In fine form. [Marc-Gregor Campredon]
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
RINGLEADER: 2013-14 ANDREW DAKICH
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.
[Hit THE JUMP.]
DESIGNATED DANCER: 2012-13 COREY PERSON
While Dakich could fill this role, Corey Person is the king of the pregame huddle. If you have any doubt about this selection, just look at Max Bielfeldt's face in the above GIF.
Honorable Mention: 2012-13 Matt Vogrich. Had just the one move, but the air cello worked for him.
SUPPORTING CAST: 2016-17 FRED WRIGHT-JONES
The breakout star of this year's postseason, FWJ has a chance to unseat Dakich, or at least capably fill his shoes, if he stays on his current trajectory.
SUPPORTING CAST: 2013-14 MITCH MCGARY
McGary's back injury forced him to the sideline for almost the entirety of his sophomore year. While that robbed us of what would've been an all-timer of a season, our consolation prize was watching Big Puppy put everything he had into rooting the team on from the bench. He and Dakich formed a hilarious duo that only got better as the season went on—their semi-coordinated celebrations were a joy to behold. So was the interplay between McGary and the next player on the list.
EDIT: I shouldn't have posted this without mentioning WIN THE GAME. Oversight rectified.
SUPPORTING CAST/STRAIGHT MAN: 2013-14 JON HORFORD
Every Bench Mob needs a straight man. Nobody did it better than Jon Horford, whose zen calm posed a hilariously stark contrast with Dakich, McGary, and the rest of the bench hooligans. One day we'll get the buddy cop movie with Horford and McGary. One day.
Honorable Mentions: While they weren't often on the bench together, 2012-13 Caris LeVert and Glenn Robinson III earn mention for these two GIFs alone. 2012-13 Blake McLimans and Max Bielfeldt earn the same for their post-The Shot reactions. 2013-14 Spike Albrecht kept Dakich in check. Really, pick anyone who wasn't a starter from those two seasons and you'll get some great moments. Sean Lonergan gets the career achievement award; while rarely front-and-center, he's constantly involved.