Hello: Bacari Alexander

Submitted by Tim on April 26th, 2010 at 12:41 PM

So there's this new assistant coach, right? Who is he?

Portrait_Bacari Alexander.jpg

PLAYING CAREER

Bacari Alexander hails from Detroit, where he attended Southwestern High School. He played at Southwestern under coach Larry Price.

Following his high school career, he moved on to Robert Morris outside Pittsburgh. There he was an All-Northeast Conference freshman in 1995. He spent only two years at RMU, averaging 8.2 points and 4.5 assists in his 55 games.

From Robert Morris, Alexander transferred to Detroit-Mercy. He played two years as a Titan, averaging 5.8 points and 4.5 rebounds in his 62 games played. UofD won the Midwestern Collegiate Conference both of his seasons with matching 25-6 records and played in the NCAA tournament. He made the All-Conference Defensive Team as a senior. YouTube-age:

Following a short stint in the Pistons' front office, Alexander returned to the court as a member of the Harlem Globetrotters. He played with the team for two years and was inducted (along with all former Globetrotters) into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002.

COACHING CAREER

Alexander started his coaching career with six years at his alma mater. The Titans never made the NCAA Tournament with Alexander on the coaching staff at Detroit, but they advanced to the NIT following the 2002 season. In 2005, they nearly upset Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the Horizon League Tournament to make the Big Dance.

From Detroit, Alexander moved on to Ohio University. In his lone year at Ohio the Bobcats went 20-13 (9-7 MAC) and advanced to the second round of the CBI Tournament.

Alexander has spent the last two years in Kalamazoo coaching Western Michigan's frontcourt. He coached two Broncos, spectacularly-named Flenard Whitfield and Nathan Hutcheson, to All-MAC Freshman honors. Western went 10-21 in Alexander's first year with the team, but their 7-9 conference mark was enough to win the MAC West. They improved to 18-15 last year with an 8-8 mark in conference, good for second in the West.

OUTSIDE COMMENTARY

Before leaving Western Michigan, Alexander helped the Broncos ink JuCo bigman Caleb Dean:

“I felt real comfortable with coach Hawkins and coach (Bacari) Alexander played a big part in it, too,” said Dean... “They made me feel comfortable. That was pretty much a wrap.”

From Michigan's official release, Alexander sounds genuinely excited about the opportunity in Ann Arbor:

"My family and I are very excited to be part of the Michigan family," said Alexander. "As a native of the State of Michigan, I feel very fortunate to be associated with such a great program. For a lack of better terms this is a match made in heaven for me.

"I am anxious to start working with this young and developing team, and I am eager and motivated to recruit the kind of student-athletes that will put Michigan back to the top of the Big Ten."

Michael Rothstein's extensive profile on AnnArbor.com provides insight as to what Alexander will bring to the program, especially as a recruiter:

“I’m a grass-roots guy. I’ve done very well in recruiting the national urban areas of the United States, let alone Detroit,” Alexander said. “I’m a PSL product and a lot of times it helps with regards to recruiting because people tend to embrace their own. So that can be, that has been an advantage.

But he'll also help to mold Michigan's current big men, filling the duties he's performed at previous coaching stops, and that John Mahoney has been performing at Michigan for the past few years:

“The thing that’s nice about that particular situation, with the youth of the frontcourt in particular, is you get a blank canvas, very similar to what I had inherited during my time at Western Michigan,” Alexander said. “We had a young group and we gave them a baptism by fire and that’s going to be needed in a grueling and physical Big Ten conference.”

PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE

alexanderaction.jpg

Alexander will be charged with teaching a very inexperienced group of big men when he arrives in Ann Arbor. DeShawn Sims and Zack Gibson graduate. Ben Cronin left the program early in the season due to medical issues. That leaves a set of four freshmen. Jordan Morgan and Blake McLimans redshirted last year; Michigan has just signed Jon Horford and Evan Smotrycz.

Horford is likely bound for a redshirt unless there's a dire need for him to play. Smotrycz may play more of a wing-forward role in John Beilein's perimeter-oriented offense. That means McLimans and Morgan will be the focus of getting guys ready to play right away in the post. Alexander's pedigree the past two seasons (albeit on a smaller stage) is a sign that he's capable of getting at least one of them ready to go.

Down the road, Alexander will help with in-state recruiting, particularly in Detroit. He's a Detroit native (who grew up a Michigan fan), a Detroit Public School League graduate, and a charismatic recruiter. He's also known as one of the best-dressed coaches in the NCAA, which is apparently something people track. Who knew?

Comments

MGoShoe

April 26th, 2010 at 2:01 PM ^

...UMHoops.com has posted this take on BA. in which he also picks up on the ridiculousness of the Rothstein interview where he asked(5 questions about the Globetrotters and 1 question about Perry Watson).

His article also links to podcast of today's Sam Webb WTKA interview with BA.

Among other things, BA talks about the strength of the Michigan brand and how one of his messages will be how "it's cool to come to Michigan."

"I believe in sweat equity. You know, I think the more severe the initiation, the more purpose our players will have towards the cause."

jonny_GoBlue

April 26th, 2010 at 6:11 PM ^

That WTKA interview was a little rough to listen to. Maybe Bacardi was just a little nervous but he was saying "ya know" 4 to 5 times a sentence.

Beyond that, sounds like a nice enough guy who is excited about the position and is a good hire for the program. I'm looking forward to see how these incoming/redshirting big men develop over the coming years.

Search4Meaning

April 26th, 2010 at 4:17 PM ^

1. Recruiting - I know that this has been a concern among many of us. Good to see this addressed, especially if it is urban based.

2. Big Man coaching. Again, I think most of us feel comfortable with Coach B's guard and small forward coaching - but big men are different.

I hope this addresses our program's needs. Beilein thinks it does.

mgovictors23

April 26th, 2010 at 4:28 PM ^

I'm very excited about this hire. The first thing he is going to do is help with our Detroit recruiting and we really need that if we are going to catch that team out west.

wiscwood

April 26th, 2010 at 6:55 PM ^

Now that Coach Alexander is at Michigan, I hope he is an excellent recruiter. I'm sure he can coach and is a good leader. John Beilein would not have hired him if he could not. Recruiting is the thing for me. I am hoping that is the reason Beilein picked up Coach Bacari Alexander

Raoul

April 26th, 2010 at 9:50 PM ^

As others have noted, Beilein was particularly looking for someone to coach the frontcourt players and help shore up recruiting--particularly in the Detroit area--and it looks like this hire could be a home runslam dunk.

I agree with MGoShoe above about Rothstein's interview--it wasn't particularly well balanced. But the Globetrotters are a legendary team, and it turns out Alexander may be the first Michigan Man/Globetrotter.

The Globetrotters all-time roster doesn't list anyone from U-M. (Brent Petway was drafted by but never played for them.)

ESPN recently used this roster to answer "Which colleges and schools produce most Harlem Globetrotters?" Turns out Detroit Mercy is up there among the Globetrotters feeder schools with five players. Another four attended Wayne State, and three more were Cass Tech grads. (Tennessee State was number one on the list with 14.)

Maybe among Detroit recruits, Alexander's stint with the Globetrotters will play particularly well.

EDIT: One more link: PSL Alums with the Harlem Globetrotters lists 36 such players, including four who went directly from Detroit's Miller High School to the Globetrotters.