John Beilein hopes to be ‘transparent’ with roster plans

Dylan Burkhardt

Michigan head coach John Beilein joined Matt Shepard on WDFN this morning to discuss Michigan’s scholarship crunch and the news that Spike Albrecht will pursue a graduate transfer.

News that Albrecht would transfer circulated late Monday evening and Beilein

“As graduation day approaches here, I think it’ll come in on us on what his four years were like, what it could have been,” Beilein said of Albrecht’s impending graduation and transfer. “The big thing is that these four years I’ve become and better coach and he’s become a better man.”

Beilein said the most important loss will be Albrecht’s leadership, something that was evident this season even when he was sidelined and something that is sometimes hard to detect when recruiting.

“You look for some of that (on the recruiting trail), some of it is very obvious,” Beilein said. “You have to teach it too. You’ll see a guy like a Zack Novak during a high school game, but you’ll see other people who that’s not natural to them. You teach leadership no matter where you are coaching.”

Beilein also discussed the scholarship crunch on the roster and what might come next. The head coach admitted that the roster hasn’t been worked out quite yet, but that he still has a plan moving forward.

“No, but we are still in meetings with everybody,” Beilein explained. “We are trying to let everybody breathe, look at our team, our roster and be as transparent as we can with our team as we move forward. We have a really good class coming in, however we have some really good returning players.

“We have plans that I think will come forward or the plans can change as young men make different decisions.”

The Michigan head coach also urged fans to have patience with some of Michigan’s players who haven’t developed as fast as some might have hoped.

“Age has something to do with it, but players develop at different rates,” he said. “It’s as simple as that. Everybody wants to get great recruits, but what if the best recruits are the ones that don’t get better over time?”

Asked what he thought the roster lacked, Beilein immediately harped on the need to add defensive ability to the mix.

“Our biggest thing right now is that we need a bunch of guys or a couple of guys that can be defensive stoppers,” he said. “Just stoppers. It’s become more and more of an isolation game, people are trying to find mismatches like crazy so you need guys that can shut down a great player.”

Beilein admitted that recruiting defense can be harder than offense because of the intangible skills required to be a good defender beyond great athleticism and quickness.

“There are guys with elite quickness, but they don’t see the next play coming,” he said. “They’ll get screened by the same guy twice.”

One player who developed defensively this season was freshman big man Moritz Wagner. Wagner was buried on the depth chart behind Mark Donnal and Ricky Doyle through much of the conference season, but re-emerged in the NCAA Tournament as a playmaker.

“I think that defensively he became much more aware of what he had to do,” Beilein said of Wagner. “His body as we worked on it during the season wasn’t ready for some parts of Big Ten play defensively. He started to understand defense, but fouling was still an issue as we saw in the last game. The game is slowing down for him defensively and that’s huge for him because we knew that his skill level  could help us down the road.

“He’s a keeper. We know that.”

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  • Chillax

    lets get the camp Sanderson workout montage goin!

  • GTFOmycourt

    I have to be honest. If Michigan plays Spike’s team next year I will cheer for Spike’s team to win. Spike transferring does not sit well for me. I know I am being irrational but I don’t like this news at all.

    • robpollard

      You are correct — you are being irrational and frankly, I’d have to ask how big a UM fan you are if you are tied up this much in one player who has nothing but good things to say about UM. If he realizes UM already has two 6-ft and under PGs already on the roster and that there isn’t room for him.

      Maybe take a few days/weeks break and come back to it.

      • Chillax

        Everyone Chillax

    • jblair52

      How were the coaches supposed to foresee Spike having a 5th year? We pretty much had recruiting wrapped up when he decided he couldn’t go this season (which originally thought he would).

      • Chillax

        And who knows if he can even make it next season. Hasn’t really played for a year and a long shot gamble he is going to be able to come on the court and produce….to much of a gamble for what it’s worth.

  • JRose5

    The problem with the Spike situation is that he said he was essentially “retiring”, leading the coaching staff to recruit his spot. I think the timing is just poor, and not really anyone’s fault.

  • GTFOmycourt

    My acknowledge irrationality here is more due to me being a huge fan of Spike’s rather than being mad at UM. If Michigan plays Spike’s team I will be cheering for Spike to win. You can interpret that however you want.

  • Chris De Sana

    Dylan looking for some clarification when able. Essentially it comes down to the fact that this is really about scholarships not roster spots right? We have non scholarship players on the roster and if Spike really wanted to finish his career at Michigan he could do so by competing just like the other non scholarship players do each year.

    So in essence to say there is no room really means no money; so his choice to walk not Michigan’s.

    • UMHoopsFan

      I’m pretty sure JB would let Spike be a preferred walk-on — i.e., gets to be on the team but pays his own way — but out-of-state tuition is pretty expensive and Spike might not get into his desired program, if it’s business for instance.

      • mikey_mac

        Not to mention, we are now talking about graduate school and its tuition. It might be Spike’s decision to move on, but to pass up a scholarship elsewhere would be to pass up all of the financial compensation for the time commitment of D1 basketball.

  • Champswest

    I love Spike, but this is a no brainer. We would have to clear two scholarship spots in order to keep him, which may or may not happen. Spike was not going to start next year and all of the backup point guard minutes need to go to Simpson to get him ready to take over in 2017. I don’t see how anyone can fault Beilein for this situation. I also loved Max, but I didn’t cheer for him either time we played IU this year and I won’t cheer against UM if we should play Spike’s team next season.

    • gobluemd16

      My only question is what if another player transfers (after Ricky)? The spot would have been there. And, what if we get hit with injuries again at the PG spot? If we end up having room, we should have kept Spike.

      • Slim33

        I don’t understand how majority of people seem to not understand that Spike staying makes almost no sense. Why would he want to spend another year spelling Walton and battling Simpson for playing time. Let him go and jump on a squad where he can start or play a bulk of the minutes over riding the pine.

  • mikey_mac

    I’m thinking a technical deadline for resolving the scholarship crunch must be the start of Fall semester, but those affected will need to know much sooner. So when is a more practical timeline?

  • bobohle

    Spike was my favorite player since his freshman year. However I believe this was the best decision for all involved. I also wish Spike the best of luck but will never root against the maize & blue. The last three transfers out were for different reasons but also similar at the same time. Horford left because he thought McGary would get all the playing time and didn’t think the offense fit his best abilities. When Max left I believe most thought that scholarship was going to Jaylen Brown which we all know how bad that ended up. Crean’s dislike for Jeff Meyer may also have been a factor in bringing Max to IU although he probably would never admit it. Next season Xavier Simpson will need all the minutes he can get to prepare for 2017.