More shooting help is on the way for the Michigan basketball program in 2008. First John Beilein added shooting touch in the frontcourt with Syracuse, New York center Ben Cronin. Then he plucked 6-2,180-pound sharpshooter Stuart Douglass out of Carmel, Indiana. This weekend he harvested another Hoosier State marksman in Chesterton, IN G/F Zach Novak.
“Coach Beilein offered me a scholarship and I accepted,” said Novak. “I made the commitment on Friday with my dad and Coach Mahoney there too.”
Novak made his way to Ann Arbor Thursday evening, and it didn’t take long for him to start feeling like part of the family.
“What I liked most about the visit was campus and the people,” Novak said. “Everyone is so down the earth. They made me feel at home. I felt comfortable and excited. I really liked the players. Laval Lucas-Perry was my host and he was telling me how he felt that it was a good time for me to come. He said he felt like the program was going in the right direction.
The Wolverines moved on Novak at a time when his recruitment appeared to be picking up momentum. Valparaiso had stepped forward with an offer, Rick Majerus was seemingly on the verge of extending one on Saint Louis’ behalf as well, and he had been receiving increasing interest from Purdue, Iowa, Northwestern, Ball State, Dayton and Bradley. When Novak took into account how comfortable he was with the Michigan family and combined that with the style of play in Ann Arbor, Beilein’s offer was too much to pass up.
“I feel like I am going to fit right in with this offense because it's the same one I ran in high school,” he said. “But I know I still have to work hard. Nothing was promised to me. I still have to work hard to get playing time. I feel like I will really help the team as another person that can shoot it.”
Novak is already looking ahead to the time when he will don the Maize & Blue. His high school squad was eliminated from the playoffs last week in a thriller. After trailing 48-39 at halftime, Novak’s Chesterton team stormed back with a fourth quarter onslaught. The future Wolverine scored 11 points in the final stanza, three of which came on a triple with 57 seconds left to tie the score. Down two with seconds remaining on the clock, Novak once again launched the three-pointer, but this time it was off the mark and Chesterton fell to Crown Point, 64-62. Novak finished with 27 points.
“I’m very excited about coming to the University of Michigan,” Novak said. “I can’t wait. After the commitment my dad and I were really excited that it was over. I really feel like I’m going into a great situation.”