Report: Michigan to hire Luke Yaklich for assistant coaching position

Dylan Burkhardt
on

In news that was first suggested by The Athletic’s Brendan Quinn and confirmed by the Michigan Insider, Michigan will fill its second coaching vacancy with Illinois State associate head coach Luke Yaklich (pronounced YOCK-litch).

Yaklich has been at Illinois State since 2013, when his former college roommate and mentor Dan Muller hired from from Joliet West. Yaklich was promoted to associate head coach last summer.

He has coaching roots at the high school (Joliet West) and grassroots (Illinois Wolves) levels. Illinois State finished 28-7 last season and had the No. 19 defense nationally, per KenPom. Illinois State teams under Dan Muller have consistently been better defensively than offensively which could allow Yaklich to provide a similar defensive impact to departed assistant coach Billy Donlon.

Last year’s Illinois State defense ranked 5th nationally in eFG% allowed and 4th in 2-point field goal percentage allowed. The Redbrids were one of the best shot blocking teams in the country as well with a 14.3% block rate. Michigan has consistently been one of the worst shot blocking and 2-point defensive teams in the Big Ten.

Illinois State press releases credit Yaklich for helping the Redbirds with academics, recruiting, scheduling, scouting and skill development. He previously worked as a high school head coach and teacher for 14 years.

Michigan is also hiring DeAndre Haynes for its other vacant assistant coaching position. Haynes had just been hired at Illinois State away from Toledo in May. The Redbirds also lost another assistant coach (Dean Oliver) to Wisconsin this offseason.

Michigan is also in the market for a new Director of Basketball Operations with news that Waleed Samaha is returning to the education system.


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  • Barth Applefeld

    It’s a little strange that both hires come from Illinois State, but this sounds like a great hire. Hopefully he can help UM continue to grow defensively in all phases and help develop solid game plans to defend teams. If he can, then Michigan may be very good next year even though there are a lot of new people in important roles and people who have to take on increased roles. Playing solid defense is, imho, a more reliable way to stay in the upper tier of the B10 and NCAA basketball than trying to outscore everybody every single night. It is also the most likely way that a team that often lacks the super talent levels of Kentucky and Duke and Kansas, etc., can make in into the sweet 16 and even the final 4. At least we will feel less frustration when team after team puts up 1.10 per possession number on M.

    • Yeah, with the caveat being that Haynes was only at Illinois State for a couple of months.

      • Barth Applefeld

        Unusual in and of itself. I just wanted tos say that I watched B10 championship game today and watched how they went about collecting offensive board s. With the exception of DJ and Mo, all the offensive action is is on the perimeter and the players are standing around or even moving away. No way they can get offensive rebounds consistently. The offense is so good that maybe it doesn’t matter, but one wishes for a McGarry to at least make things respectable on the offensive boards.

        • Yep, as I said in the previous thread. A lot of this is by design (not crashing the glass). Part of that decision to not crash heavy is based on personnel, but it is also philosophy driven.

          • Vandy54

            What I want to know is, has that philosophy, to the extent Michigan plays it, won any national championships for any college team in the last 20 years? If so, by all means run it.

          • rlcBlue

            Michigan Offensive Rebounding under Beilein:

            Year ORB% Rank Round
            2017 24.7 307 16
            2016 24.8 314 64
            2015 25.5 325 –
            2014 29.4 242 8
            2013 32.5 139 2
            2012 28.5 276 64
            2011 26.1 324 32
            2010 29.4 283 –
            2009 29.1 282 32
            2008 33.8 129 –

            mean 28.4 262

            National Championship Offensive Rebounding since 2002:

            Year ORB% Rank Team
            2017 41.3 1 North Carolina
            2016 28.2 224 Villanova
            2015 35.8 32 Duke
            2014 30.4 209 Connecticut
            2013 38.2 16 Louisville
            2012 37.5 22 Kentucky
            2011 38.2 7 Connecticut
            2010 40.3 7 Duke
            2009 38.9 21 North Carolina
            2008 37.8 24 Kansas
            2007 37.6 42 Florida
            2006 35.5 105 Florida
            2005 39.7 18 North Carolina
            2004 41.6 3 Connecticut
            2003 38.5 31 Syracuse
            2002 36.1 87 Maryland

            So there haven’t been any national champions that ranked worse than 300th in offensive rebounding, but two of the last four have been in the bottom half of Division I.

            Beilein’s two best offensive rebounding teams at Michigan underline Dylan’s point about the approach being personnel-driven: the best offensive rebounders in 2013 and 2008 were Mitch McGary and Ekpe Udoh, two future NBA players who were just not typical Beilein recruits. With the emphasis on preventing transition baskets, most of the offensive rebounding weight falls on the shoulders of the 5 man. When the best 5 man happens to be a good offensive rebounder, then Michigan will get some offensive boards, but Beilein is not going to bench an otherwise superior player just because of offensive rebounding. Last year, for instance, Mark Donnal was the best offensive rebounder on the team, but Wagner and Wilson kept him off the court for most of the season.

            Early in the season I had some hope that Wilson would be sent to the offensive glass more from the 4 spot, but I noticed it less and less as the year progressed. I also noticed the defense getting better. Was there a causal connection there?

          • Barth Applefeld

            The years that really stick out are 2013 and 2014. Yes, we had Trey Burke, Staukis, and perimeter offense galore, but the ability to have an inside offensive presence, including rebounding, was part of the reason that the perimeter offense worked so well. The defense can’t just hang out on the perimeter. This have a balance between inside and outside–even the GS has one, although in its case, its small because the perimeter is so lethal and takes the form of dribble drive. I believe–feel free to correct me here Dylan–this is what Dylan meant when he stated Mo being able to dribble drive and dish would really help his game and Michigan. Pick and roll is the other option. Either one can help offensive rebounding.

          • Vandy54

            You are absolutely right!

          • Barth Applefeld

            You were ahead of the game, at least me, on the facts, but I think we disagree on the conclusion. I don’t expect or want Michigan to contend for a national championship ever year in a sport if it compromises the integrity of the school’s core values. As far as winning a national championship, I assume that you are limiting it to men’s basketball and football (even then Carr won a championship in 97 I believe) because other programs have had won national championships with the Michigan philosophy, most notably softball, swimming, and gymnastics. I will have left out a few, I am sure. The hope is that Harbaugh because of his unique talents can restore the football brand in a different era without compromising Michigan values. Beilein is going to need to continue to change and grow to get where we want–but don’t need–him to be. Competing for regular season B10 champions and consistent final four appearance (say similar to MSU when they were clicking).

          • Vandy54

            Villanova was 27th in SHT% for the year. They averaged 35.6 reb in the dance facing two #1 seeds and shot .543 on top of that. They out rebounded or = their opponents in 4 of 6 games (the 2 games turnovers being the factor). Conn had a solid performance as well avg. .514 SHT, as well as out rebounding opponents 5 of 6 games at 35.4 RPG. I imagine they both played solid in the off season.

          • rlcBlue

            Hmm, we’re not talking about the same numbers now. All my numbers refer to rebounding percentages, which are independent of how fast a team plays – Michigan under Beilein plays quite slowly, so their raw number of rebounds will always be comparatively low.

            Also, I was looking exclusively at offensive rebounding; Michigan relies on defensive rebounding just as much as any team. I thought we were discussing the choice to prevent transition baskets by not pursuing offensive rebounds, which is a long-standing plank in John Beilein’s coaching platform.

            Here’s Michigan’s defensive rebounding under Beilein:

            Year oORB% Rank Round
            2017 30.0 212 16
            2016 26.4 47 64
            2015 31.2 174 –
            2014 30.5 124 8
            2013 29.4 71 2
            2012 30.5 99 64
            2011 29.6 65 32
            2010 34.8 270 –
            2009 33.8 222 32
            2008 35.4 272 –

            mean 31.2 156

            Last year’s team was unusually bad at getting defensive rebounds. Yes, that bitter taste from the last game was not exaggerated. But letting the opposition get multiple shots is most definitely not part of the plan.

            Regarding Villanova’s 2016 championship run – they didn’t step up their offensive rebounding in the tournament, not really. Their offensive rebounding percentages in their 6 games were:

            UNC-Asheville 25.9
            Iowa 24.0
            Miami 47.4
            Kansas 16.1
            Oklahoma 41.2
            UNC-Chapel Hill 9.1

            Despite the high percentages against Miami and Oklahoma, they didn’t grab that many rebounds; they just shot the lights out. In the championship game, UNC totally owned the glass at both ends.


            Connecticut in 2014 also did not flip the offensive rebounding switch in the tournament; they underperformed their season average in every game after the round of 64:

            St. Joseph’s 33.3
            Villanova 22.6
            Iowa St. 20.8
            Michigan St. 21.2
            Florida 25.0
            Kentucky 25.8

            So I comfortably stand by the assertion that two of the last four national champions have placed very little emphasis on getting offensive rebounds.

          • I’m not sure facts or stats are going to help you in this argument.

          • rlcBlue

            That’s okay, I’m learning things. I didn’t realize that one of the ways the team failed in Manny and PeeDee’s final season was on the defensive glass (the drop off in eFG% on both offense and defense was a bigger deal, but still – the rest of the Four Factors were all just as good or better than the previous season). And I didn’t realize just how lousy the defensive rebounding was last year – I wonder if that was at all related to Donlon’s defensive coaching?

          • Don’t get me wrong, I appreciated your response :-)

            The other thing is that the Manny/Peedi team that made the tourney was actually outscored in conference play (a good sign that they over achieved in the W/L column). The defense in conference play was actually better the next year but they only shot 30% from three.

            I think we can all say that last year of Manny and Peedi might have been Michigan’s most dysfunctional under Beilein.

          • rlcBlue

            Gotta be the most disappointing, that’s for sure.

            I took a quick look at Donlon’s Wright State teams, and they were all above average on the defensive glass; I’d conclude there was nothing in his scheme that prevented getting rebounds, so it must have been the execution. Hopefully the new assistants can teach boxing out…

          • I think you can start with Moe Wagner playing major minutes at the 5. He’s just not a great defensive rebounder. Michigan needs improvement there.

    • MAZS

      I am all in favor of playing solid man-to-man defense, but Beilein has been successful simply out-scoring his opposition.

      • Barth Applefeld

        I agree, but he needs an elite offensive team to do so, and his teams tend not to match up physicallly with other elite teams. A sound defensive structure and skills can make up for some lack of elite physicial talent. See Wisconsin and Butler.

        • MAZS

          I’d rather play and watch Michigan’s style of play than Wisconsin’s…..any day.

          • Barth Applefeld

            Yes, I agree with all of you. If you discount the injury and “early” departures to the NBA, then last year was a disappointment, but the issue is whether Michigan is ever going to accept a culture like the one at Kentucky, UNC, and Duke where one-and-done is expected. I doubt it, and, therefore, we will have only occasional one-and-dones who may or may not become stars just like other players.
            As far as the other comments, I agree. I like Beilein’s offensive approach much more than Wisconsin’s boring approach even if Wisconsin manages to be in the top two or three in the B10 every year. What I was trying to write and failed to do so very well, is that our 3 and 4 star recruits who don’t become offensive stars and don’t have any strong chance of making the NBA, can go a long ways to making sure we win B10 regular season championships and make the sweet 16 by learning to play better man-to-man and team defense so as to stay in games when the offense is not clicking and to win games on the road when it is. Beilein isn’t Rich Rod as far as an offensive-defensive dichotomy, but he’s not far from it. That’s why Donlon was so vital of a hire. I am sorry that something couldn’t be worked out to keep him, but I am optimistic the new hire understands and can coach defense.

          • Vandy54

            Barth, you make some valid points that I have been saying for years. Rich Rod and Beilein are from the same mold. There is one thing that these 1 and done schools have in common every year, they have national championship teams. Can you imagine what coach Beilein could do with a nation championship quality team every year? I hope these new hires can help coach expand his recruiting and game strategy somewhat. Hoping, I as a lifelong Michigan fan am not to keen to playing the little brother game in recruiting and BIG10 wins.

        • Vandy54

          I’m not content as a Michigan life long fan to be a Gonzaga, Wisconsin, or Butler. Butler has had some decent bigs as well. Michigan is national championship quality, I grew up not settling for less. Now it’s disheartening. Although, I do give the Michigan staff credit for what they have done with what they have gone and gotten as far as talent.

      • Vandy54

        Yes, I can agree to a certain level as well. But that level is realistically only BIG TEN championship. Being 40+ years old, I grew up contending for national championships with the highest quality players from our state (Rumuel, Vaught, Rice, Weber, Rose, etc…). Being on from outside for six games straight is unrealistic, “.” And, that’s been a proven fact for our squads, or any others that play this style. Strong defense and glass win championships at the highest level.

        • chazer

          The game is certainly changing…no argument on crashing the glass and playing strong D but the offensive schemes are now spreading the floor. Ball movement and the three ball are all part of the new NBA. I’m hopeful that the schools that prepare players for the spread should have a distinct advantage recruiting in the future. Ten years ago I don’t think DJ is in the first round….they didn’t want 6-10 forwards on the perimeter. The game is transforming and one would hope it plays in Michigan’s favor. With that said, I don’t see BLUE as being a home for the one year wonders….not JB’s culture. Protect the BRAND!

          • Barth Applefeld

            Beilein is the best thing that has happened to M basketball in years. If he could get someone to help his 4 year players on defense, I think they would win B10 regular season championships and reach the sweet 16 regularly. But I don’t care. This is so much more integrity in the program now.

  • Vandy54

    Total teams win championships. Teams that can adapt to what other teams throw at them win championships. We need glass, we need scoring. We need defense, we need glass. One and done has off nights. Inside or out gives you options. Coaches that can bring it all are gonna benefit Michigan in how they grow. Being able to play man on man is huge, as well as being able to create on offense at a good percentage. Plainly put, rebounds win games 80% of the time.

    • geoffclarke
      • Vandy54

        That in turn is a good theory by Mr. Oliver, but has many flaws. Of course, you need points to win. Shooting percentages are involved and if your team is shooting at a lesser percentage you are going to need second chances (UofM 10th in shooting perc. nationally). Not allowing this to happen for a team struggling shooting is virtually a turnover. A team getting out rebounded is worth at least 5 turnovers a game. As well, allowing your opponent second chances doubles the equation in a negative direction (especially against top level, bracket teams that make possessions count). As well, percentages of shooting between teams matters in this theory. Closer to the basket yields better shooting percentages, no? Oregon beat us when it counted on rebounds and %. You cannot win 6 games straight against the best teams in CBB relying on shooting percentage alone; we got 2 straight in the offseason, and only 4 in a row during the regular season (actually pre-BIG TEN kick-off).This season (Mind you we were 10th nationally in SHT%, and 346th of 351 total REB%) when REB was in our favor we won “93.33%” of the time. Of our games played this year, 64% were won by the team that out-rebounded the other. Of course, shooting percentages and turnovers played a huge role in this not being better. I believe we would have been at least 80% if shooting percentages were somewhat equal and we out rebounded opponents. But all that being said, it matters in the dance. And, if you can’t rebound you will loose against the best teams that take advantage of every possession. Go Blue, I am praying for another championship.