The Wolverine

December 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 40 of 67

DECEMBER 2018 THE WOLVERINE 41 me way back, 'He's strong. He's just strong.'" Brazdeikis became strong for Michigan not only because he liked Beilein's offense, but also due to the genuineness he perceived in a coach for whom Stauskas vouched. "He stood out to me the most, by far," Brazdeikis said of Beilein. "He would talk to me, not as if he's a coach, but as a friend and a mentor. I really trusted him right away. "He's exactly the same as he is now. That's one thing I love about him. Ev- erything he said, everything he told me, is the same. He's just an honest guy. He never lied, and I felt like I could trust him." NO BACKING DOWN Brazdeikis draws words of assur- ance and caution from teammates. Ju- nior center Jon Teske noted the fresh- man can be a presence from day one of the season. "He'll be able to help us right away," Teske said. "With his physi- cality, he's able to get to the rim. You don't see that a whole lot in a fresh- man. With Iggy, you do. "He's able to finish around the rim and find the open guy too. I love play- ing with him and being his teammate, so I don't have to play against him." At the same time, Poole warns against expecting the world as a fresh- man. He's been there and needed to learn some patience along the way. "Going from being the guy in high school, you want to be the guy in col- lege," the sophomore said. "With so- cial media, people blow everything up now. "It's a long season. There are going to be ups and downs. As long as you stay level-headed and have fun with it, it will definitely be a positive out- come." Brazdeikis himself stands ready to battle. He gladly grabbed the vacated jersey of fellow import Moe Wagner, undaunted by expectations. "I wanted that pressure, actually," he said. "I like pressure. If there's no pressure, there's no diamond. Putting that pressure on me will make me even better. I'm just super excited to take that challenge on." He also appreciated the edge in- volved in the Michigan-Michigan State football showdown this fall. An intense and emotional player on the court, Brazdeikis quickly soaked up a sense of the rivalry when the Wolver- ines and Spartans square off. "That's the kind of environment I love to play in," he said. "What Chase [Winovich] was saying after the game and all that stuff, I love it. I'm inspired by that game and the rivalry. I'm re- ally excited to join that." That's not all he's excited about, af- ter watching every second of Michi- gan's run to the title game last spring. "The way Coach B coaches, we're a March team," Brazdeikis said. "I defi- nitely see our team going very deep into the tournament." ❏ John Beilein Has Guided Five-Star Freshmen To Success John Beilein has made a name identifying and developing players who haven't topped the nation in prep hype. Trey Burke certainly qualifies, going from one-time Rivals three-star to consensus Na- tional Player of the Year. Beilein's coaching acumen also draws talent recognized by more people. Freshman Ignas Brazdeikis represents the third Rivals five- star to perform for the Wolverines under the respected head coach. Here's a look at what the other two did in their freshman seasons under Beilein: Glenn Robinson III, 2012-13 — Robinson rolled into town with Beilein's most lauded recruiting aggregation, a crew that helped the Wolverines all the way to the national title game as freshmen. Robinson, the nation's No. 11 prospect, made the Big Ten Coaches' All-Freshman Team, starting all 39 games in a 31-8 campaign. He averaged 11.0 points and 5.4 rebounds per game, shooting 57.2 percent from the floor and 32.4 percent from three-point range. Robinson played a career-high 42 minutes in Michigan's thriller of an overtime win against Kansas to propel the Wolverines to the NCAA championship game. Zak Irvin, 2013-14 — Irvin wound up performing in 142 career Michigan games, tied for the most in U-M history, in part because of the success of the squads on which he played. Coming right behind the vaunted Class of 2012, Rivals' No. 24 prep senior in the country became a complementary piece of an Elite Eight squad in his freshman year, coming off the bench in all 37 games of a 28-9 season as Michigan's sixth man. He helped the Wolverines win their first outright league champi- onship in 28 years, averaging 6.7 points per game as a rookie. Of his 85 field goals on the year, 73 percent (62) came from beyond the three-point arc. — John Borton Former five-star recruit Glenn Robinson III averaged 11.0 points and 5.4 rebounds per game in his first year on campus while helping the Wolverines to the national championship game. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolverine - December 2018