Inside Michigan Basketball with Josh Bartelstein: The Fab Five, 2013-14 Season

Michigan-61-Syracuse-56-101[1]The fifth and final segment of our conversation with Josh Bartelstein focuses on the Fab Five’s interaction with Michigan in Atlanta and what Bartelstein expects to see from Michigan next season.

More: The Book | Highs and Lows | Mitch McGary and the NCAA tournament | The Final Four

Do you think Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary are ready to lead this team?

I do. I’ve talked and texted with them a bunch this summer. They’re teaching the young guys, and I think they’re embracing it. Mitch is a really charismatic guy and I think Spike is doing a good job this summer of just showing the guys the way. This is just the summer and a lot will happen in two and a half weeks when those guys come back, but they’re ready for the leadership role. I think they’re going to do a great job. And Jordan Morgan is a guy who will do a great job of that, as well.

How do you see the point guard situation playing out this season?

I think there’s no question that Spike Albrecht is going to play and play a lot. He’s a really good player who gets things done. He had the highest plus-minus on the team this year. He’s going to get time. The question everyone wants to ask me is who’s going to start at point guard, or how are they going to replace Trey Burke. You’re not just going to replace Trey.

 

You have a dominant bug guy. You have a guy in Glenn Robinson III who’s going to create for himself and others. Nik Stauskas is going to create for himself and others. Coach Beilein, instead of running 80 percent pick-and-rolls, he can run a normal offense now, where he gets shots to big guys and emphasizes different things. So he’ll still have a ton of pick-and-rolls and Spike and Derrick Walton will be great, but they don’t have to rely as heavily on the point guard and shooting guard to make plays. They have good young players there who will eventually be able to do what those guys did, just at a little slower rate starting out. So it’s hard for me to say who’s going to start at point guard because I haven’t been there and seen them, but I’m sure both will play a lot and they’ll be really good. And they’ll work them in and make them comfortable. They don’t have to average Trey Burke’s 18 and eight to win a game. They just have to take the ball and run stuff to make sure those guys get shots.

You’re going to be watching your first season as a fan this year. Is that going to be weird for you?

I think it’s going to be really weird. You play against all these Big Ten teams, and the players change, but the game plan stays pretty much the same. Maybe the personnel is different, but they all run the same action and they all guard the same way. So I’ll know what’s going on, the little game-within-the-game. It’ll be different. The guys will be playing on ESPN and I’ll be wishing I was there. I’ll miss the atmosphere. It’s definitely going to be weird. You can’t control it. It’s hard to control it when you’re sitting on the bench, but it’s even harder to control when you can’t even tell guys what you’re seeing to help them. So I’ll be screaming at my TV a lot. But I think they’re going to be really good. Them and that green school, I think those two teams will compete for the Big ten championship next year.

The Fab Five were all there, and four of them came into the locker room after the National Championship. What did you make of them joining you guys in the locker room?

At first, it was a little like, what are these guys doing here, they haven’t been a part of this team or a part of this program for a really long time. But then, once all the media cleared out they spoke. And I thought Juwan (Howard) really had a great message: they were here for us. They were here to link Michigan past and the present and the future together. And he said one of the greatest accomplishments this team will have is bringing Michigan basketball back. They weren’t there to talk to the media, they weren’t there for themselves. They were there to support us and Michigan basketball. They came around and gave everyone a hug, and they said that if any of us ever need anything from them they’ll be here, whether it’s advice about basketball or life, they’re here for us. I think after initially feeling like they were here for the media circus of it, they were here because they loved what we stood for and loved how we played. I think that meant a lot to us. Juwan did a great job with it.

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