Since Michigan's season ended in mid-March, there has been a lot of attrition in John Beilein’s basketball program.
In the past few weeks alone, fan favorite, Spike Albrecht announced his intention to pursue a fifth-year of eligibility elsewhere after missing most of his senior season due to rehabbing his two hips from offseason hip surgeries.
And just days after Albrecht’s announcement, sophomore forward Ricky Doyle announced his transfer from the program after being relegated to Michigan’s bench this past season and playing marginal minutes.
Lastly, on Tuesday, sophomore Aubrey Dawkins capped off U-M’s transfer whirlwind, deciding to go play for his father, Johnny Dawkins, who took over as South Florida’s coach last week.
But even with the all the movement in and out of his program, Beilein still remains optimistic about U-M’s direction heading into next seaosn.
“With those two (Doyle, Dawkins) transferring, we’ll have all five starters back,” Beilein said. “At one time we thought we would have everybody back. But we’ll at least have starters back and some bench players, and that’s some great stuff to work with moving forward.”
Adding: “I love our ’16 class that is coming in. We are open to any possibilities coming forward now.”
What does he mean by “possibilities” exactly?
Well, Beilein is referring to his options of taking on a new scholarship. Michigan went from 13 to 12 with the departure of Dawkins. So now U-M is looking for its 13th man.
And when Albrecht announced his decision to play for a fifth year, at the time, Michigan wasn’t an option. Beilein had no scholarships to give. Albrecht was told to pursue his fifth year elsewhere. Why? Beilein didn’t plan on Albrecht coming back for his fifth year and has Ohio’s Mr. Basketball Xavier Simpson coming in next year to replace him.
Since then, times have changed.
Now Michigan has an open scholarship. So has Beilein changed his mind on Albrecht?
“I think anything is possible right now, we’re going to look at the options that we have,” Beilein said when asked if Albrecht could comeback for his fifth year at U-M.
“… Now it’s like, ‘Ok, let’s look at all of our options and see what we can (do), what does the team need?’ Number one -- what do we need to do to plug some of the gaps that we have? So we have some interesting questions that we have to answer.”
“I can’t give you all those right now.”
Michigan finished 23-13 in 2015-16, and at times looked over matched against premium opponents. So whoever they do add for their last scholarship will need to address some needs, says Beilein.
“If you looked at our team this year, there was some things in scoring, things in passing, things in defense that we need very badly,” Beilein said. “And if we can find that, however we find that, we’re going to find that. Or we put it into the ’17 class. We have a lot of options.”
With the loss of Doyle and Dawkins, is there more change in the cards for Michigan?
“I don’t for see it,” Beilein said of more attrition this off-season. “But I would not be surprised. Things change so quickly. So we’ll just watch it and see what happens. But as you see, it’s in the middle of it right now. I don’t know who came up with the 40 percent transfer rate, you can see it happening throughout our league like crazy. So it could happen. But I don’t expect it right now.”
Although, Beilein was quick to add what happened the last time Michigan lost multiple players to transfer.
“The last time we had three transfers, the following year we went to the national championship game. And the following year we won the Big Ten championship,” Beilein said. “Sometimes it works out well for everyone. It really does. Teams can retool themselves and the young man has a chance to redshirt and move on and have a really good year.”