Renovated Michigan basketball program sparks hoops revival

Mike DeCourcy on the Michigan resurgence

This is not a class that demands a nickname of its own, or someone else’s modified to fit the circumstance. It is transformational, though, for Beilein’s Michigan. When he was hired away from West Virginia, some analysts blasted the choice on the basis he would be either unable or unwilling to recruit elite talent.

“I think it’s understandable people would think that,” Beilein says. “I think Da’Sean Butler was the only top-100 player we had at West Virginia, and he was 99 or something.

“I realized at West Virginia it wasn’t the end-all. You could still win. But one of the attractions about Michigan was I thought you could recruit really high-level student-athletes. They had a history of winning national championships and going to Final Fours. I really felt if given this opportunity and this environment, it was a situation where I would be able to recruit those guys. I didn’t think it would define me, but I thought there was an opportunity.”

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