ANN ARBOR, Mich. — John Beilein has become increasingly familiar with the process of helping players decide whether to leave school early for the NBA, so the Michigan coach is always prepared for questions that come his way this time of year.
But one query seemed to strike a nerve Wednesday. During Beilein’s news conference to wrap up the season, he was asked about the possibility that some of his players might have had their draft projections dip after returning to school this season.
”You hope during the course of their education, they’re looking at things from a much broader perspective than some guy that’s in his cellar projecting the NBA draft, and still living with his mother — nothing wrong with still living with your mother,” Beilein said. ”We try to really say, `OK, this is what the NBA says and this is what you should look at.”’
After winning the Big Ten title and reaching the NCAA quarterfinals, the Wolverines now await word on what next season’s roster will look like. Three sophomores — Nik Stauskas, Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III — are candidates to jump to the NBA, but the decisions for at least a couple of them are looking fairly complex.
Stauskas may be the most likely departure after winning Big Ten player of the year honors. McGary and Robinson both considered leaving last year as freshmen, and it’s not clear what they’ll do this time.
Robinson played well toward the end of the 2013-14 season, but he shot only 49 percent from the field as a sophomore after posting a 57-percent mark as a freshman. It’s hard to say where his NBA stock is at this point.
McGary had a terrific NCAA tournament in 2013 and was expected to be one of the nation’s top players this season, but he played only eight games because of a back injury.
Beilein said the 6-foot-10 McGary is progressing well, health-wise.
”I had a good workout with him yesterday,” he said. ”He did individual with me yesterday for 20 minutes, and it was very good.”
As Michigan has become one of the Big Ten’s top teams under Beilein, the program has had several players leave early for the NBA, including Manny Harris, Darius Morris, Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr.
”As we go through the process, we will continue giving as much information as it comes in from the NBA advisory council and from other people involved in professional basketball,” Beilein said. ”It’s something that we’re comfortable with navigating through. … There is a lot of emotion in it, and we try to help them make that decision.”
Beilein obviously wants players to focus more on feedback from the advisory council than what they might read online about their draft status.
”We always hear this all the time – reasons for people to go the NBA: `I’ve always dreamt of going to the NBA,”’ Beilein said. ”That is not a reason to go to the NBA. A reason to go to the NBA is, `I am ready to go to the NBA.”’
Beilein wonders whether scenarios like these will change in the near future – perhaps via new rules. NCAA president Mark Emmert said during his annual news conference Sunday that he opposes the rule established by the NBA and its union that requires players be at least one year removed from high school before declaring for the NBA draft.
That restriction leads to players showing up at college for only one season and then leaving.
Kentucky coach John Calipari has said he favors a two-year period before players can declare for the draft.
”I think everyone’s looking at this situation and knows it’s not perfect,” Beilein said. ”I don’t know this, but I’ve got my ear to the ground like all of you have your ears to the ground, that there’s going to be a lot of discussion in this next year about — is there a better model for us to go forward?
”I think everybody agrees there is, but how do we go about it?”