Inside the Huddle with Tim Hardaway Jr.
Tim Hardaway Jr.

A starter since he has been on campus, guard Tim Hardaway Jr. needs just 20 points to join the 1,000-point club and has helped Michigan rise to a preseason top-10 team.

As he enters his junior year, Hardaway has been busy in the offseason attending elite skill academies hosted by some of the best NBA players in the league.

In an exclusive one-on-one interview with's Jordan Macocha, Hardaway discussed his experience at the summer skill academies, his role as a leader on the team and his expectations for the upcoming season.

On his experiences at the Kevin Durant and LeBron James skills academies over the summer ... "The camps were great. Trey (Burke) and I got a lot out of them because we were able to see a lot of different players from the country and other colleges. Just being out there with those different players, seeing how they work, seeing what they do to get better, seeing what the next level of play can be like and what it will be like if we can get there. It was just a really valuable experience."

On his contact with Kevin Durant and LeBron James at the academies ... "Unfortunately, Kevin Durant wasn't able to make the camp, but LeBron took pictures with the campers. We did get a chance to talk with LeBron. He talked with us about the season and himself, and talked with all of us on how the work ethic is in the NBA, what he does to prepare for it and what he is doing right now for next season."

On living up to, and responding to, all the preseason hype ... "We're not looking back at last year, and we're not looking forward. We are looking to right now to see what we can do as a team -- not as individuals, as a team. We are doing a great job of that. We are always together; we are always doing things -- activities wise. We are trying to build that chemistry off the court because having that helps build up chemistry on the court. We are building that up, and we should be fine."

On whom he sees rising as leaders ... "Zack (Novak) and I have always been very close. He gave me a lot of advice and showed me the ropes on how to be a good leader. When I was being recruited, he coached me. Building that relationship with him, seeing him and being able to follow in his footsteps would be great. We don't know who the leader will be yet; we are trying to figure that out. Whoever the leader is, we are going to stand behind them one hundred percent, it doesn't matter who that is."

On what he is looking forward to most with the upcoming season ... "I'm looking forward to the challenges we will face because there will be plenty of them. There are a lot of good teams out there and we will face many of them. We just need to go out there and take them on. It will be important to see how we react to adversity as well as success."

On what sort of preparations he has taken to improve his game ... "For me, just being able to be humble and go out there and play my hardest. I worked on defense and rebounding a lot, but I just want to help this team in any way that I can to win."

The Inside the Huddle Series
Josh Bartelstein (8/6/12)
Jordan Morgan (8/12/12)
Trey Burke (8/14/12)
Blake McLimans (8/20/12)
Max Bielfeldt (8/23/12)
Eso Akunne (8/27/12)
Jon Horford (8/30/12)

»  Learn about Michigan men's basketball season tickets for the 2017-18 season.