Transcript: John Beilein previews Northwestern


John Beilein addressed the media this morning on a conference call to preview Michigan’s upcoming matchup with Northwestern (Sunday, noon, BTN). Beilein addressed the ankle injury to Glenn Robinson III, Wildcats coach Chris Collins and much more. you can read the full transcript of the call below.

On the status of Glenn Robinson III’s ankle injury: “I can’t give you much of an update. He had rehab all day yesterday. We’ll know more tomorrow, but we really don’t know right now.

On whether or not it’s a long-term injury: “We’ll know more. I’m not sure. We’ll have to just wait and see. We’d love to see him out on the court tomorrow. You and I and everyone else can find out tomorrow.”

On the date of Mitch McGary’s surgery being Tuesday: “When it comes to surgery, I think it’s a very personal matter. I don’t know how that got out there. But when it comes to surgery I’m not going to give updates on surgery. That’s not my job I don’t think right now. He’s going to have surgery, it’s going to be soon, and we’re going to make sure we can update you on his progress after that happens.”

On what he sees from Northwestern on film: “I see that as they get going in the Big Ten right here, they’ve been in virtually every game except the Wisconsin game. As you know, Wisconsin has a way of doing that to us and to just about every other program, it seems. With (Drew) Crawford being back, (Dave) Sobolewski just played so many minutes. They’ve got some good young talent on the team. Just like we saw with the Minnesota game and every game, every team is going to have to play every minute of every game. Chris Collins is going to be a really good coach. He’s a great fit for Northwestern, as well. (Bill) Carmody left him some good players in time there. We’re going to have our work cut out for us.”

On how the possibility of Robinson’s absence alters the rotation: “We’ll take a look at that tomorrow. The other day, we used Zak Irvin in there for most of the game. But at the same time, Jordan Morgan can play the right-side wing if we need him to as well. I guess those are our only options right now. I guess we’re down to eight scholarship players if he cannot play. Our bench gets shorter, but more people get a chance to play.”

On what he saw from Jon Horford against Minnesota: “This is what he’s been working for so hard. As the game continues to slow down for him, as he continues to build more confidence in what he can do, I think his rebounding and there was one particular pass that he threw that there are times that he’s playing bigger. He’s getting more 50-50 basketballs. He’s getting to the right spot at the right time. All he needs is minutes and continued minutes so he can continue to improve as an overall player. This certainly gives him that opportunity.”

On the split of playing time between Jordan Morgan and Horford: “I think that’s one game now, so we have to hold on and watch what he does. But that was an impressive performance. Who knows? It’s whoever’s playing the best and what’s the best matchup would be. Sometimes the five man is a stretch five, and there are some of those, and that may dictate who we play defensively. It depends on who the opponent is, what they’re running, and obviously foul trouble has been an issue for both those guys. They’ve gotten much better in it. And Max (Bielfeldt), he’s the third one that will go in there. But who knows how those minutes will sort out. I think it depends on the opponent more than anything.”

On going up against back-to-back first-year coaches: “I thought of that the other day, that we’re the only team that’s opening up with back-to-back new coaches. You’re almost like the non-conference schedule, someone you didn’t play. At least we know some of the personnel — that’s the only advantage probably. But then you turn around as well and say, okay, he and his staff have not scouted Michigan before. But it is different.”

On practice schedule with short turnaround time between games: “Yesterday, we walked through and broke a sweat. It’s always good to sweat after a game. But we have to be very careful right now. It’s not about injury, it’s about fatigue. Today we’ll be very careful with that, as well. You don’t want them to be game-ready on the day before. You want them to be game ready on the day.”

On whether or not there was swelling in Robinson’s ankle: “Yesterday in his rehab, I thought it was a good rehab. As you can tell, I don’t like to give much information about injury. I think it’s a personal matter.”

On whether or not Robinson could be called a game-time decision: “Yeah. Tomorrow’s the game day, yep. You and I and everybody will know tomorrow.”

On Derrick Walton’s progress: “Both he and Zak (Irvin). They’ve had significant minutes through this. They’ve had typical freshman outings and they’ve had some outings that are much better than typical freshmen. This was one of those. He really did a great job. He had four assists and one turnover. He made two big foul shots to get us to five or whatever it was. He didn’t get those last two, but I have a lot of confidence in him late in the game. We were throwing the ball to him and I had a lot of confidence in him to make the same ones that Nik (Stauskas) made. He’s growing and he’s understanding that there are certain angles to our offense that he may not completely understand and angles to defense as well. He’s learning those on the fly. We’re really blessed that he has such a high IQ. You can’t get an A on the first test every time but his grades are growing every single time.”

More on Walton: “He’s got to get himself in position for assists. And sometimes the angles that he drives or the angles that he enters at are keeping him from doing that. He’ll see a different defense every day. It’s definitely like a quarterback in football. You’re a rookie quaterback out there, you’re going to see one defense one day and another defense another day. And the reads are so hard. Pretty soon they get to be much different. I expect to see a lot of man-to-man but a different man-to-man than we saw against Minnesota as far as pressure, etc. So he’s going to have to flip over and say, okay, this is how we have to do things when people are playing this type of man-to-man.”

On Walton finishing: “Our thing is, draw two see four — draw two defenders, see your four teammates. He took a couple with two guys on him that he probably doesn’t need to take, that he needs to find other people in those situations. He’s learning all these things. It has a lot to do with dribble management, lending on two, being able to pivot and find who’s there. It’s all things we’re going to work on endlessly over the next four years with him.”

On having a year like this one where Beilein has experienced injuries like this: “I think I’ve had situations like this, but unfortunately, they were probably later in the year at time. If it’s going to happen, and we don’t want it to happen but if it’s going to happen it’s good to have it happen in the months of December and early January. It’s really been a blessing too because we have been able to be flexible going into this time. I can’t recall this many injuries this early, but it’s one we just have to continue to go with.”

On doing everything day-to-day: “It’s pretty much the way we’ve always worked whether we have injuries or not: what’s important right now? What’s important right now if that we get this team ready with the roster that we have. Without Mitch, and maybe without Glenn. We prepare them the best that we can. If they were both healthy right now, we’d be getting ready for the same situation with them. Who do we have right now who is healthy, and how do we put them in the best situation to win? It’s really good and it doesn’t bother me one bit. It’s my job to put that puzzle together despite any type of adversity you face. and this time, it’s through injury.”

On injuries occurring where Michigan has the most depth: “I hadn’t thought about the god side of it other than versatility. We do have some depth at the center position, where Mitch and Zak has been able to — we didn’t envision Zak playing over there but we decided with Mitch’s injury that was the best way to get him on the floor. It has helped. What’s really been a blessing is our freshmen, particularly Zak, has been able to come in and make shots and play defense for us.”

  • Mattski

    Sounds like Robinson may be okay, if not to play tomorrow then relatively soon.

    • mikey_mac

      Let’s hope so. We’re going to quickly run out of teams UM can beat without him!

    • brian coburn

      NU is so bad it may be a good idea to rest him for precaution.

  • Dr_ZC

    I respect what JB is saying about injuries being personal and such, but I feel that as long as these injuries occur in the court or practices to players who are in the public eye while bringing revenue to UM athletics, it is not fair to classify them as personal. What do you guys think?

    • mikey_mac

      I think JB’s perspective is smart, and as usual, very player-friendly. I don’t think a scholarship is enough to consider a college athlete as being any sort of publicly funded entity, and neither is this professional sports.
      Any distribution of information to the public is for purposes of sating curiosity. I don’t see any reason a college student’s privacy needs invading for that purpose. Splitting hairs about when/where the injury occurs just makes that argument more insensitive about these individuals.

    • It is personal.

      The information that McGary is out indefinitely with a back injury.. That’s fine.

      When, where and what specific surgery he has on his back. That’s not really anyone’s business if they don’t want to share it. Considering medical privacy laws and McGary’s future as a professional athlete there’s not really any reason that they need to share that information.