John Beilein spoke with the media on Monday about his team’s first road win, what they need to do to close out games more soundly, Caris LeVert’s role and more. You can watch using the embedded media player below or read pulled quotes after the jump.
Opening statement: “So here we are again. It’s very common now to have a day off and a two-day prep and then no day off and a two-day prep, so we’re into those and we have another one. So, it’was important for us to get the win at Bradley and get back to get ready for this Western Michigan team that’s very young and very good. They have one freshman who’s playing but everyone else has been there, knows the system, knows the culture, runs the heck out of their stuff. They’re very well-coached and again we have to come to play. I think we really have a really good non-conference schedule of teams that are going to challenge us and I think this is another one.”
- On maybe having to “manufacture” energy to play this game after the last two contests: “When you walk out in our building, we have great fans, the energy is easily created… I don’t think, for any game this year, that this will be an issue.”
- On scheduling all the directional schools: “It sort of worked out that way, and I’m glad that it did… The home dates that we had with their dates just sort of worked out.”
- Beilein said his team has “enough offensive wrinkles right now. We’re trying to close it up a little bit.” Said they have been “experimenting” to see what each player can handle, but “we need to cut it down and we’re trying to.”
- “The evolution of Nik Stauskas, well, that opened up a whole can of worms,” as far as different things Michigan can do on offense. With all the competition at the 4 and 5 spots, “playing big, playing small, we’ve got to shorten it up.” Wants to simplify the offense, be more consistent with what they run.
- On whether all the stuff they’re running is too much for the players or too much for the coaches: “At this point, it’s probably too much for them.” But he added that Michigan’s offensive efficiency is still “really good.” “We’re just trying to execute better, but you can’t when you have so much.”
- On what it’s been like coaching the team so far: “I have a lot of confidence that we’re all on the same page out there. We’re not coaching attitudes, we’re coaching guys who want to win. We’re more watching the action and seeing how we can teach it better… We have some young men out there who we love to coach. How can we make them better as fast as we can?”
- On execution at the end of games: “I’d prefer it to be this way than we’re missing foul shots or something like that down the stretch.” Said a lot of problems have come down to “one person hanging on to (the ball) for too long instead of using a timeout.” Credited Bradley with having a bunch of players who are really good at stealing the ball. “They just took the ball right out of our hands a few times… it’s something that we have to get better at, but it wasn’t schematic.”
- Said Nik Stauskas “will always be an option late in the game to get him the ball” because of his lights-out free throw shooting.
- On if he’s been surprised by Stauskas the last two games: “With every freshman, you just don’t know what to expect from him… We’re really enthused.” At Bradley before the game started, “he just gave me a big grin, ‘This is what I’ve been practicing my whole life for … to go on the road and quiet fans.’”
- Beilein said Stauskas doesn’t know he’s won the Big Ten Freshman of the Week the past two weeks. His Twitter account suggests otherwise.
- Denard said he enjoyed watching Stauskas. “Is that right? I’m sure he enjoys watching Denard. He doesn’t know much about football, though. Nik does not know much about football. But I will make sure he knows that.”
- On how many minutes he plans on giving Caris Levert each game: “Six to eight, maybe six to ten. I don’t know if it’s always going to happen, it depends on what’s going on late in the game… He’s really working hard, we’re getting a lot of extra work in. I didn’t realize how much he had fallen behind in some areas just by being on the scout team.” On the areas in which Levert has fallen behind: “Just the timing of what we do offensively and defensively. Because he was doing very well on the scout team … but he’ll be fine. He’s very bright. He’s one of the brighter players I’ve had at picking up things.”