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Posted on Mon, May 10, 2010 : 4:14 p.m.

Michigan breaks ground on its new basketball Player Development Center

By Michael Rothstein


An artist's rendering of the Player Development Center now under construction adjacent to Crisler Arena.

Courtesy of U-M athletics

When a group of regents toured the Big Ten looking at football stadiums in advance of Michigan Stadium's renovation several years ago, they peeked at other schools' basketball facilities.

As Michigan broke ground on its new Player Development Center on Monday, athletic director Dave Brandon, a part of that regent tour, recognized what a significant step the new facility will be for the Wolverines basketball team.

“I always look at these things from the perspective of being a recruit,” Brandon said. “You show up on campus and you know, where you spend your life is where you practice, that’s where you spend the majority of your time and so a recruit comes to our place and says ‘Well, where’s the practice gym?’ Well, we don’t have one. ‘Where are the practice facilities, where do I hang out before and after practice, where do I connect with the coach?’

“We just didn’t have the right answer to any of those questions. Now we do.”

The school will start digging into the grass hill east of Crisler Arena next week. The Wolverines hope to move into the $23.2 million building in October 2011, according to project manager Steve Donoghue.

By the end of June, Donoghue said, the grass hill will be gone and there will be “a lot of earth work going on. There will be a lot of noticeable construction.”

By fall, Donoghue said the hope is to have a steel structure up for the 57,000-foot Player Development Center. The Center itself will extend out, for a reference point, into the first seven parking spots of the current parking lot on the east side of Crisler.

Once it is built, Michigan views the facility as a boost in recruiting and for the program in general.

“Our team and the basketball tradition and basketball reputation of Michigan will never be the same,” Michigan men’s basketball coach John Beilein said. “We really feel, as big as it was for us to get to the NCAA tournament last year and selling what we’re trying to sell with the program, this will have the same type of impact on us.”

It was announced Monday the lead donors on the project were Joel Tauber and Lionel Margolick.

Michael Rothstein covers University of Michigan basketball for He can be reached at (734) 623-2558, by e-mail at or follow along on Twitter @mikerothstein



Wed, May 12, 2010 : 8:22 a.m.

I'm an alum and B-Ball fan. The $23 million doesn't bother me if U-M and Athletic Department has the money, but why did they choose a foreign (German) company to build the facility? The economic situation in Michigan being what it is, then why not have a Michigan or at least a US company build the facility? Since U-M is a public university and supported by Michigan taxpayers shouldn't this money support local businesses?


Tue, May 11, 2010 : 7:34 a.m.

This is Michigan's first step on a long road back to respectability. This step was required if Michigan ever hopes to field a competitive basketball team. Without a Pitino or Calipari type coaching hire (read-mercenary) the road will be tougher and this facility is required. It will be much nicer than that dump Madison Square Garden.


Tue, May 11, 2010 : 6:21 a.m.

Next time I get a call beseeching alumni for dollars I will remember this. Player development? Think how many tutors they could employ for this money.

L. C. Burgundy

Mon, May 10, 2010 : 11:47 p.m.

Well it's not like there are any other vital public safety and transportation needs within a stone's throw of this construction that U of M could possibly spend $23.2 million on other than a "basketball player development center."


Mon, May 10, 2010 : 8:57 p.m.

Oh boy a new "Club House" for the boys. I am sure it will be filled with HD TV's, video games like grand theft auto so they will be properly trained for the NBA.


Mon, May 10, 2010 : 7:55 p.m.

Minority graduation rates in the county are below average, schools are laying off teachers, the dam* bridge a few yards down the road is falling down and we're spending $23 mil to "develop" basketball players.... really?????

David Briegel

Mon, May 10, 2010 : 7:17 p.m.

Will grad rates improve??? Picker, billion or million? Hitler? Really?

The Picker

Mon, May 10, 2010 : 6:34 p.m.

$23,200,000.00! I hope the NBA and the players appreciates what us taxpayers are doing for them. Maybe the NBA could chip in on this facility, after all, that not even a decent salary for them!