John Beilein sounds off on block/charge, NBA age limit rules

Michigan 73, Tennessee 71-29
Dustin Johnston

In the final minutes of Michigan’s Sweet Sixteen matchup against Tennessee, the Volunteers cut a once-sizeable Michigan lead into single digits and then finally to a single point. With 10 seconds left in the game, Tennessee inbounded the ball to big man Jarnell Stokes, who faced up Jordan Morgan on the baseline.

Stokes lowered his shoulder, Morgan went down. Charge called. Michigan won the game.

While that was an example of a charge call going Michigan’s way, John Beilein said on Wednesday that he didn’t see enough of those calls this past season. During both his press conference and his appearance on the Michigan Insider Wednesday morning, Beilein expressed a desire for the NCAA rules committee to re-examine the changes it made to the block/charge call during the 2013 offseason.

“My hope is that we’ll re-evaluate this entire thing,” Beilein said. “In retrospect now, that was difficult for everybody to add the hand-check foul, which I’m in support of, and the new block/charge rule, which I did not think worked out as well as they had hoped. I expect people to really take a good look at this and decide where they go in the future.”

It’s no secret that charge calls are especially important to Michigan’s defense. Without a shot-blocker protecting the rim and with shaky perimeter defense, often the only way for Michigan to stop an opposing player slashing through the lane was to anticipate where he would be, establish position and take the charge.

The new rules this season made doing that more difficult. They called for a referee to decide whether or not the defensive player had established position before the offensive player had begun his “upward motion” on his shot. This required defenders to be at spots earlier — and it also made officials far more hesitant to call charges. Beilein said he would like to have shot-blockers underneath — and very well might with this new recruiting class.

“It certainly is good if you have a shot-blocker back there instead of a charge-taker. We did not have a shot-blocker back there,” Beilein said. “It’s a thing we’ll continue to work on, but I don’t plan on changing at all. It would be nice to have a huge shot-blocker who can change games, but that will come through either in guys we have now or guys who are coming in, like a DJ Wilson will be able to block some shots.”

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Jon Horford to transfer for final season of eligibility

Kentucky 75, Michigan 72-29Jon Horford will transfer from Michigan after graduating this May. Here’s the University of Michigan release. (Photo: Dustin Johnston)

University of Michigan men’s basketball head coach John Beilein announced today (Thursday, April 10) senior forward Jon Horford(Grand Ledge, Mich./Grand Ledge HS) will not return to the Wolverine program in 2014-15, planning to transfer for his final season of eligibility.

“Jon has been an integral part of our many accomplishments over the last four years,” said Beilein. “He brought great enthusiasm, leadership and work ethic to our program. Jon is a wonderful young man, who has a very bright future ahead of him. With his graduation this May, he will have the opportunity to play immediately at another Division I program. We will be rooting for him every step of the way.”

“My time at Michigan has been the most beneficial period of my life in terms of athletic development and overall enlightenment,” said Horford. “The bonds created over the last four years are everlasting, and the memories made are truly priceless. As on all journeys, new paths must be taken and intuition must be trusted. I leave Michigan with nothing but love in my heart.”

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Michigan’s rising sophomores are ready to make the jump

Michigan 77, Purdue 76-11Throughout this past season, Michigan was playing with its own version of the “big three” on offense: Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III and Caris LeVert. Those three were on the floor together most of the time at the two, three and four spots and they used two-thirds of Michigan’s offensive possessions. (Photo: Dustin Johnston)

With the possibility of Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary leaving for the NBA next year, Caris LeVert could be the only Wolverine from that group likely to return. John Beilein likes to mention all of the shots that Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. left up for grabs this year — Stauskas and Robinson would leave over 600 shots for whomever wants them next season if they opt to go to the NBA.

LeVert will undoubtedly be a focal point of the offense in the likely event that he stays in school (Beilein didn’t comment on whether LeVert had put his name in for evaluation). But that still leaves plenty of space for the emergence of Derrick Walton and Zak Irvin. Speaking on Walton, Beilein said he could see running more of the offense through him.

“I think he’s a guy who we can play through more than we did this year,” Beilein said during his Wednesday press conference. “Obviously Nik, Caris and Glenn we played through more this year … That’s something Derrick’s going to want to do. I sense that Zak Irvin as well is going to be a guy that’s going to make major steps this year.”

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Kentucky 75, Michigan 72-2
Dustin Johnston

ESPN’s Jeff Goodman is reporting that Nik Stauskas will enter the NBA Draft, but Stauskas and his family denied the report.

His father, Paul Stauskas, told UM Hoops that his son has not made any official decision as of Thursday morning.

“I can tell you for a fact he has made no decision on [entering the NBA Draft or selecting an agent],” Paul Stauskas said via email.

Stauskas received feedback from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee on Wednesday, but has yet to discuss it with his family. The Stauskas family plans to discuss the feedback before making a decision to stay or go pro before announcing sometime in the near future — potentially early next week.

John Beilein discussed the NBA Draft evaluation process at length in his Wednesday press conference.

“It’s not easier, but it’s something that we’re comfortable with navigating through,” Beilein said after dealing with early entry candidates for the fourth consecutive off-season. “It’s always going to be something that is very fluid and there’s a lot of emotion in it. You just try to help them make educated decisions.”

Stauskas’ father told Sports Illustrated in January that the NBA was goal.

“He sees the brass ring, like three inches away from his nose,” Paul Stauskas told Sports Illustrated. “He knows all he has to do is keep his nose to the grindstone for another couple of months, and there’s a really good possibility he might be able to go pro. He’s working really hard to achieve that.”

NBA Advisory Committee grades are confidential, but Stauskas is projected as a consensus first-round draft pick by notable mock drafts. The 6-foot-6 sophomore was named Big Ten Player of the Year after averaging 17.5 points, 3.3 assists and 2.9 rebounds per game.

Kentucky 75, Michigan 72-14For the fourth offseason in a row, Michigan finds itself in the midst of breathless NBA speculation surrounding key players. (Photo: Dustin Johnston)

Nik Stauskas, Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III are all in the process of making their decision between staying in school for another year and leaving to play in the NBA. All three players submitted their names to the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Council, but have yet to hear back – responses are promised by April 14th.

The general consensus holds that Stauskas is a guaranteed first-round pick. McGary and Robinson are not projected nearly as favorably on NBA draft boards as Stauskas, indicating they might have harder decisions to make.

Stauskas is projected as a mid-round pick across the board — as high as 12th and as low as 18th. The projections are more murky for his teammates. McGary is left off of most boards altogether, but he is projected as the 49th pick by Chad Ford and the 33rd by DraftExpress. Robinson is projected in the early second round, recently named in Chad Ford’s ‘next five in’.

John Beilein is hoping his players are paying no mind to the projections and simply focused on making the right decision for them.

“You hope during the course of their education they’re looking at things from a much broader perspective than some guy in his cellar projecting the NBA draft and still living with his mother,” Beilein said during a press conference on Wednesday.

All three players are still in the information-gathering stage, the coach said. And now in his fourth offseason facing these decisions, Beilein said he has become more comfortable with the process.

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Video: John Beilein reflects on season, talks NBA decisions

John Beilein was available to speak with the media on Wednesday to cap off the 2013-2014 Michigan basketball season. The coach reflected on the season, its highs and lows and various turning points. Beilein also touched on a number of subjects, from the block/charge rule to Michigan players putting their names into the NBA draft to what he’s looking for from returning Wolverines like Derrick Walton and Zak Irvin. You can watch the full press conference using the embedded media player below.

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