Two weeks ago, at Michigan’s postseason banquet, John Beilein discussed the number of variables that would dictate the team’s future.
By Monday afternoon, two of those had reached conclusions: Caris LeVert announced his decision to return to the program on April 21, and Austin Hatch’s medical hardship waiver was approved by the Big Ten less than a week later.
That, in addition to Moritz Wagner’s commitment, leaves the Wolverines with one available scholarship spot for the upcoming season.
“We’re jumping through hoops in some areas,” Beilein said Monday. “We still have some opportunities with scholarships for next year. (Max Bielfeldt) is exploring his options. I believe that, in a few more weeks, we should have answers to the future roster.”
The biggest name on the radar is Jaylen Brown, a five-star wing who has Michigan in his final five. The Wolverines have also expressed interest in four-star shooting guard Kenny Williams, a former VCU commit.
Because of NCAA restrictions, Beilein couldn’t comment on any unsigned recruits — Brown, Williams, or Wagner.
“I learned a long time ago that you’ve just got to prepare for everything,” Beilein said.
2015-16 roster begins to take shape
Beilein confirmed he doesn’t expect any attrition, meaning — save for the one remaining scholarship, and barring any surprises — Michigan’s 2015-16 roster is essentially complete.
In addition to a potential recruit, the Wolverines will add Wagner, Duncan Robinson and redshirt freshman D.J. Wilson. They’ll also have a relatively old team — but still young, as Beilein quipped.
The coach commented Monday about several of Michigan’s returning frontcourt options:
On Mark Donnal: “Mark needed this year to look at who he is and how he plays and what he’s going to do going forward. We talked at length when the season was over about what his goals were and what he had to do better.”
On DJ Wilson: “DJ had a tremendous redshirt year and, I think, if he plays in the middle, this will be the only year he probably ever played in the middle. He showed us down the stretch … he can be valuable in that position as well. He’s a natural forward, but, as you know, we can play small at times.”
On Duncan Robinson: “Here’s a young man who scored 32 points in a Division III semifinal championship game. The lights were on. … I think when the lights come on, he’ll be fine.”
Spike to undergo second surgery
Spike Albrecht, who played the 2014-15 season with hip injuries that included a torn labrum and a fracture, will undergo a second surgery, Beilein announced.
The operation, which will likely involve shaving down bone from his left hip, was an outcome Albrecht said earlier this month he anticipated. Fortunately for Michigan, Beilein projects the guard will be healthy in time for fall camp.
“Knowing him, we expect full recovery by the start of practice,” Beilein said.
LeVert ready for leadership role
When Caris LeVert announced his decision to forgo the NBA and return for his senior season, Beilein couldn’t speak with media because he was on a recruiting trip.
A week later, the coach didn’t downplay the impact LeVert will have next winter — both on the court and in the locker room.
“His leadership takes an even bigger role right now,” he said. “He’s got more respect than ever from his teammates and his opponents. He and Spike, there will be no doubt who the captains are, who the leaders are.”
Beilein praised the dedication LeVert and Albrecht have shown as both have battled through significant injuries.
“There’s a presence that’s now all through that locker room,” he said.