2001-02 BKM vs. EA Sports Midwest All-Stars (ex) -- quotes
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U-M Head Coach Tommy Amaker

On his first impressions of the team ... "Well, I guess we're trying to, as we said all along, to develop credibility and respect and I think along those lines we're trying to develop an identity. Certainly I think we were looking forward to playing against someone else with a different color jersey, as opposed to going against one another in practice. We saw a lot of good things that we tried to have carried over from practice and I think our identity is going to come from our effort and our energy on the defensive end. I felt that was the key for us this afternoon, that we picked up our defensive intensity, and I thought our offense flowed, something that I've talked about since the very first day. I thought our kids did a nice job of communicating and talking and working very hard in the defensive end to put us in a position out there to streak out there and hold them to 28 points (in the first half). This is a team that played Missouri to an 11-point game, yesterday. They're a team that can really score and they're veterans, but I thought our guys did a nice job of staying within the framework of what we're trying to do as a ballclub."

On how the team is responding to the idea of defense creates offense ... "Well, we're hoping that they're convinced of it now. We've been preaching and talking about it and trying to teach it and coach it. We've talked about trying to never underestimate the habit of winning. It's important that our kids develop the right habits. There's no greater habit than to win. I think one of the ways that we can be successful this year is going to be to play hard defensively, create some opportunities, and then be aggressive on the offensive end. I think you saw that with a kid like Gavin Groninger who started off slow. It took him a couple of free throws to get his confidence going and then he was really shooting the ball, he was in somewhat of a 'zone' and it was nice to see that."

On LaVell Blanchard's situation with his foot ... "He turned his ankle two days ago and we thought he was going to be a little better than he was this afternoon, but certainly he wasn't nearly at full strength and then after halftime we just made the decision not to even try to play him in the second half. We just wanted to keep him out and get him treatment and not to try to take a chance with reinjuring his ankle or making it any worse than it is this early in the year."

On Josh Moore's back problem ... "He was healthy enough to try to play today, but it's important that we develop the right habits and before you can become a good player you have to become a good practice player and we haven't been able to have that happen yet for Josh. I'm hoping that as time goes on he can be more consistent for us with his health in practice."

On if he anticipated the team playing so well without its top two returning scorers ... "I was impressed with our ballclub being able to do that (score over 90 points). That goes without saying that if someone had told me that, prior to the game, LaVell (Blanchard) couldn't play, and you knew Bernard Robinson Jr. was out, and Josh (Moore) wasn't going to even get in, and that we'd win by the margin that we did and score that many points then I wouldn't have even guessed that. Our defense created those opportunities for us and I thought our kids were unselfish, and passed the ball, and we're going to take our opportunites in transition. We opened up with, I think, five possessions right away where we missed three-point attempts, but we're going to take our shots because that's going to give us our best chance to win. We have some guys that if we maneuver the right way, create opportunities for them then we can knock down shots."

On if it's difficult to develop an identity without LaVell Blanchard, Bernard Robinson Jr., and Josh Moore in the game ... "It doesn't matter. If you're wearing the Maize and Blue, if you're on the floor, if you're on the bench, that's the identity we're trying to create, regardless of whatever the name is on the back of the jersey. We're going to play for the name on the front of the jersey and that's the identity that we're trying to create."

On Dommanic Ingerson's play ... "I thought Ingerson gave us a big shot in the arm. I thought his first basket, which was a hard-fought basket where he went to the offensive glass. He's capable of making some good shots and throwing the ball up in the stands and sometimes it can be feast or famine as we've seen that, but he's a talent. I thought his first basket, as I told our kids, and Gavin's (Groninger) first points were I thought the keys to those guys being able to score some later baskets. Ingerson's first basket was an offensive rebound tip-in so he went to the offensive glass. It wasn't a long-range three. I think that's important for him to learn. That's what got him going and that really helped us. He did some 'dirty work.' Defensively, I thought he was solid. I was impressed with his ability to move the ball early, find his man in transition. It sounds very simplistic, but for a young kid those are difficult things to concentrate on. I thought he was trying to do that. I was impressed with our ballclub overall because they were trying to do the things we've been teaching and coaching."

On shooting 31 three-pointers ... "Well, we're going to take it when it's there. I think that's how we're going to approach it. We're not necessarily trying to set up everything for the three, but if we have it and we're open and we've moved the ball then I think our kids understand that we're going to allow them to shoot the three-point shot. Now it's their responsibility as we coach and teach them as a staff to give them that kind of freedom that they take good shots. That's what we have to continue to monitor and I think you could see at times where there is a fine line for that and they have to learn what is a good shot for us."

On the team's post play ... "I feel we need to go inside more. I think our inside game was fairly efficient for us. I thought Chris Young did a great job if you look at his numbers. He was 7-for-9 on the inside. I think that's outstanding. We got some great play out of Chuck Bailey. I thought Rotolu Adebiyi gave us some really big minutes and was able to hold his own on the inside for us. Our inside presence is going to need to improve, but certainly I thought our inside guys did a good job. We need to go to them more and that's a job for our coaches to make sure the ball gets inside."

Junior Guard Gavin Groninger

On exhibition games as preparation for the regular season ... "It's great for us. We just have to remember that that's a team that hasn't played together that long and they played a tough game last night in Missouri. We can't get too high and we have to get back to work in practice tomorrow. But, it was a great start for us, no question."

On his confidence after playing on the Big Ten Tour Team ... "Yes, it definitely gave me confidense. It showed me that I could be a really good player at this level. That is what I never knew for sure and now I do. I am going to make shots when I am open and I am going to continue to play at a level that staifisies the coaches and my team."

On his 29-point outing ... "The coaches have made it clear that when I am open they want me to shoot the ball and not hesitate, not think, just shoot the ball. There's no question that guys are looking for me on the court and they know that if they give me the pass in a good position that I can knock it down."

Senior Guard Leon Jones

On playing point guard ... "I feel like I can play the one, two or three. Coach (Tommy Amaker) has put me at the point sometimes in practice. We play up-tempo so sometimes I will be bringing the ball up the court. That is up to the coach though."

On the team's new offense ... "We work hard individually and in practice. Coach has confidence that if we have an open shot that we can knock it down. We want to get the best shot we can and sometimes if we are not capable we need to slow it down. Then we want to reverse the ball and get some touches inside to Chris (Young) and Josh Moore. Then that opens up the outside. We run a motion offense but we also have a number of set plays. Coach trusts us to make the right decisions."

On defense ... "A lot of our defense is help. We are off the line and on the line and forcing them to the sideline. If we get beat we should have help. If we don't help then our defense is bad. Sometimes today we didn't have help and that is when they came back and we got beat off the dribble. Our defense is good when we help and deny the ball."

On offensive numbers ... "I think this is our first game and we played well in spurts. Our defense is what kept us in the game and got us the lead. We have a consistent motion on offense and that gave us good continuity."

Freshman Guard Dommanic Ingerson

On his first game in Michigan jersey ... "I wasn't nervous but I just wanted to make the right decisions out there. I made some mistakes out on the court that I want to learn from. My goal right now is to keep making progress."

On his personal performance ... "I did what I could do. There might be some times where the team needs me to do something else. I am just trying to do what I can do. In different situations, against different teams I might need to do something else. I am ready to step it up and do what I have to do."

EA Sports All-Stars Head Coach Price Johnson

On Michigan's defense ... "The first five minutes of the game I didn't think they were very good. But then he (coach Tommy Amaker) took a timeout and he got them to play a little harder defense. I think we were up by 10. When they want to play or the coach tells them to, I think they know how to play. They did a good job on our pick-and-rolls with hedging. They jumped down, and we couldn't get anything down by the basket. They challenged shots and we missed a lot of shots. I think they did a good job overall."

On Josh Asselin ... "He was probably excited, maybe a little nervous to come back here. He wanted to perform well. Josh is a great kid and I am very happy he is on my team. I think he did great tonight."

EA Sports All-Stars Center Josh Asselin

On returning to Crisler Arena ... "It was excellent, a great feeling. I've never been better."

On playing against Chris Young ... "He is a good player. He's improved a lot since last year. I just wanted to play hard against him. It was a lot of fun."

On playing with the EA Sports All-Stars ... "It is excellent. I couldn't ask for anything better. They're a great bunch of guys, even though the crowd doesn't like them."

On his exchange with crowd at end of game ... "I'm just having fun. I know they want to have fun with me. They were saying stuff to me. I had to give them a little exchange back. I'm from here at Michigan and they know that. We're just having fun."


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