CHICAGO — When new Cavaliers coach John Beilein learned that director of player development Mike Gerrity was spending five days in Turkey working out Cedi Osman, Beilein asked that they call him on FaceTime so he could watch.
Considering the seven-hour time difference, Osman’s schedule with Gerrity may have changed immediately.
When Beilein decided last Sunday to accept the Cavs’ offer of a five-year contract, he used the rest of the night to write individual texts to his players at the University of Michigan. On Tuesday, he phoned each member of the Cavs.
Those who know Beilein, who arrives in Northeast Ohio after 12 seasons at Michigan, say he is a tireless worker. At the NBA Draft Combine on Thursday, he wasn’t ready to explain the style of offense the Cavs will run, not only because he said it will fit his players’ strengths, but because he has to watch “a lot more” Cavs and NBA film.
His definition of “a lot more” likely will defy normal expectations. It could be part of the reason Beilein said he will rent a house in Cleveland this season while his wife Kathleen will remain in Ann Arbor, close to daughter Seana, who has three children with husband Ryan Hendricks.
The Cavs front office is bracing for an unusually busy summer with the energetic Beilein, whom assistant general manager Mike Gansey describes as “66, but he’s really going on like 30.”
“He’s crazy, but it’s a good thing,” Gansey, who played for Beilein at West Virginia from 2004-06 and has been close with him since, said Wednesday during the combine. “Now that he can just focus on basketball, I’m going to have to keep up with him.”
Gansey said Beilein is so excited to help 20-year-old point guard Collin Sexton develop that when Sexton returns to Cleveland this summer, Beilein will be on the court working him out.
“Usually you just sit back or the head coaches are gone for the summer, but he’s going to be so hands-on, that’s just who he is,” Gansey said. “In the summer he’s usually recruiting, now he can just do basketball.”
To Michigan senior Charles Matthews, the “66 going on 30” comment elicited laughter.
Matthews said when the Wolverines lost shooting drills in practice, they would have to run afterward. Demanding fairness, they asked Beilein to do something if they won.
“If we beat the shooting drills, he’s got to do pushups,” Matthews said Thursday at the combine. “He ain’t running now. He used to be lifting weights at the end of practice, too.”
Matthews confided that Beilein is a music lover, although his favorites lean more to the old school side.
“Coach Beilein, he loves his Motown music,” Matthews said. “Don’t let the conservative act fool you, he’s got some swag to him.”
Beilein admitted Thursday that taking the Cavs job has re-energized him, another statement that perhaps exceeds normal measure. No longer having to worry about recruiting trips or Academic Progress Rate or players’ grades, the man whom Gansey called “a brilliant basketball mind” can do even more of what he calls “pure coaching.”
“Without question. I think I’ve always had pretty good energy,” Beilein said at the combine. “But this is something … being in these interviews the last couple days, I love being part of this process where you can ask hard questions to young men and they gave you good answers. You get to know people even better than in the recruiting process.”
As for what lies ahead this summer, Beilein said, “This will be very busy, just like it was for me changing to go to Michigan. There’s a lot of catching up to do. I actually love that.”
Marla Ridenour can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Cavs blog at www.ohio.com/cavs. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MRidenourABJ.