Dakich earns second-semester scholarship in prank

Senior guard Andrew Dakich began his career as a walk-on but was awarded a scholarship Tuesday.

Senior guard Andrew Dakich began his career as a walk-on but was awarded a scholarship Tuesday. Buy this photo
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Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - 8:47pm

They say good things come to those who wait. Andrew Dakich certainly knows that now.

Tuesday night, the Michigan basketball team posted a video on its Twitter account in which two officers from the Division of Public Safety and Security interrupted a team film session in Crisler Center.

They requested that Dakich leave the room and follow them to a compliance office, before revealing it was a prank devised by coach John Beilein to inform him that he would be receiving a scholarship for the winter semester.

The mood in the room took a distinct turn from uncomfortable anxiety to pure jubilation, as the senior guard’s teammates surrounded him in celebration. Freshman guard Xavier Simpson, however, was frozen in his seat. 

“They were in shock,” said Michigan coach John Beilein. “Xavier was trying to figure (it) out. I think once he thought (Dakich) was going to jail, he didn’t hear anything else. He still — at the end — said, ‘Yeah he got a scholarship, but he’s going to jail.’ ”

Added Dakich: “To be honest, there was one time I almost said, ‘Can we talk about this privately?’ I almost said, ‘Am I being punked?’ 

“But I was like I gotta let these guys talk because they’re just doing their job. And they came out with a document, some kind of warrant to get me out of there, so it was really scary for me.”

According to Beilein, the stunt was inspired by Eastern Michigan football coach Chris Creighton. Last August, Creighton surprised a walk-on player with a full-ride scholarship in a prank that was nearly identical to Tuesday’s.

Beilein granted the same scholarship to senior forward Sean Lonergan last season but said it was a tough decision for the staff to choose between Dakich and Lonergan in 2015.

Dakich began his Michigan career as a preferred walk-on in 2013. As a sophomore and junior, Dakich requested a redshirt in hopes of preserving a year of eligibility to be used as a fifth-year graduate transfer.

But when the Wolverines suffered season-ending injuries at the guard position in both of those seasons, Dakich decided to burn his redshirt for the good of the team.

Now, he has finally been rewarded for that selflessness with a second-semester scholarship worth roughly $30,000.

Dakich’s future is still uncertain, but he would like to use his final year of eligibility to take on a more significant role for another Division I program before pursuing his dream of coaching.

While Dakich won’t necessarily explore his options until the season is over, he said Tuesday that he ideally would like the opportunity to play for a team that runs a similar offense to Beilein’s with some opportunities to learn new concepts as well.

His motivation to become a coach is simple.

“When I’m out there on the court, or when I’m watching Coach Beilein or something like that, I find a passion that I don’t think about anything else,” Dakich said. “And I just think about these guys, and it’s just easy, to be honest.”

For now, though, the future can wait — Dakich has one final semester in Ann Arbor to enjoy.

“It’s fun,” Dakich said. “I came in with Zak, Derrick, Sean (and) Mark. I’m with (Xavier) all the time because I know this is going to be his team once Derrick leaves. But just enjoying it, and kind of just leaving some kind of legacy with wins. I don’t care if I score or play, being on a special team is what I really want to do.”