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U-M standout works out before former coach

IGGY BRAZDEIKIS

With only a few days remaining before the NBA draft, Iggy Brazdeikis enjoyed a reunion of sorts when he worked out for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

That meant a chance to catch up with John Beilein.

“It was so cool. It honestly kind of felt like home, seeing him there,” Brazdeikis said. “It just felt really good, playing in front of him again, and kind of just getting to talk to him and catch up with everything.”

It’s no surprise that Brazdeikis welcomed a little familiarity. There’s no telling what the 20-year-old should expect in Thursday night’s draft, and preparing for it can be a grind. It’s a time when a player’s life is changing quite a bit, but Brazdeikis will find out his next step soon enough.

“Obviously, you always want to be higher in the draft, but at the end of the day, it’s about getting that right fit,” he said in a phone interview Tuesday.

Brazdeikis left Michigan after just one season, part of an offseason of upheaval for the Wolverines. Charles Matthews and Jordan Poole also left early for the draft, but the most jarring change was the departure of Beilein, who coached Michigan back to relevance over the past dozen years. Beilein left to take the coaching job with the Cavaliers, and the Wolverines replaced him with Juwan Howard.

So when Brazdeikis worked out for Cleveland on Monday and had a chance to talk to Beilein, things were different.

“He cares for all his players. But you know, there was a little bit of a difference in the talk, in that it was kind of more relaxed,” Brazdeikis said. “We could just talk. … I’m not his college athlete anymore, so we were just able to talk and have a great, friendly conversation.”

The 6-foot-7 Brazdeikis led Michigan with 14.8 points per game last season, and his impact was immediate. He scored in double figures in nine of his first 10 college games, including an 18-point effort in a blowout win at Villanova, and 24 points in a home victory over North Carolina.

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