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September 05, 2007 - Image 15

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-09-05

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Transition time for 'M'.

I )I Wednesday, September 5, 2007 -15A
Beilein, students try
to get on same page

By MARK GIANNOTTO
Daily Sports Writer
Moving in each fall can be the most aggravat-
ing of activities for a college student. There's so
much to do and not enough time to do it.
Michigan basketball coach John Beilein can
relate to the hustle and bustle around campus
over the past week. After being announced as
Tommy Amaker's replacement last April, Beilein
and his family just moved into a new home in
Ann Arbor two weeks ago.
That doesn't mean Beilein was commuting
from Morgantown, W.Va. - where he coached
West Virginia for the past five seasons.
"It was a long transition from the standpoint
that usually for a basketball coach the family is
second in these transitions," said Beilein fromhis
office at Weidenbach Hall last week. "You spend
your time at your new place, and in August, you
try to get everyone back together. Every transi-
tion is difficult and this one is similar. With that
being said I love the sense of commitment that I
believe is here. We're making subtle little chang-
es and hoping to make major changes."
Some of those minor alterations were to Crisler
Arena, which had a new floor, an improved sound
system and better lighting installed over the
summer.
A major change is this year's schedule - to the
dismay of Beilein.
After being criticized for playing a soft non-
conference schedule last season, the Wolver-
ines have arguably the toughest schedule in the
nation.
In addition to an l8-game Big Ten conference
slate, up from 16 last year, Michigan plays Boston

College and UCLA at home and faces George-
town and Duke on the road. There is also atrip to
the Great Alaska Shootout during Thanksgiving,
where the Wolverines face Butler in the opening
round and could potentially face Gonzaga and
Texas Tech. The schedule also includes a trip to
Boston to face Harvard, Amaker's new coaching
post.
"This schedule may be the toughest schedule
Michigan has ever played," Beilein said. "And yet
we have one of the youngest teams we've ever
had. So our students and our fans have to look
at and watch the progress of this team. But it's
going to be bumpy with the inexperience and the
schedule."
This is nothing new for Beilein. Last season,
his West Virginia team was equally inexperi-
enced but ended up overachieving in a big way,
winningthe NIT.
In the Mountaineers first game last season,
they narrowly defeated Mount St. Mary's while
scoring just 50 points. Afterward, Beilein got a
frustrated phone call.
"One of our big boosters, he called me after
that game and he said, 'I think you are only going
to win one game, and that was just it.' We ended
up having a great year, but the schedule was
nowhere near what we inherited here."
Michigan has nine underclassmen on its roster
and just one senior who saw significant playing
time last season (Ron Coleman).
Because of NCAA rules, though, Beilein has
had almost no time to interact with any of his
players on the court. Yesterday was the first time
since April he could practice individually with
players.
The inability to practice has slowed Beilein and

Michigan men's basketball coach John Beilein must
deal with a tough schedule and a lack of fan support.
his new staff on the recruiting front, too. While
it was active during the July recruiting period,
Michigan was unable to offer many scholarships
because of Beilein's limited knowledge about his
current talent.
But the move to Ann Arbor hasn't eliminated
his love of the 3-point line. When asked to iden-
tify an area of need in upcoming years, Beilein
didn'thesitate to saythe team wants more shoot-
ers - especially since the college 3-point line will
be moving back in 2008.
"Trying to guess what position we need (shoot-
ers at)has beenthe biggestchallenge, Beilein said.
"That's why we're laying low in recruiting. We're
still trying to figure out what we have before we
go much further."

By DAN FELDMAN
Daily Sports Writer
Aframed photo ofthe Maize Rage
leaned on the floor against the wall
in a corner of Michigan coach John
Beilein's office late last June. It's the
perfect place for the men's basket-
ball student section to be displayed
- established, but not yet venerated.
In the post-Tommy Amaker era,
Beilein has his work cut out for him
in order to regain the support ofstu-
dents for the basketball program.
The bleachers were noticeably less
full last season than previous years
under Amaker. And a second-half
collapse against Iowa in January
really put the Maize and Blue faith-
ful in a tailspin.
"I think the crowd is just basical-
ly looking for anything to cheer for
right now," Maize Rage president
Steve Wolters said. "They're look-
ing for little things to get excited
about."
And that's all they may get.Beilein
stressed his team is very young and
fans should come to games because
it will be interesting to see the team
develop. He wants fans to have a
vested interestin doingso.
"We want the students to come
and see their friends play, not to see

the team come play," Beilein said.
Wolters met with Beilein dur-
ing the summer to discuss gameday
enhancements. Ideas such as stage
smoke machines, turning the lights
off for introductions and a pizza
dinner for Maize Ragers before
weekday games were thrown out.
Wolters said Beilein would push for
every idea, no matter how far out-
side the box.
"He's not going to be one of those
quiet soldiers," Wolters said. "He's
going to go out there and fight for
what he needs to get the basketball
program back on the map."
Beilein isn't exactly sure which
changes he will support. Obviously,
he is primarily concerned with mak-
ing his team better, but improving
the Crisler Arena environment is
another of his goals.
"You hear all about the Duke
crowds," Beilein said. "We can cre-
ate similar atmospheres here, with-
out question."
Amaker, who spent nine years
under Coach K at Duke, worked
hard to do just that. Duke's Cameron
Crazies are famous for being next to
the court, and when Amaker came to
Ann Arbor, he pushed for courtside
bleachers for the students. Beilein is
trying to follow the same model.

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07 01 ,a

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