John Beilein joined WTKA 1050 this morning to discuss his 2015-16 team on the official first day of practice. The coach will meet with the media for a full session this afternoon, but shared several notes and tidbits on this year’s group.
Zak Irvin is already dressing for practices and is on track to make his return around the start of the season.
“He’s getting better every day,” Beilein said. “We’ve already worked out from 6:30 to 7:30 (this morning) with a bit of a walk through to get ready for tonight’s practice. He’s dressed and he can’t do anything yet, but he’s very vocal and leading and we’re very confident about what we said.
“(He should return) somewhere near the start of the season and we expect him to be back out on the court for us.”
Beilein also shared his thoughts on a myriad of other topics including many of Michigan’s young players. Here are some of the highlights of his interview.
On Michigan’s experience: “I just laughed at you when you said ‘seasoned veterans’, seasoned would mean more than one season. We have guys with one season of experience and I have all of this experience, yes one season of experience except for the core four with two seniors and two juniors. Yes we have more experience than we did last year, but I wouldn’t call us a seasoned team yet.”
On German freshman Moritz Wagner: “Moe is so young at 18 and so talented and a European style that will really fit well with us. He’s an eager listener and he’s already established he’s a bright basketball player. Put it all together with our system and all that stuff. I don’t know when it’s going to happen but he’s got so much talent that it’s just waiting to come out. When it comes out … we really don’t know. It could be in a month it could be two years.”
On Duncan Robinson and DJ Wilson: “In a month I’ll know much better. You look at your team and say Aubrey can do this now, Muhammad can do this now and you look at (Robinson and Wilson) and you say where do they fit? I look at those two and I want them to be multiple position players. They have the ability to do that where you can’t say yet probably, “Muhammad you’re going to play the point or the three” he’s probably going to be locked in at that off guard spot. With Duncan and Robinson… Where can we get you on the floor? We want to get them both on the floor. I don’t have an answer yet.”
All I know is Duncan can really shoot and really pass and DJ can really shoot, he can pass okay right now for a young guy, but both of them are bodies that … the biggest issues for both of them are ‘I used to be a string bean and people used to push me around and so I didn’t like physical play… well now I weight 20 or 30 pounds more and have to learn how to embrace physical play. Every day that’s what they’re going to see.”
On Aubrey Dawkins: “Here’s what’s happened with Aubrey. He realizes now when you’re a legacy type of son you have a lot coming at you. We’ve see that many times. His dad was a tremendous player at Duke and in the NBA and you’re always trying to live up to that. Now he’s seeing that a lot of hard work really makes me a much better player and I feel better on the court and the games slowing down.
“I think the improvements that he had to make in some very simple areas he’s really worked hard on them, but he’s got a long way to go in those same areas. I’ve seen his sense of achievement and the carryover from last year that’s what’s really striking to me.”
On playing too many guys: “The downside is that nobody really feels comfortable and everybody looks over their shoulder. I want players to play through mistakes and get better through them and I want our best players on the court as much as we can get them out there. You want your best players out there and they have to have a rhythm.”
On Kameron Chatman: “Great growth too. All of these guys they are coming in and there’s expectations with all of them. Whether its media or even the coaches and for all of them they have to continue to make strides to get better every day. Kam has done a really good job at that. The games starting to slow down, probably he can do more by doing less. Grab that ball and just go. I like that he wants to be aggressive, but at the same time you can dribble yourself into trouble. Slow down a little bit, he needs to play with more pace. Great attitude again.
“A lot of guys if they are highly rated and it doesn’t work out right away, you’ll find out who they are. Kam as he’s come in to improve we found out he’s a high character kid who wants to get better.”
On Ricky Doyle: “I see him every day so you guys would see that more. He’s a big strong kid, we don’t have with Max graduating we don’t have a lot of those guys that are very physical in the post. He’s probably our strongest guy but he’s also one of our youngest guys. ”
On Mark Donnal: “He’s a guy that needs to make that next step. Now I’ve been here for two years and I have to have a grasp of the offense and the defense and a grasp of what I do really well. You’re trying to throw that all together. He’s going to get a lot of reps here early with either the first group or the second group. I don’t know yet. We have a battle and that battle in the middle is one I look forward to.”