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.



May 6th, 2015 at 12:06 PM ^

You'd feel like you have to play him if he's better than Doyle/Donnal/Wilson but you'd prefer to play for them for sake of long-term development?  I can't think of anything else.


May 6th, 2015 at 2:54 PM ^

Doyle is going to be the starter at the 5.  Wilson is, according to Beilein, eventually going to be a 4, but for now he's still better at the 5 where his shot-blocking/length can be valuable as a change of pace.  Donnal is around too and there were times when he flashed promise enough to consider him a quality backup at some point.

That's 3 guys who are either freshman or sophomores at the 5.  If Bielfeldt is around it means he taking minutes from a young guy (Wilson or Donnal) who should be playing.  He might be marginally better than them, he was last year, but if you assume they develop faster/more than he does it the gap is quite narrow by January 2016.

I think the team is better off seeing what Donnal/Wilson have to offer than using their beil-inky.


May 6th, 2015 at 3:04 PM ^

I'd be interested to know the rebounding stats.  I think this is not public on kenpom...

That is a surprise though, but probably helped by Donnal playing more earlier in the year against undersized teams relative to Max and Ricky getting nearly all the minutes by the end of the year.


May 6th, 2015 at 5:50 PM ^

I would like to know the team rebounding +/- with each of them. While donnal may have had more rebounds, I feel like Doyle generally did a better job boxing out. May just be me seeing things, though.

Beilein's system is designed to have the wings rebound a lot, right?


May 6th, 2015 at 12:12 PM ^

Haven't seen anything posted here, but there are rumblings in various internet places that up to 4 players may be leaving the program (*football) in two transfers and two medicals. Also, some smoke of another incoming grad transfer. 



May 6th, 2015 at 12:33 PM ^

Unachieving, players leaving early for not-obviously-greener pastures, Red being abnormally bitter toward some of these guys. I shouldn't say I'm looking forward to a new coach because we all know how bad that can turn out sometimes (Lloyd -> Richrod) but Red's time is at an end. It feels like this entire year will be an awkward time of everyone realizing Red should've just retired after this season


May 6th, 2015 at 1:04 PM ^

I imagine GR would be very attractive to a young player.  Look at their track record up there, they crank out talent, albeit slowly.  I would bolt if I had a choice, that organization is unbelievable.  Not a bad city GR, FWIW.  I'm optimistic about our squad next year even if Larkin bounces, lots and lots of talent.  Need to find a damn tendy though...


May 6th, 2015 at 12:35 PM ^

Neg me all you guys want, but Max is not that good of a player. I'd rather make room for someone better, even if he is a freshman.


May 6th, 2015 at 2:57 PM ^

Doyle had many moments but was inconsistent, out of shape, and overwhelmed at times.  With Bielfeldt you at least knew what you'd get. He knew what to do and didn't mess it up. That matters.

The assumption going forward is that Doyle and others will get better, but that's no reason to knock the major contribution Max made to the team last year.


May 6th, 2015 at 1:04 PM ^

I'm not sure how developed Thornton is as a player, but considering he's a 5-star, couldn't you consider it the options being:

1: Stay in HS, go to prom, be big man on campus, go to Duke the following year

2. Go to Duke, play college basketball, be a big man on campus, potentially prepare for the NBA Draft

Assuming that's a part of Thornton's dream, I think that the potential to get there sooner would be rather attractive.


May 6th, 2015 at 3:00 PM ^

Could be projected up to a year's salary of the NBA maximum (which will be around $30M by the time Thornton is in the NBA).  Hitting free agency a year earlier is huge (see Bryant, Garnett, Lewis and all those straight-to-NBA guy's career earnings)

That's an expensive prom.


May 6th, 2015 at 1:25 PM ^

The academic problem with the graduate transfers, as I've understood it, is the number of guys enrolling in two+-year program and then bolting after their one year of eligibility is gone.


May 6th, 2015 at 2:39 PM ^

Translation: "I got nothing." You'd think that someone used to speaking to the media could come up with a better response than that.


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May 6th, 2015 at 7:26 PM ^

My daughter is 30, and that sure as hell isn't going to prevent me from giving my opinion. What she does with it is up to her, but I don't understand the mentality of keeping your mouth shut when your child is making a major life decision.


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