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2012-13 Michigan basketball player previews: the bench

November 6th, 2012 by Sam Sedlecky


To wrap up our player preview posts, today we will take a look at the five remaining players – Max Bielfeldt, Josh Bartelstein, Corey Person, Eso Akunne, and Blake McLimans – that have not been written about yet. These are guys that will not project to make a significant, tangible impact in on-court minutes but could and should be valuable in a number of other ways off the court and in practice. Some could surprise and play their way into the rotation, but at this point I do not believe they will be regulars in game action. You can view previous player previews here.

Max Bielfeldt
JorNumber: 44
Class: Redshirt Freshman
Major Undecided
Measurements:

6’7″, 245 pounds

Hometown: Peoria, Ill.
High School: Peoria Notre Dame
Position(s): Power Forward

Rundown: Bielfeldt is yet another big body that Beilein will have at his disposal to throw into the mix down low when he sees fit. The redshirt freshman saw a decent amount of playing time in last Thursday’s exhibition game, grabbing three rebounds and recording one block in 11 minutes on the floor, and the biggest thing that Bielfeldt can provide on the court is rebounding; Beilein has raved a number of times about how competitive Bielfeldt is in practice on the boards, which can only help Michigan’s regulars put forth a little extra effort when it counts in the games. Bielfeldt is also someone that has worked hard at developing his outside shot, and while he missed his one three-point attempt in the exhibition game badly, Max could be a threat to stretch the floor when he gets in the game. Most of his minutes this season will likely come if Michigan experiences front court injuries or if Mitch McGary, Jordan Morgan, and Jon Horford get into major foul trouble, but Bielfeldt should be in line to increase his role in coming seasons.

Josh Bartelstein
JorNumber: 20
Class: Senior
Major Sport Management
Measurements:

6’3″, 210 pounds

Hometown: Highland Park, Ill.
High School: Phillips Exeter Academy (N.H.)
Position(s): Point Guard, Shooting Guard
Career Stats:

PTS REB AST STL TO BLK MIN FG% 3-Pt% FT%
2009-10: 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.0 2.6 00.0 00.0 00.0
2010-11: 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.7 14.3 20.0 00.0
2011-12: 0.3 0.1 0.3 0.2 0.1 0.0 1.3 25.0 33.3 00.0
Career Avg: 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.0 1.7 13.3 18.2 00.0

Rundown: Of the players not expected to see many minutes this season, Bartelstein may be the one to make the biggest impact off the court, as he was named the captain of this team prior to last week’s exhibition game. The players decided that Bartelstein was best suited to lead the team in that role, and Beilein mentioned that he has perhaps never coached a player in his career that is more about the team than the senior and son of prominent sports agent Mark Bartelstein. While many teams may take the captain label lightly, that will certainly not be the case at Michigan. We have seen in the past how seriously Beilein considers the captain position and have seen how critical the post has been before, as the 2009-10 team struggled in large part due to a reported lack of leadership. Expect Bartelstein to provide a very vocal presence in the huddle, and even though he doesn’t typically show the fiery side that former co-captain Zack Novak often displayed, Bartelstein is a guy that has been around for a while and knows what Michigan is all about. He’s tough to root against and should really be a key to Michigan’s success this season even though he will only see the court in “garbage” time.

Corey Person
JorNumber: 32
Class: First-year Graduate Student
Major General Studies
Measurements:

6’3″, 210 pounds

Hometown: Kalamazoo, Mich.
High School: Kalamazoo Central
Position(s): Shooting Guard
Career Stats:

PTS REB AST STL TO BLK MIN FG% 3-Pt% FT%
2009-10: 0.1 0.3 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.9 00.0 00.0 50.0
2010-11: 0.2 0.0 0.2 0.0 0.4 0.0 1.8 00.0 00.0 25.0
2011-12: 1.1 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.0 1.1 62.5 00.0 100.0
Career Avg: 0.6 0.2 0.1 0.0 0.2 0.0 1.5 55.6 00.0 42.9

Rundown: While Corey Person is not the captain of this team, he will certainly be one of the more outspoken and noticeable players in the huddle, but in a good way. Person always seems to be in good spirits and can always be seen dancing in the huddle before games and giving a unique handshake to each of the starters as they are announced and run onto the floor before tipoff. Corey will rarely see the floor besides at the end of blowouts, but his presence in the locker room should be very valuable to the team, especially the younger players. As a grad student who has been around for five years now, Person’s experience and knowledge of Beilein’s system will make him the player most likely to be deemed “an extra coach” on the team. He will also undoubtedly be selected as a game captain a number of times and will be the first player I have ever known to player in two Senior Days, as this is his last year of eligibility for college sports.

Eso Akunne
JorNumber: 5
Class: Senior
Major Political Science
Measurements:

6’2″, 225 pounds

Hometown: Ann Arbor, Mich.
High School: Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard
Position(s): Point Guard
Career Stats:

PTS REB AST STL TO BLK MIN FG% 3-Pt% FT%
2009-10: 0.7 0.9 0.1 0.1 0.3 0.1 5.4 66.7 00.0 100.0
2010-11: 0.4 0.3 0.3 0.0 0.1 0.0 2.5 42.9 33.3 00.0
2011-12: 1.7 0.7 0.1 0.0 0.3 0.0 4.0 87.5 80.0 100.0
Career Avg: 0.9 0.5 0.2 0.0 0.2 0.0 3.6 66.7 62.5 72.5

Rundown: Eso Akunne is the only player on the roster from Ann Arbor and has played the second most minutes of anyone on this list behind McLimans with 126 total over 35 games. Last season Akunne saw some significant playing time in a couple games in which Trey Burke found himself in foul trouble early on, but his minutes dwindled as the year went on and he sustained an injury that kept him benched throughout the majority of the Big Ten schedule. Akunne finds the majority of his minutes at point guard, and with the addition of Spike Albrecht in the offseason and Albrecht’s fast start in Thursday’s exhibition game, the guard with a linebacker’s body is going to have to beat the newcomer out if he is to see minutes this year. His sometimes shaky handles make it hard for me to believe he will beat out Spike, but Eso did show off an improved jumper last season, shooting 4-5 from behind the three-point line. If he can work his way into a few minutes early on and prove that he is a viable option at the one backing up Trey Burke, he could see extended playing time every now and again. For now, though, his senior leadership should be most valuable.

Blake McLimans
JorNumber: 22
Class: Senior
Major Economics
Measurements:

6’10″, 240 pounds

Hometown: Hamburg, N.Y.
High School: Worcester Academy (Mass.)
Position(s): Power Forward, Center
Career Stats:

PTS REB AST STL TO BLK MIN FG% 3-Pt% FT%
2010-11: 1.2 0.8 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.3 5.4 31.7 05.3 100.0
2011-12: 0.8 0.7 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.3 4.2 47.6 41.7 00.0
Career Avg: 1.0 0.8 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.3 4.8 37.1 19.4 100.0

Rundown: McLimans was a star pitcher who clocked up to 92 mph on his fastball and a good volleyball player throughout his prep career but decided to stick with his favorite sport, basketball, at the next level. Unfortunately for him so far, his basketball career hasn’t gone as planned. He is a prototypical Beilein big man that drew comparisons to one-time West Virginia star Kevin Pittsnogle for his ability to step outside the arc to shoot the three-ball over smaller defenders, but he quickly earned the brutal moniker of being a shooter that couldn’t shoot after making only one of his 19 three-point attempts in his redshirt freshman season. When his struggles continued throughout the season, an audible sigh could sometimes be heard from the crowd when McLimans entered games, but McLimans put in more work in the offseason and came back much better last season, when he made 41.7 percent of his 12 three-point attempts and shot 47.6 percent overall. Despite the improved numbers and effectiveness last year, however, Beilein announced in the offseason that McLimans would be on a four-year path rather than taking a fifth year with a redshirt season in 2009-10 like Jordan Morgan. And much like Akunne’s path to playing time, McLimans will probably begin the season behind the much-hyped McGary on the depth chart and will see the majority of his minutes when the other bigs get in foul trouble or if there are injuries. If Bird continues to improve his numbers, though, he just might sneak into a small rotation spot as a stretch big.