On his weekly Big Ten teleconference, John Beilein was asked about the development of Zak Irvin, his thoughts on shortening the shot clock and managing social media. Check out what the Michigan coach had to say about those topics and more below.
Opening Statement: “It’s good to be on the call after a 2-0 week last week. And now we get back into it tomorrow with obviously a very challenging game — but a great opportunity — down in Columbus tomorrow at 7 o’clock. The two games that we did win were very different. One we got out to an early lead, we hung on and had to make some big plays to hang on. Saturday’s game, Minnesota played very well coming out in the second half and took a pretty good lead. I love the way our kids fought back and persevered.”
On what Zak Irvin means to the team: “You don’t know really what a complete player is like until you’ve seen him 30, 35 minutes in a game. Last year, he was great at making two threes a game, but he was only playing about 10 to 15 minutes a game, which would’ve translated to three or four threes a game, which would’ve been one of the best in the league — if not the country. As a result, he didn’t really know what what he was going to be like in some areas. Well, he’s really improving in some areas, particularly rebounding, getting to the foul line, and defending when you’re out there for 30 minutes — not just 10 minutes and you’re taken out before you get tired. He’s grown in a lot of areas, as both a leader and as a more complete player.”
On shortening the shot clock to 30 seconds or fewer: “This game is so strong right now, I don’t see the need for that type of change. I played with the 24 second when we went to Europe this past year. It is a pretty significant change, and I’d be in favor of staying right where it is. It seems to be the right number for us right now.”
On whether it would reward teams for stronger possessions: “I don’t know what it would do. I don’t know if defense would be as good — it could be, because you have five more seconds. But people would be attacking more quickly, too, so it would really test your defense. I think, if we’re going to make changes, they have to be significant positive changes that are proven over time.”
On educating players on social media use: “This is something that we really hold in high regard the minute they walk in the door, even when they’re in high school. I remember several players we had signed and I started following them on Twitter. We would make immediate instruction, because the minute you sign with Michigan or any Big Ten school, their followers went up by thousands, including the media. It’s huge education for us from the day they walk in. We’ve had to discipline a few people a few times. It is really important.
“I think [a different coach] said it the best: It’s poison either way. If you’re reading it and people are saying great things about you and it’s great, it is poison because you’re probably not that good. When you have a bad game and people are hitting you like crazy, it’s not good either.”