Notes, quotes from John Beilein on Big Ten teleconference

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Michigan Wisconsin-5It’s Monday, which means John Beilein joined other Big Ten basketball coaches for the weekly Big Ten coaches teleconference. You can read the full transcribed interview below. (Photo: Chris Smith)

Opening Statement: “Obviously you can see this little run of games right here. I don’t recall playing three top-15 teams in a row. It may have happened, but I can’t recall it. So going to Wisconsin and getting off to a good start in this short run was important. I really feel good because we beat a really good Wisconsin team with a tremendous coaching staff, tremendous talent. They really play basketball the right way. I’m really proud of how our kids responded.”

  • On Nik Stauskas’ development: “Seriously, he’s just like any other freshman-to-sophomore. I think they come in and they really had a lot of success in high school or in AAU or summer ball if they’re at Michigan or any of the other Big Ten teams. But they find out that they probably have never lifted weights consistently. Their defensive scouting reports are probably one-tenth of what they’re going to have and the emphasis on defense — they don’t have four or five coaches working with them in high school to improve their defense. Those are trypiacl of everyone. He’s worked very hard at his strength, looking at the game form a different perspective. and his defense has been very very good all year long. A lot of times sophomores don’t make that step.”

  • More on Stauskas: “His strength training, his defense. He had a very good dribble-drive last year as well. We just also happened to have Tim Hardaway and Trey Burke. It’s tough to have three guys getting to the foul line like that. So he gets to the foul line because he’s good at getting two feet in the paint. Maybe for the first time since I’ve been here, we don’t have one or two guys who can get two feet in the paint — we have three or four on the court, and Nik’s one of them.”
  • On Stauskas having the green light: “I guess it would be a green light as I see a green light should be. So, you’d have to be at every practice and watch him play. My green light may be different than other green lights, but we do want him to be aggressive.”
  • On playing well on offense despite Mitch McGary being out: “I don’t know if there was any adjustment other than the consistency of who was at the center position. Mitch has such a variety in his skill set. In the preseason, we didn’t have him and we were moving in one direction thinking he would be back in about a month or so. And then when he came back, we tried to do a little bit of both. now there’s just consistency. People have been in their roles for over a month. I mean, it’s been five weeks since he played a game. So we’ve had five weeks to get a rhythm among who’s playing, where they’re playing, how they’re playing and who we’re playing.”
  • On walk-on Brad Amlauf: “Actually last year he wanted to come on as a walk-on originally and we had a great group of walk-ons on the ’13 team. So there just wasn’t any room. So he went to football and made that walk-on team. This year, he did it again but still stayed in touch with me, asking if there was an opportunity with the team. Sure enough, there was. When we had some injuries early and we only eleven on scholarship, we saw there was a need for a guy, at 6-foot-3, he’s the scout team four man many times. Four or three. He guards Glenn Robinson III, and really does a good job with him in practice.”
  • On Mark Donnal“He’s made great progress. First of all, being on the scout team and deciding he would redshirt, that wasn’t (based on) his ability, it was about playing time we could get him. If he was a freshman when Jon Horford was a freshman and Jordan Morgan was a freshman and things like that, he may have had to play earlier. He’s increased his strength a great deal. He’s probably like Horford or Morgan as far as a rebounder. Great hands. But he’s so much stronger than he was. He’s country strong anyhow, I mean he’s strong. He’s gaining weight. The one thing he has, which I’m looking forward to coaching, is he can really shoot the ball. He can really pass the ball. When you have big men who can do that, it can really open up your offense. But this was absolutely the right decision, because in all the other things freshmen go through — learning the offense but most importantly, defense — he needed this year to develop.”
  • On Derrick Walton’s role with Nik Stauskas and Caris LeVert creating off the dribble: “There’s many times when he’s just providing space for us. If you look at his 3-point shooting numbers, they’re really good. They cannot lay off of him. So sometimes he’s just standing in the corner. As the game has changed over the past few years, movement isn’t always good. We want him to be there so he’s a stationary target we can hit as we read what we call the fifth defender. The guy that’s furthest away from the ball has to decide whether he’s going to help on the pick-and-roll or if he’s going to stick with Derrick. If he weren’t a shooter, that guy could plug it up the whole game. It’s hard to plug it up because Derrick is such a good shooter. He’s learning how to do that while he also learns our game. We have multiple pick-and-roll men, probably more than we ever have right now. We usually have one or two, and we probably have four or five right now. That’s really been a good change for us. It takes the ball out of the point guard’s hands a little more than normal.
  • More on Walton: “He’s getting very good at (the screen-and-roll). It’s probably going to be an equal opportunity program as far as getting different people in it. It has a lot to do with the matchups that we see out there.”
  • Wayman Britt

    That was nice to hear that Donnal’s redshirt was not because of ability, also nice to hear that he is strong and getting stronger as a freshman.