WDFN-AM: John Beilein discusses strategy in recruiting 'one-and-done'-type players to Michigan basketball team
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
But as the Wolverines climb the rungs of college basketball, they will continue to encounter an issue that has been raised the past three years: The possibility these players leave early for the NBA.
Guard Manny Harris declared for the draft after his junior season in 2009, and point guard Darius Morris did the same after a breakout sophomore year in 2010.
Last year, star point guard Trey Burke weighed whether to turn pro -- and reportedly nearly did so -- before electing to return to Michigan for next season.
Those are good problems to have, since they show Michigan is stockpiling its program with the kind of high-level talent that it went so long without. But they still are problems, as high turnover rates can disrupt the chemistry of a program.
Wolverines coach John Beilein discussed the issue of recruiting so-called "one-and-done"-type players during a Wednesday morning interview on WDFN-AM (1130).
“You’ve got to recruit the best players that you can get," Beilein told guest hosts Larry Lage and Rico Beard. "If a guy is like a Kobe Bryant, and he comes and says, 'I’ve dreamed my whole life of going to Michigan, but I’m only going to be there one year,' that is a different thing to us than we’re in the top-10 list of this guy who’s a sure one-and-done.
“You can lose really good players slotted right behind him chasing that one. So, we try to choose our battles very carefully, as to who we’re going to recruit with the really super prospects.
“It’s Michigan. We should be recruiting the best players we can get. That Michigan brand is huge, so we can get really good players, but same time, you have to be really careful how you balance it.”
The Wolverines attracted a pair of highly regarded recruits for their 2012 class in wing Glenn Robinson III -- a late-bloomer who finished as a five-star recruit -- and forward Mitch McGary -- once ranked among the top-five players in the country before a late slide.
They are joined by guards Nik Stauskas, Caris LeVert and Spike Albrecht, a group that is ranked No. 7 nationally by Rivals, No. 9 by Scout and No. 14 by ESPN.com.
Hardaway told reporters recently that the freshmen "destroyed" the veterans in an early scrimmage.
The talent is there -- and now, thanks to an NCAA rule change, the coaching staff is allowed to work with the players this summer. That has aided their development ahead of a season in which the Wolverines are sure to face rising expectations -- and scrutiny.
“You’re teaching them fundamentals of the college game," Beilien said in the interview. "You’re cleaning up things, things that their high school coaches have no time to do. Balance, fine-tuning the shot, all the different things that high school coaches don't necessarily have time to do. And then you get them acclimated with our (veteran) players, teach them the culture.
"I like what I see. I love this team’s zest, that freshman spirit, and I love the upperclassmen and how they've embraced them.”
Beilein also warned, though, that although the freshmen are brimming with talent, they still are freshmen who have a long way to go before they are finished products.
"We have five freshman in our 12 scholarships. Five freshman. That's what, 40 percent?" he said. "It is very very difficult for freshmen to come in.
"Darius Morris (now with the Lakers) could prove to be a heck of a NBA player. If you look at his freshman year, there was a lot of adjustment he had to go through before, all of the sudden, there are breakthrough moments in his sophomore year. ... Or, they all could come in like Tim Hardaway and Trey Burke and just be incredible freshmen. You just don't know -- so unpredictable."
Click here for the full audio of the interview.