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Posted on Mon, Dec 21, 2009 : 6:43 p.m.

Walk-on Eric Puls leaves Michigan basketball for engineering

By Michael Rothstein

Redshirt sophomore forward Eric Puls has left the Michigan basketball team, Michigan coach John Beilein said Monday.

The reason, though, has nothing to do with playing time or anything team-related for the walk-on. Puls will stay at Michigan and focus on finishing his engineering degree in four years instead of five.

"The only reason he has to take five years to get his engineering degree is because of practice," Beilein said. "He can't get the classes he needs between 2 and 6 (p.m.). He has to practice.

"I thought it was the right decision for him although we'll miss him and he's really been a very, very important part of this team even though it wouldn't show up in the box score. But what a wonderful kid."

By doing this, Puls, who was paying his own way, has a chance to graduate in four years. 

The Alpena native played in two games this season, grabbing one rebound. A year ago, he played in 11 games and averaged 1.2 points and .2 rebounds.

The departure brings Michigan's roster to 15 players, including current walk-on guard Josh Bartelstein and walk-on-turned-scholarship player Eso Akunne. Beilein, too, didn't rule out the possibility of adding another walk-on before the year is over.

"It's possible," Beilein said. "Right now an injury or something else could happen."

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.



Tue, Dec 22, 2009 : 5:59 p.m.

All due respect to Ralph Stepaniak, but Butch Feher was after Ralph and had a better athletic career. Dan Rohn did okay as well.


Mon, Dec 21, 2009 : 10:28 p.m.

Hmmm,I don't think I ever turn down the option of donning the maize uniform, but to one his own. Michigan videos


Mon, Dec 21, 2009 : 8:12 p.m.

Eric Puls is the best athlete to come out of Alpena since Ralph Stepaniak came out of Alpena Catholic. Stepaniak started in the ND defensive backfield in the early 70's. He is third in career interceptions for ND. Ralph was the Class C 440 state champ in 1968. Stepaniak was a 7th round draft pick of the Buffalo Bills. Stepaniak returned to Alpena where he became a succesful businessman and a pillar in the community. Puls majoring in engineering will graduate from Michigan and most likely be as successful as Stepaniak in the business world.