When Michigan coach John Beilein learned in February that President Obama would be visiting the university on Saturday to deliver this year's commencement speech, he saw an unintended benefit others might have missed.
"He can't visit every university in the United States," Beilein told reporters in Ann Arbor on Thursday. "That he would choose to give a commencement address says an awful lot about the quality of the education and reputation of the university.
"We've mentioned it on every recruiting visit or in our slideshow that he's going to be visiting."
Beilein had extra incentive to be excited about the president's visit considering it will give him an opportunity to reunite with a family member he doesn't get too see too often. Capt. Joseph Ludick, Beilein's nephew, is one of the 13 pilots part of Marine Helicopter Squadron One, which carries the president and accompanying Secret Service on trips such as this one.
Although Beilein isn't sure whether his connection will get him any one-on-one time with Obama, he'd like the opportunity to talk hoops with the president if he gets the chance to meet him. The coach's plan is to give the president a few of his patented Beilein balls, which have his name stitched vertically into them to help players align their hands on a shot.
Beilein also has a few tips to help Obama with his jump shot after watching the CBS segment that showed him playing HORSE against Clark Kellogg during the Final Four.
"There was a little bit of a kink to it," Beilein said. "I'd like to work with him a little bit. But it went in, enough. We probably could have used him this year."