UM coach Beilein undergoes heart surgery

By Blake Froling

University of Michigan men’s basketball coach John Beilein underwent successful double bypass surgery, according to a university release. 

Beilein, 65, will be in the hospital for a few more days before returning home to recover. Assistant coach Saddi Washington will coach the team in place of Beilein during their upcoming trip to Italy. 

“Coach Beilein underwent a two-vessel coronary bypass graft surgery Monday morning,” said Francis D. Pagani, M.D., Ph.D., the doctor who performed Beilein’s surgery, in a statement. “The procedure is designed to improve blood flow to the heart, by taking a healthy artery or vein from another part of the body and grafting it to the obstructed coronary artery. The operation went well, and we expect him to make a full recovery and be back to his usual activities within a few weeks.”

“I feel grateful and blessed that this surgery was performed at the University of Michigan,” Beilein said in the statement. “Kathleen, and our family appreciate all of the world-class care that was provided for us. Dr. Kim Eagle, Dr. Francis Pagani, Dr. Stanley Chetcuti and all of their staffs at the Frankel Cardiovascular Center are so talented and performed like champions over this past week. I am going to work very hard in my rehabilitation to be stronger than ever by the time practice begins for this upcoming season.”

Photo by Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images

Beilein: Offer from Pistons would have been tough decision

Associated Press

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — John Beilein said he was never offered the Detroit Pistons’ coaching job.

“I never really had to make the decision,” the Michigan coach said. “That would have been a tough one.”

Beilein is now looking ahead to another season of college basketball after briefly emerging as a candidate for the Pistons. Not long after the news broke about Beilein’s talks with Detroit, he said he would be back at Michigan. The Pistons eventually hired Dwane Casey earlier this month.

On Tuesday, Beilein held a news conference to talk about the offseason. He led Michigan to the national title game this year before falling to Villanova, so the possibility of losing Beilein to the NBA was a jolt to Wolverines fans.

Mark J. Terrill/AP

“I was not offered the job by the Pistons,” Beilein said. “We certainly had some mutual interest. I think they had a great candidate in Dwane Casey.”

Beilein said he was intrigued by the possibility of coaching in the game’s top league.

“I love coaching basketball a lot, and you’re watching the NBA playoffs, and you’re seeing what guys are doing, and you’re looking, like, they’re running stuff that we run,” Beilein said. “I don’t know if they watched us or I watched them. You can see, boy, if you have really highly skilled players — [Boston Celtics coach] Brad Stevens kept telling me, ‘I’m having a blast.’ When you hear those words, and your season’s over — so that was appealing.”

With the Pistons’ search behind him, Beilein can prepare for the 2018-19 season with the Wolverines. Michigan announced Tuesday that the team will go on a tour of Spain from Aug. 17 to Aug. 26 that will include exhibition games.

The Wolverines lost star big man Moe Wagner early to the NBA, but some key players return from what was one of the best defensive teams in the nation. Charles Matthews, Zavier Simpson, Jordan Poole and Isaiah Livers will be joined by what is expected to be a strong group of new recruits.

So Beilein has plenty to look forward to at the college level, and he indicated there might not be any more flirtations with the NBA.

“I think that I ran that race, and you can’t run that race too many times,” he said. “I don’t know what I would have done, but I was really impressed with everybody in that organization, and I’ll be rooting for them like I always have.”

The other intriguing bit of recent news that at least partially involved the Michigan basketball program was Chris Webber’s appearance with Wolverines football coach Jim Harbaugh on Ann Arbor’s WTKA radio last week. Harbaugh asked Webber to be an honorary captain for the football team next season, and Webber sounded amenable to the idea.

A return to Ann Arbor by Webber — even if it’s for football — would be a big deal. He led the Michigan basketball team to the Final Four in 1992 and 1993, but a federal investigation revealed that a booster gave Webber and three other players more than $600,000 while they were student-athletes, and the NCAA forced the school to dissociate from them until 2013.

“There was five or six years where I was limited what I could say about that era. Since the ban’s been off, I’ve reached out to Chris several times,” Beilein said. “I continue to do that, and we’re going to continue to try and build bridges and just really work at making sure there’s a lot of healing going forward.

“I want every player that ever played here to feel like he’s a part of that building, including Chris and anyone else.”

http://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/23919902/michigan-coach-john-beilein-says-was-never-offered-detroit-pistons-job

Spanish soccer player draws inspiration from…Michigan basketball?

ESPN Staff

Spain defender Gerard Pique cited an odd precedent for Spain’s World Cup hopes in the wake of firing their coach on the eve of the tournament — University of Michigan basketball.

The Spanish federation on Wednesday decided to sack coach Julen Lopetegui after he agreed to take over as manager of Real Madrid once the World Cup ended.

The move has threatened to push the team into turmoil just two days before their opener against Portugal, but Pique found inspiration in American college basketball.

“University of Michigan. Basketball. 1989. NCAA Champion. It wouldn’t be the first time it happened,” Pique wrote on Twitter. “All together, now more than ever.”

Almost 30 years ago, Michigan faced nearly the same situation as Spain when coach Bill Frieder announced before the NCAA tournament that he would leave after the season to take over Arizona State.

Michigan decided to fire Frieder immediately and promoted assistant coach Steve Fisher, who led the 3-seeded Wolverines to the national title.

“I don’t want someone from Arizona State coaching the Michigan team,” athletic director Bo Schembechler famously said of his decision. “A Michigan man is going to coach Michigan.”

Spain replaced Lopetegui with sporting director Fernando Hierro, who said he hopes to change as little as possible within the team as they prepare to face Portugal, Iran and Morocco in Group B.

Former Spain great Xavi Hernandez said he believed the national federation made the right move.

“I think [federation president Luis] Rubiales acted correctly and was looking out for the federation, which should be above any single individual,” Hernandez told Marca. “It wasn’t an easy situation but I think he did the right thing. The players have seen things like this before and I am sure they are going to have a good World Cup.”

http://www.espn.com/soccer/spain/story/3524899/gerard-pique-draws-inspiration-from-michigan-basketball-after-spain-fire-coach

Mock draft roundup for Bridges, Jackson, Wagner

By Blake Froling

The NBA Finals aren’t technically over yet, but we’re already turning our attention to the NBA Draft, coming up June 21. Everywhere you look, someone has a new “Mock Draft 27.5” that promises “big changes at the top!”

Instead of making you sift through dozens of websites just to find the players you care about, I decided to do the work for you. The three players we are really interested in are Michigan State’s Jaren Jackson Jr. and Miles Bridges and Michigan’s Moe Wagner. The rest is just filler.

Here is what some of the “experts” are saying about these local stars in their latest mock drafts.

Jaren Jackson Jr.

Unsurprisingly, Jackson’s draft stock is by far the highest of the three. He’s been consistently hovering around the 2-5 range since he officially declared for the draft. Teams love Jackson’s defensive prowess and inside-outside offensive game. Plus, he’s not even 19 years old yet and has barely scratched the surface of his true potential.

CBS Sports – No. 5 (Dallas Mavericks)

Gobs of upside here. Going to Dallas would allow him the room to grow but also get playing time fairly immediately.

Sports Illustrated – No. 3 (Atlanta Hawks)

He possesses a critical duality for modern bigs: he can step out and shoot from outside, while also defending in space and protecting the rim. Jackson needs to mature physically and mentally before he can become a mainstay, but with the strides he’s made over the last couple years, he’s worth a substantial investment.

Bleacher Report – No. 5 (Dallas Mavericks)

Jackson averaged 5.5 blocks and 2.0 threes per 40 minutes during his lone season at Michigan State, which is a rare, valued mix of abilities. The Mavericks will be thrilled with that skill set and can bet on the rest of his offensive repertoire to develop over the next few years.

Miles Bridges

After returning for his sophomore season, Bridges’ stock has remained pretty much the same. He was never projected as a top-five pick and he likely won’t last past the lottery. Bridges’ fit in the NBA will be different than at Michigan State. Instead of being criticized for not taking over games and settling for 3-pointers, Bridges’ value will be directly tied to how well he hits threes and he won’t be asked to take over games yet.

Teams love wing prospects who can shoot, rebound a little and play some defense. Bridges fits the mold. His ceiling might not be as high as Jackson, but his floor is that of a solid role player.

CBS Sports – No. 14 (Denver Nuggets)

I think he falls to 14 due to players ahead of him offering up a bit more well-rounded, NBA-style skills. This is not a knock on Bridges, though, who if anything might be a tad underrated at this point.

Sports Illustrated – No. 11 (Charlotte Hornets)

Bridges immediately makes their rotation more athletic, and has enough scoring ability to conceivably contribute right away. He’s a strong, powerful player who rebounds, thrives in transition and can knock down open shots.

Bleacher Report – No. 11 (Charlotte Hornets)

Bridges should be a draft-night target for the Hornets, who need offense from both forward spots. He would work best as a small-ball stretch 4 alongside Dwight Howard, though continued progress on his shot-creating and off-the-dribble scoring should mean Bridges could also play next to Marvin Williams.

Moe Wagner

Wagner made nice strides in his game this season, but what you see is what you get. Many experts think he’s pretty close to his ceiling right now. Good shooter, not so good defender. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though. Shooting big men are all the rage in the NBA. Wagner will likely find a home somewhere in the second round or late first.

CBS Sports – No. 36 (New York Knicks)

The vision of a Wagner-Porzingis international team-up playing in Manhattan seems like a ton of fun.

Sports Illustrated – No. 37 (Sacramento Kings)

Bleacher Report – No. 29 (Brooklyn Nets)

The Nets could use a big man to stretch the floor, which will be Wagner’s NBA calling card. He struggles defensively, but his shooting (39.4 3FG%) and ability to attack closeouts are valued in today’s NBA.