Aug. 6, 2012
Entering his senior year on the University of Michigan men's basketball team, Josh Bartelstein has been with the team through thick and thin. The team did not receive an NCAA Tournament bid during his freshman season, but now, just two years later, the Wolverines have been to two straight NCAA Tournaments and earned a Big Ten title.
Garnering Academic All-Big Ten accolades in his sophomore and junior campaigns, Bartelstein has seized the opportunity to record all of his team experiences with his blog titled, "The Bartelstein Blog."
In a one-on-one interview with MGoBlue.com, Bartelstein discussed his expectations for the upcoming season, his preparations throughout the offseason and how he thinks the team will handle all of the hype surrounding the 2012-2013 season.
On stepping into a leadership role for his senior year ... "Being around Zack (Novak) and Stu (Douglass) a lot and living with them, I learned a lot about what to do and some things that work and some things that don't work as a leader. They left big shoes to fill; however, I know I will be able to fill them and lead this team and help the younger guys understand what Michigan basketball is all about."
On how he has taken advantage of the offseason to improve his game and leadership abilities ... "This is the first summer having the Davidson PDC and it has been awesome -- having a gym 24/7 and machines that can pass the ball back automatically has helped working on my individual game. With the new summer rules allowing us to practice as a team, I feel we are far ahead as a team. Just being able to work with the guys and the coaches, it helps you lead because you're in the team setting."
On how he plans on contributing to the team this year ... "In a lot of ways. I have worked really hard, so hopefully I will get the opportunity to play in some games this year and show what I can do. There are a million things you can do behind the scenes -- leading the freshmen, showing them what to do, being on the scout team showing a different team's play. That's kind of what we have established here. It's all about the team. When you have everyone pulling in the same direction then really good things happen."
On what contributed to the success the team had last year and living up to those expectations this year ... "People always say the hardest thing to do is be the one that is being hunted after you've had success because people are going to come after you. Last year, no one thought we were going to win the Big Ten and we did, so that was really special. Now we want to repeat that and go even farther in the NCAA Tournament. It takes hard work every day; it's a journey. We've talked about how we can't get there right away; there are different steps we have to take. We have 10 guys that won a championship last year, and we're going to show the five freshmen how we go about doing it. It's a day in and day out process."
On all of the hype surrounding the upcoming season and how the team deals with all of the attention ... "With success comes the hype, but it is exciting. I would rather have that going on than people saying that we're not going to be good. There is no one here that is going to sit around and listen to people talk about how good we are. In my four years here, no one has spent more time in the gym than this team. We're also spending a lot of time together off the court building that bond. So, we have our goals and we are doing everything we can to achieve them."
On which of his teammates have stood out so far in preseason workouts ... "I really like what all the freshmen have done so far, however, Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson have really impressed me. Coming in as freshmen they have picked things up fast. They have been good leaders for the freshmen and they are playing hard. They really have adjusted and have given everything to the team so far -- making the extra pass, really absorbing what we are trying to do. It's really good to see. I also want to point out Jordan Morgan has gotten a lot better with his jump shot and Jon Horford has really improved and he has worked really hard to get back after he was injured. It's just pretty cool to see how people have gotten better. If people could only see how much better some of these guys have gotten. That is what gives me confidence that we won't be resting on our laurels."
On his personal goals for the season ... "I would like the opportunity to be a captain if I can achieve that, but if not, I'm still going to lead this team the same way. I have had a good first couple of weeks so hopefully I will get to see some time on the court and contribute any way possible. The first goal is to win the Big Ten, then the Big Ten Tournament and then you get to the NCAA Tournament and anything can happen."