Beilein Makes a Beeline to the Cavaliers
OG's body of work is now complete.
John Beilein will now have served as a head hoops coach -- without ever being an assistant -- at every post-secondary level: junior college, every Roman numeral the NCAA had to offer.
And now, allegedly, the NBA.
After Cleveland's just-endured 19-63 campaign, it took a double-check to be sure the Cavaliers hadn't been relegated to the G-League.
Neither did the Cavs, at least until this hire.
Cleveland owner and Detroit homey Dan Gilbert finally got a Michigan coach after striking out on Tom Izzo. In Beilein, he got an actual professor of the game, which is exactly what the Cavs -- and hell, a litany of other NBA teams -- could use right now.
At 66, Beilein didn't list money as the main factor, either, so negotiations didn't go the way they usually do.
College coaches had a less-than-stellar record in making the transition to the NBA until Brad Stevens and Billy Donovan arrived. It's notable that their courtside manner is more subdued than some of their more illustrious sideline stalkers.
No wonder he didn't last in the NBA.
Everyone knows coaches only survive -- maybe are tolerated is more accurate -- there when players decide they want to listen. In Beilein's case, that shouldn't be an issue. OG and his creative ways have got tons more cred than his new roster does.
In this day and age, college head coaches really only make home visits to their most prized recruits anymore and let their staff bring the others to him for the close.
Still, 66 isn't exactly the new 40 yet, so it's clear Beilein won't miss that part of the grind.
Two more obvious factors increased his interest in making the jump:
- College free agency is in warp drive. In the Wolverines' case, the team's three top scorers declared for the draft and the transfer portal is easier than ever to enter.
- The ongoing recruiting scandal that's getting convictions. To a straight-up coach like Beilein, that had to make him wonder about the decay of college basketball's environment.
Besides having to be a constant salesman in college, Beilein also had to figure ways to make the most of the limited practice time the NCAA dictated. No longer. That sure surely a positive for a perfectionist like he is.
What's more, he's going to the Cavaliers. They're already at rock-bottom. The bar won't be that high next season.
Beilein has time to lay down a foundation that's worked for him at every stop along his coaching way. Maybe he's not a young gun who's been the trendy NBA hire recently, but to date, when he's set a target, his aim's been true.