Big 10

The stars aligned for Andrew Dakich and Ohio State, and the ex-Michigan PG couldn’t pass on this chance

July 17, 2017

ANN ARBOR — Andrew Dakich was almost all set to begin his graduate studies at Quinnipiac when a few things happened. 

First, Dakich — a former Michigan point guard who planned to play for Baker Dunleavy and the Bobcats next season — was unable to secure a spot in the QU journalism graduate program he wanted to attend. 

And while he was enrolled at the school, he was not enrolled in a specific graduate school program — which allowed him to pursue other options and retain his fifth year elsewhere. 

Second, Chris Holtmann — the man who had been recruiting Dakich to play as a graduate transfer at Butler earlier this offseason — became the new head coach at Ohio State. 

Mix it all up and Dakich found himself staring at an opportunity he could not pass on. 

“This was just the best opportunity for me, I know I’ll get crushed by some Michigan fans and I get that,” said Dakich, who will enroll in Ohio State’s masters of sports coaching graduate program. “But if they put themselves in my shoes, I think a lot of people would have done the same thing.” 

Now comes the weird part, of course. 

Michigan has now had graduate transfers head to Big Ten schools in three straight seasons (Max Bielfeldt and Spike Albrecht being the others). But nothing quite like this. 

Dakich finds himself in the most unique of situations as he’s about to cross lines in what’s always been one of the most heated rivalries in all of college athletics. Dakich was actually reminded by former Michigan assistant (now Butler head coach) LaVall Jordan about former Michigan football player Justin Boren — who eventually left the program and played for Ohio State. 

Now he’ll get to see all sides of this thing. 

“I think history may be in the making here,” Dakich said with a chuckle. 

This is far from a bitter situation, though. 

Dakich called and spoke with Michigan coach John Beilein at length before making his decision to pledge to Ohio State. Holtmann also called Beilein to discuss the move. 

In the end, all parties agreed this was the best move for Dakich — who has received nothing but support. 

“He was great, he understood my situation completely and I’ll actually be up there this week to work a camp for him,” Dakich said of Beilein. “There’s no bad blood at all. He’s happy for me to have this opportunity to play at Ohio State for a great coach he respects. And coach Holtmann had the same conversation with him.

“This all happened about a week ago and coach Beilein was great. I have the utmost respect for him and he knows that.” 

Quite simply, the stars aligned for Dakich to make this move. “A perfect storm,” he called it. If everything had gone as planned at Quinnipiac, he’d be playing there. But they didn’t. And a new opportunity awaits. 

He had a pre-existing relationship with Holtmann and Holtmann found himself in desperate need of point guard help for the upcoming season at Ohio State. 

Dakich — who began his career as a walk-on at Michigan — could not pass up the chance to compete in the Big Ten once again. Even if it means going against some of his best friends in an otherwise bitter rivalry. 

“My ultimate goal is to win, and also win while I’m playing,” he said. “I did a lot of winning while I was sitting at Michigan. So I kind of wanted to (give the other part a try). Obviously, Ohio State’s a well-recognized school in the Big Ten and I saw a lot of potential with them.” 

As far as his now former Michigan teammates are concerned, Dakich calls the returning bunch some of his best friends. He said he’s excited to watch what incoming Michigan transfer point guard Jaaron Simmons and rising sophomore Xavier Simpson can do this season. 

And he’s not ruling out a return episode or two of his podcast with Michigan forward Duncan Robinson: “The Dak and Dunc Show.” 

“It was kind of like a perfect storm, in a way,” he said. “I know I’ll probably get crushed by (some fans), but hey. If Michigan beats us maybe they won’t, if they don’t maybe I’ll have a little problem. 

“Michigan has great point guards in Jaaron Simmons and Xavier Simpson, I talk to them every other day. I’m happy with what they’re doing and they’re happy for me. They’re my great friends. Obviously when we get on the floor it might be a little different. But that time will come.” 

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