In college basketball, most players have to figure out their shooting form. A few take the game in another direction.
That’s exactly what happened to John Beilein, who is entering the final season of his contract with Michigan State but had a career year at Syracuse, where he played on a team that went 33-5 and reached the Final Four. As a senior, he shot 54 percent from the floor and 41.9 percent from 3-point range.
Beilein became the first freshman to set the all-court 3-point record, and one of only a handful of players who made it to the Final Four — and did so with the full support of the coach he will replace as he was the Big Ten Player of the Year and the runner-up for the Wooden Award as the nation’s best player.
“With how good you can become as a player, you’ve got a lot of room to grow,” said Beilein, whose 4.6 career 3-point percentage was only marginally worse than his father, Billy’s, career mark of 4.8 over a 10-year career. “The more practice you get with your shot the more accurate you get.”
The 7-foot Beilein, the son of legendary guard and current ESPN broadcast analyst Bill Beilein, is making the jump up from high school to college basketball as a senior, following in the footsteps of three other men who went from high school to college: Mike Rice and Mike Bibby. Rice, a 4-star recruit from the Philadelphia suburbs, made the transition to the NBA and became the first player to be picked in the first round when the New Jersey Nets drafted him fifth overall in 1983.
Bibby, a 6-foot-5 junior from New Hampshire, became the first player to lead Harvard to two NCAA titles during his time in the Big East. That made him the all-time conference assists leader.
John Beilein, a 6-foot-7 junior from Houston, has not only proven to be an excellent shooter from beyond the arc, but he’s also developed into a solid defender who is versatile enough to play both forward positions.
The reason Beilein fits in the Big Ten is simple: The conference is made up of more diverse and diverse teams. The Spartans have been playing more small lineups in the Big Ten, with players like Beilein and Andrew Chrabascz rotating at various positions. In fact, Be
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