Q&A: Michigan basketball commit Max Bielfeldt thinks he can help the Wolverines next season
Max Bielfeldt capped the Michigan basketball recruiting class for next season when he accepted the Wolverines’ offer on Friday.
Illinois and Michigan were the only Big Ten schools to offer him scholarships. For a while, it appeared Bielfeldt might pick the Illini because his family has strong ties to the school.
Eventually, he decided Michigan was a better fit for him. Bielfeldt, a 6-foot-8 forward from Peoria, Ill., took time Friday evening to talk about his potential role next season, the recruitment process and he even offered a potential wrinkle in John Beilein's offense for 2011-12.
Q: What attracted you to Michigan over Illinois and Michigan in general? Max Bielfeldt: It wasn’t one big thing, but it was a lot of little things. I really enjoyed my visit up there, got along with the players and the coaching staff, and I liked the campus as well.
Q: You’ve been around Illinois forever with your family ties and that nature. Was it the need for something different or did that not play a factor? MB: I don’t think it was too much of a factor. I really tried to look at it where I think I’d be most successful. With family ties and everything, it was hard to say no to Illinois, but I think I made the right choice.
Q: When did you actually make your decision? MB: Thursday night.
Q: Were you going back and forth a lot or was it the official visit (to Michigan)? MB: It was a tough decision. I kind of got all the information I needed to make my decision. I was leaning toward Michigan and when I went on the official that really, it made me a little bit (more sure) but making the decision (Thursday) was the toughest, because it’s been close the whole time.
Q: Who was the toughest person to tell you weren’t going to go to Illinois? MB: Probably Coach (Bruce) Weber. My family really was supporting me in whatever I did, but I never like to disappoint people. Sometimes, you kind of have to.
Q: What did (John) Beilein or (Bacari) Alexander tell you about what your role might be and where you might fit in at Michigan? MB: They told me it really kind of depends on how I develop over the summer. So much changes over the summer. You look at high school seniors and then look at them freshman year and they are totally different with their bodies. So I think right now they like me playing the four and, depending how I develop, they said I might play a little five as well.
Q: Where do you feel the most comfortable in their offense and defense? MB: Their four spot. They said next year they are thinking about running a little bit more two-post stuff. I think either one, they are kind of similar to us with the offense. If I can develop my game a little bit over the summer, I think I’d be comfortable at either one.
Q: When did they start showing interest in you and when did you reciprocate that? MB: I think late January, early February, somewhere in that time that they showed interest. At that time I only had mid-major offers and Illinois wasn’t really in the picture with just preferred walk-on status, so I was definitely really interested.
Q: How would you describe your game? MB: I like going back to the basket and maybe a little short corner. When I need to, I can step out and shoot, too. I’m going to look to do that a little bit more on the college level, too. In high school, I wasn’t really finding myself having much of a need to. I did it more in AAU because guys were a lot bigger, but in high school I was relatively inside because that was where I was more effective.
Q: Where do you think you need to get better? Like in order to play, I need to improve X? MB: There are a couple things. There’s no question to become a college player you have to get stronger, because the Big Ten is so physical and faster as well. I don’t think there’s one part of my game that doesn’t need to develop. But the most, I’d probably say ball-handling and taking guys off the dribble.
Q: In talking to different people, they’ve always commented on your rebounding. Is that something you’ve had a knack for or did you really have to work on it? MB: I think I have kind of had a knack for it. I have to give credit to my high school coaches and stuff. We did a lot of rebounding and it made me better. But I would say I have a little bit of a knack for that.