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June 20, 2013Michigan made it to the national title game with one of the country's youngest teams, and the Wolverines will still be young in 2013-14. Head coach John Beilein expects this group to be hungry to take the next step and pick up where the 2012-13 group left off.
Beilein will leave for Colorado Springs Monday to serve as an assistant for the World University team heading to Russia several days for now. Though he'll miss the first three weeks with the incoming freshmen, he knows they'll be in good hands.
"The opportunity for me to grow as a coach, represent my country - with these freshmen, if I had a new staff if might be difficult," Beilein said. "We've been together enough that they know I'm going to miss the first three weeks with them, but I will see them Saturday when they all report to campus and we'll go over a lot of things.
"They'll be very busy those first three weeks of summer school, so I'll only miss six hours of working with them. I like to have my hands on with them early, but Jeff Meyer and [the assistants], we've been together three years. They'll do what we do."
Four players - sophomores Nik Stauskas and Caris LeVert and veterans Jordan Morgan and Jon Horford - have stayed in Ann Arbor through the summer to work on their games and have had some "excellent workouts," Beilein reported. Beilein has followed his other players on twitter and stayed in touch, confident they are honing their skills, too.
Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III passed on potential international opportunities to partake in prep camps as counselors.
"They are working at their games," Beilein said. "It's good for them that they have opportunities at some of the camps to work out, much like Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway did the year before. They chose to do that, and I'm fine. As long as they're working, I don't care if it's with me or someone else."
"We've been all over the country," he said. "It's a good busy when you come off the season we had, getting to interact with so many Michigan fans.
"The brand is incredible. Wherever we go, there's such excitement about the University of Michigan overall let alone our basketball program."
Beilein, a St. Louis Cardinals fan, even threw out the first pitch at a recent Tigers game.
"I heard from a few of the Cardinal fans, someone in the Cardinal office about that," he said. "I think they understand. It was a thrill. The Tigers are my American League team, without question."
"I haven't been out on the trail other than to watch a few kids play, but the phone interaction - I know it's positive," he said. "It's been very successful. Look at the class coming, Derrick Walton, Zak Irvin and Mark Donnal, that's a great class and we did that with none of this. We still have to be who we are, but we also are able to certainly reach out to a lot of good prospects because of our run."
There have even been cold calls, he added.
"They like the way we play, so we follow up," he said. "You never know where that's going to go. We still have ideas of what we are looking for and still have to be aware of what's worked for us in the past, not stray. But we do also want to embrace always any changes we can make."