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Change surrounds UM’s Beilein going into offseason

Kevin Santo
Special to The Detroit News

Michigan coach John Beilein stood at the podium in Crisler Center for the Michigan men’s basketball team’s season-concluding banquet, imploring the crowd to give a standing ovation to every member of the team’s staff — ranging from student managers to assistant coaches.

But then he made a transition.

“What this is really about is this team,” Beilein said. “And these two seniors.”

Beilein continued: “We know Jordan Morgan and Glen Rice have the record for 104 wins. And we said all right — I had no idea — how many did Spike and Caris win just being on the team? And it was 98. They’re six shy of the all-time record. I know there’s seven more wins in there somewhere.”

Yet those seven wins will likely never come. It is certain that one half of the duo will be gone next year, as senior guard Caris LeVert awaits the NBA draft in June.

And though senior guard Spike Albrecht has another year of eligibility left, it seems unlikely he will spend a fifth year in Ann Arbor.

“I haven't really reached out to anyone,” Albrecht said. “I don't know if Coach (Beilein), if he's heard. Right now I think the biggest thing is just finishing up with school, I've got another doctor's appointment, and I'm really not going to make any decisions before I finish up with those things."

During his media availability before the banquet, Beilein didn’t rule Albrecht returning. He revealed he has talked openly with Albrecht about the scholarship situation, but he is also considering options elsewhere.

Beilein also addressed the new vacancy on his coaching staff, left by former assistant coach LaVall Jordan’s move to Milwaukee.

He emphasized he is taking his time with the new coaching hire — stating that the decision likely won’t be made until May. Regardless of the timetable for Beilein’s decision, a number of candidates have contacted him about the opportunity.

“Every university historically, (this) used to be a rush decision. The history of background checks on every guy — I don’t care who it is, it could be the Pope — that could come here and may take 72 hours to a week to get an OK,” Beilein said. “… Measure twice and you only have to cut once. That’s what I’m trying to do in this situation as well.

“… I found out one thing, too many people have my cell phone number,” Beilein said. “I found that out quickly in this process.”

It has been six years since Beilein has needed to recruit a coach to join his staff in Ann Arbor, and that has led to the biggest challenge he’s facing — acclimating, once again, to the recruiting and hiring process.

But more than anything, the man at the helm simply wants the opportunity to watch the candidates coach.

“I want to make sure that we get the right guy for what we need right now, at this time,” Beilein said.

It will be an offseason of change for Beilein. He needs to fill a coaching vacancy, deal with the offseason attrition and likely watch both of the seniors honored on Wednesday night leave Ann Arbor for good.

Wolverines postseason awards

Team MVP: Zak Irvin

Rudy Tomjanovich Most Improved Player Award: Muhammad-Ali Abdur Rahkman

Thad Garner Leadership Award: Zak Irvin

Sixth Man Award: Aubrey Dawkins

Steve Grote Hustle Award: Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman

Gary Grant Award for Most Assists: Derrick Walton Jr.

Iron Man Award: Zak Irvin

Outstanding Defensive Player Award: Derrick Walton Jr.

Rebounding Award: Derrick Walton Jr.

Sportsmanship Award: Sean Lonergan

Academic Achievement Award: Sean Lonergan

Kevin Santo is a freelance writer.