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Posted on Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 6:28 p.m.

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

By Nick Baumgardner

Evan Smotrycz's decision to leave the Michigan basketball program was far from spur of the moment.

Smotrycz's mother, Charleen Smotrycz, told on Wednesday that the 6-foot-9 sophomore forward just wasn't happy any longer at Michigan, but holds no ill-feelings toward the program he called home for two years.

"This is something Evan's been thinking about for some time," Charleen Smotrycz said. "He was kind of assessing things along the way, things he needed to work on and things that he felt would make him a stronger player, not just at Michigan but moving forward.

"He's not an impulsive guy, he's pretty methodical. He did a review at the end of the year and just felt this was the right decision for him. ... But he owes so much to Michigan and John Beilein and that whole group, they've been unbelievable for him."


His teammates were "his brothers" and the university was "great to him," but Evan Smotrycz decided to leave Michigan in search of happiness, his mother, Charleen Smotrycz, told

Melanie Maxwell |

Michigan announced the official departures of three players from its program Wednesday: Smotrycz, freshman guard Carlton Brundidge and sophomore forward Colton Christian.

But Smotrycz, a Reading, Mass. native, was easily the biggest loss, production-wise, for the program. The sophomore forward played in 69 games during his Michigan career, and averaged 7.7 points and 4.9 rebounds this past season.

He was the team's second-leading rebounder and its most efficient 3-point shooter (43.5 percent). Had he returned next season, he would've likely been a top candidate to earn a spot in Beilein's starting lineup.

However, according to his mother, he simply wasn't happy.

"It was a very, very difficult decision for Evan," Charleen Smotrycz said. "He just loves the guys he played with and the coaches have done so much for him. But he said, in essence, he really needed to find his happiness.

"He wasn't happy and he felt that he needed to take a pause, head home and kind of re-assess what he was looking for in the next step of his life, and we supported him."

Charleen said Evan informed Beilein of his decision to leave the program earlier on Wednesday, and that the Michigan coach was "a consummate professional" about the entire situation.

As for the future, the Smotryczs aren't sure where Evan will end up just yet.

"He doesn't know," Charleen said. "He says he's wide open, his options are wide open. He's receptive to seeing different programs and searching for what he's looking for based on his experiences at Michigan."

The future remains uncertain for Smotrycz, and the decision to leave Michigan wasn't easy.

But even still, he holds no regrets or grudges.

"He says those teammates are his brothers and the university has been great to him," Charleen said. "He's very, very at peace with his decision and still pleased with everything he got out of his time at Michigan."

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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john mirsh

Thu, Apr 5, 2012 : 4:20 a.m.

the problem was that if michigan wants to be great, he shouldn't start and that's what i think beilein said to him... because he wasn't a great defensive player, and his offensive game was based around the three and he couldn't make his own shot... last year if the shots weren't falling, michigna would lose because we didn't have any post presence... JB knew that mcgary will be the post player michigan needs and stauskus/robinson will fill the shoes of novak/douglass... so basically, evan knew he wasn't in michigan's future plans, and that made him unhappy... i wish him the best and im glad he played for us! go blue


Sun, Mar 25, 2012 : 1:38 a.m.

I don't know Evan,so i'm not going to pretend i do.I have seen him play,and i like his game.After reading some of his comments,i can tell he is a Great Kid,and a credit to your program.We have some Thuggs at WVU on the Team.Beilein will never have ANY Thuggs on your Team.People get to hung up on wins and loses.At the end of the day,its what kind of people you have in your program.They wear The Michigan Name on the Jeresy's.I know thats corney as corn bread,but its the truth.


Sat, Mar 24, 2012 : 3:33 p.m.

I thought Evan played better as a freshman but still had high hopes for him next season wish him the best though, hope he finds a place to be happy wont miss the look of disbelief on his face the 3 to 5 times a game he would commit a stupid or cheap foul. Those of you bashing Beilein are crazy. Except for jacking up way to many 3's every game, love everything about that ball coach.


Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 6:15 a.m.

Some of you people are out of ur minds! Look at where the program was at when JB took over it was horrible! Everybody was complainig because coach Amaker was recruiting great players but we never made it to the tourney. JB takes over a program with horrible facilities, that had underachieving results under Ellerbe and Amaker, and the decade before that was wiped out by sanctions. Add Mich St being great during that time and it was a up hill battle and JB got us to the top of the hill with a BIG10 championship this yr and I think we should ALL be grateful for that! I was upset we got knocked out of the tourney early but let's be honest Ohio is a better team. They have great guard play and their bigs aren't bad at all. We made the tourney 3 out of the past four yrs with MAC talent and y'all are complaining it's ridiculous! We have some great recruits coming in the next 2 yrs and I have no doubt we will be a force to reckon with!!! GO BLUE

Wally the Wolverine

Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 10:46 p.m.

I think we pulled the plug on Tommy Amaker too soon.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 6:15 p.m.

Evas was starter material - but JB did not have the insight into that! Some coach! He started others at Evan's position, who did not deliver like he would have. That's poor coaching and decision. I've always contended that JB is more lile a coach who cares more about the buiness of being a coach but who fails to understand that a wining program at a school like Michigan is very, very good business for a coach. It saddens me to see how JB has alerady become Lloyd Carr who's last eight years were just going through the motions. A coach that does not do EVERYTHING POSSIBLE, and there is plenty JB could have done to win the BIg10 regular title outrightti and then get past OHIO. to the Sweet16. He just does not have the mental toughness necessary "to get there". And it's the mental lapses that made the big difference Need I say any more? Except that JB reminds me of Joe Torre of the Yankees. All business and over-rationalizing everything, particularly the losses with no apparent passion on his face, in his eyes. Hey Dave Brandon -- bring in someone how likes to win as much or more that just having a good job he must protect no matter what!

Macabre Sunset

Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 6:03 p.m.

This makes no sense to me, unless he's failing in his coursework and needs to drop down to a community college. It's not like he has an NBA future, so he will need an education.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 5:13 p.m.

Hey keepingitreal, instead of endlessly posting about the so called, unfortunate athlete, why don't you provide an outlet for these "poor kids" who we're "taken advantage of". Provide them with funding for continuing their education or provide them with careers after graduation! You could also hire these kids after they leave school! Come on, these student athletes can go into whatever major they choose! They can choose to stay for four years to complete their degree and complete their eligibility too! They have their school and board fully paid for those four years as well! I had to pay for my own college education and find my own career after schooling!! I didn't expect my University to find me a career after school!!


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 4:03 p.m.

Very interesting situation. His mother's statements makes me think Evan doesn't feel UofM is preparing him to go to the next level which I don't think makes sense. This offense seems tailored to show his skill set and the only thing that kept him from having more PT is his defensive horribleness.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 3:59 p.m.

I think this again speaks to Beilein as a very poor recruiter. Look what the senion class will be next year -- McLimans and Vogrich. Without Evan, what was that class worth? Carlton and Colton, and you might as well throw Biefeldt and Horford in there, are not Big 10 calibre players. Beilein has a mess on his hands. Forget Michigan basketball if Trey goes pro. There will be little left. And I don't agree with the comments that Trey was too selfish at the end of games. He was the only scorer we could depend on in crunch time. We'll see next year when McGary gets here whether Michigan will be an improved team. For all the preseason hype for Michigan this past year, we underachieved at tournament time.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 4:25 p.m.

Beilein did something that Steve Fisher never did (Big Ten title). They underachieved in ONE game. I would say last year they over achieved. It happens. I guess Coach K is a horrible coach since they underachieved? How about the coach of Missouri? By the way, check out how many players come and go at OSU in basketball, and they seem to do all right. There are three VERY good freshman coming in. Beilein got more out of Novack and Douglas than ANYBODY with a brain expected.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 3:29 p.m.

I'm not sure the logic behind leaving UM. I get it that you lost your starting position. But face it, you aren't going pro. So why leave one of the best schools in the country? You should stay and get the best education you can while you're here.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 2:38 p.m.

wow aftre reading the comments I forgot that our boys tied for the B1G Championship this season. some of the comments are ridiculous, there is nothing wrong with the program except some of the kids we could get when the program was getting back on track will no longer play once the younger kids get here. players want to play his playing time was about to get cut and attitude wise he seemed to struggle with coaching, many times he was hanging his head and moping after the coaches tried to tell him something. also could be the physicality of the B1G has him looking for a league to play in that is more skill oriented and not a brute league like the B1G has become. Certainly cannot blame him for that because many people do not like the B1G's style of play, it is ugly basketball. Good luck to him, hope he gets a degree and has a nice career wherever he ends up.

Jacob Bodnar

Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 12:39 p.m.

If he truly wasn't happy at the program, I'm glad he left. It's best for him and team - if he continued unhappy, that would have only effected his performance on the court.


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

There's definately some chemistry issues on the team. The last third of the season no one really played together. Novak started playing frustrated and fouling out and making a lot of turnovers - and he was usually one to take care of the ball. Burke started the season with many assists per game and then as the season wore down, Douglass had more assists. Many times there were wide open shooters and Burke didn't even look. Hardaway should have been on the bench most of the Big10 season - he hurt us in quite a few games. Evan did not lose that last game for us - there were 3 minutes to tie the score and Burke just kept shooting. I wonder if Beilein starts believing all the press, lets his PG do whatever they want and that starts problems with the rest of the team. It's becoming a pattern - the year Harris left they should have been a top team but the team chemistry was horrible. And at then end of last year you could tell there were starting to be problems, but the will to win was much stronger. I have been a big fan of Beilein but I really wonder what goes on inside that locker room - he doesn't seem to have control of the 'stars'.

Captain Dave

Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 5:08 a.m.

Kid just doesn't want to be a bench player and with what Michigan has coming in I'm sure JB told him that was what he had to look for next year. He was honest with the kid. The other two kids were way down the pecking order and were going to drop further down the depth chart. Three more scholarships will be available for 4 and 5 star players that are standing in line to commit to Michigan. We could have 2 Trey's at guards if Burke doesn't follow a couple of previous Michigan guards who made major mistakes in thinking they were good enough. They needed and didn't get the 4 years of major college experience available prior to actually making an NBA team.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 3:06 p.m.

Captain Dave. Don't get over zealous thinking that kids are just waiting to get into Michigan. Maybe MSU but not Michigan with its stale offense. These athletes know they are only valued while they are associated with the school. Look at Michigan players fro the past. Hardly any of them are invited back to the school on special occasions. MSU does a very good job of inviting its former players back to the school and engaging them in their activities. Jr.s is going to be the next one to announce his transfer intent.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 5:07 a.m.

This could be an indictment on John Beilein. Why is Evan not happy at Michigan? Every day I wake up and think what an honor it is to go to school here. I can't imagine what could make a kid leave like that. He isn't an NBA talent so he's not leaving because of PT or something.... so why? I can't imagine what is wrong. There's either something medically wrong (depression in college age males is actually very common) or there is something wrong with this staff, where they aren't promoting a positive, inclusive, and family atmosphere. That's it for me.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 4:38 a.m.

I think it's the nasty weather we've been having ... But seriously, maybe this is for the best for everybody involved. Good luck, Evan. Good luck, U-M!


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

This whole thing makes you appreciate Stu and Novak even more who really toughed it out and led. As a parent, if your child is unhappy, you want to make things right for them, so I understand his mother's comments. If your kid is unhappy in a job, or in college, you encourage them to move. But in basketball where there are only 12-15 players, it is sort of different, in that there are a small number of slots and the program planning is based on commitment on all sides. I really don't know what to think, but in life, you don't cut and run every time you hit a rough patch. I don't know what I'd do as a parent, but I'd encourage him to do what Tom Brady's dad did--see it through, learn from it, grow from it, and milk the university for what you can--a very valuable degree and great basketball exposure.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 3:16 a.m.

It's time for the UM fanbase to face the cold hard fact with regards to the routine defections in both its major men's sports (football and basketball) programs: Michigan provides a horribly tense, high pressure, unhappy and ultimately damaging environment for its young athletes.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 1:26 p.m.

treetowncartel: meet not meat.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 3:48 a.m.

Not really, we just have expectations people associated with other alma maters can't meat. have you stopped suffocating that chicken? that isn't very nice;)


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 3:16 a.m.

Maybe this is something personal, but if its about playing time he should not be complaining. If he stayed he would have started he was the sixth man this year and got a lot of minutes could have been a decent player whatever we have this guy mitch mcgary


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 3:13 a.m.

Nice to know we had an unhappy player holding the ball in our last possession. Bo wouldn't be happy with the fact that a "Michigan Man" wasn't on the Michigan team in the tournament.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 3:13 a.m.

"This is something Evan's been thinking about for some time," Charleen Smotrycz said. "He was kind of assessing things along the way, things he needed to work on and things that he felt would make him a stronger player, not just at Michigan but moving forward." = When they choked and got booted in the first (ahem, "second") round of the tourney, he gone.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 3:03 a.m.

WHAT? I had big hopes for him. I thought in time he would grow to be a great player and help push us to the next level. I wonder what is going on in that locker room...


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 3:15 a.m.

He is weak, check the NBA rosters for his name in 5 years. You can probably by some insurance from or financial services from him then instead.

Susie Q

Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 2:44 a.m.

Say it ain't so, Evan! We were very impressed with your off-season workouts and valuable contributions to the team. We wish you the best and hope your future is bright, but hope you'll re-consider. Go Blue!


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 1:35 a.m.

Go home for a while and re think your decision. Or maybe our "all business" coach should have a little sit down. Either way, Evan is a good kid and we all thank him for the last 2 years.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 2:14 a.m.

what do you mean by "all business"


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 1:29 a.m.

Not to be too cynical, but why in the world would Smot hold "ill-will" to Michigan? Let's see--they gave him a chance to play basketball under the brightest of lights, he played meaningful minutes (though couldn't earn more by inefficient B10 play), attended a truly world class university tuition and cost free, and had some coaching. I understand,--he felt he needed a change and was not happy. So we move on, I guess, but I just don't get it. Is Michigan too far? Is he going to pull a Tate Forcier and look far and wide and transfer and transfer again? Is the academic load too much? Whatever--I respect his mother for speaking and not dumping, and hope that he finds his happiness. Thanks to Smot for putting it in for my school for 2 years, but I'm extremely disappointed that he is not seeing it through and continuing to grow while at a world class university.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 2:04 a.m.

I feel that they're saying so many nice things so they don't say any other things on their mind... I'd really like to know more about this decision and what's going on inside the locker room. He'll be missed, for sure.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 1:13 a.m.

It is the best move the kid will ever make. The program is going nowhere and is highly overrated. He is one of the few Michigan athletes who could qualify academically to attend the school so he should have no problem finding a similar institution.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 4:58 p.m.

Well Treeguy, he is a good player but not good enough to play for State.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 3:16 a.m.

I hope Izzo lets him join your team


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 2:02 a.m.

That's what's weird about "overrated." They constantly played better than they were. How many of them would make an All Big 10 team as starters or even off the bench? But they legitimately won a share of the title. So they're ranking was higher than it should have been, but that's because they played better than they are. (It makes sense in my head).

M 4 ever

Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 1:12 a.m.

I would like to thank Evan for his hard work. I hope he finds a place that makes him happy. His Mom sounds classy. That said if he didn't want to be here, don't let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya!


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 12:58 a.m.

Something seems amiss with this staff. Year after year kids are leaving at a much greater rate than at other schools. By this point in JBs tenure we should have juniors and seniors that are dominate not role players. This problem needs to be address ASAP or we are never going to climb back to our glory days.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 1:59 a.m.

I think that's a blessing and a curse. A lot of other teams have senior role players because they're guys go to the NBA. We just have a rotating group of average players and our "stars" just hang out in the NBA for a year or two. At some point this year, unfortunately, they just had to come back to their level.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 12:31 a.m.

I've watched every live game humanly possible during the tounament. For the most part, in the closing moments of the games, you can see the devastation on the faces of the losing teams. You see the sense that they gave it their all and fell short. With the exception of Smotryzc, I saw an "Oh well" look on the faces of this Wolverine team in the waning moments of losing to Ohio. Granted, Evan made a mistake that may have lost the game, but he seemed to be the only one that felt the finality of the whole situation. This team needs to have the "fire in their gut" and the "winning is everything" attitude before they will ever advance in the tournament. It was painfully obvious that Ohio U wanted this win more and had more to prove than our Michigan squad.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 1:57 a.m.

I think they had a fire in their gut the whole season, they just ran out of gas. A team with those players of that talent level should not be a 4-seed or Big 10 Champions, but they played their minds out. Maybe he had some left in the tank and felt let down by the other guys. I'll miss that 3-ball, but I hope he finds happiness somewhere.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 12:30 a.m.

I hope he ends up somewhere where he enjoys himself. I can understand what he's feeling. I needed to get out of Holland, MI after my first two years at Hope because it just wasn't feeling right, so I did a semester in New Zealand. I had a blast, and it made me realize how much I really enjoyed being at Hope, and my last three semesters were some of the best times ever. Hope Evan doesn't start regretting his decisions. He'll be good wherever he ends up. Better than any of us, at least. Go Blue!

Michigan Man

Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 1:35 a.m.

Spent one week at Hope College in the fall of 1969. Knew very quickly that Hope and I were not compatible, at least back in the day. 1st male member of my family not to graduate from Hope College.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 12:12 a.m.

A tough day for Michigan basketball, but I wish Evan all the best and hope it's the right decision for him.

Terry Redding

Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 11:24 p.m.

Wow, and for this they raise ticket prices? Oops, I meant to say glad I'm giving a gift to my alma mater for the privilege of buying in the gold.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 1:12 p.m.

Yep, keep on whining. Plenty of people would be happy to buy your tickets. I guess your entitled to a guaranteed championship now.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 11:24 p.m.

How about a transfer to EMU? They could use him and he'd still be around to hang out with his former teammates and friends.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 11:24 p.m.

Annie, 81wolverine: Saying those that stay will be champuions when there is obvious problems on this team is the most self-centered thing I could imagine. Why wouldn't you question the problems going on at UM. manny harris left and didn't get drafted, Morris left, was a second round pick with no guarantee. Don't you think these guys knew what their draft staus was? But, they still left. If Trey leaves, I hope its because he's a first round pick and not just to escape whatever it is at UM.


Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 12:02 a.m.

Hey...nice to meet you today rightmind250. Thanks for cleaning out the septic tank are #1 in the #2 business.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 3:21 a.m.

Manny Harris thought he was all that and a bag of chips, well he wasn't. Stop ppointing to Harriss, he let his crew tell him what he was worth,. Beileins offense is suspect, but if you can shooth the three you will get some press. Smotrycz will end upok with a collget team, but he is poster material for the NBA.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 1:53 a.m.

Seeing the video of them watching the MSU/OSU game when they found out they were Big Ten champs really seemed to show a family. He will not go on to be a starter at a bigger school next year and he will not make a difference on an NBA team. I'm not sure if he has problems with the up-and-coming leaders or what's going on, but I hope we get to find out why his happiness isn't at UofM.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 10:57 p.m.

Ultimately, if he's not happy here he should leave. I don't know why that was and maybe we will never know. But, in a lot of games this year you could simply look at his face and tell he wasn't enjoying himself. He wasn't focused completely and it showed. Losing 3 players on the same day, let alone in the same off-season is unprecedented in a year with no coaching transition. Seems very, very strange. But this puts Michigan in a real hole at PG depth next year. And we'll REALLY be up the creek if Trey Burke makes a poor decision to go pro. Let's all cross our fingers and hope for the very best for Michigan basketball.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 3:23 a.m.

They all knew the incoming class was going to put their contributions to a minimum. Mkes me think they also knew Burke and Hardawayu are returning, so time on the court is limited.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 10:54 p.m.

Sounds like a classy family. While I still wish to live in a fantasy world where student-athletes choose a school because of academics and not sports opportunities, the truth is that such a decision is ultimately one of practicality. Using this as an example, we should all wish one another nothing but happiness in our decisions.


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 10:54 p.m.

Evan, I would suggest you work to get better at, schoolwork, basketball...And remember in your heart, Those who stay will be champions.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 4:21 p.m.

Ridiculous. I wonder if your boss put that over your cubical if that means any person who leaves the company for a better fit is a loser. MAYBE he missed being home. MAYBE he wanted to go someplace smaller. MAYBE UM did not have the educational program in a field he wanted. The problem is these schools take 17-18 year old kids and tell them they must commit to the school for four years, while the school only offers 1 year scholarships. Evan will now need to sit out a year. WHY? The NCAA says they want athletes to be treated like other students. If I were a student in the B school at UM, and I got in to Stanfords, I could transfer and not "sit out a year".


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 1:20 p.m.

Get better at life? What an obnoxious, condescending thing to say. Best of luck to him wherever he ends up. I am sure it wasn't an easy decision. There is so much pressure on some of these kids that even considering making such a life-changing decision must have been difficult.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 5 a.m.

Ummm.... he is a champion already.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 3:49 a.m.

I think the whole point is that he believes life will be better for him if he leaves U of M. I'm not sure if championships is what motivated his decision.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 1:49 a.m.

He was a champion, and I agree that he would be again if he stuck around. I'm assuming something will come out in the next couple days that will explain WHY he was unhappy and we'll understand all this beating-around-the-bush stuff.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 1:36 a.m.

My guess is that from this post its not Even who needs to get better at those things....


Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 10:56 p.m.

"Those who stay will be champions" must be the least inspiring, most defeatist slogan in all of sport. If someone isn't happy, they should move on. Who are you to tell someone to get better at "everything" ?