The All-Beilein Teams: Bench Mob

The All-Beilein Teams: Bench Mob Comment Count

Ace April 19th, 2017 at 1:39 PM

In fine form. [Marc-Gregor Campredon]

Previously: All-Bench

John Beilein has spent ten seasons in Ann Arbor. As of the most recent, he's the winningest coach in program history with 215. He snapped Michigan's post-sanction tournament drought in 2009, the first of seven NCAA appearances with the Wolverines, three of which have extended at least into the second weekend.

In recognition of the above, as well as the need for offseason #content, I've put together a series of All-Beilein teams, inspired by this twitter post and the ensuing conversation. My guidelines:

  1. I'm attempting to put together the best possible lineups, which isn't necessarily the same as picking the best individual players at each spot.
  2. I'm choosing individual player vintages (i.e. 2013 Trey Burke). A player can only be chosen once for each category, but different player years (i.e. freshman bench gunner 2014 Zak Irvin and well-rounded senior 2017 Zak Irvin) can be eligible for separate categories. The same player/year can be chosen for multiple categories—for instance, 2013 Mitch McGary making the All-Bench team doesn't exclude him from making the final All-Beilein team.
  3. Eligibility for certain categories may be slightly fudged because of the limited pool of players.

I'm not putting too many constraints on myself for this exercise since the point is to let our imaginations run wild. Speaking of running wild, this team is a little different than the others: today's group is comprised of the best contributors to the Bench Mob.


The only member of the Bench Mob to merit his own highlight video. Dakich peaked in this role in 2013-14, when he could be the exuberant youngster instead of an assistant coach in the making. He's the ideal captain of a Bench Mob: he'll dance in the pregame huddle, be the first off the bench to greet players after a timeout, make a scene after a big shot, and coach up the point guards on the best way to approach the high ball screen. It won't be easy to fill (and leap out of) his seat.

Honorable Mention: 2012-13 Josh Bartelstein. Another walk-on who became a team leader, Bartelstein isn't your traditional hyper-excited bench fixture. Anyone with ESP, however, deserves serious consideration for the first team.

If we were ranking legendary Bench Mob moments, this would be at the top.



Ricky Doyle: Up To The Challenge

Ricky Doyle: Up To The Challenge Comment Count

Ace July 22nd, 2015 at 2:01 PM

Ricky Doyle played up to the competition. [Fuller]

While our attention has, for the most part, turned to football in the offseason, a new KenPom feature has me digging back into hoops. On individual player pages, KenPom now displays split stats for performaces against (1) conference opponents, (2) games against top-100 opponents, adjusted for game location, and (3) games against top-50 opponents, with the same home-court adjustment.

This is a very useful tool for parsing out how well players did against better competiton. Michigan's big man situation continues to fascinate me, so I thought it'd be useful to see how last year's troika performed against the best teams on the schedule, especially since the disparity in big man quality tends to be large between bad teams and good teams. While KenPom hasn't yet separated out stats for non-top-100 opponents (consider this a humble suggestion from a mathematically challenged blogger), we can get a baseline by looking at each player's full stat line from last season.

  %Min %Poss ORtg OR% DR% TORate Blk% FC/40 FTM-FTA 2PM-2PA 3PM-3PA
Ricky Doyle 43.7 17.9 117.4 10.4 11.9 12.0 2.6 4.0 39-66 (59%) 72-119 (61%) 0-0
Max Bielfeldt 34.2 22.3 107.2 12.4 19.5 13.7 1.9 3.8 22-32 (69%) 54-99 (55%) 8-30 (27%)
Mark Donnal 22.3 17.0 119.6 10.2 16.1 9.6 3.8 6.4 19-27 (70%) 25-44 (57%) 7-19 (37%)

And now, each player's stats against only top-50 opponents. This covers 13 games from last season; Ricky Doyle and Max Bielfeldt played in all 13, while Mark Donnal participated in 11 of them.

  %Min %Poss ORtg OR% DR% TORate Blk% FC/40 FTM-FTA 2PM-2PA 3PM-3PA
Ricky Doyle 51.4 15.5 117.7 8.3 13.5 12.6 2.2 3.8 16-25 (64%) 33-55 (60%) 0-0
Max Bielfeldt 32.7 22.9 91.8 8.7 21.9 16.7 2.1 4.6 8-11 (73%) 19-38 (50%) 3-14 (21%)
Mark Donnal 17.0 20.6 128.2 13.9 7.3 3.6 4.0 8.4 7-11 (64%) 12-22 (55%) 2-6 (33%)

The above helps clarify why John Beilein was comfortable letting Bielfeldt go despite having the opportunity to bring him back. A few takeaways:

Doyle held strong. Doyle's offensive numbers stayed almost exactly the same against top-50 competition; his shooting held at 60%, he took care of the ball, and he allowed the offense to run through the guards/wings. While his offensive rebounding dipped, he still did pretty well in that regard. Equally as encouraging was his ability to hold up defensively; Doyle's foul rate stayed level and he took on a larger share of rebounding duties against top teams.

Bielfeldt's shortcomings became apparent. Bielfeldt proved effective against mid- and lower-tier teams in large part because he dominated the offensive glass, providing himself with easy putback opportunties. Against top-tier teams, however, his offensive rebounding fell off dramatically, his turnover rate rose, and he didn't have a post game or reliable outside shot to make up for either.

Bielfeldt also resorted to fouling more on defense. He was clearly overmatched on that end against high-level competition and that took him out of games even when he had it going offensively; for example, he had nine points on 4-6 shooting in the home overtime loss to Wisconsin but picked up three fouls in 14 minutes because he couldn't defend Frank Kaminsky or Nigel Hayes.

Donnal showed promise on one end. Donnal's decreased role as the season wore on means his sample size is smaller than the others—he essentially played two games worth of minutes against top-50 teams, and he did so in short stints. Those short stints weren't always by design. Donnal was foul-prone in the best of times but especially against good teams; yes, that 8.4 fouls/40 minutes figure is real and speaks to some major defensive shortcomings that were apparent to anyone who watched him play.

There's hope in the offensive numbers, however. Donnal was... good? Again, the tiny sample size makes it hard to draw grand conclusions here, but his rebounding rate and shooting numbers are encouraging.


With a bulked-up DJ Wilson—listed at 6'9, 240 on the updated roster—set to bolster depth up front, it makes sense for Beilein to prioritize developing Donnal and Wilson into reliable options instead of giving significant minutes to a redshirt senior whose limitations become very apparent in the most important games. With a year of development under Ricky Doyle's belt and a logjam at the four, Michigan may only need one of those two to play a major role off the bench anyway.


Unverified Voracity Drops The Hammer?

Unverified Voracity Drops The Hammer? Comment Count

Brian June 4th, 2015 at 1:32 PM


[Patrick Barron]

Max out. Max Bielfeldt heads to Indiana unless he gets cut before the season starts, which is about 50/50 given Tom Crean's roster ADHD.

It'll be interesting to see how that works out for both teams: Michigan knows exactly what went down in practice and did not ask Bielfeldt back even after it became clear they had an open scholarship slot. Since Bielfeldt was out-performing Donnal late last year (Doyle was almost always the first option when he was not sick as a dog), the confidence expressed by that decision seems to be about newly-strapping DJ Wilson. Wilson is certainly going to be more of a defensive presence than the ground-bound Bielfeldt.

Rebounding? Eh… leave it to Walton. I may actually be serious about that. In any case, rebounding is the most replaceable skill.

Why Michigan was willing to let him go. UMHoops has an item on Michigan's pick and roll offense that highlights the production of their big men when they get the ball on the roll:


That is a frequently-injured, pre-Sanderson, freshman Doyle outperforming everything with reasonable sample size except senior Jordan Morgan. (Donnal's numbers should be taken in context: there were a half-dozen roll attempts last year that looked good on which Donnal didn't even attempt a shot, kicking back to the perimeter instead of opting for what should be one of the most efficient shots in basketball.) Bielfeld had 12 pick-and-pop possessions, FWIW—on actual rolls to the basket he was at 23 points on 21 buckets. That's 1.09 PPP.

Doyle was on par or better than Bielfeldt at just about everything you can do on a court other than grab defensive rebounds. He should improve a great deal as he ages, and then you've got Wilson and Donnal… minutes are going to be scarce.

Speaking of Walton. Any fears you may have had that his foot thing was going to be a problem this fall should be put to rest:

Walton joins a Camp Sanderson field that includes almost the entire team plus guys like Nik Stauskas and Tim Hardaway Jr. Word is that one of the most impressive guys there is… Aubrey Dawkins. Going to be a good year.

Meanwhile, Spike's projected return:

Beilein also offered an update on Albrecht on Monday, saying that both of the guard's offseason hip surgeries were successful. Albrecht is still on crutches, but projects to a having a full return by the fall.

"In September, yeah, there's no question," Beilein said.

He should be ready for the season no problem.

A smart guy. Beilein on what the rules changes might mean:

Most focus on the offensive impact of the shot clock change, but the reverberation will reach the other end of the floor. Beilein noted that defenses will likely be more prone to shift from man-to-man to zone defense late in shot clocks.

"I think you'll see more teams flipping stuff and going zone later on because the ballscreen becomes so prevalent at that time," he said.

That would be interesting.

A litmus test. The NCAA just about gave up on serious punishments for anything short of child rape negligence after they threw the book at USC. OSU took a bowl ban and had to get rid of Jim Tressel after Tressel repeatedly lied to the NCAA, but they were spared the kind of scholarship restrictions that put a serious long-term dent in a program. Other than that it's been a series of wrist-slaps.

If anything is going to upset the current "do whatever it's fine" state of affairs, it is the situation at North Carolina. The NCAA at first decided to ignore it, but when forced to revisit the issue they seem to have done so with force. The notice of allegations has just been released, and it contains five separate "severe" violations, most of which are backed up by assertions of dozens of different incidents they encompass.

This will be the first truly major case since the NCAA moved away from calling everything from SMU to stretchgate "major" violations and implemented a four-level system. North Carolina is likely to admit lots and lots of "severe breach of conduct." The penalty guidelines for level 1 violations include:

  • 1-2 years of postseason ban
  • loss of 12.5% to 25% of scholarships
  • up to a half-year ban on a head coach

If the violations are deemed to have induced "aggravation" those penalties can double, and if they stack… hoo boy. The NCAA would be well within its rights to bomb UNC's major sports into the stone age.

Will they? I doubt it.

I'm not really paying attention to this any more. Phil Steele's All Big Ten teams are… well, there's a lot of them. They don't seem that accurate:

The Wolverines did have a few All-Big Ten honorees, however, led by senior linebacker Joe Bolden. Bolden, who broke the 100-tackle mark last season, is a second-team All-Big Ten pick, per Steele.

Linebacker Desmond Morgan (third), offensive guard Kyle Kalis (third), wide receiver Amara Darboh (fourth), defensive back Jabrill Peppers (fourth) and punter Blake O'Neill (fourth) also received mention.

Just from a Michigan perspective, no Jourdan Lewis, no Jarrod Wilson, and Kalis over Glasgow make me wonder if Steele does much more than look at stats and recruiting rankings and guess. (He also does the irritating thing where he throws corners and safeties into the same bucket of defensive backs.)

Ratings up. If softball seems like a bigger deal than it did a few years ago, you aren't alone:

ESPN saw record viewership for the 2015 Women’s College World Series, notching its top two most-viewed Women’s College World Series bracket round games ever this past weekend. LSU/Michigan on Sunday averaged 1,950,000 viewers for the company while UCLA/Auburn on Saturday drew 1,612,000 viewers. Overall, the 2015 Women’s College World Series bracket round (May 28-31) averaged 1,055,000 viewers. Meanwhile, the 2015 Women’s College World Series Championship Finals Game 1 on Monday drew a 1.0 overnight rating, which is tied for the highest-rated WCWS Championship Finals Game 1 on record (since 2007) and a 43% increase (0.7 overnight) from 2014 WCWS Championship Finals Game 1.

The final two games may have beat that admittedly short-lived record.

Bracing? ISS has its final draft rankings out:

Hopefully neither of those guys ends up in the wrong place. IE: The Kings or a like organization that doesn't want their guys to play college.

Etc.: In expected news, JT Compher is your hockey captain. Incoming forward Brendan Warren profiled. I could describe a great deal of commentators as "continual boofheads." AFC Ann Arbor origin story. You can chat with Stauskas and Beilein, get autographs and the like, for #chadtough.


Unverified Voracity Hears The Lamentation Of Their Softballists

Unverified Voracity Hears The Lamentation Of Their Softballists Comment Count

Brian May 18th, 2015 at 1:45 PM

Kickstarter expiration imminent. Our Hail To The Victors kickstarter ends at 5 PM. If you have been procrastinating, you have run out of time. We'll have copies in the MGoStore for those who haven't been able to participate. Signed copies, Kickstarter-exclusive shirts, and the ability to get your name in the thing are only available until 5. Consume!


there was a lot of this last weekend [Bryan Fuller]

CROOOSH. Softball annihilated its regional over the weekend, coming up a single run short of mercy-ruling all three of its opponents. They draw #14 Georgia in the super regionals at Alumni Field in a Thursday/Friday series. Thursday's game is 9PM on ESPN2; Friday's is at 6 on ESPNU. South Bend Wolverine, who graciously previewed the regional for us, is planning on profiling Georgia on Wednesday.

Hiring the team mom. Andy Staples interviews Harbaugh about the Gwendolyn Bush hire:

Bush peppered the coach with the same kinds of questions she did when Harbaugh was recruiting Lyons to Stanford out of Fort Lauderdale’s Dillard High. The banter gave Harbaugh flashbacks to the lengthy questionnaire Bush asked all the coaches recruiting her son to complete in 2010. It also gave him an idea. No parent he’d dealt with had studied the recruiting process as thoroughly as Bush. “Some people don’t take the time to really learn the process,” Bush said. “They just let it happen.” Bush wouldn’t allow that for her son. Inspired by St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.) High tailback James White, who sent coaches brief surveys before committing to Wisconsin, Bush and Lyons designed a 50-question exam for coaches to complete before they could recruit Lyons. 

Plus, Bush now also had the experience of a parent whose child had played high-level college football while completing a demanding degree program. As a bonus, she had worked in the Broward County school system in a variety of positions for 27 years. She had administrative experience. She would be perfect for Harbaugh’s version of the director of player development position. “With her credentials in the educational system, I thought she’d be a tremendous liaison to academics and also a voice for the moms,” Harbaugh said. “In the recruiting process, the mothers get very little airtime—even throughout the entire college experience.”

Wayne Lyons was headed to Michigan either way, and Harbaugh just took the opportunity provided by Bush getting back in touch to hire a person with that level of detail.

Seeya. The number of Indiana basketball players hitting the highways and byways of America, bindle over shoulder, swelled to five over the weekend with the dismissals of Devin Davis and Hanner Mosquera-Perea. The reason for their departure: Davis was cited for pot possession. Perea's offense was being in the room.

Kevin Trahan notes that the departure of these gentlemen on such a flimsy pretext likely means they were out the door no matter what:

…two Indiana players—Troy Williams and Stanford Robinson—failed multiple drug tests last fall, yet only received four-game suspensions that were more like two-game suspensions, given that two of the games were exhibition contests.

Why the Roger Goodell-like disciplinary inconsistency? It's hard not to wonder if Mosquera-Perea and Davis are less incorrigible embarrassments to Crean's team than a pair of inconvenient bench bodies, victims of scholarship oversigning. After all, Williams was a star for the Hoosiers and integral to their future success. Mosquera-Perea and Davis are not. Meanwhile, Crean needs an open scholarship as he looks to sign star high school big man Thon Maker—and surprise, two spots just become available.

Robinson got the ziggy earlier this offseason after demonstrating he can't shoot at all; Williams is still around, mean-mugging after he successfully makes tea.

Here's some perspective on this offseason's vigorous Creaning: for a football team to go through this much premature attrition they would have to lose 33 players. Tom Crean is the Houston Nutt of basketball. Giggity.

What about the other slot? A familiar name might fill it:

Michigan graduate transfer Max Bielfeldt, who won an appeal that will allow him to transfer within the Big Ten, will visit Indiana on Sunday according to a report from Jon Rothstein.

Bielfeldt confirmed his plans to visit in a text message to Inside the Hall on Saturday afternoon.

Inside the Hall optimistically lists Bielfeldt at 6'8" and most of the comments are along the lines of "he can't be worse than Perea." Which… okay, maybe.

Dave Brandon 2.0 has not been stopped yet. I feel for Texas fans with no light at the end of their terrible AD tunnel yet. Steve Patterson, the new Worst Athletic Director In America, on playing Texas A&M:

On playing in Mexico City:

Patterson is obsessed with the possibility people in Dubai or Mexico might buy a UT t-shirt because he is the kind of executive sociopath that is more concerned with putting a bullet point on a resume than actually figuring out what is a good idea.

Jerry Hinnen points out that playing at Azteca has historically been a nightmare for the USMNT due to the altitude, smog, and heat. Mexico plays all their games there specifically to discomfit visitors; Patterson wants to play a football game there in the vague hope it gives Texas recognition in a country that doesn't care even a little tiny bit about American football.

Etc.: Doug Skene and Mike Spath break down Rudock's game against Wisconsin. That is the next passing UFR on my list, and it projects to be an encouraging one. Get The Picture on the coming attendance dip. Angelique talks to Adidas. NoDak hockey coach Dave Hakstol hired by the Flyers in the same position.

AFC Ann Arbor beat Oakland United Sporting Real Dinamo Forest FC SC 4-0 to win their first-ever league game. Points to the rowdies for chanting "dos a cero" for the period of time that was a thing.


Unverified Voracity Likes Dayton's Scouting

Unverified Voracity Likes Dayton's Scouting Comment Count

Brian May 12th, 2015 at 4:04 PM

Hello Hibbitts. Brent Hibbitts did decide to sign on with Michigan as a preferred walk-on over various MAC and other mid-major offers. This is more notable than most other walk-on acquisitions because Hibbits has intriguing size—he's 6'8"—and had a high level of interest from D-I programs. His skill set also fits in with Michigan:

Hibbitts averaged 17.4 points and 11.5 rebounds per game as a senior at Hudsonville last season, earning Associated Press Class A All-State honorable mention status and leading the Eagles to a district championship.

"He has a really nice skill set," Hudsonville coach Eric Elliott told MLive last Wednesday. "He can handle the ball, is a great passer with court vision and has a nice shooting touch. Interested schools see him as a stretch four. That's his ideal position."

There's a lot of competition at that spot presently, but give Hibbitts some time and there's a nonzero chance he's a contributor late in his career. I mean, we all know where the Stain Train started.


Weirder things have happened.

This is about to change. It already has with Dennis Norfleet's exit, in fact. It is a breakdown of attrition in the Big Ten:

TEAM 2011 2012 2013 2014 TOTAL
IOWA 10 8 7 0 25
Rutgers 10 3 5 1 19
Michigan 14 1 2 1 18
Illinois 8 5 3 1 17
Ohio State 11 4 0 1 16
Nebraska 6 4 5 1 16
Minnesota 6 3 4 2 15
Maryland 7 5 2 0 14
Penn State 4 3 5 1 13
Wisconsin 1 4 4 3 12
Purdue 2 5 2 2 11
Indiana 7 1 3 0 11
Michigan State 5 4 1 0 10
Northwestern 0 2 2 0 4

That is spectacular on Michigan's part. The 2011 class rivaled 2010 in flameouts, and then virtually nobody left for three years. There's about to be a major uptick, but at least Michigan retained the bulk of their prospects before the inevitable attrition that comes with a coaching turnover.

Iowa is pretty salty about what's going on there BTW:

In all of the non-Iowa seasons in which a program lost 10 or more players -- 2011 Michigan, Ohio State and Rutgers -- a coach had left, with the new coach either cleaning house (Meyer, Hoke/Harbaugh) or failing to keep the last coach's guys (Flood).  Iowa, of course, has no such impetus for big attrition.

That is especially galling when Wisconsin and Michigan State are quality redshirt-and-develop programs with recruiting approximately on Iowa's level. It seems impossible that Ferentz will get Iowa back to even B+ football before his buyout reaches plausibility.


Who did it better me or @spidadmitchell @hoopmixtape @ballislife @teamflightbrothers #LITE

A video posted by Aubrey Dawkins (@siraubreydawkins) on

If Hibbitts had been offered by Dayton he would have gotten a full hello post, I think.

Overseas options hit hockey. I don't think this is going to be a trend since 18-year-olds can just go play in the NHL if they're that good, but uber-prospect Auston Matthews is at least considering the option of spending next year in Switzerland:

The Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League hold his junior rights after selecting him in the third round of the 2012 bantam draft. A report from Switzerland’s Blick News Service on Sunday said Matthews had signed a contract to play for the Zurich Lions in the Swiss A League.

He denied that report, but said he was keeping all options—including the A League—open. It was doubtful Matthews was going to sign on with Michigan, and more doubtful after the Copp stuff broke. It would have been fun to see him in college anyway.

HATIN' ASS MICHIGAN SPURRIER. The fruits of your labors, ladies and gentlemen:

Notre Dame players hit that "Play Like A Champion Today" sign, and dang if they don't look like a ten dollar sweatshirt you got in 1993.

Don't think Michigan fans should be torn up about the Notre Dame rivalry ending. If they want to play a religious school that goes .500 against USC, Boston College is free.

Rudy and The Lego Movie are basically the same story, except nobody pretends The Lego Movie is a documentary.

Bielfeldt is on the move. Any remaining hopes that Michigan might hang on to Max Bielfeldt are now gone, and it is definitely the coaching staff's choosing.

"I did tell the coaches that I did want to come back to Michigan," Bielfeldt said. "But at the end of the day things didn't work out and we both decided to move on."

Bielfedlt added, "I told (coaches) that I wanted to stay (and) Michigan was my first choice but as time went on I had to explore other options."

That is odd since it doesn't look like they are going to fill their 13th spot this year. I am more enthused about Ricky Doyle than most people but even I think Bielfeldt is a backup plan worth having when you have major questions about the guys behind him.

Etc.: Sierra Romero is ESPNW's softballist of the year. The Longhorn Network is a disaster. Jay Mariotti still has Jay Mariotti opinions. Rudock profiled. Remember this site calling the pursuit of Jim Harbaugh the "Harbaugh Hail Mary?" Here's a Harbaugh Hail Mary. On the shoe wars. Exposure U details.


Unverified Voracity Might Bounce

Unverified Voracity Might Bounce Comment Count

Brian May 6th, 2015 at 12:00 PM


[Bryan Fuller]

The extra slot. Max Bielfeldt could return next year if Michigan was so inclined. It does not sound like they are rushing to make this happen, though. Bielfeldt:

"I don't even know," the 6-foot-8, 240-pound forward said. "I've just been looking to see what else is out there. If this (situation did come up), I knew I'd have to take it for what it is. If I end up making a decision here in the next week or so and nothing pops up Michigan-wise, then I'll move on.

"(I haven't talked with Beilein about it) since the scholarship opened up."

It might be hard to kiss and make up here with Bielfeldt fielding serious interest from multiple Big 12 schools.

Harbaugh profilin'. Bruce Feldman on the man in khaki:

Most coaches will say they are much better at their jobs than they were a decade ago thanks to experience, but Harbaugh isn't most coaches. "I don't know that I am (a better coach)," he said. "Even though you've proved something before, that's the very nature of football playing or coaching. You could have proved something 1,000 times before. You could prove it again, but now that's all that matters.

"It's irrelevant no matter how many times you prove something. This is the only time that matters."

Well worth a read.

That this is a hard decision is a bad thing. Dylan Larkin is playing at the World Championships for the USA, an impressive accomplishment for any college player. He is still considering signing with the Wings. That would be far from unprecedented, except for the fact that his pro team doesn't seem to be pressing for it at all:

Should Larkin sign with Detroit, he would most likely spend the season in the AHL with Grand Rapids, a team that has consistently been successful recently under the stewardship of coach Jeff Blashill. …

From what I’ve been told, the Red Wings would be happy with Larkin’s decision either way. If he returns to Michigan, he gets to play that big role on a young team (the team had a dearth of juniors this season, so there will only be a handful of seniors next year) and he can learn from mistakes now rather than in a couple years when he’s in the NHL.

If Larkin signs when the Wings are saying "you will play in the AHL"—something they no doubt mean given the guys they've left in Grand Rapids well after they've ripened—that is a devastating commentary on the current state of the program.

Unfortunately, I don't think I would be at all surprised by that. Mike Spath is without question the most plugged-in hockey reporter Michigan has, and when Andrew Copp left he talked to various people in the program and came back with this:

A motivation for Andrew Copp to leave? Apparently his dad didn't like that Copp wasn't the leading scorer the past two seasons and blamed this on Michigan's failure to develop him to be the first-line center he was destined to be.

This is what society has become. Every parent thinks their kid is the next Crosby. Winnipeg apparently told the family he could one day lead their team in points. I like Andrew a lot but that is a crock.

There is only one person who would say this to Spath: Red Berenson. Spath probably should have kept that one under his hat, because it drew a response from Copp's father in which he made it clear that assertions about his character were way off base. A small portion:

Michael it is disappointing that as you have gotten to know Andrew over the last 3 years you should have a gut feeling about how he is as a person. Much has been made about it in the press and by the coaches over the years. Andrew is a very mature young man with character, conviction, and morals. I can tell you that Andrew made the decision to leave completely on his own. We do not parent like micro-managers, we have always raised our two boys to be independent and we support the decisions that they do make. Andrew consulted with our family during the process but never once asked our opinion on what he should do with his life nor did we give it, that is HIS decision. To be honest I don’t know what I would have said, I would have loved to see him play his senior year, see him a couple times a week and every Sunday for family dinner. As a parent you hope you provide your kids with the life skills to make difficult decisions and I am proud of how Andrew has navigated this process.

Red has always been lovably cantankerous about his players leaving before their time. This goes several steps beyond that. Copp was not mentioned at the post-season banquet. When bitterness gets that prominent it starts to seem like a reason for the team's recent underperformance.

Red is going to be back next year, and then he is likely to retire. I'm not particularly optimistic about that final year. That Copp would leave probably doesn't say much about Copp.

For Larkin's part, here's Larkin:

"Not 100 percent," Larkin told The Windsor Star when asked if he's made a decision. "I'm still in between and weighing the options. I wanted to wait until after the tournament to make a decision.

"I'll probably take some time. I mean, I'm not in a rush. The seasons are over. There's really no rush. I really feel like there's not a wrong choice or a bad option. Either way I'm still going to be playing hockey and doing what I love.

"We'll see what's best for me."

I have a bad feel. NCAA muckety-mucks are complaining about the graduate transfer rule, because obviously. They do not have great reasons to do so:

"I don't think it fits the core values of intercollegiate athletics," said Sun Belt Conference commissioner Karl Benson.

When asked for specifics on the conflict with core values, Benson said, "It just doesn't feel right."

The core values of intercollegiate athletics are what exactly? If it's about getting an education, these players have already acquired bachelors' degrees. If it's about a level playing field, that ship sailed, sunk, and turned into barnacles a long time ago. If it's about catering to coaches' whims… we should probably have more timeouts in basketball.

Pat Forde says that if the NCAA is actually concerned about their core values they'd look at the scourge of recruits reclassifying. It's not clear that such a thing is at all common—most kids who reclassify are in fact forgoing a prep year, not accelerating. And the ones who do always have the option of, like, not doing so. It's hard to see what the harm is there. Forde's attempt to conjure one is unconvincing:

A senior year of high school is among the priceless commodities in life. I hope giving that away in part because some coach needs you now is a good decision for Thornton. It certainly seems to be one more example of the coach controlling the athlete more than vice versa.

High school is nice and all but if you told me I could go to prom or start at point guard for Duke I think I might take the latter. Thornton could still pick any school he wants as a class of 2016 player; that Duke presented him with an option he found attractive is not a problem.

Then there are the academic questions. By all accounts, Thornton is a bright young man and he may have been planning his class load with this accelerated graduation in mind. But will he be ready – early – for the classroom challenge at Duke? It's not exactly like going to UNLV.

It is. It is exactly like going to UNLV because every school has easy classes for people not interested in requirement X. I was in some at Michigan. Forde probably doesn't know that college hockey was well ahead of the curve here, with three top-ten NHL picks (Zach Werenski, Noah Hanifin, and Hobey winner Jack Eichel) arriving after accelerating their studies. It seems likely that both Werenski and Hanifin will be back at their respective schools next year, which they could only do if they were coping academically.

Increased flexibility for players is generally a good thing. Let them accelerate cake and graduate transfer cake.

Don't mind if I schadenfreude, thanks. EDSBS's ERASE THIS GAME series strikes upon the USF-Notre Dame game that caused Brian Kelly to turn into Yosemite Sam. Notre Dame's next game was this one:


If you could get in the college football hall of fame for making fanbases other than your own happy, Rees would be a holy lock.

Now when is #M00N happening EDSBS? For pants' sake.

Scouting centers. Brendan Quinn on Austin Davis and Jon Teske:

Davis: While quiet in-person, he's not shy on the floor.

Davis is aggressive with the ball, while remaining steady and methodical, refusing to rush. He knows how to work offensively on the low blocks, utilizing good hands and a soft touch. Most importantly, Davis looks to score the ball. Points to just come to him -- he shows himself well on post-ups and gets his own points.

Teske: The shot-blocking ability is abundantly apparent. Teske is a natural with instinctual patience and timing. He's does well to go up and block shots in the air instead of lunging to get shots at the point of release. That defensive prowess translates to his movements and awareness on that end of the floor. Teske seems to anticipate without guessing, and looks to make defensive plays without leaving himself susceptible to mistakes.

Interesting that MLive is getting more into the scouting/video stuff for recruits. Davis got a bump to four stars on 247, BTW. It looks like there is going to be a severe difference of opinion between the sites on him. Brian Snow has made it clear that Scout is not going to follow suit.

Etc.: Tyus Battle will visit officially tomorrow; Duke has taken a big lead in the Crystal Ball, and this one doesn't seem like guesswork. Remember when a playoff was going to kill the bowls? Speaking of coach catering. On 2016 combo guard Bruce Brown.


Unverified Voracity Inflicts Tattoo

Unverified Voracity Inflicts Tattoo Comment Count

Brian April 27th, 2015 at 12:19 PM


our very own MarktheNomad leads the way

Well done. The EDSBS charity challenge has completed, with Michigan once again lapping the field several times over:


By collectively cracking 30k, the commentariat has forced Spencer into getting a Michigan-themed tattoo. He reports being interested in some sort of wolverine-in-profile wearing a top hat. I am taking submissions, both good and bad. Load up the photoshop and do your best. Or worst! Either way.

Jeff Goodman's on the bandwagon. Hopefully this edition of the Big Ten can be as entertainingly proficient as the 2012-13 version that Indiana won (and Michigan did not win by a micron) with their Zeller/Oladipo outfit:

Not sure I'm seeing it with Purdue but otherwise, yeah. How Wisconsin transitions away from the Dekker/Kaminsky teams is uncertain—they have Hayes and Koenig back but lose the kPOY, a lottery pick, Josh f-ing Gasser, and Traevon Jackson. That latter might be their secret weapon.

I assume they'll be good, because when have they not been good under Bo Ryan, but they should be taking a significant step back. I don't know who their 6'10" guy who shoots threes and looks like the perfect player for Beilein is going to be.

I am mildly surprised at this. Max Bielfeldt is transferring and getting interest from schools that are a bit bigger than hometown Bradley:

Bielfeldt confirmed to MLive on Saturday that he made his first visit on Friday, traveling to Ames, Iowa to tour Iowa State and that he's in the process of setting up more visits.

The current list of schools that have contacted Bielfeldt and are under consideration includes Boston College, Kansas State, Iowa State, Bradley, Stanford and DePaul.

Obviously Iowa State's Hoiberg Home For Lost Big Ten Boys was going to get involved here. Due to a bizarre footnote in NCAA regulations the city of Ames will be expelled from the surface of the earth if they do not have a basketball player who used to call a Big Ten school home.

The half-dozen other power conference schools are more than I thought would knock on Bielfeldt's door. He must fit better on teams that aren't averse to running out two posts at the same time—he's a lot more plausible as an old-timey power forward than a center.

And it is possible we are doing Johnny Dawkins a solid for keeping his kid stashed in witness protection long enough for Michigan to swoop in on him.

Could this be related to last year's injuries? Michigan is looking for a new basketball athletic trainer. People move on to new jobs all the time, etc., but the timing there suggests that maybe Beilein wasn't particularly pleased with the way Walton's injury was handled. Add Spike's hips, LeVert's twice-broken foot, and Mitch McGary's general unavailability and that's a lot of injuries for a basketball team comprised of 18-20 year olds.

Your parents must be very interesting. Remember Equanimeous St. Brown, the California wide receiver who speaks several languages and ended up at Notre Dame? There is another.


There is apparently a third St. Brown pass-catching brother who goes unnamed in that article. The possibilities are endless. Sahara? Odin? Vladivostok? Benzene? The mind boggles.

I'm just here on name patrol but FWIW, St. Brown says he's headed to Sound Mind, Sound Body and will visit Michigan as part of that trip.

UPDATE: Ace points out the younger brother is Amon-Ra!

Scouting Austin Davis. Scout's Brian Snow took a look at Michigan's latest commitment and came back reporting something in line($) with what everyone else is saying:

When on the floor in terms of actual skill, Davis is very good on the low block. He has pretty good footwork around the rim, soft hands, and a nice touch. Most of his damage comes close to the bucket, and he is able to overwhelm opponents with size and has the skill to go with it.

He's not a jumping jack of an athlete and has to compete at the 5 with Teske since neither has the ability to guard anyone on the perimeter. There's been some chatter that Davis might take a prep year and come in in 2017 if that is mutually agreeable, FWIW. That would somewhat ease the coming logjam at center and give a developmental big some more time to develop.

Rutgers: the team that gravity remembers constantly. Land-Grand Holy Land checks in with Rutgers first season of Big Ten competition. How'd they do? Fourth in women's soccer. Not so good in almost everything else:

So to recap, not only did Rutgers fail to capture a single league title in their first season,they haven't even come close, only cracking the top four in two sports. Rutgers finished (or is currently ranked) last or second to last in an astonishing eight sports. Their football program was their best male team sport, and they didn't crack the top six of the conference. Rutgers has been uniformly terrible at nearly every level.

Plus, not only has Rutgers been awful on the field, those mid-week flights from places like Nebraska and Iowa to New Jersey are probably just awesome for student athletes, right Delany?

But hey, TV sets. Location. National brand. Enjoy those hypothetical Nielsen ratings the next time you have to watch a terrible Rutgers sporting event in the near future.

Maryland is vaguely defensible. Rutgers is just an anchor.

Sounds good. Freshmen ineligibility isn't going anywhere. There are a thousand reasons for that. Here's one: even the NCAA's president, our nation's most skilled double-talk practitioner, is pretty much like nah.

"It's a really interesting notion that's worthy of debate," Emmert said. "It has all kinds of problems. It is highly controversial."

"It has all kinds of problems." This is a person who publicly states that the NCAA itself has no problems. DOA.

They're all over on satellite camps, BTW. They'll be banned by next year.

Etc.: Lax misses Big Ten tourney. Many Big Ten fanbases have no life balance. Robert Washington's weekend commitment was… interesting. Sling TV reviewed. Brian Kelly is "the worst coach Notre Dame has ever allowed to oversee its football team for at least 65 games." Nebraska adds satellite camp. Gasaway on early entries.

Jim Harbaugh is Jim Harbaugh and will remain being Jim Harbaugh. The parable of the donut shop.


Bielfeldt Released, Michigan Still Has A Spot

Bielfeldt Released, Michigan Still Has A Spot Comment Count

Brian April 21st, 2015 at 2:21 PM


[Bryan Fuller]

Max Bielfeldt was re-listed as a senior a couple years back and walked on senior day, so his departure was expected. It's now official, per Jeff Goodman. Bielfeldt himself:

"With (LeVert) taking that scholarship, any little option of something else happening -- me coming back -- got a little bit smaller," Bielfeldt said. "The odds aren't very high that I come back here next year."

As a grad transfer Bielfeldt can be immediately eligible next year; Bradley, near his home, has been mentioned as a possibility. Dan Dakich will still talk about his calves during Michigan games for nostalgia's sake.

Meanwhile, despite Caris's decision to stay Michigan is still under the impression they have room for another player next year.

U-M coaches have made it clear that even with LeVert's return, the roster will have room for at least one addition.

Following Tuesday's announcement by LeVert, Troy Manns, [Kenny] Williams' coach at LC Bird High School coach in Richmond, told MLive that LeVert's return does not impact Williams' interest in Michigan.

"No, not at all," he said.

Asked if Michigan told Williams it still would have space for him if LeVert remaining a Wolverine, Manns answered, simply, "Yes."

With seemingly everyone else content to fight out the playing time crunch next year that would likely be Austin Hatch either going on medical hardship or, if his family is so inclined, becoming a walk-on next year. That would cost money but would keep the door open to Hatch getting on the court some.


The Bielfeldt Conundrum

The Bielfeldt Conundrum Comment Count

Ace March 10th, 2015 at 1:45 PM

[Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog]

Entering the season, Michigan expected Max Bielfeldt to reprise his role as the "break glass in case of emergency" third center for one last year before wishing him well in his future endeavors. Instead, Bielfeldt played his way ahead of Mark Donnal—more than doubling Donnal's minutes in conference play—and produced a little more on offense than starter Ricky Doyle.

With, for now, one scholarship open for 2015-16, it's no longer a certainty that Bielfeldt will move on from the program, even though he went through Senior Day festivities last weekend. The Daily's Lev Facher wrote yesterday that John Beilein hasn't ruled out a return...

“I would like him to go out and explore some options,” Beilein said. “We’ll look at some options and decide whether it’s a good option (for Bielfeldt) to come back.”

...and neither has Bielfeldt, who acknowledges the choice largely lies with Beilein:

“Honestly, I don’t know,” Bielfeldt said. “Family and friends ask me the same thing — I give them the same answer. I really don’t know. I just like knowing what my options are. I’m obviously just going to look for options and kinda weigh them out.”

This raises the obvious question: Is it a good idea to bring Bielfeldt back? The answer isn't as simple as it may appear.

Michigan's pursuit of 2015 German forward Moritz Wagner may preclude Bielfeldt's return. [Fuller]

Caris LeVert's upcoming decision could play a huge role in Michigan's choice regarding Bielfeldt. Despite his injury, LeVert is still projected to go in the first round by both DraftExpress (#18) and Chad Ford (#30), but over the last month there's been increased optimism that he'll return for his senior season.

A LeVert return would put Michigan one scholarship away from the 13-man limit—before counting Bielfeldt. That makes the decision-making process more clear-cut.

Michigan hosted 6'10" German forward Mortiz Wagner for a visit last weekend. Wagner, who'd be a freshman in 2015-16, is reportedly leaning towards college ball over playing professionally, and Sam Webb expects Michigan will be the choice if he takes the collegiate route ($). Beilein isn't going to turn down a potential four years from a talented prospect for one more season of a backup-quality player, even if Wagner is much more wing than post.

The Wolverines are also reportedly one of several schools in pursuit of Seton Hall transfer Jaren Sina, who'll sit 2015-16 due to NCAA transfer rules before playing out his final two seasons of eligibility. Given how active Michigan got with both late-emerging recruits (MAAR, Dawkins) and transfer candidates (Cole Huff) after the end of last season, it wouldn't surprise to see even more names emerge if the Wagner recruitment falls through.

What seems clear is that Beilein is keeping the possibility of a Bielfeldt return open as a backup plan, which to me is the approach that makes the most sense. Doyle and Donnal will be better next year—and hopefully less plagued by illness—while DJ Wilson, after plenty of time in the weight and film rooms, should be able to provide spot minutes at the five. Ideally, at least two of those three would progress to the point where Beilein wouldn't need to call on Bielfeldt for significant minutes.

While Bielfeldt's play down the stretch was a pleasant surprise, he still doesn't project as more than an ancillary player on a good team—life is tough for a 6'7" post that doesn't possess game-changing athleticism. Even if LeVert goes pro, it might be best for both parties to look at other options; Bielfeldt could see a larger role at a smaller school (or get his post-basketball career started) while Michigan could continue building for the future. If all else falls through, however, Bielfeldt is a nice fallback plan if he wants to return; he's proven he can be a contributor on this team.


Michigan 79, Rutgers 69

Michigan 79, Rutgers 69 Comment Count

Ace March 7th, 2015 at 4:51 PM

Disappointing lack of calves on the jersey plaque. [Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog]

Max Bielfeldt recorded his first career double-double. Aubrey Dawkins nearly tied the single-game school record for three-pointers. Michigan's game-ending lineup featured Austin Hatch, two walk-ons, and two student managers turned practice players.

Needless to say, the game wasn't nearly as close as the final score would indicate. Save for a 19-0 Rutgers run to close a contest that had long been decided, Michigan maintained a death grip from start to... well, almost-finish.

On his Senior Day, Bielfeldt opened the proceedings with a hook shot before going on to score 14 points (6/10 FG), pull down 11 boards, and even hand out three assists. Bielfeldt earned a couple ovations on the day, including a "double double" chant when he grabbed his tenth rebound.

While it was Bieldfeld's day, Aubrey Dawkins stole much of the spotlight. Setting a career high in points for the second consecutive game, Dawkins rained in eight of his 11 three-point attempts—finishing one make short of Garde Thompson's school record—on his way to a game-high 31. He also provided the highlight of the afternoon with a forceful two-handed finish of a Spike Albrecht lob.

Albrecht generated much of Michigan's offense despite scoring just seven points on eight shots. He repeatedly found open shooters after lulling Rutgers to sleep with his patented forays along the baseline, ultimately dishing out nine assists, tying a career high.

As a result, the Wolverines literally shot until the lights went out. After Dawkins knocked down his first four three-pointers, Kameron Chatman added one of his own to give Michigan an early ten-point lead; the lights in Crisler Center promply shut off, causing a brief delay in the action. It didn't seem to affect Michigan, which continued its assault right up to the halftime buzzer, when Chatman drilled another triple from the corner to boost the lead to 19.

Chatman would finish with 13 points on 4/5 shooting. Zak Irvin had an off day, knocking down just 5/15 shots on his way to 12 points, but it was barely noticable with all the offensive fireworks going off around him.

The second half mostly featured both teams playing out the string—or canning more threes, in Dawkins' case—until the late Rutgers run. While the final few minutes provided John Beilein with some teachable moments, it didn't threaten to change the final outcome. Bielfeldt gave himself a proper sendoff, while Dawkins continued a hot streak that should have Michigan fans very excited about his future.

Michigan is now locked in to the #9 seed in next weekend's Big Ten Tournament. Their opponent will be either a reeling Indiana squad or, if they lose to Purdue this afternoon, Illinois. Either way, the Wolverines managed to build a little momentum for themselves after a heartbreaker earlier this week at Northwestern.