Profile of Yaklich --architect of Michigan's defensive identity

Submitted by PeteM on February 22nd, 2018 at 9:22 AM

One of my biggest concerns coming into the basketball season was how we would deal with losing Billy Donlon.  I don't really feel we've missed a beat with his replacement, Luke Yaklich.  Our defense is the reason (with the game at West Lafayette being a notable but out of character exception) we're a tournament team this year despite having an offense that comes and goes .  Anyway, I thought that this was an interesting read, especially the section about his decision to switch to zone against Minnesota, which I think was the reason we won:…






February 22nd, 2018 at 9:30 AM ^

In Beilein's postgame comments last night, he called Yaklich his "defensive coordinator" and credited him with the switch to zone in the middle of the second half, saying that he hated running it but that it was probably the reason that Michigan won.

uncle leo

February 22nd, 2018 at 12:48 PM ^

About the correction made in the zone when they were actually playing it.

You could tell at first they were kinda nervous with it. And there were MASSIVE gaps in the middle. But it seemed to fix itself as the game moved along.

I wonder if this team would ever bring out the 1-3-1 again?

Pepto Bismol

February 22nd, 2018 at 11:41 AM ^

Not sure that's entirely fair, though. We don't know what Donlon's Michigan defense would have looked like in year two with Matthews, Livers, Simpson, etc.  He did a hell of a job in one season here transforming this squad from defensively inept to competent. No telling what his 2nd year would have looked like.

Regardless, Coach Yaklich has been fantastic and made that point moot. 





February 22nd, 2018 at 9:53 AM ^

If anything, it cost PSU a few possessions to figure it out.  Sometimes, that's all it takes.

I wonder why we didn't break it out against OSU.  Their only offense was to drive to the basket or rebound their bricks and score in close.

I hope they experiment running a zone with Wagner and Teske on the court.  Their length, along with Matthews would be really difficult on opposing offenses.  Our offense may be hard to watch, but it could be a nice changeup on defense.

Mr Miggle

February 22nd, 2018 at 10:54 AM ^

about the assistant coach shuffle comment. I think some turnover is good, even necessary . We aren't going to keep assistants like Jordan and Alexander who get offered HC jobs and losing Donlan hasn't hurt us in the least. This is really among the least of my concerns since it is obvious that Beilein has an eye for coaching talent.. 


February 22nd, 2018 at 10:23 AM ^

Obviously the job Yaklich has done has been incredible. Like you said, I was worried about a big defensive regression without Donlon, but Yaklich has been better than I could have ever imagined. Great hire by Beilein.

Indy Pete - Go Blue

February 22nd, 2018 at 4:36 PM ^

Thanks.  This is an excellent article.  Yak is a first class man with a great mind and uncanny basketball coaching ability.  He is like the defensive version of Coach Beilein.  Having these two wizards together is going to be fun... as long as it lasts!  Also, hats-off to Max Marcovitch; that was a well-told and compelling story with professional presentation.  His future is bright, too.  Michigan basketball is entering a golden era.  We must treasure this season and the next handful because everything is starting to fall our way (mature and established program identity with Beilein, winning in state recruiting battles, winning culture, clean program, high character players, national respect).  Kudos to Coach Yaklich and go blue!

UM Griff

February 22nd, 2018 at 8:25 PM ^

The team is playing with confidence and swagger. We have been able to take on all challengers, with an opportunity to go far in the BTT.

In the meantime, beat the Terps!!