Nov. 1, 2012
By Morgan Bailey, U-M Public & Media Relations
Just moments before the University of Michigan men's basketball team stepped onto the court before Thursday night's exhibition game, head coach John Beilein announced that senior guard Josh Bartelstein will represent the Wolverines as team captain this season. As the only predetermined captain for the season, Bartelstein will be joined each game by additional captains chosen by the coaches on a game-by-game basis.
"There is one thing that is certain," Beilein commented, "(Bartelstein) is the most selfless, 'team, team, team' guy that I may have ever coached. As a result, the decision was natural. That young man has the ear of the locker room and he has the ear of the coaching staff as well. He has really had a great ability to relay his teammates and also be another coach on the floor."
The University of Michigan provides a 360-degree survey for students to assess their strengths and weaknesses in a number of categories. Last year, a number of student-athletes were given the survey. Out of the entire university, Bartelstein had one of the highest scores possible in the leadership category. Beilein commented that the coaching staff has noticed that quality in him over the past three years, and it resulted in Bartelstein being more than deserving of the title.
"It is an unbelievable honor," Bartelstein said. "I'm so humbled that my coaches and teammates would choose me. To be at a school like Michigan and the program that we have, it makes me want to do everything I can to help the team win and that's what I'm going to do."
In his three years at Michigan, Bartelstein has been a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and University of Michigan Athletic Academic Achievement recipient. During his junior season in 2012-13, Bartelstein helped lead Michigan to its first Big Ten championship in 26 years.
In his junior and sophomore year at Michigan, Bartelstein was roommates with three-year captain Zack Novak. Bartelstein took advantage of every opportunity to learn from one of Michigan's most iconic leaders.
"Zack (Novak) and Stu (Douglass) were two great leaders, and just living with them I was able to pick their brains. I'm going to do a lot of things they did, but I'm going to do a lot of things that are unique to me and just be myself."
After finding out the news, Novak was one of the first people that Bartelstein contacted. Despite being half way around the world as he continues his playing career in Zwolle, Netherlands, Novak was the first to congratulate his former teammate and good friend.
"Josh has been a great leader behind the scenes throughout his career at Michigan," Novak remarked. "When I needed to get another player's perspective on things, many times he was the guy I would go to. I know that becoming a captain was a goal of his and he has worked hard to establish himself as a leader on the team. I have no doubt he'll do an excellent job this year."
Bartelstein's current teammate Jordan Morgan was also complimentary of the new captain's leadership ability. "He embodies selflessness and he is a guy that always puts the team first," Morgan said. "He's my roommate now and he genuinely cares for people. He's always willing to sacrifice himself for the team and he's a really hard worker."
With the first exhibition game ending with a 'W' for the Wolverines, Bartelstein hopes to continue to lead the team to more victories throughout the remainder of the season.