April 4, 2013
Michigan Head Coach John Beilein
Opening statement ... "It would be very obvious that the University of Michigan is so proud to be back in the Final Four. Our university, our team, all the staff that's involved that's worked very hard to get Michigan in this position. We're practicing hard. We're looking toward to today and tomorrow's practice. We still have a lot to do if we're going to be successful. But we're all engaged and going to do our best. But on behalf of the whole university, we feel a great amount of gratitude to be back in the situation again."
On his history with Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim ... "It goes back for years and years. Even when I first broke into coaching, going to the first clinics, Jim was talking about the 2-3 zone back in 1975, 1976, 1977 when I began coaching as a high school coach. Stayed consistent at community college at Nazareth. Crossed path at Le Moyne college in Syracuse. So we became friends during that time, and I have had great respect for him. Along the way, he assisted me a great deal in actually getting my first Division I job at Canisius College. I believe he had something to do with me going to the Big East at West Virginia. He was very instrumental. I followed him and respected him very much. He's one of the greatest minds in basketball, about anything. The guy is smart. You ask him about college football, he'll tell you. You ask him about North Korea right now, he probably knows all about that. He is a smart guy. I think the Syracuse people already know that."
On his family in New York ... "I have a huge family, one of nine children, my mother was one of 13. The Niland family was one of the first families in coaching in the Buffalo area. I've called an old friend of mine on the way down and said, 'What color are you wearing? Do you have orange underwear on with the blue shirt over the top?' There's a lot of people that I know that our families are involved in basketball; have several cousins that coach. It's a great thing for everybody to have. There's a lot to talk about after a tough win, in western New York, central New York. I just think it's all good. It's just all good."
On Glenn Robinson III's importance Saturday ... "Here is the key with all our guys, not just Glenn. When we get into good defense, we can get into defense. That's where Glenn is a superior player. That will be a goal. I think all our guys have these equal key pieces in this game, whether it's shooting, whether it's finding the next man, we call it the Gretzky pass, the pass that leads to the assist. Those things which are usually very similar to most winning teams. So Glenn does everything, he does it so quietly. Then you look at the stat sheet at the end and you say, 'Wow, how did he do all those?' Playing against Syracuse, how they're playing right now, we need all our players to have a great game."
On making it to the Final Four after 36 years of coaching ... "I didn't think much about that; I didn't think it was possible because I didn't think about it. I'm sort of always thinking about what can we do right now to be a better team, what can I do to be a better coach, a better father, a better teacher. Always with the idea that if you do all those things, anything is possible in your life. So for me to be sitting at this podium right now, being in this Final Four, certainly when we went to West Virginia and we came to Michigan, the possibility of getting here one day rose. You just never know. In today's day, even Canisius or Richmond, you could have things go right and be the mid-major that gets in here. It's tremendous, but pretty much the way I have lived my life, try to do your best and anything can happen, good or bad. And you better be able to deal with it either way."
On Trey Burke against the zone ... "Certainly when you play a zone defense, it's going to negate isolation. We were able to isolate Trey a lot of times and put into two men guarding him, what we call a quick man, they're reacting, trying to fly around the floor, find different people. The zone still gets into some of that. We have to change what we do because we're going to see the zone for 40 minutes. We all know it. It's something we have to practice hard at. We don't see it very often. Our hope is we have enough guys that see the floor that we don't have to have the ball in one guy's hands all the time. When you have a player like Trey Burke, you get the ball in his hands as often as you can. If zone negates that, we'll just have to do our best."
On adapting to new challenges at each stop in his coaching career ... "It's probably the reason why we're still here, why we're still coaching 35 years later. You cannot get stale when you're fighting for your life in all those situations I was in. Each opportunity that we embraced, the program was at a low, or one of its lower points. So we would say, 'Okay. That clock is ticking. They'll be with you the first, second year. You don't start turning it around, there's going to be somebody else.' So you're in a survival mode. When you're in survival mode, you find ways to improvise, to get better, self-examine yourself daily. As a result it keeps you sharp. It wasn't intentional. I'm talking survival. You have four children. You're trying to make it. You got to do what you have to do to make sure that you can do that. So you just change. We've been changing and changing and changing. I used to play the same 2-3 zone for a long time. Everybody in upstate New York did, has for a long time. But found maybe I wasn't as good at times and changed to 1-3-1. Now the 1-3-1 hasn't been as effective. We still use it, but we're a straight man-to-man team now. I probably wouldn't have done that if I hadn't had all those changes."
On Trey Burke's national awards ... "What I've said over and over again is that Trey Burke has been playing this year, Tim Hardaway is a fabulous player, and Trey wouldn't be there without Tim, and he would tell you the same thing. He has been with three to five freshmen all year long, because of an injury to Jordan Morgan. Here he is this cagey sophomore, veteran sophomore. The whole year he has been just as calm and cool as if he was a fifth-year redshirt senior guard. So you look at that. He didn't come in as a freshman, sophomore, he had all these veterans around him; he just has to fill in the pieces, much like he had to do this year. This team carried itself; he was just out front all of the time so many times. Those young guys look at Trey, they see poise, they see patience. It's worked very well."
Join the season ticket interest list for priority access to 2015-16 Michigan men's basketball tickets.
Sign up for Michigan Insider to be the first to learn about 2015-16 Michigan men's basketball ticket opportunities.