After he got over the initial shock, Jon Teske viewed the University of Michigan men’s basketball program’s loss as the Cavaliers’ gain.
The 2016 Medina High graduate, who will be a Wolverines senior in the fall, woke up on the morning of May 13 and was informed immediately by roommate and teammate Luke Wilson that 66-year-old John Beilein, Michigan’s coach for 12 seasons, had agreed to a five-year contract with the Cavs.
“(My reaction) was pretty similar to a lot of people around here,” Teske said Wednesday in a phone interview from Ann Arbor. “He didn’t tell any of us (he was interviewing). I woke up in shock a little bit. We didn’t know what to think at first. I just had to process everything.”
Beilein, who will be replaced at Michigan by former Wolverines Fab Five member Juwan Howard, met that Monday afternoon with the seven or eight players who were still on campus and called or texted all those who weren’t in Ann Arbor.
“I could tell from Coach B that he was disappointed leaving here, but he has a great opportunity with the Cavs,” Teske said. “I’m excited to see his next step, but there was still a little shock he was moving on. All the news hit at once.
“Coach B told us this was his right time to go and move on. We all respect that situation. Me and the guys on the team were in shock, but it’s coming together. We’re taking it one day at a time.”
A college head coach for 41 years, Beilein called Michigan “the greatest university in the world” at his introductory Cavs press conference Tuesday. He has no previous NBA experience but led the Wolverines to two NCAA Tournament championship games and nine tourney berths.
“I’ll remember how dedicated he is to teaching his players, and not just on the court,” the 7-foot-1, 260-pound Teske said. “He’s one of the best coaches I’ve ever played for. Not just his leadership on the court, but off the court. He led me in the right direction and taught me.”
Beilein, who also led West Virginia, Richmond and Canisius to NCAA Tournament berths, comes to the Cavs with the reputation of being a great offensive mind, which Teske can verify.
“It’s very complex,” Teske said of his former coach’s system. “Going back even to last year and my sophomore year, there are a lot different plays. It’s not just plays that he puts in. They’re determined by the defense. We could have two or three different plays out of one set. Once you get the hang of it, it’s very easy. You get a lot of easy shots and it’s very hard to defend.”
Teske, who is on pace to get his general studies degree next spring, has no doubt Beilein can succeed at the pro level.
“I think he’ll do great,” he said. “He’ll succeed. He’s a great coach and guys love to play for him. A lot of guys respect him, and that includes the pro players who played here (at Michigan). He’ll do just fine with the Cavs. They’ll be young and it will take a year or two, but he’ll get the hang of that job.”
Teske was Michigan’s full-time starting center last season and averaged 9.5 points, a team-high 7.0 rebounds and 0.9 assists. He shot .521 from the field, .299 on 3-pointers and .593 at the line. He and point guard Xavier Simpson will be Michigan’s lone seniors, eligibility-wise, next season.
“We’ve got to be the leaders and show (the younger players) what Michigan basketball is about,” Teske said. “We’ve got to continue winning games. We’ve done that a lot the last two years. We’ll go from there.”
The Wolverines went 33-8 and reached the national championship game in 2017-18 and were 30-7 last season, so Howard will inherit some talent and take over a highly successful program.
“I just know he played here on The Fab Five (in the early 1990s) and was an assistant coach for the (NBA’s Miami) Heat,” Teske said. “Other than that, I don’t know anything too deep.”
This won’t be the first time Teske has gone through a coaching change, as Chris Hassinger took over for Anthony Stacey at Medina following his sophomore year.
“With a new staff coming in, I’ll have to continue to work hard,” Teske said. “A lot of the big guys are working out this summer and I can see them getting better each and every day. I’ve just got to go in there and show my ability on the court and we’ll see what happens.”
Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him @RickNoland on Twitter.
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