Beilein Hoops Media Day Comments (Part 1)

It's that time of year again! Men's basketball Media Day was today. Here's Part One of Coach Beliein's comments to the press.

Coach Beilein: "Welcome everybody. To those who are just arriving or those of you have been in the meeting day already. We had an interesting beginning where we had nine brave souls go through some of the heart rate workouts that we send our young men through. If you understand the heart rate how it works; it is a maize color if you're just sort of resting, it gets a light green, then a darker green and then it goes red; if you are in the 90th percentile or above. We were just past stretching and we had an entire red board up there. It's good. I love wearing it myself and try to push myself as much as I could to the red. It was really good for our media to let down and just go in there and do those things, because I think it is really important that you all can identify with what our athletes go through every day on top to their studies and everything. We really feel good about the direction where our guys are going physically."

"We're ready to roll again. Since 1975 when I graduated from college, it is the start of another season. We are really excited about it. We had a great preview in August of our team when we took them over. When the University was good enough to be able to allow us to go Europe and just get a bit of a head star. Every four years, once every four years you are allowed to do that. We would not have done that this year had they not changed the rule where the four incoming freshman were allowed to come and it really has helped us. We've identified now the direction that we will start out in. It may be a completely different direction once our season rolls around, but we'll go in a certain direction with how we're going to play. Some of it will be very similar, some of it will have some twists and turns and then in coaching we have to adapt after that. I love the attitude, the chemistry, the teamwork, our length. The improving ability in strength and injury prevention hat we have right now. We're ready to go. Tomorrow will be an off day for everybody. We have no midnight madness, midnight mania, Michigan mania, it is just five o'clock we're going to run out on the court and we're going to get after it for two hours and 15 minutes and that's how our season will begin."

Question: You talked about having a little better idea of where you are going. How might that shake out specifically at the four and five spots this year?

Coach Beilein: "We'll go into this thing right now with a three dimensional center at the five. Jon Horford, Blake McLimans and Jordan Morgan are fighting for time. We have something right now that is very healthy. Virtually all the spots…some people have more advantage than others but there are a lot of spots open and that is one that is wide open as anything could be. Each one has a little bit different element to their game. Obviously, the two redshirt freshman of having the advantages of having played college basketball for one year. The four man, we can always put the smallest four man in division one back there in Zach Novak, because he battles and he gets some things done, but he has been playing out of position this year. So we have pretty much said Colton (Christian) and Evan (Smotrycz) you go after that position and may the best man win and the other one is going to back each other up. They're good friends and they're battling at the same time."

Question: There has been such turnover on your staff, on your roster, everything since the NCAA trip, is there some advantage to that?

Coach Beilein: "I think right now, as I said, the jobs are so open. There is a competitive spirit out there that is very healthy. As a result, I think there is a freshness about what we are doing because of all of the inexperience we have on the team and a new coaching staff. So we just start and build, we'll make mistakes, we'll learn from mistakes, but we'll also continue to grow as a team and that's the more important thing, play through that, play through the mistakes."

Question: Other than when you switched schools have you ever been through a year with so much (turnover)?

Coach Beilein: "There was more press releases in the past year, we set a record for press releases at times. So we are all through that….we're not all through that, we'll have other issues I'm sure, every team does, but we really feel good about just the family and togetherness that we have right now and it all started when we began practicing going over to Europe."

Question: What do you do to help the three juniors or whomever else is on this team to kind of fill the leadership void, because sometimes that is maybe as difficult as teaching….?

Coach Beilein: "They do a great thing here at the University. We have actual leadership seminars that Jeff Jansen has come in to do with both the coaching staff and the team. Stu (Douglass), Darius (Morris) and Zach (Novak) attend those and we work with them, but it is a huge thing and this is not exclusive to Michigan basketball. This is all over the country, the best teams have great leaderships. If you watch any of Drew Brees stuff; there is the ultimate leader right there and Peyton Manning, great leaders. It is a void in many areas. You can grow it, if that is the right word to use. You can develop it but it is instinctive to some others. So you try to see where you are with your team and then nurture it from there."

Question: What kind of expectations do you have for (Tim) Hardaway, do you want him to come in and kind of try to take over this team in some ways?

Coach Beilein: "I just want him to do his best and he is going to have an opportunity in practice to do his best and if his best warrants him to be able to come in and play major minutes as a freshman, then he'll learn that. He has a great attitude. He has incredible focus and we've loved everything that we've seen from him thus far."

Question: How will you allocate Zach Novak's minutes in practice and talk about the benefits of him playing guard?

Coach Beilein: "Yeah I think first of all, we would like to get him down, if he is playing 32 minutes at his normal position I think he'll be much more productive. There were some times because he was such a good defensive player, he's a scrapper, high IQ player, he got tired at times. I think we'll have enough backups to allow him to have a bit more time. I'm thinking that his rebounding numbers will go up because he's not boxing out Mike Davis now from Illinois or Raymar Morgan. He is boxing out a two guard, so he can go in and clean up defense rebounds and start the break a little bit more. He was the starting two guard I believe going into our wins over UCLA and Duke. Maybe he came in off the bench and played for Stu but that was what he was playing at that time. So I think he is going to…he is shooting the ball well. He loves playing back there, but he can be anywhere but the five man for us this year. He can still play anywhere."

Question: The Big Ten has brought back a lot and you lost a lot, what is it that you believe this team…?

Coach Beilein: "I'm not going to get about where it can be. I know we are going to develop and get better every day, but I also know that the Big Ten is at a peak right now as far as its depth, its experience. It has been tremendous. That's going to be very difficult for us. If we just focus on developing and we're going to finish where we're going to finish, but it is going to be…we're dead set on making sure that we finish as high as we are capable of doing and then we get better and then we attack again."

Question: What did Smotrycz show you over in Europe?

Coach Beilein: "There are not too many shots that he doesn't like is one thing that we saw over there, which I think is good. I would rather have that than someone tentative, but he has really worked hard since he came back…the summertime, the weight workouts and they prepare to do for Europe that he showed some ability. Now these last five weeks, I've seen in his workouts just a little bit more bounce, a little bit more quickness, but he is a high IQ player that still has to learn how to play the college game, but he's got a moxy and a confidence about him that I like. There are some other things. Those are strengths right now. His shot selection and things like that are something he will learn."

Question: Colon Christian didn't play in Europe; how he has looked?

Coach Beilein: "He has really looked good in individual workouts. He's an athletic rebounder. He's not as big as Evan or the big kids, but he plays much larger than his size. He loves defense. He wants to guard people. I'm really interested as we go into this first four weeks, how he responds. He has picked up things…for not playing in Europe, he has picked up things very quickly."

Question: Is that a testament to maybe how well he is playing that your willing to go with a freshman at a four no matter who it is?

Coach Beilein: "Yeah. I would have to go back to the smaller line up but that is all we have is freshman and sophomores, redshirt freshman and freshman, if we're going to play the way we have success over the years. Playing small has been the quick fix but generally the teams that have really gotten to be better have got longer four men, guys that rebound well at the four man. He can do that and he can really defend as well. Like I said, loves defense."

Question: With all these new pieces that you have, talk about how it fits into what you like to run.

Coach Beilein: "It fits both. It fits the offense and the defense. If we do choose to switch a lot of screens, it is more interchangeable. If we choose to play zone it is more interchangeable. Then on offense, we have longer players that can see over people that can pass, more skilled everywhere. I think that we will be able to be a team that has a flow to it where we are looking for the first good shot not particularly we got to get this guy….when a guy gets hot, certainly we're going to get a shot but not keying in as you've heard me say before, not as scripted as what we are playing. Some people are going to get open and you got to know when you're open and you got to know when you have to make that next pass. I just liked our flow several times in Europe. Now we could start again and all of a sudden we don't have that flow because execution will come up and down, but I do like sometimes the ball was really moving and we really got good shots."

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