Tuesday, April 17, 2007

"No Legion for Beilein"


The first major blip in John Beilein's coaching tenure as Michigan basketball coach occurred Monday when star recruit Alex Legion decided to back out of his commitment to become a Wolverine.

Except this one can't be blamed on Beilein. In fact, the only person it can be put on is Tommy Amaker, who is now teaching Harvard students how to play basketball (I think).

Not even Legion can be blamed. Sources say he's now looking at Connecticut, UCLA, Kentucky and Kansas. In the past nine years those schools have won two national titles and made the Final Four six times - and if you go back three additional years, you can add two national titles (won by Kentucky in 1996 and '98). Michigan hasn't made the NCAA tournament since 1998.

What's confusing is why Legion committed to Michigan in the first place. He actually committed, decommitted, recommitted last summer... and now has decommitted again. I know - a lot of M's and T's. Did Amaker tell him Michigan would be his team? Did Amaker promise him 20 shots a game?

Who knows what Amaker told him?

What can be taken from this is that Beilein isn't going to change his system for anybody. And possibly as a result, big-name, only-stay-a-year recruits will stay away from Ann Arbor.

If you look at all of Beilein's "star" players from his tenure at West Virginia - especially from 2005 when he took the Mountaineers to the Elite Eight - none of them were future NBA studs. None of them were picked in the NBA Draft.

Kevin Pittsnogle, West Virginia's most crowned player, wasn't even selected in last year's draft after four impressive years in Morgantown, and played this past year in the CBA.

Despite the wealth of talent in Michigan, don't be surprised if many of Michigan's recruits are low-profile guys. Players who might not be going to the NBA after college. But players who can shoot the 3-pointer, are unselfish, and will stay four years.

If Beilein puts together enough of those players, he won't have to worry about losing studs like Legion.

A team of good players with impressive chemistry will almost always run over a team with a couple big names trying to do their own thing.

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