John Beilein and his staff are starting to put the shine back on the once proud legacy of the Michigan basketball program. After the Wolverines made the "Big Dance" last year, rival schools could no longer say ‘they don't make the tournament.' With the emergence of Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims, there is no more talk of players not developing. Those accomplishments signify the kind of progress that is important to recruits. Detroit Country Day center Amir Williams is one of the recruits that have taken certainly taken notice.
"Michigan making the NCAA tournament has made me look at them differently," Williams admitted.
Their approach to recruiting him has made him look at them differently as well. Upon arriving for his visit yesterday he noticed the entire coaching staff waiting for him in the parking lot to start things off.
"I was a little surprised by that," said Williams of the display. "Going up there to see everything made me more interested in Michigan."
After greeting Amir and his dad in the parking lot they all went to the Junge Center to sit and chat for a while. Then came another little twist on visit schedule… Coach Beilein gave Williams a 1-on-1 personal tour on campus.
"I am learning more about Coach Beilein," Williams stated. "I feel more comfortable with him."
Williams' last visit to Ann Arbor was for a basketball game, but even without all of the action and fan attention this time around, this visit made more of a mark.
"It just feels better when you see things first hand," he explained. "The whole coaching staff was (at Crisler when he & Beilein returned) and they have a pretty nice locker room. That showed me they have a lot of things going on up there."
This visit showed him something else that is important to many recruits.
"Being up there this time I could really tell how much Michigan wanted me," said Williams.
The officially concluded a few hours later when Williams made his way over to Coach Beilein's office. There Michigan's headman talked about what he wants from his program and his players.
"The main focus of my visit was about academics, and Coach Beilein talked about how they are turning the program around." Williams recalled. "He told me he wants his guys to graduate, and if they have a shot at making it to the NBA then that is good too. We also talked about my game a little. He wants me to get stronger and work on my ball handling. Coach said if I do that I can be better than DeShawn Sims, but I have to work at it."
Once the visit over, Williams, his dad, and Coach Beilein parted ways and said good-byes. One thing is certain Coach Beilein and staff made quite an impression on him.
"Coach Beilein is the kind of coach I would play for," Williams said emphatically. "I like how he develops his players and that he makes them better. He showed me a workout play of the drills they have for their big men and that is something I really like. Michigan will be one of my top five schools at the end. They have a system that I can fit in and play in."
This will not be the last time Michigan will see Williams on campus. If everything works out he will be up in Ann Arbor real soon.
"I am going to their elite camp if I am not out of town."
GoBlueWolverine will have more on Williams in the coming weeks.