Michigan fans who watched the 2013 NBA Draft on Thursday had many reasons to be very happy. For the first time since 1994, two Wolverines were drafted in the first round, with Wooden Award-winning point guard Trey Burke going ninth to the Utah Jazz and shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. going at no. 24 to the New York Knicks. Also seen very prominently at the draft was a clearly ecstatic Michigan head coach John Beilein.
And Beilein had plenty of reasons to be happy. After a magical season for the Wolverines in which they started 16-0 and finished with a run to the national title game, Beilein has his program at the top. He has the reigns of one of the best programs in America and is even churning out NBA talent.
For Beilein, this was actually the first time he produced a first-round NBA draft pick, and he has coached for over 30 years. Not only did he have a player get drafted, but Beilein had Burke go in the top-10. For Beilein, though, this is more about just pride, it is about recruiting. Both Burke and Hardaway are walking advertisements for Michigan basketball these days. Burke gave huge compliments to the program, stating “The competition was at an all‑time high level at Michigan. I think that helped us all get better. I’m glad to say that I’ve came from a university like Michigan,” according to Nick Baumgardner of MLive.
Hardaway also added even more praise, “We really wanted this opportunity. Coach Beilein and his coaching staff did a great job preparing us for this moment, and we’re just excited.”
Top-level recruits are all already thinking about the next level and how to get drafted. To see Beilein turn two former three-star recruits into first-round draft picks should be ample evidence that Michigan is a program that can help them get to the NBA.
Thursday night was definitely a great night for Burke, Hardaway and Beilein, but just as good a night for Michigan basketball.
You can follow Alex Dale on Twitter at @alexdalecbb.