Aug. 23, 2012
After redshirting his freshman year due to tendonitis in his knees, Max Bielfeldt is ready and eager to suit up and take the court for the first time as a Michigan Wolverine.
The Peoria, Ill., native came to Ann Arbor after a successful high school career, during which he averaged 20.0 points and 11.2 rebounds over four years. He owns the Notre Dame High School record for career points (1,580) and rebounds (886), and led his team to a 28-1 record in his senior year.
Bielfeldt sat down for an exclusive interview with Morgan Bailey from MGoBlue.com, discussing what it was like to miss his freshman year, his expectations for the upcoming season, and how his offseason training has gone so far.
On how he has developed as a player over the course of the year ... "The main thing is that I am a lot healthier than I was. I am getting back the athleticism that I was lacking. I have improved many aspects of my game, especially my shot. I have really been working on that because it was one of the things I could work on when I was injured. That is probably the biggest thing I have improved."
On how it is going to feel to finally take the court for the Maize and Blue after missing his freshman year ... "It's going to be nice. It was really nice to see how things go on and not have the pressure of going in. It was nice to have a year to watch and see how different things work, how different pressures and stressors happen during the season, and what to expect. It was a good introductory course to the real thing, but I am definitely looking forward to being on the court, and I feel like I know what to expect now."
On his personal goals for the upcoming season ... "I haven't set any goals in terms of number of minutes that I want to play or anything like that. Obviously, everyone wants to get minutes, so I want to be productive when I'm out on the floor. I don't have any specific goals, but I have an idea of what I want to do."
On all the hype surrounding the freshmen class and how the team has meshed together ... "Yeah, we have a really good freshman class. They are a good group of guys. They work well together, and have been helping each other out since day one. I'm over in the dorms with them so I see them. They have good chemistry and that translates over to the whole team. The whole team likes them and they are blending in well. I think they are going to be a big part of this team, both team-wise and talent-wise."
On the morale among the team throughout the summer coming off last season ... "We are ready for this year. The main thing that has changed is that we've added a lot of pieces and added a lot of change in mentality. Everyone wants to go to as far as we can. That winning mentality is going to be a game changer."
On how the new rules allowing coaches to conduct team practices in the offseason has improved the summer preparation ... "It has been awesome. I could tell last year that the coaches were squeezing in as much as they could in the little time that they had with us -- trying to teach us plays and all of the fundamentals. Coach Beilein has done a really good job of teaching the basics and stressing them more, especially to the freshmen, to make sure they don't forget them. These two hours of practice have been really beneficial so far, and Coach Beilein has definitely used them well."
On how the new William Davidson Player Development Center has helped the team in offseason preparation ... "I was here when we were playing open gyms at the intramural building last summer, and I can tell you that it is so much better now. It feels like a Big Ten school. At the IM building, there isn't air conditioning, and there are other people playing on the courts. Then you get here and we have these awesome facilities. It's everything you need. It makes everyone better."