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March 2, 2011
Hoops: Senior Bielfeldt stuck between two
Max Bielfeldt, to the point that the 24-ppg scorer has some decisions to make. One - whether or not to visit Ann Arbor this weekend.Michigan has made a push for Peoria (Ill.) Notre Dame standout
Given Notre Dame's outstanding season to date - 26-0 with a playoff win in the bag and potential for much more - some have advised the 6-8, 240-pounder to put off the Michigan visit until after his season. He seems to be leaning that way, but says nothing has been finalized.
"I'm really kind of stuck between those two [Michigan and Illinois] right now," said Bielfeldt. "I'm kind of hoping to take an official up there this weekend - that's what we were initially talking - but we'll see what happens. Some people were saying they didn't want me to make the trip, but I'm willing to, so whatever happens, happens."
But Bielfeldt is also a team guy first, understanding what's on the line with games Friday and possibly Tuesday with a win, and how special his senior year has been and could be. Illinois coaches have been patient with him since offering a few weeks ago, but told him from the beginning they'd like to know sooner rather than later.
"They said to talk it over with my family, but I'm still trying to figure it out," he said. "I would hope I can make the trip to Michigan, if possible, and I hope to make my decision after the season. That's my hope. I'm not sure if it's going to be possible, so we'll see what happens."
It's Bielfeldt's understanding that he'd get confirmation of a recently extended offer from U-M on an official visit, but the Wolverines have informed him they'd accept his pledge, regardless, opting to add a big man to the '11 class. He already experienced an enjoyable unofficial for Michigan's win over Iowa earlier this year, leaving him hopeful to return and see more of the campus, get to know the players a bit and speak at length with the coaches.
"The whole thing they've got going with the coaching staff ... Coach [John] Beilein is a great guy," said Bielfeldt. "They've been playing smaller, but they make it work. I like how they have a young team, as well."
Bielfeldt comes from a family of Illini supporters, however, who have actively supported the university.
"They always said they'd be really supportive of my decision and where I'd fit best," he said. "Growing up, I was always at Illinois games and a huge fan. As I got a little older, I noticed the whole Big Ten tradition and history there. I'm more of a Big Ten fan than just Illinois."
The season will have been an incredible experience wherever he ends up, he added.
"It's a dream," he said. "This whole thing has been awesome, just unbelievable."
Watch TheWolverine.com for more on Bielfeldt and others in the days to come ...