Michigan Basketball - A Special Reason for Optimism

Submitted by Meeechigan Dan on December 8th, 2008 at 12:08 PM

There is a special reason to be optimistic about the future of Michigan basketball, and that is that Beilein is unlikely to ever, even after a run of success, routinely pull in NBA caliber recruits, like Oden and Conley, for example. This means, for most Michigan players, that three and four years in the program will be common. Michigan basketball promises to have far more of that continuity that is missing in college basketball since players began entering the NBA earlier and earlier. We will see four years of Novak and Vogrich and Sims and usually three of Harris and Morris, etc. Beilein is going to always have heady seniors on the squad and deep rotations.

I go to Ohio State every week (I know, you pity me) and while they are excited at Motta's sick level of recruiting, they are somewhat discombobulated by players using OSU as a one-year minor league NBA stop. Beilein's style of player is going to generally be a four-year guy. That is going to be a treat to see talented shooters and guys that hustle develop into unique senior talent. Those players, too, will be especially valuable during tournament runs.

This is going to be very fun.



December 8th, 2008 at 12:16 PM ^

Dan, I'm not disagreeing with you, but what makes you so convinced that UM and Beilein's system won't be appealing for major NBA-style recruits? While I see the positives in your scenario, naturally I would prefer recruiting to appeal to these types of guys as well as the Novak/Douglass types. I know Beilein has never brought in Oden/Conley types before, but I certainly think he would like to have them, and I don't see why he wouldn't have a chance with them if he's able to restore UM to an elite program.

Meeechigan Dan

December 8th, 2008 at 12:29 PM ^

I think from time to time he'll get one, but with all the talk about chemistry and getting his team's input, I think big ego kids (which I assume would more often than not be the attitude of the Lebrons or Carmelos or Odens) would not "fit" in.

Also, Beilein does not have a reputation (yet) for fasttracking players to the NBA.


December 8th, 2008 at 1:11 PM ^

Chitown, you're probably my favorite poster on here, because your posts are generally lucid, well-reasoned, and supported by evidence. However, it also seems at times that you're contrarian just to be contrarian. A perfect example of this is your feigned moral outrage to that post.


December 8th, 2008 at 3:41 PM ^

Somewhere in the basketball offices, there is a big board. That board has a list of the UM's top rated HS players in the country. Those rankings take into account how a player's abilities fits into UM's style of play, but I would be willing to bet that there is not a lot of variance between the top 50 guys on that board, and the boards at Duke, UNC, Sparty, etc.

All basketball programs have finite recruiting resources. The nets are cast wide, esp at a national recruiting university like M, but in the end, resources are allocated in large part based on potential for success in landing. That potential is gauged in large part on said players level of interest in M.

I can't predict how many one-and-done players JB will sire during his M tenure. But if he starts having sustained success, I can predict with a lot of confidence that top 25 recruits will start showing serious interest in UM.

JB wants to win national championships at M. If you have a top 10 overall PG showing M as much love as the Morris' of the world, the Morris' of the world will start becoming second priority recruits because better players give you a better chance to win. Bad tudes won't be tolerated, but top 25 kid does not = bad chemistry.

And I agree that JB's system requires adjustment and time to master. But the curve is loads different when the entire team is learning, vs incorporating a couple key Fr each year.


December 8th, 2008 at 6:19 PM ^

I think what is being said is that the system the JB runs is not suited for the type of player that wants to go one-and-done. Look at the facts:
-Obscure zone defense that isn't used in the NBA at all
-Offensive philosophy that emphasizes 3-point shooting and cuts, not individual efforts or drives
-Deep rotation that limits minutes of players

These factors would limit the appeal of the school to a kid who is looking to show off his talents to NBA scouts in a short amount of time.


December 8th, 2008 at 12:22 PM ^

I saw an interview with Bill Martin on the Big Gay Network and he said that one reason he hired Beilein was exactly that: he wanted a coach who would not recruit guys who would bolt to the NBA after one or two years. As he put it, "I hired John Beilein to build a program, not a team." Tom Izzo and Mike Kryzewski have a similar mentality, and even though MSU has been a bit disappointing lately, I think any Michigan fan would gladly take what MSU has in their basketball program.

Not to mention the fact that most guys like Matta are generally more likely to get slammed with recruiting violations and such before their career is done, and that is not exactly what Michigan basketball needs right now.


December 8th, 2008 at 1:05 PM ^

I agree with this post 100%. Beilein is not going to turn down top talent, but he's not going to pull out all of the stops either. I think the ceiling is guys like Harris and Morris - top 100 players, not top 20 players. He knows it takes players more than one year to grasp his system and doesn't want to invest in the time or headaches that come with the distraction of a one-year player.

I think Izzo learned that lesson. He won a title with a collection of quality veterans who had very mediocre (or no) NBA careers. Then he started getting the Zach Randolph and Jason Richardson types who always had one foot out the door. They still did well, but their early departures made it tough on the program. Duke is another good example.

Given how badly Michigan was burned with the other type of recruits in the 90's, I think you'll continue to see solid but not spectacular players coming to Michigan....and that's just fine with me.


December 8th, 2008 at 1:14 PM ^

But why don't we want players that will be NBA stars? Sure, it'll be nice to have four-year starters and a core group of players that stick around and get to know one another, but--and maybe this is just me--I'd really like to have the caliber of player that bolts for the NBA settling at UMich every once in a while.

In fact, I hope that we start getting those guys. Because given Beilein's coaching style and the affinity his players seem to have for him, these players might even stick around for a second or third year a la Hansbrough.


December 8th, 2008 at 1:34 PM ^

.......good to hear from you!!

I may be obtuse as well, but I am trying to lose weight...lol.

Hope all is well......good points about hoops....Matta brings in a lot of talent, but he has had to remake his team every season in Columbus because of all the 'one and dones.'

Eventually, that has got to catch up with you, although so far it looks like he has another good team down there.


December 8th, 2008 at 1:45 PM ^

Not to downgrade your post, because I agree with the conclusion (that M won't be a mecca of one-and-done type players), but I don't agree with your premise. And I think your aversion to NBA caliber players would mean sustained success without banners. Look at the NBA talent on each winning team in the past twenty years.

First, How many hoops programs are the one-and-done mills for the NBA you fear? UNC. Sparty? Duke? UCLA? After that, programs like OSU will pop up from time to time with huge classes out of which there are multiple one-and-done guys. And yes, that can be discombobulating for a couple seasons following a final 4 appearance.

Second, most senior classes aren't going to have more than a dozen or so players who are widely regarded as potential one-and-done guys. So by definition, even if M is in on couple of those players every year, the odds of getting a guy like that won't be more than once every few years.

Finally, do you think JB would pass on a legit chance to get one of those guys who is going to make you a hell of a lot better in the short run but will need to be replaced in a year or two? Or when Manny and Sims leave after this year, if JB had an opportunity to recruit a couple top 5 players to fill those spots, that he would pass?

I could be wrong, but I don't think so. He should shy away from guys with bad reps/tudes, but I think you make an incorrect assumption that the majority of players with NBA aspirations after a year or two are bad apples or incapable of playing within a team concept. All players have the NBA as a goal, and I would say that there are very few top 100 players that don't have unrealistic visions of making the league after a year or 2. Dealing with those issues is part of coaching at the highest level, and I doubt JB fears that challenge.

One thing JB might be willing to do that other coaches aren't is to give that top 25 guy who is listing you in his top 2 or 3 an ultimatum. "We love you but we have another guy willing to commit who fits our system. Get on board or we'll go in another direction."

If JB continues having success and makes the tourney this year, I foresee a top 10 class in the very near future. This is esp true if M can get a tourney W or hit the sweet 16 this season (if M makes it, I feel one or two Ws isn't just possible, but likely, for a variety of reasons).

There are many variables in a top 10 recruiting ranking, such as a) in-state talent b) positions of need relative to recruits with an M interest c) schollie #s in a particular class d) MSU success and available PT there, etc. That's why I give it 2-3 years. But if JB is the coach we think he is it will happen sooner or latter.

If next years Oden or Conley expresses a sincere interest in M this summer (I love their style of play, everyone says JB is a top 5 coach in America, they play close to home, Manny and Sims are gone soon and PT is available) I would expect JB to be all over them and be disappointed if he wasn't.

Meeechigan Dan

December 8th, 2008 at 1:57 PM ^

We disagree. I do not think Beilein will let players trump his system and his system in not friendly as a mini-camp for the NBA. This doesn't mean he won't get top ten talent - I am sure he will from time to time depending on the player and location and circumstances - but that in my opinion will be the exception. I expect top 20 classes. I expect he can win with that, too.

Rush N Attack

December 8th, 2008 at 2:31 PM ^

But when did we suddenly become a destination for top tier recruits? I don't think two wins over top 5 teams has changed the way this program is viewed by "Big Time" recruits.

chitownblue (not verified)

December 8th, 2008 at 3:47 PM ^

OK, I guess here is where the logic falls apart:

I don't think anyone eschews the most talented players, if you can get them. It's not as if it's blatantly obvious who will have the talent to go early, but to say that Duke, for instance, won't recruit them isn't true - they offered Eric Gordon, and Brandan Wright in consecutive years - both of whom were one and done (and Gordon made no secret about his intention to do so). So it's not as if Duke "doesn't recruit one and done players" - they just don't go there. And I mean - John McRoberts was the #2 player in his class, Greg Paulus was #11, Gerald Henderson was #11, Kyle Singler was #5, ane Elliot Williams was #3. How on earth could anyone be positive that these kids wouldn't jump to the NBA? (although McRoberts did in an odd way)

So, I think everyone is out there recruiting the best players. Some of they may leave early.


December 8th, 2008 at 4:03 PM ^

How is it that we have a great two weeks of beating to no.4 teams i know that we have lost to Maryland and duke. The maryland game being a tightly contested game in which we let it slip away. There were saying on espn how the two wins that we have are the most solid wins over any one else that has in the nation. So doesnt this deserve some type of ranking instead of us being right outside of the top 25. it is early in the season but we should get some recoginition and not them putting us there because of where we started out in the preseason. when obviously we are better then they predicted.