- Todd Needle/Daily
By Daniel Wasserman, Daily Sports Editor
Published September 2, 2013
Following his graduation from Michigan, former basketball captain Josh Bartelstein compiled the 80 blogs he wrote over the past three years into his own personal book — a makeshift diary journaling his experiences and the progression of the program.
For months, that’s where the story of the ‘Bartelstein Blog’ was supposed to end — on Bartelstein’s coffee table. But thanks to a chance encounter between former Wolverine Zack Novak and entrepreneur Zack Price, the founder of Blog Into Book and a Michigan alum, Bartelstein’s blogs, along with a host of interactive content, will be available to Michigan fans nationwide.
‘We On: Behind the Scenes of Michigan’s Final Four Run’ is set for an electronic release on Tuesday. For $7.99, fans can purchase the e-book on iTunes, Amazon, Kindle or from www.BlogIntoBook.com.
Bartelstein, who is currently working for a real estate firm in Chicago while doing speaking engagements about creating winning atmospheres, can’t help but laugh at how far along the blog has come since he was first asked to write it prior to his sophomore season.
“It’s really surreal to me,” Bartelstein said last week. “Never in a million years did I think it would get to this point where it’s going to be a book.”
The book begins with an introduction from Bartelstein, followed by a foreward from Novak, who recounts his pivotal role in constructing the program from the ground up. It includes details of the various meetings he had with Michigan coach John Beilein and how and why certain program-related decisions were made.
Passages written by three of his former teammates — Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Stu Douglass — come next, before the book jumps into its central focus: the 2013-14 Final Four season. Each blog from the year is included chronologically, interspersed with new insights from Bartelstein.
But the section Bartelstein calls the “best part” covers the Final Four. This section is centered around a 14-page insert, breaking the week down “minute by minute of what happened every day.” The coverage is comprehensive, from every perspective. Fans will not only see behind-the-scenes videos and pictures from the players’ and coaches’ vantage points, but from the eyes of fans in both Atlanta and Ann Arbor.
“The biggest thing we miss as players, or even coaches, is we don’t get to experience what the fans are like during the games,” Bartelstein said. “We don’t get to see inside the Brown Jug or in the Diag when we beat these teams, so to have the videos of (students) dancing or at the bars — it gives you any perspective. So while I give you the perspective of what we were doing or the coaches were doing, you also get videos of what the fans were doing during the games. So if you weren’t in Atlanta or weren’t in Dallas, you’ll see it from every angle.
“When you see those things, you can kind of put yourself back in the moment. It really gives you the chills.”
Following the Final Four, the book transitions back into the beginnings of Bartelstein’s blog-writing career, which began with the 2010-11 campaign, when a young, upstart Wolverine squad, picked by some to finish last in the Big Ten, made a shocking run into the NCAA Tournament.
Bartelstein, who said he wouldn’t typically describe himself as nostalgic, repeatedly found himself in awe at the transformation the program underwent during his tenure.
“The coolest thing for me is going back and reading it and seeing how far that we’ve come,” he said. “My favorite part will always be seeing how much progress this program has made.
“It was an amazing stretch of how quickly it happened and even crazier to see page by page.”
A few months ago, Bartelstein felt lucky just to have so many memories bound together in one place. Now, he’s gotten the chance to dive so much deeper into the tournament run of his life, while in the process, experiencing an entirely different angle. And for a player that built his reputation around sharing his inside perspective of the basketball program with the Wolverine fanbase, he’s happy to share one final time.
“It’s just everything you could ever want to not just remember this year, but remember this program and what’s happened so recently,” Bartelstein said. “There are not many books that can really capture a program, written by players — key players — and this book is going to be that.”