It was a brief summertime fling.
The Detroit Pistons were in need of a head coach and reached out to Michigan’s John Beilein. And Beilein reciprocated, flirting with the idea of coaching in the NBA.
The flame eventually fizzled after the news became public and Beilein wasn’t offered the job, which led him to pulling his name from candidacy and staying put at Michigan.
It was an intriguing close-to-home situation that attracted Beilein, who essentially practiced what he preaches to his players who contemplate leaving early for the NBA Draft: Listen, gather information and make an informed decision.
But after going through a similar process himself, Beilein said he doesn’t plan on testing the NBA waters again.
“It was location, location, location,” Beilein said of the Pistons job on WBBL’s “The Huge Show” earlier this week. “(Wife) Kathleen and I, we love it. We have our daughter Seana in Saline with her three grandkids and her husband. We wouldn’t really have to move. It was appealing to me and the interest was mutual to an extent, but they had some other great options and I had a great option.
“It didn’t work out, but I wanted to think it through. I don’t anticipate or plan on ever doing that again and I think people understand that. It’s not like I’ve been doing this every year.”
Reaching the NBA and taking on the challenge it presents is an opportunity most college coaches yearn for. And Beilein is no different. There’s the allure of seeing how well one’s system translates in the pros, coaching the same top players for three or four seasons and having actual downtime — instead of recruiting — in the offseason.
But at age 65, time isn’t exactly on Beilein’s side. That means this recent dance with the Pistons was likely his final shot to test himself at the highest level and could be the last time he would’ve ever been in a conversation for an NBA job.
“That’s probably a fair bet. Who knows? This might be my last extension,” Beilein said. “I wanted one more shot at really building the culture and seeing a team through. Whether it was at Michigan or with the Detroit Pistons, I was up for both.
“Thankfully I chose Michigan right now and that’s the way it is. If anything, it reinvigorated me to say, ‘Let’s get this done at Michigan. Let’s do everything we can to have more successful seasons in the future.'”
Beilein’s current contract at Michigan runs through 2021 and he’s in the process of finalizing an extension, one that he said will hopefully be done and signed by July.
But getting a chance to talk with the Pistons, do his due diligence and gain clarity where he wants to end his coaching career was a process he was appreciative to go through.
“I’ve had eight jobs and all eight for whatever reason they were turnaround type of jobs,” Beilein said. “That was a challenge that has always driven me and sometimes the more people say that’s stupid to do it, the more I wanted to do it. In the end, I realized I’m so grateful I have this opportunity at Michigan.”
With the June 21 NBA Draft fast approaching, big man Moritz Wagner‘s stock appears to be holding steady.
In most major mock drafts, Wagner is projected to be selected late in the first round or early in the second round. As of Wednesday, Wagner is predicted to go No. 33 to Dallas by NBADraft.net, No. 37 to Sacramento by ESPN and No. 40 to Brooklyn by Sports Illustrated.
And that range is similar to what Beilein has been hearing.
“We’re excited,” Beilein said. “Wherever he goes, if he goes 25, 20, 30, 35, it doesn’t make a difference. I just want him to go to the right team that he can grow with. … He’s going to be paid similar in all those areas. He’s going to get guarantees in all those areas.”
Beilein added he will attend next week’s draft at the Barclays Center in New York to support Wagner and may bring the entire coaching staff with him.
“(Wagner) is going to make everybody better just by walking in that locker room, walking on that floor,” Beilein said. “He brings sunshine to every practice, every workout everywhere and people will love him in the NBA, just love what he can bring to a team’s culture. Let alone he can play a little bit, too.”
According to a report from CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein, Michigan will host Air Force on Dec. 22 as part of the team’s nonconference schedule.
Air Force finished 12-19 last season and placed ninth in the 11-team Mountain West Conference with a 6-12 mark.
Michigan already has seven confirmed nonconference matchups for the 2018-19 season against Norfolk State (home, Nov. 6), Holy Cross (home, Nov. 10), George Washington (neutral, Nov. 17) and Providence or South Carolina (neutral, Nov. 18) in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic; Villanova (away, Nov. 14) in the Gavitt Games; North Carolina (home, Nov. 28) in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge; and South Carolina (home, Dec. 8).
… Beilein confirmed on the March Madness 365 podcast with Andy Katz earlier this week that Michigan will spend a couple of weeks overseas in late August.
Beilein added the European trip hasn’t been finalized yet, but Spain likely will be the destination.
“We’re going to get three or four really good games over in Europe and that’s going to be tremendous for this young team,” he said.
… Iowa four-star point guard and 2019 target D.J. Carton has scheduled an official visit to Michigan for June 27-28, according to the Des Moines Register.
Michigan is among Carton’s six finalists and is the heavy favorite to land him in the 247Sports crystal ball predictions.
Carton is rated Iowa’s top prospect and No. 27 in the nation for 2019 in the 247Sports Composite rankings.
… Former guard Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman‘s agent, Andy Bountogianis of Klutch Sports Group, told MLive Abdur-Rahkman broke a bone in his foot while preparing for the NBA Draft on his own.
According to Bountogianis, Abdur-Rahkman had surgery on his foot last month and will be sidelined the next three to four months.
… Former forward Duncan Robinson had a pre-draft workout with the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday.