Oct. 19, 2011
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team held its sixth straight day of official practice on Wednesday (Oct. 19) inside Crisler Arena, followed by a media round table with Coach Beilein and a few players. The Wolverines, who held their first official practice last Friday (Oct. 14), tip off the season with a home exhibition against Wayne State on Friday, Nov. 4, at 7 p.m. The game will be shown on BTN.com.
Michigan Head Coach John Beilein
Opening statement ... "This is what we called 'Camp Wolverine,' which was six days -- today was the sixth day of six in a row. With the calendar we were able to get maximum hours for these six days. So we're using every bit of the 20 hours we are allowed per week and the eight hours we were allowed last Friday and Saturday. The attitude has been good, we're injury-free at this point and we are practicing really hard."
On the performance of the freshmen thus far ... "I think they've been good. There's always those points where so much is going on and it's not about a complex offense, it's not about a complex defense, it's just about learning and going to the next stage of their development. We're very fortunate all of them have had great high school coaches so we feel they've been well trained to this point. Now there's another level."
On if the practices have given him an indication as to the rotation ... "No, it's too early to tell, really. We have been trying to mix up the teams with what combinations I want to see together and then we change them almost every day, what the top 10 will be. There are about 12 guys that have been alternating in the top 10. So we're more at a top 10 than we are at a top five."
On the teaching ability of the veterans ... "We have incredible teachers right now. This is a good problem to have. We've had too many people talking in the huddle when we huddle up. Bacari (Alexander) was trying to talk, well so was Jordan Morgan trying to help Max (Bielfeldt), for an example. We had to say, 'Okay we love this impact, but let the coaches talk and then you grab him afterwards.' In film session the other day, I was showing something and I had missed something in film that Stu (Douglass) picked up and said, 'Coach, can you show that again? -- see Carlton [Brundidge], that's what I was talking about.' That's so good to have. We'll take this any time, we can always channel it down."
On the team talking about bigger goals in practice ... "We're always talking about it. You can't be at Michigan without talking about trying to be a champion. I think in order to be a champion one day, whatever it is, is it Maui, is it Big Ten, is it the Big Ten Tournament, the National Championship, you're always striving for that. So I would think that would be a reasonable goal to try to traditionally be at the top of the Big Ten because if you are, then you're in the NCAA Tournament."
U-M Senior Zack Novak
On how the first five days of practice have gone ... "I think we're pretty pleased with where we're at right now. I've loved the attitude that the guys have had in practice -- guys are working really hard. The freshmen are catching on pretty quick to things and we're heading in the right direction. We just need to make sure we stay focused."
On what he can bring to the team in his final preseason ... "I think the biggest thing I can bring is the leadership aspect, especially with the younger guys. Even our sophomores -- they're been through it once, but that's still not a ton of experience. I've just been trying to help everybody -- helping the freshmen learn the offense and the sophomore keep improving. Just making sure the team is heading in the right direction."
On the team's excited to start playing against guys in different colored jerseys ... "When you get to this point of the year, you haven't played against anybody else since March, so we can't wait to play a game and see where you stack up against other teams."
U-M Senior Stu Douglass
On whether he prefers to play the 1 or the 2 position ... "I've been trying to think about that and I can't really make a decision for myself. If coach asked me which I like better, I would say both positions. I've been playing both positions back and forth so much that I like doing that. I don't like going into a game set on one position. I like the responsibility that both positions bring. My expectations for myself this season are to do the same exact things I've been going. I've grown to like playing both positions."
On the advantage their team chemistry brings ... "It's a huge advantage. Our team chemistry is at an all-time high since I've been here (at Michigan). I think you can have as much talent as you want, but if you don't have team chemistry, a lot of times that can go for noting. We experience that my sophomore year and we don't want to repeat that. It just comes down to being a team player, as cliché as it sounds -- just taking accountability for your mistakes, not pointing fingers. It's so easy to point fingers at any level of basketball. Sometimes it's about growing up quicker than you really want to."
On having multiple leaders on the team ... "Coach Beilein has said it and coach Meyer has said it a lot, 'leadership is plural'. It's not just going to be one guy out there. Everyone has to take accountability for themselves and hold their teammates accountable. Everyone trusts everyone, that's as simple as I can put it. If a freshman says something, whether they have a question or they point out something you're going wrong, you listen. You know that they have your best interest in mind and they're not trying to show you up or something like that."
U-M Sophomore Tim Hardaway Jr.
On what positives he's seen in the early days of practice ... "Everybody is getting the offense down, especially the freshmen. They're really learning and picking up things quickly. That's helping the veterans and the coaching staff to move on and get through practice quicker and a lot smoother."
On what he likes about Trey Burke and Carlton Brundidge ... "Just their composure and their will to learn. Coach Beilein didn't bring them in here for nothing. They are listening and giving the 'yes' face -- saying 'yes sir' to what he's saying and having eye contact. That's very big for a head coach to have eye contact when he's talking. It just gives coach a sense that they are here to learn and that they want to win."
On how the veterans have stepped up as leaders ... "We're just trying not to make the same mistakes that we did last year as freshmen and underclassmen. We're trying to make it easier for the coaching staff and make sure they know that we are engaged into the game -- engaged into the offense and what needs to be done out there. We're just out there trying to go out there and win."
U-M Sophomore Evan Smotrycz
On how the first five days of practice have gone ... "It's been good, everybody is learning and picking up the offense and picking up defensive assignments. Everyone is really learning quickly and things are coming along."
On the team's excitement to get back into the gym ... "It's been different because last year we had our Euro trip so we were practicing in the summer. This summer we were left to playing pick-up so everyone was real anxious to get to practicing. I know games are only a couple weeks away so everyone is really excited."
On going through his second preseason ... "It's definitely different than last year. There isn't as much learning to do. It's just kinds of more helping the freshmen learn and just executing the details of the game instead of getting a hold of all the stuff we do with our offense."
On what he's looking forward to this season ... "I don't want to look past the first couple of games, but I'm definitely excited to get to Maui, not just because it's Maui, but because of all the good team that are going to be there. It should be fun."
Contact: Tom Wywrot, Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423