One of the lesser known players on Michigan's 2012-2013 roster is Josh Bartelstein. Not only because he is clearly a "depth" player, but also because his slight contributions have actually been decreasing during his career. He may not get time in any significant games this year, but he does play an important role for the team in terms of depth for both this season and beyond.
Bartelstein will be a senior, but has done little during his career. His first year was the 2009-2010 season, but he played in just 5 games and averaged 2.6 minutes. He played in 11 games last year, but his average time decreased to 1.3 minutes per game. One could argue this is because Bartelstein took a step back, but I I would credit this more to circumstances. If you look at last season, many of the games were close for long segments of time, which makes it hard to get bench players like Bartelstein on the court.
Things To Look For In 2012-2013:
1. More Gameplay
This is the first and probably Bartelstein's biggest goal for this season. He simply needs to get on the court more often. Averaging less than 3 minutes per game as a junior is not a good sign for success, especially when he was playing a position with questionable depth. He should certainly be vying for that backup role as a point guard and possibly some time as a shooting guard. Not only because he has the ability to play the position, but also because Michigan has very little depth at the point in the coming season. Even if he has to adjust his play or alternate positions, he needs to help Eso Akuenne and Spike Albrecht fill that backup point guard role. Not only because both are big question marks, but also because Michigan really needs to be able to redshirt Albrecht and give Trey Burke more rest this season.
2. More Consistency
This relates a lot to my first point, but when Bartelstein does get on the court, he needs to make sure that his production is solid. He doesn't necessarily have to create on his own, but he needs to be consistent and not make mistakes that will jeopardize both his playing time and the team's performance. He averaged just over 1.3 minutes in his 11 games last season. We've already talked about why it was hard for Bartelstein to get time on the court last year, but in that shortened interval, he still had a turnover and three personal fouls. For a player fighting for playing time, that's not something you like to see.
There is one key reason why making mistakes is very important for bench players. It's obviously something you never like to see any player do, but bench players typically come in either to give a starter a rest, when a player is in foul trouble, or in a blowout. In any of these three cases, the backup is typically given one role; don't lose any ground. When a player like Trey Burke comes off the court, you don't expect Michigan to do great, but you do hope they at least maintain what they had or come close. A big part of this is not making mistakes. Bartelstein needs to work on avoiding these mistakes if he wants to get more time.
3. Improve Vision
As I said above, the best chance for Bartelstein to make an impact both for himself and the team is to try to play several roles and most notably, point guard. I know this is similar to what I said about Matt Vogrich, but with the incoming recruiting class, it's hard not to look at the depth chart. The 2 and the 3 spots should be loaded this year, which means the best chance for guys like Bartelstein to get on the court is probably at the point guard spot.
Burke tends to play long segments of the game, but I think most fans hope this changes slightly in the coming year. Not only so Burke can get more rest as the year goes on, but also because most fans hope there are significantly more blowout games. If the bench can assert itself with guys like Bartelstein, it's not only going to help their own progress, but it could really help the team as the season progresses. Guys like Bartelstein probably won't be a major factor, but they may be the difference in the level of success for the team when they get into the tougher parts of the schedule.