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Wednesday, March 2, 2016
"THOSE WHO LEAVE WILL BECOME CHAMPIONS"
This story is about Max Bieldfeldt. He played basketball at the University of Michigan for three years, after red-shirting, and was eager to suit-up for his final season. He had served his time on the scout team, he came off the bench in dozens of games, and like any competitive athlete, he was looking forward to the grand culmination of his career wearing the colors of his team.
But it was not to be, as UM Coach John Beilein told Max it was time for him to go. Beilein had re-classified Bielfeldt the prior year, anticipating his premature departure. Then the big fella' turned a few heads a few times last season, and folks began to wonder if "Moose" should be released after all. The decision was played out in the sports media last summer, as Beilein seemed to be weighing the one-year value of Bieldfeldt against the multiple-year value of some new guy. In the end, the Wise Old Apple Farmer sent his loyal player packing.
Bielfeldt would have been a "Fifth-year Senior" if John Beilein had allowed him to stay on the team for his final year of eligibility. Many believe he would have filled a void in the UM rotation. But there's one thing that Max Bielfeldt wouldn't have if he had been granted his wish to finish up his college career as a Wolverine: He wouldn't have had the Conference Championship that HIS TEAM WON last night in Iowa City.
To become a champion, Bielfeldt needed to leave Michigan,
to play for a better coach, in front of better fans,
at a better basketball school.
He did so, and now he is reaping the rewards
of Beilein's decision to dismiss him.
So things worked out, after all, for Max Bielfeldt.
Mad Max got to play more minutes with Indiana, he put up better stats as a Hoosier, he led the Crimson-and-Cream into Crisler for a monumental beat-down that included a 28-0 scoring run against his old team, and he rides into the sunset with a conference championship. Plus, there's that little point about playing in the NCAA Tournament, a guarantee for Indiana, but a major question mark for Michigan.
Maybe Bielfeldt will get another chance to play Beilein in the conference tournament. Anybody picking UM in that one?
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