A closer look at the Max Bielfeldt addition

  • 06/11/2015 2:16 pm in

Indiana added a 12th scholarship player to its roster earlier this month in Max Bielfeldt, a graduate transfer from Michigan who will be eligible immediately. The 6-foot-8 Bielfeldt, a native of Peoria, Illinois, has one year of eligibility remaining.

So what will Bielfeldt bring to Indiana?

There’s an obvious leadership and maturity ingredient that Bielfeldt should bring to Bloomington given his experience playing for a winning program in the Big Ten. Over four seasons in Ann Arbor, he played on three NCAA tournament teams, including a national runner-up team in 2013 and an outright Big Ten championship group in 2014 that advanced to the Elite Eight.

But beyond the leadership and maturity that Bielfeldt should bring, what kind of production can be expected from him statistically?

Let’s examine his numbers from last season at Michigan:


Statistically, last season was the most productive of Bielfeldt’s career at Michigan. He played 434 minutes over 30 games, which was more than double the minutes he’d played the previous two seasons combined. A little over 75 percent of his field goal attempts were 2s and he was most effective at the rim, where he finished 71.4 percent of his shots according to Hoop-Math.

He also ventured out on the perimeter and hoisted up 30 attempts from behind the 3-point line, but if you throw out a 3-for-3 performance against Bucknell early in the season, Bielfeldt was just 5-of-27 from distance for 18.5 percent.


Given that Indiana should be pretty well set from a scoring perspective next season with seven of its top eight scorers returning from the Big Ten’s third best offense, his impact may be felt most from a rebounding and depth perspective on a roster that lost two pieces last month in Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Devin Davis.

From a percentages standpoint, he was a better offensive and defensive rebounder than the player he’ll likely be replacing in IU’s rotation in Mosquera-Perea. Bielfeldt’s offensive rebounding percentage of 12.4 was the best on Michigan’s roster and had he played the 40 percent of his team’s minutes to qualify for Ken Pomeroy’s conference leaders, that figure would have ranked second in the Big Ten behind Iowa’s Gabriel Olaseni.

On the defensive boards, his defensive rebounding percentage of 19.5 was also best on Michigan’s roster and would have ranked him among the top 10 in the Big Ten had he played the minutes necessary to qualify for Pomeroy’s conference leaders.

As for the depth and what he is tasked with attempting to replace, Bielfeldt should be a capable fill-in for Mosquera-Perea, although their games are quite different. Where Mosquera-Perea brought athleticism, shot blocking and the ability to make a spectacular play on occasion, Bielfeldt should bring more from a fundamentals perspective. He’s less foul prone than Mosquera-Perea, but also won’t draw nearly as many fouls and is close to two inches shorter.

The addition of Thomas Bryant was already going to take a ton of pressure off of the complementary players in IU’s frontcourt next season and that should still be the case. The Hoosiers didn’t really know what they were going to have in Davis next season given the seriousness of his injury. Mosquera-Perea showed flashes of very solid play (the Nebraska and Butler games were prime examples). But he was unreliable, particularly in the early stages of the Big Ten season, due to a penchant for picking up unnecessary early fouls.

Bielfeldt will only use a scholarship for one season, which makes him an ideal pickup given how late things were in the recruiting cycle. From a recruiting perspective, the timing of the dismissals of Davis and Mosquera-Perea couldn’t have been much worse for Indiana. Recruiting late is difficult, as IU fans saw last season when the program added three players after the start of the spring signing period and only one, Holt, had an impact on last season’s team. Getting a player with Bielfeldt’s size and experience that only uses a scholarship for a year is almost a best case scenario as his addition will have no impact on recruiting for 2016.

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  • Ole Man

    Not sure Bryant can play 25 per game; but I’d like to see him close to that. Juwan for 10 or 12. Max for the rest.

  • HannerTime Hoosier

    Your reply illustrates your lunacy. So there is no use explaining our deficiencies to you, you sound like a pUKe fan. They are delirious on a daily basis. Who deemed you the IU Hoops fan assessor? Lmafo

  • TomJameson

    I like Juwan too, but he is a true freshman where Max is a proven commodity. I want to see Morgan play CBB before I judge his fire and grit. Lol – these are almist your words when talking about any freshmen. ?

    None of this will be resolved before they start playing some basketball!

  • PBzeer

    As they said over at Sporting News, having the 214th ranked defense was about more than size. I’m not sure what source they used, but the one I found had us 275th. Dayton, with no scholly player over 6’6″ was 26th. (Say what you will about them, they did win two games in the NCAA)

    So while size will help, it’s not a cure-all.

  • Guyton25

    I’m been a Hoosier Faithful all of my life, as well as a passionate basketball fan. With that comes being realistic and not sugar-coating anything. Seeing IU in the Final Four next is not outside the realistic realm of possibility. It’s obviously unlikely, but obviously possible. If our defense wasn’t so abysmal then I would say it’s a reasonable prediction. But who knows… this is a different group with size down low now, maybe our D will step up a bit.

  • Guyton25

    Ya, I’m a bit of a stat junkie myself. I was appalled to see BYU at 50 or so spots below us on defense nationally when I was looking up every teams’ resume in the first round of the tournament. We definitely couldn’t defend last year. Most of the problem was allowing points in the paint, and a lot of second chance points because no one could clean up the glass. I think having size down there will help a lot and make as an average defense nationally. Some cringe-worthy games next season probably, but all-in-all better than last year.

  • Chappy Dan

    Your points are often obscured by your tone. I’m guessing you’ll respond to this with a personal attack.

  • Chappy Dan

    Yes! It’s not just any 3 guard lineup, it’s one of the best in the country! TW is a wild card? A wildcard that goes for 13 points and 7.4 boards is a great wildcard to have. Weird that you singled out Collin (try spelling his name correctly) to bust on. If he was a dynamic and prolific sub he’d be Troy and then you’d refer to Collin as a “wildcard.” As a unit our subs ARE dynamic. A great spot up shooter (Nicky Z.), a glue guy who can shoot, board, and defend (Collin), another glue guy who can board and defend (Max), and two frosh with good potential (OG, and Juwan.) So: our starting 5 is talented enough to play with almost any team in the country, our bench is deep and varied, and we don’t have any glaring weaknesses like we’ve had the past two years. It’s ok to be excited about this team and it doesn’t make anyone as delirious as a pUKe fan.

    By the way, referring to UK as pUKe is SUPER lame and sounds like something a 10 year old would make up. I just refer to them as “those blue queefbags to the south” and everyone knows who I’m talking about.

  • Ole Man

    Why should I? You’re saying something constructive.

  • Hoosier89

    Anything is possible once you get into the tournament.