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Posted on Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 3:21 p.m.

Evan Smotrycz, Carlton Brundidge and Colton Christian leave Michigan basketball program

By Nick Baumgardner


Evan Smotrycz (23) is one of three players leaving the Michigan basketball program, the school announced Wednesday. Backups Carlton Brundidge and Colton Christian are the others.

Angela J. Cesere |

Update: Evan Smotrycz's mom says he 'wasn't happy,' holds no ill-will toward Michigan basketball program

Suddenly, the Michigan basketball team will look plenty different next season.

Michigan coach John Beilein announced Wednesday that three players -- sophomore forward Evan Smotrycz, freshman guard Carlton Brundidge and sophomore forward Colton Christian -- have all decided to transfer from the program.

"We never like to see players leave the program, however, Evan, Colton and Carlton have made the decision to transfer and continue their careers elsewhere," Beilein said in a statement. "All three are fine young men with bright futures. We wish them and their families nothing but success going forward."

Of the three players departing, Smotrycz is the biggest loss on paper.


Carlton Brundidge

Christian, Colton (Crop).jpg

Colton Christian

The 6-foot-9, 230-pound Smotrycz appeared in 69 games over two seasons with the program, averaging seven points and 3.6 rebounds per game.

A big man with shooting touch from 3-point range, Smotrycz started 18 games for the Wolverines last season, averaging 7.7 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. He also shot 43.5 percent from 3-point range, 48.1 percent from the floor and 77.6 percent from the foul line.

He was the team's fourth-leading scorer and it's second-leading rebounder, and had he returned next season, was a prime candidate to crack the starting lineup once again.

Brundidge, meanwhile, entered the program prior to last season as a four-star guard from Southfield High School, but never seemed to put it together on the court.

The 6-foot-1 Brundidge appeared in just 15 games for the Wolverines, totaling six points in only 44 minutes.

Christian played in 45 games as a reserve over two seasons, logging 3.8 minutes per game.

Michigan has three players signed for next season, five-star power forward Mitch McGary, four-star wing Glenn Robinson III and four-star guard Nik Stauskas.

The three departures now open three scholarships for the 2012-13 campaign.

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan basketball for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.

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Sat, Mar 24, 2012 : 11:07 p.m.

I dont know if Michigan would have won as many without the seniors this year.Next year there are none to fall back on.And how good would those two starting seniors have been in a different style offense.I was starting to question Beilein before last year but they overachieved last year and had a good season this year until the big ten tourney started.But after getting exposed against good team the question sufraced in my mind again.Just like in football can gimmick offenses win consistently in the big ten?


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 3:46 p.m.

Surprised about Smotrycz. He probably plays more minutes than he should, considering his defensive lapses, because he's the only big man available. Maybe he felt w/ Horford back next year, McGary and Biefeldt in the lineup he'd he wouldn't get sufficient minutes. This offense is great for his skill set.

George Peng

Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 3:10 a.m.

I'm a bit concerned. UM is losing three seniors to graduation - 2 starters. Another starter is transferring, with 2 others, while 2 other starters could conceivably leave for the NBA draft. That's a lot. And I'm not sure it's coincidental. I've seen some online whispers that suggest that the players aren't happy playing under Beilein. I have no idea why that might be or whether its true. But given the sheer numbers here, it might be worth investigating a little. As for the team, I'm glad they were successful this season, but some of their games, especially late in the season, were a bit painful to watch - the system didn't seem to produce much offense, and it wasn't clear what they were trying to do but produce jump shots, which is a tough way to make a living.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 3:08 a.m.

Good riddance! The only thing that could sweeten this deal is if Beilein resigned.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 3:28 a.m.

And if they hired Gregg Kelser to replace him


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 3:01 a.m.

So Brundidge told the FreePress that he transferred because of playing time...that he enjoyed the 24 wins but that it was tough watching while the players were winning a big ten championship because he could have been was a family decision....wants to go to a place where they let guards play. Glad to know that Carlton. Don't let the door slam you on the way out. What a selfish attitude. We don't need players like that. Coaches decide who plays based on practice and quite clearly, Brundidge didn't earn it. What should B-line have done? Play him instead of Burke? Not win the B10 championship? How do you argue with success? Oh, yeah, I forget. Carlton has such a great deal of experience at managing teams and knows what it takes. And Burke's play wasn't guard play at all, was it??? Pathetic!! (Bitter? Me? YES ABSOLUTELY. These kids all think they have it coming to them and are above being coached and maybe taking a backseat while they mature, and are so darned impatient. Try growing up. And a family decision? What about YOUR decision??? You are an adult now on scholarship--one that might have gone to another player that actually wanted to be coached)

taxpayer united

Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 2:51 a.m.

See Ya !. Good riddance. Out with the bad and in with the good. Burke and Hardaway are no where near NBA pro material yet. Especially Hardaway. With the big three coming in next year I think Smotrycz saw the hand writing on the wall. He is easily replaceable.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 1:52 a.m.

let's see, we lose smotrycz, christian, brundidge we gain, robinson, mcgary and stauskas. I'll take that!


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 3:39 p.m.

Don't forget Biefeldt.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 11:03 p.m.

I guess Smotrycz succumbed to the old saying "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen". I've always thought he had that "deer in the headlights" or "not ready for prime time" look. He did hit some clutch shots no doubt but his botching of the last possession in the tournament was a back breaker. The guy probably averaged more fouls per game than points/boards/assists; and most seemed to be bad fouls. He'll be more comfortable at a small time program out of the limelight. The other two certainly saw the writing on the wall with the incoming class as well as Burke having the PG spot locked down for as long as he is in AA. This isn't a Belien thing in my opinion, it's one case of tucking tail and two cases of wanting more PT.

Just Blue

Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 10:40 p.m.

What in West Virginia is going on? First Harris then Morris and now most likely Burke and then these 3 guys. Maybe Belein isn't the saint he's made out to be.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 10:39 p.m.

Something is going on with Beilein Ball, players leaving left and right even after the facilities and Co Big Ten Championship.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 10:12 p.m.

If Burke decides to leave, get ready for the ASO AKUNNE era!


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 9:29 p.m.

Something's amiss here. Evan would have been an important piece in next year's team. What, no other school in mind? This is very sudden. Too many questions. Not sure if Bielein will ever open up on this.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 9:19 p.m.

I am so disappointed to see Somtrycz leave the program. I actually thought he was going to be a key piece of the puzzled next year. He was one of my favorite players. For whatever reason(s) he decided to leave, I wish him the best. I hope Duke has a place for him.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 9:16 p.m.

I must say I am surprised by this one.. Smotrycz was a quality player and I hate to see him leave.

jeff blue

Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 8:46 p.m.

The real question is Trey Burke. I think that he will stay one more year. How long did Darius Morris stay? I thought that he would stay longer.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 8:41 p.m.

Smotrycz is the smallest 6'9" 230 lb player in the country! NIce outside shot but the kid cannot play inside at all!! Very inconsistent and I'm nt sorry to see him go. Probably a nice kid but I won't miss him.

Joe Kidd

Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 10:32 p.m.

I have to agree with you on his poor inside play. At 6'9" you have to be able to get rebounds and go hard at the basket. His play did not indicate he is 6"9." Needs to muscle up some too.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 8:41 p.m.

I'm somewhat surprised by Smotrycz leaving. However, Christian and Brundige weren't that shocking. We'll, I suppose this makes the allocation of playing time a little easier next year. The real worry is reserved for Trey Burke's status. We can survive, and even thrive, without the other other three guys. Without Trey, we're pretty much back at square one.

Wally the Wolverine

Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 11:39 p.m.

If it becomes too easy to allocate playing time next year it means only one thing, the coach doesn't have a lot of choices. In turn you're left with a short bench and a squad that can be run into the ground. We win a share of the conference title and people are jumping ship. Something is rotten in Denmark.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 8:09 p.m.

Whatever the reasons they decided to leave and whatever the reasons they didn't play more, I think it stinks that they are all leaving. Brundidge just a few weeks ago said he was not leaving, and Smot certainly didn't earn PT all season long. But I could have seen them developing into great players the same way that Mark Hughes, Loy vaught and Rob Pelinka ended up being solid. Hope we can replace them.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 8:03 p.m.

There are a lot of people saying Burke and Hardaway will go pro together. Might as well while their stock is still high. It'll fall if they stay.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 11:56 a.m.

Neither one of those kids is ready for the NBA ... and I expect that the NBA will make that quite clear to them. I expect them both to play at least one more year at Michigan, possibly two.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 8:43 p.m.

Burke and Hardaway may test the waters in the high grounds of the NBA, but they will find them icy cold compared to the current heights they have reached, or their current level of acclimatization, if you will. Burke and Hardaway will be back to prepare themselves to attain greater heights later, whether they want to or not.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 8:38 p.m.

Bundy. Check the Free Press. Are they Trolls?

Ted Bundy

Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 8:26 p.m.

tigers182: Spartan fan Robotmonster: Spartan fan Rightmind250: needs no introduction, but in case you're new... Buckeye fan Thank you all for your input(trolling).


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 8:08 p.m.

Burke's stock is pretty high but hardaway? I think his stock was higher after his freshman year. Hardaway has no choice but to stay at UM or go home and flip burgers.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 8:08 p.m.

There is chatter out there that Burke and Hardaway will test the waters in the NBA.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 7:58 p.m.

Wow, I actually agree with with Goofus, kind of scary to think that. That last possession made me question a lot about the indivudal and the program. If Beilein called his number to shoot a three it shouldn't have been him creating his own shot.Alternatively, if he was trying to create his own shot that isn't right either. It reminded me of Webber claing the time out in the final game. At least give yourself a chance to tie or win the game. If they are released from their scholarship can they play right away, or do they have to sit out a year?


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 2:06 a.m.

@ UMfanchris,I could actually look to the last 4 games of the season. Somtrycz should not have been handling the ball with the clock winding down. No problem with him taking the last shot, but Novack, Burke or Hardaway are the plyers that should have been handling the rock. Not a fairweather fan either, grew up going to watch Mike McGee and Johnny Johnson play, and the atteneded regularly through the 80's with the Fabulous Five. As of right now, I've seen a few games over the years, and I have to say season tickets are not worth it to me, especially with today's television and the demands of my inability to get to games when they start. I will also say that you are spot on with the team overachieving, since Ellerbe appeared on the scene I just had to find other teams to follow into the Tourney. I want that to change as much as you do, but this offense is not going to produce that. We should run a hybrid version of the triangle next year with the talent we will have, but that ain't gonna happen.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 8:49 p.m.

You question an individual and a basketball program based on one basketball play? That is what is scary. Plays break down and lets face it Evan is not a ball handler. He was a good ball player and he had the highest 3 point percentage on our team. I have no problem with Beilien going to him at the end of the game. Yes, it was a mistake that he couldn't hang on to the ball, but the key word there is MISTAKE. I wish him the best and hope he does well at his next school. You have to remember that Michigan won the Big Ten title. It is kind of silly to question the program on one bad play after such a great overachieving season. Makes me think that you sir are a bandwagon fan. But to answer your question, no they can't play basketball at a Division 1 school until 1 year after they transfer from a school.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 7:54 p.m.

Does anybody (Mr. Baumgardner?) know why this happened now, all at once? Is there some sort of deadline imminent?


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 8:38 p.m.

johnnya2 - I appreciate the insight. But you give the reason for wanting them to get their names out sooner rather than later, and I agree. But why all at once? And why not before now? Perhaps it was simply that they asked for a release after the season was over, and the staff just got around to processing/approving them all today. Might just simply be administrative lag on the side of UM. I just wondered if there was a hard and fast deadline fast approaching or something.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 8:08 p.m.

The timing has everything to do with scholarship availability. If a program is still recruiting somebody, and the kids wait to put their names out there for them, they would not be considered I am sure Brundridge will make a UD level school much better. Christian is a notch below him and Smotrycz will need to find a school that wants guys his size on the outside. I think he has the toughest time with a transfer. I would bet he will be somewhere much closer to home when he plays again


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 7:40 p.m.

Kids leaving a program after the first year is not much to worry about, but after two years? There is something going on there. Especially Smotryz who was a starter. This could be a major setback, or it could be a blessing if Belein goes out and gets a couple more studs! Why do I have this vision of Trey Burke going into the locker room after the loss to ohio, and saying, "OK this is my team now, and this is how it's gonna be from now on!"...and maybe offended a few of the weaker links?...just sayin.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 3:33 p.m.

When's the last time a 13 seed MAC team played a 4 seeded B1G team?


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 1:06 a.m.

Teams get bounced aal the time. It is just not very often a 13 seed from the MAC beats a four seed from the Big 10.

Ted Bundy

Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 8:21 p.m.

ignore him johnny. hes a troll...


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 8:02 p.m.

Gufus, You have no idea what you are talking about. Teams get bounced int he first round all the time before they come back to be a great team. There are teams that have not made the tournament that the next year win the whole thing. The whole tournament is based on the fact that on ANY given night, any team could lose. I guess you think Duke will not have ANY shot at anything next season since they were "bounced" in the second round? It must make Coach K a horrible coach or Duke a horrible program.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 7:54 p.m.

If Beliein is able to corral "a couple more studs" with a team that got bounced in the first..ahem...:"second" more than a miracleworker than anyone knows.

Ted Bundy

Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 7:41 p.m.



Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 7:40 p.m.

Disappointed to see Smotrycz leave, for sure. Hadn't seen enough of the others to know much.

Ted Bundy

Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 7:32 p.m.

I can understand 2 of those guys leaving. But Smotrycz?!?! That kid could drain a 3...

Ben Pargament

Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 10:34 p.m.

yeah, once every third game. And he defense was extremely sub-par. He had a few good games this season, though. I think UM was a bit too much for him. Couldn't handle the criticism. Hopefully he goes somewhere small where he can be "the man" on campus.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 7:30 p.m.

Saw that coming with Smotrycz. That last game was a career-killer at Michigan.

Ted Bundy

Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 8:20 p.m.

wow dude, you are so cool. you troll UM articles. thank you for your presence. you are now blocked. better find a new hobby...


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 7:51 p.m.

Right here for the doubters.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 7:50 p.m.

Check my posts after the game, bro. I called it. It's buried right in the game comments after the loss. Called. it.

Ted Bundy

Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 7:49 p.m.

a2- Goofus is a UM hater, check his comment history... I'd just block him if I were you.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 7:45 p.m.

You most certainly did NOT see that coming. Smots shot 6/7 for 15 points (2nd only behind Burke) in that game. He made one unfortunate gaffe at the end, and there is not any lifetime anywhere in the universe where Coach B sends a kid packing for that.