Michigan coach John Beilein was intrigued by the “out of the box” idea to coach the Detroit Pistons but ultimately decided to remain at Michigan, stating “the best thing for me right now is to stay put.’’
Beilein made these comments on the latest NCAA.com March Madness 365 podcast.
“We’ve stayed longer at one place,’’ said Beilein of his 11-year stint at Michigan. “(His wife) Kathleen and I have fallen in love with Ann Arbor...I have a heckuva job. I’ve had two great presidents, both unique, and four incredible athletic directors who have allowed me and our staff to do what we do. Sometimes you don’t want to mess with happy and we’re very happy.’’
Beilein, 65, said the plan is to finish his career at Michigan. He has led the Wolverines to two national title games, the first in 2013 and then last April.
“That’s the plan,’’ Beilein said of staying put. “Plans change. You don’t know what can happen in your life. Kathleen and I just love the University of Michigan, the state of Michigan and the Big Ten and it’s where we feel we were meant to be. I’ll finish up here, sign a nice new contract and finish my career here at Michigan.’’
Beilein said there had been previous interest in the NBA but since he said he doesn’t have an agent, it wasn’t public or didn’t get to the point where it should be public. He said he would be intrigued by it during the playoffs and he would say, “I could do it.’’
“Every college coach would like a shot at it,’’ said Beilein. “But many times we don’t get that opportunity or we don’t care to have that opportunity.’’
Beilein said he believes the reason NBA teams are looking more toward college coaches is not just due to the success of Brad Stevens with the Celtics or Billy Donovan with the Oklahoma City Thunder, but rather the age of the newcomers in the NBA.
“If one and done is gone and 18-year-olds are back in the NBA, then our rosters in college may be older than some NBA teams,’’ Beilein said. “That development part that we are so entrenched in as Division I coaches is probably why we are attractive to some NBA teams. They’re not getting ready made players but have to get them ready.’’
Beilein discussed Charles Matthews’ decision to return to Michigan rather than stay in the draft and said on the podcast how he can improve his shooting while also detailing the number of ball screens he will be involved in next season. He also discussed the returning players as well as newcomers.
“We do like the seven guys coming back as well as the five new freshmen,’’ said Beilein. “Are they going to be Trey Burke good with 15 a game or be more like Mo Wagner or D.J. Wilson and average two a game but still be NBA players.’’
Beilein said the Wolverines will go to Spain this summer and play three to four games. The Wolverines will get 10 extra practices due to the foreign trip. He also broke down the Wolverines’ schedule and said there is a chance Michigan plays South Carolina twice since the Gamecocks return a game to Ann Arbor and Michigan could play South Carolina in the Hall of Fame Classic at the Mohegan Sun (Uncasville, CT). Providence and GW are the other two teams. Michigan has high-profile games in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge and Gavitt Games, hosting North Carolina and going to Villanova in a rematch of the title game. He said the 20-game Big Ten schedule made adding one more brand name non-conference game moot.
Great day to be a Wolverine! pic.twitter.com/CsrpeAJUx3— Moe Wagner (@moritz_weasley) June 6, 2018
“We might have played one more power-five conference team but adding two more games in the Big Ten will give plenty to our strength of schedule for the committee to look at,’’ said Beilein.
St. John’s coach Chris Mullin also joined the podcast and broke down the return of possible preseason Big East player of the year Shamorie Ponds.
Mullin said Ponds will need to be more of a threat without the ball, be more efficient and do a good job of distributing the basketball.
Mullin also discussed the addition of Auburn transfer Mustapha Heron, who like Ponds withdrew from the NBA draft, but then announced he was transferring to St. John’s.
St. John’s is working to gain Heron’s eligibility to play immediately. Mullin said he wanted to be closer to home to be closer to his ill mother. If he’s eligible, Heron could be another strong asset for the Red Storm. Mullin said “He’s very gifted and a strong player.’’
The Red Storm will have seven newcomers and three key returnees with Ponds, Justin Simon and Marvin Clark II. The Red Storm had an erratic season, going 10-4 to start, losing 11 in a row, then shocking Duke at Madison Square Garden before winning at Villanova. St. John’s missed the postseason.
“The first three seasons we had gotten better and this is the year to take a bigger step forward,’’ said Mullin.
The Red Storm will play at Rutgers in the Gavitt Games, play Georgia Tech in Miami, will play Cal at the Barclays Center in the Legends Classic (VCU and Temple are the other two teams) and play at Duke in the non-conference.
Mullin also dove into the topic of the Golden State Warriors and whether or not his era or Run TMC (Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond and himself, Chris Mullin) could have beaten this edition of the Warriors.
“It was a big topic of discussion,’’ Mullin jokingly said among himself, Richmond and Hardaway during the Houston series in the Western Conference finals. “When it was Steph (Curry), Klay (Thompson) and Draymond (Green) we could handle that. We could put Tim on the post on Steph. Mitch could get Klay in foul trouble and I could do my thing. But once you throw KD (Kevin Durant) into the mix, a 7-foot phenom scorer from 3, from the post, from the mid-post or off the dribble then that’s it. We got no shot. It’s all over. We don’t even kid anymore. They’re a dynasty.’’