John Beilein met with the media in a roundtable discussion at Big Ten Media Day on Thursday. Here’s video of what the coach had to say, followed by notes and quotes after the jump.
On the team and the Big Ten…
- Feels like the “luckiest man in the world” to be able to coach this team.
- The whole league is strong. Only a couple teams rebuilding.
- There’s a whole bunch of teams somewhere in the middle that “could win it all or could finish 10th, and still be a good team.” Michigan is one of those teams.
- Learning how to be a leader every day. He wants to be a leader, which “is an important ingredient of being a leader.”
- He’s become a better passer – had 7 assists in a team scrimmage earlier this week.
- Novak was a leader last year also, but even more so this season.
- Douglass and Hardaway have “shown incredible jumps in their ability to take on that leadership role.”
On having most the team back…
- Losing Darius gives even more incentive for everybody to improve even more.
- Hope that everybody improves in some way.
- They’ve had “6 months to get better or worse—let’s hope they didn’t get worse.”
On Austin Hatch…
- Not really allowed to talk about him.
- Every statement first has to be OK’d by the NCAA.
On Hardaway’s ball distribution ability…
- It’s been striking recently of “how well he’s seen the open man.” Really helps to have Novak, Vogrich on the wings to shoot it.
- “He’s really embraced that role…” but don’t want him to embrace it too much. Still want him to shoot.
- Tricky balance of when to shoot, when to pass…he had a similar situation in high school.
On the rest of the team in team scrimmage…
- Scrimmage against a real opponent will tell the most.
- Everyone has improved, but “the ones with the most improvement are the same ones I’ve been saying…” Smotrycz, Horford have really showed striking improvements.
On preseason rankings (UM picked 4th in the Big Ten)…
- To put it simply, it doesn’t matter.
- There’s “nine or ten teams that could be vying with OSU for a championship.”
On Stu’s coaching ability…
- Stu enjoys it. Young guys like Stu and the way he teaches.
- Have been a couple film sessions where Stu has stopped the tape and explained something the coaches missed.
- “If he wants to be a coach, whatever he wants to do, he could be successful.”
On having a two-guard front…
- It takes a lot of pressure off the guards – “When you have two guards, you can just throw it to the other guy and start the offense.”
- Timing is the biggest issue so far.
On the freshmen…
- “They’re improving at a very high rate,” but still a lot more to do because of all the things that go into it – defending schemes, etc.
- They’ve shown the “attitude and the aptitude to grasp it at a positive rate.”
- Enjoying coaching them so far because their “care level and their intelligence level are pretty high.”