Michigan basketball F Max Bielfeldt says he's regained his health, ready for 2012-13 season
The Wolverines won a share of the Big Ten title despite finishing the year with a negative 0.9 rebounding margin and a rank of No. 215 nationally in that category.
Michigan should improve in that area this season with the addition of 6-foot-10 power forward Mitch McGary and the return of sophomore Jon Horford.
But the improved health of redshirt freshman Max Bielfeldt likely won't hurt either.
"The main thing is that I am a lot healthier than I was," the 6-foot-7, 240-pound Bielfeldt said in an interview with MGoBlue.com. "I am getting back the athleticism that I was lacking. I have improved many aspects of my game, especially my shot. I have really been working on that because it was one of the things I could work on when I was injured.
"That is probably the biggest thing I have improved."
Outside of Jordan Morgan, and at times Evan Smotrycz, Michigan had almost no bulk inside last season. The Wolverines could have used Bielfeldt's hulking frame inside during Big Ten play, but never got the chance to see what he could provide due to chronic knee tendonitis.
Beilein elected to sit Bielfeldt for the season to improve the health of his knees, and remains excited about the power forward's future.
"(Redshirting) was a tough transformation for him," Beilein said last season. "But we've seen great strides in many areas. He's a tremendous rebounder, which we always need, and he can really shoot from the outside.
"He's learning every day, and we're hoping he'll be on the floor for us one day and have a strong presence. And we know he'll have a strong presence, because there's some strength in there now. He's a strong man. When he sets a screen, or hedges, people feel it. And he's only 18 right now, he won't be 19 until June."
Bielfeldt will likely be in the mix with Morgan (6-foot-8, 250), Horford (6-foot-10, 250) and McGary (6-foot-10, 260) for minutes in Michigan's suddenly beefed up front court.
And after watching from the sidelines for a year, and getting healthy at the same time, he says he's more than ready to contribute.
"It was really nice to see how things go on and not have the pressure of going in," Bielfeldt told MGoBlue. "It was nice to have a year to watch and see how different things work, how different pressures and stressors happen during the season, and what to expect.
"It was a good introductory course to the real thing, but I am definitely looking forward to being on the court, and I feel like I know what to expect now."