Aug. 13, 2011
University of Michigan men's basketball guard Corey Person knows exactly how much hard work it takes to play Division I basketball.
Person was not given a scholarship offer out of high school from U-M. Instead, the Kalamazoo, Mich., native walked on to the Maize and Blue squad three years ago as a freshman, and has yet to allow his determination to slip as he heads into his fourth campaign in Ann Arbor.
While Person has received limited playing time during his Wolverine tenure, his experience -- two NCAA Tournament bids -- will help lead this young Michigan squad as it looks to advance farther through the postseason this year.
MGoBlue.com sat down with Person in an exclusive interview to discuss his experience walking on to the Michigan basketball team, along with his offseason preparations and his role for the upcoming season.
On walking on to the Michigan basketball team ... "It gives me a great confidence just knowing that you have to work your way into something that is not given to you. A lot of times in the world, in daily life, things aren't just going to be given to you, so that fact that nothing was given to you and nothing was promised to you and you walked on and earned your right on the team, I would say it gives me a great confidence."
On last season's NCAA Tournament bid ... "It was great. To get back to where we were my freshman year and the tournament and really go above and beyond everybody else's expectations besides our own, it was a great feeling. I tell our freshmen that the NCAA Tournament is our motivation, that once you get there you always want to go back because the atmosphere is like no other. So it feels great; it's a great accomplishment."
On confidence provided by NCAA Tournament bid for next season ... "For us, it is definitely motivation, not only to get back there next year but to get farther than where we were. We want to get past that second round; that's been the hump for us our last couple times. Once you get there and you feel the atmosphere and see what it's like and how intense the games are and how intense the fans are, as a basketball player you love that and it's something that motivates us every day to get back there."
On offseason preparations for next season ... "As a whole, we've been having one of the best summers that I think we may have ever had since I've been here. Last summer was a great summer for us and everybody saw the improvement that different players had -- like Darius Morris and Jordan Morgan. I see that same work being put in by players this summer to get ready for next season and to get better. Everyone is going hard in the weight room and everybody has gotten stronger and put on weight, so we're going to be a much stronger team for next year. Everybody's been working to improve on the things that gave us problems last year."
On offseason workouts in various locations with Crisler Arena renovations ... "It's been very difficult at times to find times that fit with your class schedule that you can get in there and shoot and do the workouts that you want to do -- some of the places we work out at aren't even full courts. Sometimes when we're using the IM building or the CCRB there are no available courts, so we have to wait for a court. It's been a difficult summer, but we definitely won't use it as an excuse at all. We've still been able to find times and places to workout. If anything, I would say it's been a humbling experience for us. The places that we've been working out in and practicing in will just make it that much better when we go into our new state-of-the-art practice facility and locker room."
On what makes this team special ... "Cohesiveness. As a team, everybody's on the same page, everybody has the same goals. Everybody's mentality this year is, 'team, team, team.' There's no individual, 'I want this, I want that,' it's all about the team and Michigan as a whole. Michigan basketball returning to the NCAA Tournament. Michigan basketball striving this year and trying to win a Big Ten title. You would be surprised at how crazy it is and how great a group of guys we have. There are no attitudes, there are no problems. Everybody's humble and willing to take on whatever role they have to take on for the team."
On role for the upcoming Michigan basketball season ... "It's definitely going to change throughout the year. Sometimes I'll have to be more of a motivator. Sometimes I'll be a teacher. Sometimes it'll be to help prepare somebody else for a specific player or team. Most importantly, my role is just to be a leader and be prepared for all aspects and be on my toes and ready to accept any role that's thrown at me."
On personal goals for next season ... "I really don't have any personal goals that I hope to accomplish. I just think that as long as our team is playing well and I'm fulfilling my role and making my team better, my goals will be reached. At the end of the day it's about the team, so if you're reaching your individual goals, but the team is failing then something is wrong."
2011 Summer Basketball Q&A Series: Catching Up with the Wolverines
Catching Up with Forward Blake McLimans (8/5/2011)
Catching Up with Guard Josh Bartelstein (7/29/2011)
Catching Up with Forward Evan Smotrycz (7/22/2011)
Catching Up with Captain Stu Douglass (7/15/2011)
Catching Up with Guard Matt Vogrich (7/8/2011)
Catching Up with Forward Colton Christian (7/1/2011)
Catching Up with Forward Jon Horford (6/24/2011)
Catching Up with Forward Jordan Morgan (6/17/2011)
Catching Up with Captain Zack Novak (6/10/2011)
Catching Up with Guard Tim Hardaway Jr. (6/3/2011)
Contact: Tom Wywrot, Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423