Media Day Notes & Links

Dylan Burkhardt

Hoops season is finally upon us with Media Day yesterday and practice tipping off on Friday.  Here are some quick bullets from Beilein’s presser if you don’t want to watch it above. I’m still looking for player video and audio but there are transcripts with all the players on MGoBlue.

  • Ready to roll, practice starts Friday.
  • Grown a lot on and off the court. Another tough schedule. Up to 5 high majors in the non conference season.
  • Ups and downs, hopefully more ups than last year.
  • Learning curve is different with every player, 2 months to 2 years.
  • Would be disappointed if the team is not more consistent. Hopeful there will be no more droughts and mental lapses.
  • Last year could play toe to toe with anyone for 30 minutes the last 10 games. Need to play for 40 minutes.
  • Shooting will be improved. As shooting percentage goes up, teams guard differently, inside chances increase and assist numbers will go up.
  • Have to think about improvement before winning, get better every day. Establish a culture of hard work, do everything the right way.
  • “Wasn’t the beginning of the end but the end of the beginning” – Have to get to the end of the beginning.
  • DeShawn will have more of an inside role. He would like to play more inside but playing outside last year also boosted his skill. Might even play some 5 if we want to play small ball.
  • Freshman will push returning players, watch for a week or two and decide who will help the most. Freshman, senior former walk-ons, who ever will help the team will play.
  • Want to have a top 7 or 8, don’t want to play 10 or 11 this year.
  • Zack Gibson – Double last year’s stats and he would have had very good stats (except blocked shots).
  • Hopeful that Cronin will be completely healthy and cleared shortly.
  • Laval Lucas-Perry can play either guard spot, really shoot the ball, good defense, will stick his nose in for loose balls.
  • No target number of wins.
  • 13 of 14 players passed the shooting and skill tests. (Cronin didn’t participate).

Here are a number of articles and reactions from the main stream media. I love the (borrowed) idea of putting the media through a practice and making the whole thing into more of an event.

For some discussion, let’s hear everyones top 7 or 8 that you see in the main rotation.

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  • Adam

    Ideally, the top 8 will be Grady, Manny, DeShawn, Zach Gibson, Stu Douglass, Zach Novak, Ben Cronin, and then between Wright, CJ Lee, and David Merritt for the 8th spot.. with LLP filling that opening when he’s back

  • If you don’t put Wright in the top 8… Who backs up DeShawn?

  • Adam

    That’s true. I was mostly thinking if Deshawn isn’t in the game they were going to play small ball, but you’re right. Beilein just seems so high on Lee and Merritt. I’d like it if the other players earn it and beat them out for spots because those 2 don’t seem to have a niche, they just play hard. Grady’s a ball handler, Douglass and Novak are shooters, Manny’s a playmaker, Deshawn, Gibson and Cronin are size, Wright’s a combo of size and streaky shooting ability, and then Lee and Merritt are hustlers. Ideally Wright would fill that 8th spot in my mind with Lee and Merritt only coming in when the 8 man rotation is struggling.

  • It will be interesting. With the number of guys who can play the 1, if we goto a 7 or 8 man rotation someone is going to be left out.

    I’m going to start previewing the season player by player. Hopefully today.

  • Adam

    Sounds great. I’m very interested to see who gets cut out of the rotation. He played 9-10 guys last year, and in the meantime lost 2 players, gained 3. So if anything added an extra guy who could play and they are removing 2-3 people from the rotation. I just can’t wait for the season to start!

  • Another thing to think about.

    Does LLP play primarily the 1 or the 2?

    You have Kelvin, Dave, and CJ all at the one.

    Stu at the two (could probably share ball handling @ the 1) and then Zack is probably more of a three.

    Maybe LLP starts at the one and when Stu comes in slides to the 1?

  • Brick

    I think DeShawn will be backed up by Gibson. Wright did not play much PF last year, they mostly used a 3 man rotation at PF/C. Gibson will take over Udoh’s minutes and Cronin will step in to Gibson’s minutes at about 10 per game. If we go with an 8 man rotation, that leaves a backup PG and a backup 2G/WF. I think you are going to see more than 8 get a chance before the B10 season starts, but once we start conference play LLP will be in with Stu, Manny, DeShawn, Gibson, Cronin, Novak and whoever wins the backup PG spot. I don’t think Wright or Shep are consistent enough shooters to crack the top 8 but they could if the freshman don’t play like we all hope they will.

    The backup PG position will be interesting. I think non conference will be a tryout and it could go to anyone. Conventional wisdom is that Grady will win the spot but I wouldn’t write off the upperclassmen.

  • UMDC

    That’s a great Freep article about Stu. Man, I’m pumped for the season to start!!! (Even though I have to listen to almost all the games through the net, here in DC).

  • Jason

    We are in trouble if Cronin has to play this year
    I think we see a lot more zone to protect the big guys
    I don’t think Stu sees any time at point until maybe late in the year, there are just too many people ahead of him with experience
    DeShawn and Gibson are going to have to play a TON of minutes

    Starting Five to start the season:
    1 – Grady
    2 – Harris
    3 – Wright
    4 – DeShawn
    5 – Gibson

    This features DeShawn down low and Harris outside and driving
    Gibson will get some early looks and Grady takes it if he is open.
    Wright takes on the Coleman role of rebound and D with this lineup.

    1st of the bench
    6 – Merrit @ point
    7 – Douglass @ 2 gaurd
    Manny slides to the 3
    Wright slides to 4
    DeShawn to 5

    This lineup has Douglass, Deshawn and Wright all bombing away with Manny crashing the boards, slahsing and drive/kicking from the wing
    Merrit running back door all over the place and setting guys up

    8 – Novak spells Manny at the 3
    Gibson back in
    Wright gets a rest
    Wright spells DeShawn at the 4

    When we get LLP, I think takes over for Merrit and eventually
    takes over the starting role from Grady. He will add another weapon
    from the outside.

  • I full expect Manny to start at the 3, not the two which complicates your scenario a little bit Jason. But we’ll see.

  • Brick

    Why is it trouble if Cronin plays? He will be playing about 10 minutes a game and his job is pretty simple. He needs to grab a few boards, alter a few shots and body up a big guy now and then. He is not a stiff, he is a pretty good shot blocker and rebounder. It’s not like the offense will be running through him this year.

    I think some people underestimate the impact of a true 7′ 265lb. center in college. As long as he doesn’t pick up fouls at a Josh Moore rate, he should be OK for a few minutes a game.

  • 1. Grady
    2. Stu/Novak
    3. Manny
    4. Sims
    5. Gibson

    Stu moves to backup 1 when LLP returns. Stu will be the primary backup but Lee and Merritt will both see playing time.

  • MooN

    I would not be surprise to see Merrit start at the point until LLP is back. I would love to see Grady win the starting spot, but unless he has greatly improve, I see JB going with Merrit and Grady backing him up.
    Wright will also have reduced minutes. The key to the season might be Zach Gibson. He really fits the team better than Udoh on the offensive end. He can not however get pushed around on D. I know he has added some muscle so that should help. Unless, he has improved greatly the season will be a struggle esp. in the Big Ten. If Gibson plays like he did last year we might see a lot of small ball. If he is improved, we can be in the upper half of the B10 and in the NIT.

  • The Oracle

    Gibson is weak and will get pushed around on the boards and on D no matter how much weight he put on. It’s the mentality…he’s soft. We heard year after year how much weight Courtney Sims put on and he was still a puss. Gibson will just have to grab us 7 boards or so(big if) and make up for the rest on offense.

  • Wolverine3

    lineup before LLP…Cronins sits

    Manny, Novak
    Sims, Wright

    For a small lineup Sims moves to the 5. Wright at the 4.

    LLP returns

    LLP, KG OR Merritt
    Stu, LLP
    Manny, Novak
    Sims, Wright

  • Agreed on Courtney Sims. When the E3W photo shops a picture of you in a wig with an article about you being drafted by the WNBA then you are a puss.

  • Sid

    I think having Sims inside the three-point line is a good idea, but I’ve been trying to figure out exactly what the inside role in Beilein’s offense is. I remember Udoh with the occasional jump-hook or 15-foot jumper. Anybody got any information on what that means for Sims in practical terms?

  • WTHEF?

    I think people are overestimating Grady. I would like to see him win the job as well, but I would honestly be very surprised if he is starting. I think it makes more sense to go with the steadier Lee or Merritt to get the team in their offense and let Grady come off the bench to push the ball and change the tempo.

  • Adam

    Grady is a really solid player. He’s extremely quick and a better shooter than Merritt and Lee. Merritt might not make mistakes but he’s also not going to be a playmaker like Grady can be. I’ll be very concerned about the season if Grady isn’t the starting PG AT LEAST until LLP comes back.

  • Steele

    I agree with Ada- Grady has a lot more potential as a playmaker than both Merritt and Lee. He should be much improved after last season and I expect him to win the starting job until LLP is available.