Michigan Basketball: No more Barriers to Entry

Submitted by M-Dog on April 9th, 2013 at 11:50 AM

Above all else, what this Tournament run did for us was to finally knock down the last remaining "Barriers to Enrty" that sood in the way of us returning to ongoing elite status.

All the issues the program had that may have kept the top recruits from considering us are completely gone:

- No more crappy facilities that clearly implied basketball was an afterthought at Michigan.

- No more being boxed into a Princeton-esque system designed to hide a lack of talent.

 - No more walk-on team mates in key positions,

- No more passion-less dead environments and indifferent fans in Crisler. 

- No more constricted pipelines to the NBA.

- No more shadow of the Fab Five and scandals from another era.

- No more Final Four and Big Ten draughts.

These things were already in progress, but the Tournament run showed it off for the world to see.  

I wasn't just impressed with how we made our Tournament run, but also with how downright cool we looked doing it.

Dare I say it . . . Fab Five cool.

After this Tournament run, any top recruit in the country is going to give a strong look when Michigan calls. 




April 9th, 2013 at 12:03 PM ^

where I should play in college, I would give Michigan a serious look. Beilein showed this year that he can coach some pretty fun basketball.


April 9th, 2013 at 12:25 PM ^

I was really concerned for the first couple of years that we were locking oursleves into mediocrity with a rigid small-school system approach to basketball.

You can win a National Championship just by recruiting all the future NBA prospects there are in southeastern Michigan and letting them go play, as MSU showed in 2000.  Why did we hire a "system" coach that runs a system designed for Mid-Major talent?  Have we given up on basketball relevency at Michigan?

I'm glad to say I was completely wrong.  John Beilein only ran a system for less talented kids as long as he had less talented kids.  When he was able to attract better talent, his ability to adapt was incredible.

Read this excellent article on Beilein's transformation from a small-school system coach to a coach that can recruit NBA talent and let it play: 

The transformation from his first few teams to this team, both in talent and playing style, has been remarkable.  After this title run and the new facilities, there is no reason he can't keep it going strong. 


April 9th, 2013 at 12:32 PM ^

That you cannot just throw talent out there. You need a plan - a good plan, proper preparation for it, adjustments to it. Heck, you need a season of these things to teach your kids how to implement your adjustments.
If you don't have these things, you are Indiana under Tom Crean. If you do have them, you are Michigan under John Beilein.


April 9th, 2013 at 12:13 PM ^

Also.... not that they're the ones playing for Michigan, but if you're a parent of a talented kid, do you feel better about him having Beilein as a mentor/role model or the Pitino/Calipari types?


April 9th, 2013 at 12:23 PM ^

Right, and you can keep going.  Would  you want your kid playing for a coach like Crean, Izzo, Bo Ryan?  They all have been successful coaches.  At times though, they look like they're bound to kill a kid on the court.  Either that, or have a heart attack.  



I love how, no matter the situation, Belein always keeps his compsure.  He doesn't get too rattled.  


Note to Photoshop people: please photoshop a toilet under Tom Crean and a newspaper in his hands.  That picture is begging for that.  

Blue in Yarmouth

April 9th, 2013 at 12:30 PM ^

I don't know why people keep lumping Pitino in with these bunch of bozo's. Granted, I don't follow other teams like I do UM, but Pitino doesn't seem in a class like that to me. Did you see his face when Ware went out with the broken leg? The guy was in tears. I agree with the other clowns you listed, but I don't find Pitino to be in that sort of class personally.


April 9th, 2013 at 12:49 PM ^

I was surprised to hear last night that Pitino and Beilein are the same age as well.  The years have not been as kind to Pitino.  He looks like he's 10 years older than Beilein.  

Granted, Beilein may not have as much lawn up top, but the years have left Pitino a bit haggard.  There were a couple of pictures that I could have included where Pitino looks an awful lot like the Grim Reaper.  Okay here they are:

no joke its hoke

April 9th, 2013 at 12:17 PM ^

one other thing this season has done,is it will make future loses hurt worse. the last 10 years or so has made losing painless. loss after loss i was just lke yeah ok we lost at baketball. not anymore. every loss will feel like a football season loss,so be ready and enjoy it.


April 9th, 2013 at 12:33 PM ^

Hate to say it, but we will also become jaded pretty quickly too.

By the time we had gotten through the 1989 National Championship and into the Fab Five era, I did not even pay attention to the NCAA tournament until the Sweet Sixteen.  

It was harder in those days to find coverage of the early games if you did not live in Michigan.  You had to work at it.  I did not even bother.  I figured, "Oh well, if they can't at least make it to the Seeet Sixteen, it's not worth watching anyway."

Welcome (back) to the fan status of Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, et al.



April 9th, 2013 at 12:26 PM ^

In my mind, it ties back, at least in part, to one of the first things John Beilein became at Michigan when he took over the program in the spring of 2007, and that is an effective advocate for the basketball program, something I think it was lacking for quite some time. By advocating for better facilities and changing the style and culture of the program, over time all the items mentioned in the OP have been removed / transformed / etc... One thing that has accelerated the process immensely is a change in leadership at the athletic department and a receptive ear to that advocacy. We have gone from a program that I think might have been overlooked by prospective talent to an attractive destination as a result.


April 9th, 2013 at 12:29 PM ^


- No more Final Four and Big Ten draughts.


Thanks god. It will be so nice to be in the running for banners in the future without every TV commentator needing to mention how long it has been since they've won a banner.


April 9th, 2013 at 12:30 PM ^

...remain aspects of John Beilein's ultra clean program that are "Barriers to Entry" for certain elite athletes. That shouldn't prevent Michigan from achieving and maintaining elite program status, but it's there nonetheless. And I'm perfectly fine with that.


April 9th, 2013 at 12:39 PM ^

Good point.  We won't be on everybody's list.

But I do see enough success with programs like Duke and Kansas (I think) that lead me to believe that with a great program and great coaching you can still get it done.

Other than Kentucky and Florida, I am actually surprised that the SEC is not better than it is, given their "If you ain't cheatin' you ain't trying" appraoch to college athletics.




April 9th, 2013 at 12:41 PM ^

that doesn't me JB wants them.  I read in some article recently that he won't recruit someone with "issues' be it grades, attitude, character, etc.  Many of those top guys have "issues" that don't meet the quality person JB is looking for.  I wouldn't expect we land many of the "top" recruits unless they meet those character standards.  

Very refreshing!



April 9th, 2013 at 3:04 PM ^

Assuming we continue recruiting and developing as we have for the past couple years, I'm pretty sure we can compete with and beat a one and done program like Kentucky when our seniors are players like Hardaway, Stauskas, Levert, Albrecht, Morgan, Horford and having freshmen-juniors like McGary, Burke, GRIII.  It's only recently the recruiting has gotten good and this year's team has one junior who is a major player, one who is a role-player, and 0 contributing seniors.  When those juniors and seniors start being those players who aren't quite NBA players every year while we have future NBA players coming in for two to three years with them, I think we'll be better than any freshman heavy team.  After all, the fab 5 got blown out by Duke, and the sophmore edition lost to UNC.  I'd rather win with 2-4 year players than one and done's anyways because you get to build a (one-way) relationship with the players.


April 9th, 2013 at 12:41 PM ^

that doesn't mean JB wants them.  I read in some article recently that he won't recruit someone with "issues' be it grades, attitude, character, etc.  Many of those top guys have "issues" that don't meet the quality person JB is looking for.  I wouldn't expect we land many of the "top" recruits unless they meet those character standards.  

Very refreshing!


True Blue Grit

April 9th, 2013 at 1:21 PM ^

Looking for players who are coachable, have high basketball IQ's, and high character is THE way to go.  Duke has done this and been very successful.  Plus, it has to make his job much easier of teaching a system that works.  With all the improvements MIchigan has made since Beilein arrived, the future of this program is very bright. 


April 9th, 2013 at 4:06 PM ^

Last major recruiting obstacles were (1) showing potential recruits that you could win titles at Michigan and (2) that Coach Beilein can prepare you to play in the NBA . With a B1G title last year, and number 1 ranking and an NCAA Championship game this year, Beilein has shown that he can coach you to titles at Michigan. With Burke winning numerous POY awards, and a number of UM guys showing up on NBA draft lists, Beilein has shown that he can prepare you for the NBA.
The future is bright - and the best part is that Coach B is doing the right way. No shady recruiting and he and his players are class acts.
Go Blue!