Photo from MGoBlue.com
Michigan Basketball Media Day was today and, similar to last year, Beilein put the media through a mini-practice. After the media was done running through their wraps, hikes, pretzels, Mikan drills, and three-point shooting, they got down to business about the upcoming season.
The necessary audio clips are available at MGoBlue including interviews with John Beilein, DeShawn Sims, Manny Harris, and Zack Novak. The Manny Harris interview is the definitely the best listen, he talks about just about everything from the incoming freshmen to getting his first credit card.
The themes of the day are pretty clear: stay hungry and continue to get better. The question marks are the point guard position and what happens with some additional front court depth. We’ve discussed these ad nauseam this summer and it’s pretty clear that Beilein himself isn’t even sure about the answers.
Here are some highlights and quick hitters from John Beilein’s presser, I’ll post a compilation of media day links first thing tomorrow morning:
- Jon Sanderson has been a great addition. He knows not only his S+C but his basketball as well.
- “Can’t hang on to last year much longer”
- Only two hours of skill workout per week in the preseason, so only 8 to 10 hours total since school started. This number will be exceeded almost immediately once practice begins. Will know much more after first couple weeks of practice.
- Ben Cronin’s red-shirt time is over, ran a 5:53 mile, has a small gait to his natural walk that is more habitual. Runs “pretty darn well for a 7-foot guy”.
- Can’t lose the hard edge that they established last year — “we are still hunters”. Have to make sure that attitude carries over.
- Non-conference schedule strength will go up and down depending on the team. With this many great players coming back, they had to embrace opportunities for challenging games because this is the year to do it. There are 7 teams that have a chance to go to the NCAA tournament in the Old Spice Classic. Also mentioned an opportunity to go to Maui down the road.
- No one has higher expectations than Beilein. “We didn’t finish first or second, we finished seventh.”
- “If I see them playing like they think they are better than they actually are, then they’ll hear about it”
- Front court depth. “We won because of small ball and we lost because of small ball” Get a chance to see what some of the other guys can do over the next couple weeks. Would like a 9-10 man rotation, don’t want to play too many people.
- Jordan Morgan. Should be cleared in the next couple weeks to practice. Haven’t seen him play in a long time, since his high school season. Been dormant for a long time, don’t expect him to come back flying.
- Laval Lucas-Perry. Huge performances at Indiana and at Minnesota last year shouldn’t go unnoticed, without those they are an NIT team. LLP and Novak have changed their bodies significantly – leaner and seem quicker.
- Primary ball handling at the point is a big issue. Laval, Stu, Darius, and Eso will all get looks, going to see who is best. Not opposed to putting a freshman at the point.
- Darius Morris. Great length and energy. Want to play defense. Good vision, typical point guard skills, has to translate his skills to college.
- Getting into the tournament and advancing is a reasonable goal at this point. Great programs have stability.
- Manny and DeShawn need to assume ownership 100% and this is a major step. Don’t know how they are going to respond until it happens.
- Student tickets. Culture for athletics in Ann Arbor, don’t ever want to lose hoops fan base. Want students to attend games and love their teams.
- Want DeShawn to become more versatile, create match-up problems, and continue to evolve.
- Kelvin Grady. Great story, whole team is wishing him success, want someone to kick the ball to him to give him some space to run.
- Harris and Sims carrying the load is a good strategy, just have to have others ready to step up when they aren’t. Comfortable with the number of shots that Harris and Sims take.
- Want Manny to have better balance between drives and three point shooting – opposite of Stu and Zack who need to drive more, want Manny to shoot more. Manny is capable of being a lock down defender as well.