John Beilein has been around college basketball for most of his life. With a reputation as one of the good guys in the sport, it’s hard to imagine the game without him on the sideline.
But he won’t be on the sideline any longer, at least not at the NCAA level. Monday, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that Beilein had agreed to a five-year deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and will take a shot at the NBA.
The move for Beilein seems strange for someone who’s been around the college game for so long, and who has enjoyed so much success, particularly at his most recent stop at Michigan. He guided the Wolverines to two B1G regular season titles, two B1G Tournament crowns and a pair of NCAA Final Four trips. Michigan had become one of the top programs in the sport on a yearly basis.
So why head for the NBA? ESPN actually offered a thought on that, and it sounds pretty plausible.
ESPN says that Beilein has been known for running clean programs, but has become frustrated with the ongoing college basketball scandal. The bribery scandals and coaches attempting to pay players for commitments has bothered Beilein for a few years now.
Beilein has run model programs in college, free of scandal and impropriety. In recent years, he’s become increasingly frustrated with the nature of college basketball recruiting and the retention of top players. The impending loss of Michigan freshman Ignas Brazdeikis with senior Charles Matthews and sophomore Jordan Poole to the NBA draft dented what might have been a national championship contender.
Also according to the report from Wojnarowski, Beilein has been toying with the idea of leaving for the NBA for a few years, but didn’t want to move his wife too far from Michigan. Cleveland, then, seems like a good landing spot for the longtime college coach.