John Beilein hopped on the weekly Big Ten coaches teleconference on Monday afternoon. The coach talked about developing mental and physical toughness on his team, whether or not he’s still thinking about winning the Big Ten and more. You can read notes and quotes below.
Also a couple of housekeeping news bits. Michigan fell to No. 7 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, marking the first time the Wolverines have been outside of the top five this season. Trey Burke was named Big Ten Player of the Week, much to Tom Crean’s chagrin.
- On how he gets his team tougher as the season goes on: “We find that the more you’re in the weight room, the more that you’re working out, the stronger you get. It doesn’t hurt to be tough, it doesn’t hurt to be physical in there. I think you see the experience of just maturity in your body. … that’s obviously not going to happen in one year. There are all sorts of motivating techniques that you’ll do to make sure they know it is urgent that you play at a higher level, you play hard and you also play smart. That’s the toughest thing to do.”
- On how much mental toughness factors into that: “The light just comes on at some point. There’s a time in everybody’s life where they’ll understand that I’m sticking my nose in there and I can do some things I was maybe not comfortable doing a year or two ago. If you look at (Zack) Novak and (Stu) Douglass, Novak came in with a lot of that, Douglass got that over time. He was nothing like that his first couple years.”
- On what’s important for his team to focus on during this time off: “Just getting rest and rehab right now will be important for the many nicks that we have. We’re going to go to a lot of individual workouts this week. … instead of having 15 guys at practice, we may have several sessions of just five guys for an hour … and then have an hour practice.”
- On whether it’s a good or bad thing to have extra time off: “I would rather have a rhythm to our schedule. I would rather have, you know, Wednesdays and Saturdays … and have something that’s predictable. I think it’s really difficult when you have these breaks in between. But I think for us, when you have such a young team, to retool is good.”
- On how much he’s focusing on winning the Big Ten title: “Our focus is to get better every day. One of the goals is to win a Big Ten Championship. But you just don’t think about that goal all day, you just think, let’s get better every day. That’s our focus. Any goals that we have are still in place.”
- On whether or not he feels the Big Ten title is still within reach: “We talk about it in little bits because guys look at the standings, but no, we’re not in control of all that. We’re in control of if we get better, because if we get better then we can win some more games, and if we win some more games, we can be in that position.”
- On whether there’s a concern of Mitch getting burnt out with so many more minutes: “I think he’s like so many other freshmen … there’s going to be ups and downs, and you’re going to have great opportunities some days — he missed an easy one yesterday, and that probably bothered him coming back down the court because he missed a ball screen coming back the other way — that’s just the ups and downs of freshmen. Concerned? no.”