With the exception of Jay Bilas, and Alex Legion, everyone else is praising the move by Michigan to hire Beilein. An interesting selection of comments about the coach:
"I think Tommy Amaker inherited one of the most difficult programs certainly that we've had at Michigan. I think he conducted himself well. He's a first class individual, and a guy that I think will have outstanding success before he's done. I think he brought the program a long long way. I think he brought kids in here that represented the university well. So I think John is inheriting a program that is not far away. If you look at some of the things that Tommy has done, and the guys that are here, some of the young kids that are returning, and hopefully be able to keep the three commitments that Tommy had – I think that he's walking into a program that is much much stronger than it was when Tommy came in." -- Lloyd Carr
I had an opportunity to talk with John last Friday and I've watched his teams over the course of the last two or three years, and I think he brings an outstanding enthusiasm to the game. And certainly what he's been able to do in his career, he's got a great background, and from every source, he's a great teacher of the game. I think he's going to do a great job here." -- Lloyd Carr
Sports Illustrated named Beilein as the 11th, 12th or 13th top NCAA men's basketball coach in Stewart Mandel's ranking of the top 10 college coaches. The list of the top ten and "just missed" includes Izzo, Matta, Beilein and Bo Ryan -- that's 4 of the top 13 coaches from the Big 10. The next closest number of coaches for any one conference is two.
One of the paid recruitniks really likes Beilein a lot. The guy interviewed covers West Virginia recruiting. By these comments, you'd think he might be related to Beilein:
He's the best coach in America. His legacy is this: For 25 years there's been no basketball [in West Virginia], except for one Sweet 16. For 20-25 years you lost a generation of fans. He did a good job with attendance. He built up the schedule, played UCLA and Oklahoma. He's had more trouble versus teams who've played his style . . . He's probably the best shooting coach in America. He rebuilt the fan base and the interest level. People loved his team. There never was a hint of impropriety. His weakness is that he's too hard on himself. . . . The media say he's too tight. He's completely honest and sometimes his team is uptight . . . .He's the same type of coach as Wisconsin's coach (Bo Ryan) . . . He'll be very much like Tom Izzo, John Thompson III and Bo Ryan.
And, he says Beilein will recruit well:
He saw an opportunity at Michigan. A national school filled with doctors and lawyers. He can consistently get great players at every position. There's a lot of concern about him recruiting Flint and Detroit. He'll go to Catholic schools in Detroit and Chicago and be able to recruit regionally. He's gotten kids from the Northeast and New Jersey and Washington D.C. He was beating out Maryland and Georgetown. He had a fairly good base in Florida. At West Virginia he didn't touch junior colleges. He didn't play the AAU game."
The nets and papers are full of comments that Beilein runs a very clean and very ethical program (he does sit on an NCAA ethics board). It's not too surprising, then, that he didnt' play the "AAU game" at West Virginia. The "AAU game" is pretty slimy. It's also pretty significant. It may even be more significant to Alex Legion, whose guardian was also his AAU coach, Tim Green. I'll have some more comments later about AAU and recruiting in general, but in the meantime check out this must read from mogoblog regarding Legion from last year.