Byrd Has Blast in Ann Arbor

Blackhawk Christian (Ft. Wayne, IN) SG Russell Byrd's return visit to Ann Arbor last weekend proved to be quite memorable. His interaction with the players and coaches provided him with information necessary to help him move yet another step closer to making a choice… and as it turns out, decision day may come sooner rather than later.

 The Michigan coaching staff rolled out the red carpet for Blackhawk Christian SG Russell Byrd last weekend, and in so doing, made an even stronger impression than they had previously.

 "It went good," Byrd said of his time at Michigan.  "The whole family got to go up, and that was fun.  We all went up Friday and got to spend some time there, watched the team work out, and spent some time with Coach (Beilein) and all the coaches.  I was just hanging out really.  I just really enjoyed that and it was fun… especially the football game Saturday, which was a blast."

The "hanging out" aspect of the visit just may have been the most important.  One of the few remaining question marks Byrd had about the Maize & Blue whether he would fit in with the players should he opt to become a Wolverine.  His time on campus provided him with the answer.

"I worked out Friday evening with some of the players after their workout," Byrd recalled.  "I hung out with Stu (Douglass) and Ben (Cronin) on Friday night for a while.  We went to a pep rally, hung out at the dorms, walked around a little bit, and play some Guitar Hero and stuff like that which was fun.  I was just hanging out with them to see how they carry themselves.  I was planning on playing (hoop) Saturday but we left my bag. We parked about a mile away from the game.  They picked us up in a golf cart and I forgot to grab my bag.  We drove all the way there and when it was time to play, I didn't have my stuff."

Despite not actually getting on the floor, Byrd was still able to get a good feel for the type of talent the Michigan has on its roster.

 ""Definitely they've got the foundation kind of built with Zach (Novak) and Stu (Douglass) and Ben (Cronin)," said Byrd.  "It was encouraging to see the kind of players they are bringing in and the kind of character those kids have."

Byrd also had the opportunity to meet 2009 commitments Matt Vogrich and Jordan Morgan. And even though the third member of next year's class, Darius Morris, wasn't present, he too made it a point to interact with Byrd by letting his fingers do the walking. how wanted he was in Ann Arbor.

"We talked last weekend when I was at Michigan," Byrd regarding his chat with Morris.  "He seemed like a great guy.  He just seems like one of those guys who walks in any situation and is an immediate leader regardless of if he is a freshman or a senior.  He is there to lead.  I think that will catch on big quickly when he gets there."

The players proved to be exactly how Byrd was told they would be.  Such detailed descriptions were possible thanks daily letters in recent months from a Michigan assistant John Mahoney.  Such frequent correspondences left room for a lot of other information as well.

"He tells me on how things are going up there, what he is doing, and even how he is feeling," Byrd said.  "It was funny… when I was up there this weekend and his wife said, ‘oh, there's your boyfriend that you write to.' (Laughing). He writes every day and it is not weird or anything.  I really appreciate that he takes the time to write me a letter every day.  I just got my mail and I think got three that came in today."

The strong pitch turned in by Beilein, Mahoney, and the entire Michigan basketball program couldn't have come at a better time.

Said Byrd, "Now I think possibly before the season I could make a decision."

However, in order for Michigan to win the race for his services, there is still one Maize & Blue mental hurdle that Byrd must clear.

For more on what that is, as well as word on how Byrd feels about how Michigan stacks up to the two other top contenders, Michigan State and Kentucky, be sure to check back tomorrow. In the meantime, for more information, check out our premium messageboard.

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