Video & Quotes: John Beilein talks team progress, Binghamton

John Beilein was available to speak with the media Monday. The coach talked about his team’s progress to this point, how he sees lineups shaking out, and how the practices with this team are more intense than any he’s experienced. Beilein also mentioned that Max Bielfeldt will attempt to practice, but if he can’t he will not be playing on Tuesday. You can watch using the embedded media player below or read selected notes and quotes after the jump.

Opening statement: “I think it’s rare in this time of the year where we’re actually in a bit of a rhythm here. We’re going Tuesday-Saturday, Tuesday-Saturday. This is another one of those days with a short turnaround but I think we got enough rest yesterday to have a full practice today and get ready for Binghamton. It’s part of the schedule. Exams are here, everything’s really tight, but I know we’ll have a good workout today. Yesterday we just lifted weights and watched film and worked with our younger guys. After the Arkansas game, I needed a rest, let alone our team. Now we’ve got to get amped up 100 percent and get ready for Binghamton.”

  • On solidifying the lineup: “We’re evaluating performances. You look at the Bradley game, and Max Bielfeldt does a great job and gets injured right after that. Jon Horford’s last two performances have been outstanding. We just keep evaluating and the depth is wonderful. Sometimes to get comfortable they have to get more minutes, so it’s a work in progress. I would like to be in a situation where Caris (Levert) and Spike (Albrecht) could get a little more (minutes), play big a little bit more, as well. (A nine-man rotation) is always a pretty good number.”
  • On Max Bielfeldt: “Max could not practice yesterday. … We are going to take a shot at it today. Usually if they can’t practice the day before the game, unless we really don’t have any depth at that position, we don’t want to make it worse.”
  • On why Michigan doesn’t foul as much as other teams: “I don’t know what it is. I hope it’s not because we’re wimpy. We just don’t believe in stupid fouls. I don’t want teams in the one-and-one early, I don’t like our guys getting in foul trouble. A lot of people, they’re averaging 26-27 free throws a game, and that’s usually 17, 18 points. If you can cut that in half, we’ll take that. But at the same time, you got to play hard and physical. We’re not playing wimpy, not to foul. We just try not to have stupid ones.”
  • On the competitiveness of Michigan’s practices: “It’s really competitive in our practices. Everybody knows that we’re watching everything, because that’s how we dole out the minutes. Obviously, Tim (Hardaway Jr.) and Trey (Burke), they set the stage because they’re minutes aren’t at stake the way other guys might be at stake — they’re the hardest competitors we have. It’s like Zack (Novak) and Stu (Douglass) all over again. That type of demeanor for practice, everybody just follows along.”
  • On how the intensity of these practices measure up with some of the best teams Beilein has coached: “I think these are. If I looked at them, they would measure up with some of our best… It’s been pretty similar to the really good teams we’ve had… I think when you can go eight who are really competing for playing time, that makes a difference.”
  • On Caris LeVert at the top of the 1-3-1: “It seems like his arms went forever. His quickness just adds to that. It’s going to take time for him to learn all the things. … He’s still learning it.” Beilein said the success of the defense depends a lot on the physical attributes of the top man and the wing player. Stu Douglass and Zack Novak, even when it was effective, weren’t “that long.” Beilein said the top man is the most important position in the defense, “and we think with both Nik (Stauskas) and Caris, those two guys are long enough and have the energy to do that.”
  • Beilein said he doesn’t see Michigan as a great offensive rebounding team, but he does see the Wolverines as “a great defensive rebounding team … We’re big enough and we’re skilled enough that two things are happening: we’re getting a lot of stops, and we outlet better than we ever have.”
  • On the transition defense: “I thought it was really good except for a few times against Arkansas. We got people back. I mean, we practiced it forever… We want to have four guys inside the 3-point line in four seconds. It’s tough. Sometimes, you’re out of position. Take a count: how many times was Trey on the seat of his pants, underneath the basket, and we’re playing five on four. And the basket went in, too.”
  • On Hardaway and Burke in practice: “When we go one-on-one, they’re after each other quite a bit, and it’s really good. I talk to them, ‘You haven’t had many situations like this, where you have this type of talent and this type of intensity going against each other every day.'”
  • On Glenn Robinson III: “I think if we had a serious need at the three position, he could flip over there in a second. But right now, with the way Tim’s played and Nik’s played, we’re trying to get the five best guys out there. Really what we’re doing is playing with two guards and two small forwards.”
  • On Jon Horford’s ceiling: “He’s been moving forward at a good pace. It hasn’t been a fast pace, but it’s been a good pace. This is the first time I’ve seen him be able to play bigger, block shots, I mean really consistently is the last couple of weeks… His ceiling is pretty high. He’s looking for opportunities and we’re trying to give them to him.”

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