Michigan basketball freshman Max Bielfeldt deals with knee tendonitis, has become a 'scout team all-star'
Earlier this season, Michigan basketball coach John Beilein wasn't overly informative with regard to his decision to redshirt freshman forward Max Bielfeldt.
On Monday, though, Beilein got more specific.
"He came in here with really bad tendonitis in his knees and was not nearly as athletic as he (had shown in the past)," Beilein said during the Big Ten coaches teleconference. "He was really just struggling. But he's young, with a young birthday, and given the fact that we were still evolving with some positions here, it did not make sense for him or for us to burn a redshirt.
"(Because) of tendonitis and the usual freshman transition."
The 6-foot-7, 240-pound Bielfeldt came to Michigan after starring at Peoria (Ill.) Notre Dame High School. As a senior at Notre Dame last season, Bielfeldt -- a three-star prospect according to Rivals.com -- averaged 22.5 points and 11.4 rebounds.
Earlier this season, when Michigan lost sophomore forward Jon Horford to a foot injury, Beilein said the staff discussed the possibility of playing Bielfeldt, but has since opted to stick with the plans to redshirt.
At 240 pounds, Bielfeldt would be one of the heaviest players on a Wolverine roster that is 10th in the Big Ten in rebounding. But any interior help Bielfeldt may be able to offer will have to wait until at least next season, or so it seems.
"He's been making great progress and his knees are getting healthier," Beilein said. "They're not where we want them to be, but he's shown some bright spots in practice this year.
"In these next four years, if he continues to improve, he'll help us a lot."
Though he hasn't competed in a game, Bielfeldt has spent most of his time mimicking opposing Big Ten post players on the Michigan scout team.
And despite the knee pain, Beilein says the freshman forward has been impressive.
"He's a big man with good hands, and those aren't a dime a dozen," Beilein said. "He's a tremendous rebounder. Where he's not gifted vertically, he's really good in small spaces.
"He's played (as) every big man in the league so far. Whether it's been Jared Sullinger or Draymond Green, he's learning the other team's offense and he's a scout team all-star right now."
In other injury news, Beilein said Michigan freshman guard Carlton Brundidge did not make the trip with the team to East Lansing on Sunday due to asthma-like symptoms.
Beilein said Brundidge began to have breathing trouble on Friday, and the staff felt it was best that he not make the trip to Michigan State.
"He became sick on Friday with some asthma-related symptoms and was with the doctors most of the day Friday," Beilein said. "He couldn't practice Saturday, and as a result, we said 'why don't you just head back and spend some time at home.'
"He still didn't feel well on Sunday, but we left on Saturday and (thought it best that) he spend some time with his parents."
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