ball, as well, but I got back to America and immediately went and clicked on the film and started watching that and knocked it all out,” Speight said. “Watched every game twice. There were certain plays in a few games at the end of the year that I wish I could have changed, but that’s what you live and learn from and you get better.”

He's imbibed the tao of Harbaugh when it comes to his injury:

He won’t be specific about the injury but said the shoulder is “back to 100 percent.” He also won’t say if he had surgery and turns coy when the subject comes up.

“I can’t remember,” Speight said, smiling. “That was way back in January, February, December.”

You know that thing where you turn into your father as you age? Yeah, that.

Catching up with Vincent Smith. Dan Murphy profiles Michigan's toughest running back in recent memory:

Vincent Smith is building momentum. He takes two short strides, sinking his hips like a retracting pinball plunger, and then launches himself clear over an 8-foot swath of freshly tilled and seeded earth. Smith gathers the five-gallon bucket of winter rye seeds next to his landing spot and moves on to the next patch of dirt.

It's late October in Michigan, and Smith is doing what he can to prep his garden-in-progress for the cold months ahead. The vacant lot he is trying to repurpose sits two blocks from the infamous Flint River, which in recent years delivered lead-tainted waters to the citizens of one of the Rust Belt's most down-on-its-luck cities. The rest of the street is lined by houses that range from worn but loved to dilapidated. The house that once stood on Smith's lot caught fire, and the city ordered its demolition several years earlier. He and a band of helpers spent weeks picking pieces of the old house and other garbage out of the ground when they decided last year that it was a good candidate to be turned into a community garden.

DJ Wilson scouted. DX on Wilson:

It will be interesting to see how his frame develops as he matures, since he already possess the skill set of a stretch-4, but he needs to add toughness and competitiveness to not emerge as a one-dimensional player. With NBA teams continue to search for big men who can shoot, handle, pass and switch, Wilson is a strong first round pick candidate and should have plenty of chances to break into an NBA rotation. - Source:

That's why he's in the draft: he's perfect for the modern NBA, where centers are power forwards who are expected to switch onto point guards and shoot threes. There's a 0% chance someone doesn't take him in the first round, because if he continues developing he can be part of a devastating five-out offense. Also despite being 21 he's got the upside of a younger player. Beilein:

"He’s just on his way to being a really good player," Beilein said. "He can really shoot. Put it together with his defense … he’s 21 with a body of a 19-year-old. The best is yet to come for him. He’s a super kid on and off the court; very coachable.

"Whoever gets him is going to be very fortunate."

If we could stop with the "DJ got bad advice" thing that would be great. He supposedly has a promise from the Nets, even.

Nope. Texas OT Brandon Hodges is looking to grad transfer but if Barking Carnival is right about the reason for his departure this will be a non-starter for Michigan:

Hodges was projected to start at right tackle, but he was reportedly done in by grades. Eric Nahlin at Inside Texas alluded this news coming a couple of days ago.

Michigan's last best shot at a grad transfer was Sunny Odogwu.

Etc.: Former NFL RB Alfonso Smith is joining the program as a staffer. David Harris to the Patriots. Ann Arbor is expensive.

Michigan Hires Billy Donlon, Saddi Washington

Michigan Hires Billy Donlon, Saddi Washington

Submitted by Brian on May 4th, 2016 at 4:14 PM

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These names had been rumored for a couple days and now they are official:

University of Michigan men's basketball head coach John Beilein announced today (Wednesday, May 4) the hiring of Billy Donlon and Saddi Washington as assistant coaches for the Wolverines.

Donlon was just fired from Wright State after a six-year tenure. His axing was controversial, to say the least, after Donlon saw his charges to 22-13 season and 13-5 conference mark, and the conference tournament final. I mean, this is a hell of a resume to fire for a low major*:

Three years after he was named the Horizon League coach of the year and three days after he led his Wright State team to its third 20-plus wins season in four years, a tie for the most league wins by a WSU team and the third appearance in four years in the title game of the league tournament, Donlon was fired as the Raiders’ basketball coach.

Donlon and Wright State had a rough 2015 but the years surrounding it were all 20-win seasons featuring excellent defense considering WSU's place in the basketball firmament. Here are some key stats from his tenure:

Year Adj D Eff Rk 2PT % RK BLK % RK TO% RK REB RK FTR RK
2016 58 136 311 42 22 341
2015 173 267 275 124 154 257
2014 39 154 192 6 83 272
2013 30 165 300 15 68 314
2012 92 335 300 4 90 321
2011 107 335 342 12 111 276

Donlon's teams played a high-foul, high-TO style that made them somewhere between respectable and just about as good as a low major can rank—with the exception of 2015. He's never had any shot blocking because of the nature of coaching at Wright State, but three of the last four years he's outperformed a ton of teams. (FWIW, His offenses were universally horrible. That doesn't matter because Beilein.) Donlon looks like the "defensive coordinator" I was advocating once LaVall Jordan left. Beilein:

"I have known Billy for almost two decades, and I love his passion and IQ for the game. He has tremendous experience as a player, assistant and head coach at the Division I level. Improving our defense is a huge goal for us, and defense is one of Billy's specialties."

If he can get Wright State into the top 60 three times in the last four years he's probably pretty good in that role.

The obvious catch is that free throw rate. That is emphatically not how Michigan plays right now, and it's an open question just how much rope Donlon will have to deploy his style of D. Beilein is notoriously persnickety about fouls. Insert hours-long autobench complaint here.

Meanwhile, Washington has been at Oakland for a decade, helping the Golden Grizzlies have disproportionate success in the Horizon League. He almost got a job in Ann Arbor during the last staff shakeup. I don't know much about him other than the fact that Sam Webb believes he'll be an excellent recruiter; unlike Donlon he doesn't have a helpful Kenpom page since he was an assistant.

*[Article states that Wright State pays its assistants less than the rest of the Horizon and doesn't have a full time strength coach; they are mid-major only if that's your term for literally every non-big-time CBB program.]

Exit Bacari Alexander

Exit Bacari Alexander

Submitted by Ace on April 20th, 2016 at 5:42 PM


[Bryan Fuller]

ESPN's Jeff Goodman reports that Bacari Alexander is finalizing a deal to become the head coach at Detroit, his alma mater:

After LaVall Jordan took the head job at UW-Milwaukee earlier this offseason, Michigan now has two open assistant spots to fill. After Jordan departed, MLive's Brendan Quinn put forth a list of potential candidates:

A handful of names, based solely on context clues, are already emerging.

Florida assistant coach Darris Nichols, a former Beilein player at West Virginia, looks like a logical candidate. Patrick Beilein, the coach's son and current head coach at Le Moyne, is an obvious possibility. Former U-M director of program personnel C.J. Lee, a current assistant at Marist, could return. Others to keep an eye on include Iowa State assistant Cornell Mann and current U-M director of player personnel Chris Hunter.

At the same time, few would be surprised if Beilein passes on all of the above and goes elsewhere. Beilein could go off the grid or dance on the periphery. 

In Jordan's absence, Chris Hunter has filled in on a temporary basis; this increases the chance he'll get the job on a permanent basis. With two spots now open, Michigan should move to fill out their coaching staff soon. Beilein has previously said he expected to replace Jordan in May. 

Exit Lavall Jordan

Exit Lavall Jordan

Submitted by Brian on April 7th, 2016 at 11:05 AM

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[Bryan Fuller]

The departures are not over for the basketball team. Michigan assistant Lavall Jordan has taken the head coaching job at UW-Milwaukee:

Meanwhile, Bacari Alexander is being heavily rumored as the next coach at Detroit. A coaching shakeup seemed inevitable after the last couple years, and it's probably for the best. Michigan can reset, and now they've got one, maybe two, guys who would be obvious candidates for the head job when Beilein retires.

We'll see what direction Beilein goes in with the new assistant slots. If I was king of the universe I'd suggest he hires someone who's been around the Wisconsin or Virginia programs to be a de-facto "defensive coordinator" for one of the spots. The other one is like whatever man, but just get some dude who's helped some real good defensive teams and get out of his way.