Running the Lane with the Wolverine: Getting Better Every Day

Running the Lane with the Wolverines
FRIDAY, SEPT. 12 -- Getting Better Every Day

The daily life of a college basketball coach can be a busy one, especially during the season. From the first practice to the final game of the season, a coach never gets a day off. Even the summer months permit minimal rest, as coaches are occupied working camps and/or hitting the recruiting trail in search of the next piece to the puzzle.

But what about after that, when the summer evaluations are over and the start of practice is still over a month away What is a typical college basketball coach's day like during that time of year For coach Beilein, it certainly does not permit a break.

"It usually involves early mornings, getting up and getting some exercise," said Beilein." I come into the office and try to prioritize what I need to get done. We have individual workouts to plan. We always have recruiting phone calls to make to high school coaches, AAU coaches and guidance counselors -- the significant others in a recruit's life. Then an awful lot of the day is spent getting to know our team and planning schedules."

This past week marked the beginning of the fall contact period in recruiting, meaning coaches around the country, including Beilein, were back on the road searching for and evaluating prospects. It may not always be the best of times to leave for a week's time, but it is a necessity in order to meet the goals of Beilein and the program.

"If we get better every day were going to accomplish our goals," said Beilein. "We want to have consistent progress towards postseason play, using every day to get closer to playing in March for as long as we can.

So it is never a typical day. Beilein's loaded schedule is proof of that. He is doing everything he can to make sure that he and the Wolverines will be ready to answer the call of getting better.

Hoop Dribbles: The Sporting News' Dave Curtis was recently in Ann Arbor and had an opportunity tosit down and talkwith U-M coach John Beilein to discuss the state of the program, how the first year in Ann Arbor west and what some of his expectations will be for the upcoming season.

Court Vision with C.J. Lee
THURSDAY, SEPT. 11 -- The "Real" Workouts Begin

Today we had our first "real" workout with Coach (Mike) Curtis in the weight room. I say that it was "real" because the pace was not instructional like the first couple sessions with him. He told us what we were doing and we were expected to execute the workout circuit. So far we have just been doing exercises with our own body weight.

The training is different from anything I have ever done because it enhances flexibility and stability through traditional exercise movements. Push-ups, sit-ups, chin-ups, squats and bridges are a few of the things we do during the circuit training. Right now we are trying to get the functional movements down so later we can add weight. So far we have strengthened neglected muscles and increased our flexibility without touching a weight.

Running the Lane with U-M Hoops
WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 10 -- Maize and Blue Cherish Early Time Spent on Floor

The typical buzz that surrounds Ann Arbor during the school year is back, as students have returned and classes are once again in session. For the Wolverines, that also means coaches can become more involved in the development of their student-athletes on the basketball court.

Following the conclusion of last season, U-M coach John Beilein and his staff could only be a part of six hours of workouts with the team. But as fall classes begin, the coaching staff can begin playing a bigger role in the individual workouts and coach Beilein could not be happier.

"This is one of my favorite times, the individual workouts at the beginning of the season," Beilein said. "This is my time to slow things down, teach and get kids ready so that when we do start practice they have a better understanding of what the expectations are for a practice at Michigan."

For coach Beilein and his staff, the individual workouts are a time when they focus on instilling the fundaments into the team.

"What we do is a building process of fundamental things to basketball, combined with fundamental things of how our coaching staff prefers to play," said Beilein. "So there could be something that every coach in America teaches in those first five weeks and there could be something that only our program teaches in those first five weeks. Whether those things are right or wrong, I don't know, but we are trying to put in a solid corps of the fundamentals that we need to be successful."

The individual building process will continue over the next month and a half before practices officially begin on Oct. 17th.

Court Vision with C.J. Lee
MONDAY, SEPT.8 -- The Opportunity Comes Again

Today the press release about David Merritt and I receiving athletic scholarships for the 2008-09 school year came out. First off, I couldn't be happier for David and his family because he has put his heart and soul into this program. I not only admire David but he is also someone who helps me out a lot personally because he can identify with what it is like to have to prove yourself day in and day out.

David has done more than proven himself and it is a blessing when you can be rewarded for your dedication. Since the 2006 season, David has been there with me every step of the way and we both have seen our lives with Michigan Basketball change.

I was told my scholarship would be renewed for the entire year on Friday, Aug. 29, after our fall compliance meeting. I met with Coach Beilein and the entire coaching staff and they told me the good news.

During the meeting we called my father to tell him. He was obviously excited about it, but he played it cool on the phone. My mother on the other hand was real excited when I called her after the meeting. It is real nice to share moments like that with your family because they go through everything you go through as a student-athlete.

Receiving a scholarship at Michigan makes me think back to when I accepted a scholarship to Manhattan College. I remember casually signing it when it came in the mail during the summer. It never really registered what I was signing though. I knew an athletic scholarship was a big deal back then, but I truly realize the significance of it now.

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