Men's Basketball Media Day Player Quotes

Oct. 24, 2013

Notebook | Coach Beilein Quotes | Photos Photo

Fifth-Year Senior Jordan Morgan • Height: 6-8 • Weight: 250 • Forward
On the freshmen fitting into the system ... "They are learning, and that's what's most important. Our system is beyond just playing basketball and they've been starting to learn little things about the game that coach Beilein really places a lot of emphasis on. They've been learning and growing that stuff and, especially this last week, I've seen a number of them grow beyond basketball. It's been difficult them to transition with so much going on, but I've been able to see so many of them be able to step outside of themselves and get some air to be a little bit more of a team player. It's not in a bad way; they've just been so focused on picking everything up."

On your health coming back from injury ... "I've been great. I've had no problems. I took some time at the end of last season just to rest, and that did me a lot of good. Now I've been feeling as good as ever. "

On what players have taken a leadership role so far in practice ... "There have been a few people. I've put a lot pressure on myself to be a leader for this team. I don't think I'll ever be happy with where I'm at and I think that's the nature of being a leader, to continue to grow. Definitely Jon (Horford) has taken on some leadership. I've seen Glenn (Robinson) emerge as a leader, too, and that has been big for our team. Spike and some other guys start to embrace that role and realize that they aren't freshman anymore and that it's okay for them to step outside themselves and give some encouragement every now and then."

Freshman Cole McConnell • Height: 6-5 • Weight: 200 • Guard
On how the upperclassmen have helped him so far ... "They've been really supportive and nice so far. They've helped me learn the plays and get the feel for Ann Arbor."

On what he needs to improve ... "Just overall athleticism and strength, I'd say."

On the feedback from the blog ... "It's been mostly positive. At least the people that say things to my face say they like it. So hopefully I think it's pretty good so far."

Sophomore Caris LeVert • Height: 6-6 • Weight: 185 • Guard
On how his game has developed this offseason ... "I'm a lot stronger this year. That's really helped not only just taking contact but also just playing longer and harder."

On setting personal and team goals for the season ... "I haven't set any personal goals. For team goals, we are just trying to get better each and every day and just trying to learn a lot. We have a really young team, like we did last year, so we are just trying to learn more every day."

On how the experience of last year has affected the approach to this season ... "We have a totally different team this year. I think it's probably heightened everyone's focus and the hunger every day to go back there."

On how he's responded to reports of playing in the backcourt this season ... "I played a lot of backcourt last year. It's just an honor that they trust me back there with the ball. With Trey (Burke) leaving and with Derrick (Walton) and Spike (Albrecht) and me and Nik (Stauskas) in the backcourt it's just going to be fun this year."

Sophomore Spike Albrecht • Height: 5-11 • Weight: 175 • Guard
On personal expectations going into the season ... "I think my only expectation is trying to get better each day and really work on my leadership because that's something we need for this team."

On if he's prepared to take more of a leadership role now that Trey Burke is gone ... "Probably, but I think everyone's going to have to step up both on and off the court. Like I said, we lost a lot of seniors last year that were really the majority of our vocal guys off last year's team, so we are going have to have a lot of guys step up."

On how he's played and adapted with Derrick Walton Jr. in practice ... "Derrick's done a great job so far this season; we have played together a little bit, but most of the time we have been competing against each other. It's really been a good preseason for the both of us."

On how the experience of last year has affected the approach to this season ... "I think almost all of us are really motivated. Last year, coming so close and falling short, it just gave us a little chip on our shoulder going into this year. We've got a lot of confidence coming off of last year but it's a new team and new faces so we've got to do it all over again."

Junior/Sophomore Max Bielfeldt • Height: 6-7 • Weight: 245 • Forward
On how the freshmen are fitting in ... "The freshman fit in great. They're really comfortable, the most comfortable group of freshman I've seen coming in. The upperclassmen are pretty accepting towards them. We have a pretty young team and we're all about the same age. But they've come in and fit in really well."

On the development of his game in the offseason ... "The part of my game that has developed most is my versatility and being able to be more mobile and play the four spot."

On how the experience of last year has affected the approach to this season ... "I think our approach to this season is that we had a great season last year but we are a different team and we have to make our own accomplishments again."

Freshman Andrew Dakich • Height: 6-2 • Weight: 185 • Guard
On why he chose Michigan ... "I chose Michigan because I can look around and look at my teammates, and we've got Indiana guys (Dakich is from Bloomington, Ind.), and it was just the right fit. The coaching staff is awesome, and I just feel connected with them. I'm just glad to be here."

On what role he can take on this season ... "Whatever Coach Beilein wants me to do, I'll do. I'm obviously not as high profile as Derrick (Walton) or some of the other guys, but I'm a practice player on the scout team, and I can contribute."

On the difference between Division I basketball and high school ... "There's a change in the game. It's more fast paced and physical."

Freshman Zak Irvin • Height: 6-6 • Weight: 200 • Guard
On why he chose Michigan ... "A big part has to be the coaching staff. I love the coaching staff here. I think they'll help me become a better player and develop my game."

On how the freshmen have been doing in preseason ... "We've been able to learn a lot. We're taking it week by week. The upperclassmen are helping us out by showing us the ropes."

On his favorite basketball memory to date ... "I'd say sectionals my junior year. I hit the game-winning shot to take us into the championships."

Senior/Junior Jon Horford • Height: 6-10 • Weight: 250 • Forward
On how the team is coming along ... "This year, we're playing more open gym than we've ever played. Playing a lot with these guys, we're getting used to each other and getting a feel for each other. It helps seeing the way guys act in victories and defeats and getting to know what everyone is really about. It's something that we haven't had in the past, so going in it's just a benefit to this team."

On what he thinks his role will be ... "Obviously, I want to help the team in any way I can. I just think whatever is best for the team; I'll be willing and able."

On his health ... "I feel great. I'm as healthy as I've been in college. I'm really excited about that. Staying healthy is key."

On how the attention on campus has changed the basketball program ... "I remember times my freshman year, we'd come to the gym to play, and it would be half empty. We'd have around 40 people in the student section. We were watching clips not too long ago of my freshman year, and I was on the floor at the time. It panned over the gym, and the student section was empty. It's funny, you know. Success brings fans. That's okay; that's the nature of it. But it's nice now that people come out and support us every game now."

Sophomore Glenn Robinson III • Height: 6-6 • Weight: 220 • Forward
On his game developing in the offseason ... "I worked really hard this summer on my leadership. Losing two big leaders from last season in Trey (Burke) and Tim (Hardaway Jr.), that is something I think I can step up and do, and also my ball handling, so I can add more of a threat to the offense. Any way I can improve myself and add another threat to this team is something that I am going to do."

On the fame affecting his career thus far ... "One thing that I like to take pride in is not letting all the stardom, if you want to call it that, get to me. That is something that I think I have been good at since high school, and I am really just looking to help my teammates out in any way that I can."

On the freshmen fitting into the system ... "They are fitting in very well. They all look comfortable out there. Derrick at the point guard spot is locking down on defense like crazy. Zak is a great shooter. Mark Donnel has also done well, not to mention all the walk-ons. They have all made great strides and are definitely going to see some time this season and on Tuesday."

Sophomore Mitch McGary • Height: 6-10 • Weight: 255 • Forward
On his preparations for this year ... "Last year I looked up to guys like Josh Bartelstein, Corey Person, and Eso Ekunne, and the things that I took away looking at their leadership I look to bring to the team this year. That is something that I look to bring every day. I talk to them all the time, and they give me things that still really help me out."

On the development in his game in the NCAA Tournament ... "I think it had a lot to do with my confidence level. Towards the end of the season, I started to feel more comfortable and confident during practice and in games, and the coaches started to get a little more trust in me to run more of the offense through me."

On the expectations going into this year ... "I want to be one of the main leaders on this team. My ultimate goal is to be a team captain and lead the team in every category that I can. Right now I am just trying to be more vocal in practice."

On whether the accolades have affected him ... "I don't really think it has done a lot. I have had this stardom, or whatever you would like to call it, since high school. I was ranked really high and such. I think honestly it is just something to boast and hype certain players and give them big ego. I just try to stay down to earth and worry about my team and my game."

Freshman Derrick Walton Jr. • Height: 6-1 • Weight: 185 • Guard
On having Spike Albrecht helping him in the preseason ... "He has shown me what I really need to improve on like running the offense and just being able to help me fine tune my game. He is making me realize that I am right at home in an offense that I don't really have to score that much. We have shooters all over the floor, and the media was right when they said that this is point-guard heaven."

On where he was during the national championship game ... "I was at home. I was really excited for the team since I have known these guys for a while now, and I got to watch their dreams come true by playing on that Monday night."

On the differences between high school and college ... "Here I would say the physicality and length that you practice with and score around are the biggest differences for me at this point. High school had a lot of the guys are around the same height, you know 6-5, 6-6; here everyone is bigger around 6-7 and 6-8. I think that has been the biggest adjustment in my game that I have noticed thus far."

Freshman Sean Lonergan • Height: 6-5 • Weight: 195 • Forward
On how the upperclassmen have helped him and the freshmen ... "The upperclassmen have been great, on and off the court, just always having our backs and teaching us. You know, right now it's a lot of work, but they've done more than we could ask. I'm grateful and they've been awesome."

On how he plans on contributing to the team ... "I just want to bring my best effort every day, be determined and make sure that I can do anything I can to help the team and move us towards our goals."

On team and personal goals going into the season ... "We just want to play Michigan basketball and just do our best to have the best season we can."

Freshman Mark Donnal • Height: 6-9 • Weight: 230 • Forward
On what his playing style brings to the team ... "I'm mostly at the five position, and Coach Beilein said he likes running a five that can shoot the ball, so that's something unique that I bring."

On the team and individual goals ... "I'm just going to help the team out in any way I can possible, come to the practice with a committed attitude and do whatever I can do to help better the team."

On what he needs to improve on ... "I need to improve defensively and just my speed, kicking things up offensively and defensively, doing everything a little bit faster."

Sophomore Nik Stauskas • Height: 6-6 • Weight: 205 • Guard
On if he has individual goals going into the season ... "Not necessarily. I put in a lot of hard work over the summer, and I definitely think I'm ready for this season. I just want to go out there and help the team as much I can, and I know the hard work I put in over the summer will just take care of itself, which hopefully shows throughout the season."

On a changing role with new personnel ... "It definitely will. I think last year this team really just depended on me to knock down threes when I was open, and I think this year they're going to look to me more to create off the dribble, maybe use pick and roles, at the same time defensively look for me to be more of a leader out there, be more vocal and get some stops."

On playing in the backcourt with Caris ... "I'm excited for that. We've tried it a couple times in practice, and it has been really successful. I think offensively and defensively, it's going to cause some problems for their team because of our length and size. I'm definitely excited for that."

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