Beilen Pleased w/ Morris-n-Morgan Fast Start

John Beliein talks about the Gardner Webb game, the Wolverines' 3-0 start and Syracuse coming up, and gives praise to his point guard Darius Morris and big man Jordan Morgan.

John Beilein: "I really think that Gardner Webb, who has a win over Charlotte and really played Florida State; had them down to five points, is going to be a fine team. I like the way their coach is coaching. I like their offense. They've got a good young team and I feel good about his win from the standpoint that we could get out and stay out on them. It is important for our team to have some of this success early because of the fact just to believe in what we are doing and play with that much passion that you get that many rebounds and you run the floor the way we are."

Question: Regardless of the level of competition, you got to be pleased with the way things are progressing on offense right?

John Beilein: "You count all the practices and games, that is the best we've finished around the hoop with our big guys. We've really worked hard on that. Whether it is a ball-handling drill or whether it is the many drills that we do to get the ball inside. They are always going to catch the ball in traffic and when you go from high school to college there are different people waiting for you. There will be different people waiting for you next Friday as well. Just to get it in traffic and to be able to finish around the hoop is really big for us."

Question: How much are you looking forward to this upcoming schedule and maybe really getting….?

John Beilein: "It will certainly be a benchmark, measuring stick, whatever you want it as we get into this, because it is really very difficult with every game that we have. I think we have four games within ten games or something and each one is going to be a challenge."

Question: On Darius Morris' 21 points and 11 assists...

John Beilein: "Yeah don't you like the way he is playing. I will tell you all year long that young man shot a lot of shots in the offseason and he is very often the last one out on the court. That gun that we have, he spent a lot of time on and he has really worked. I've really seen a self starter. He has pushed through some ceilings where now he believes that he can make some of those shots and that's important. LaVall Jordan again has done a wonderful job with him."

Question: When he's hitting those shots what does that do for you?

John Beilein: "That's a big thing for us. Last year when people started guarding him different and doubling off of him. That changed a lot of the ways that we could score. They have to respect him right now and as you can see, he is really seeing the floor, as I said corner to corner. There are a lot of point guards that can see that obvious play but they get stuck because they don't see the defenses come over. He is starting to see corner to corner."

Question: Has it surprised you, the consistency from Jordan Morgan?

John Beilein: "He has come a long way from when he came in here. Like day one in summer school, he has got this really bad knee injury, just like day one of summer school and he weighs too much. Now he is…tell that lady in the back to shut off her cell phone (laughter) that happens to be my wife (laughter). You're not getting in here again if you do not shut that thing off. At any rate and when you saw him coming in off of that. You looking at this and he is a long way from playing in the Big Ten or playing anywhere, but he has really worked at his body and little by little he has gotten better. It is a similar story with Darius. We got Bacari Alexander who has been a great influence on him and he has worked very hard on all the other things that we do."

Question: Is finishing something that you solve?

John Beilein: "It is tough to see. When you see them in high school and you see him in AAU, you do see some. I don't think that his strength, but it will be. He is learning how to fake. He's feeling the people around him. He is very intelligent player. He's an engineering student and doing very well. He has really been…I like his growth, but not just him, all our big guys."

Question: Talk about the confidence and momentum heading into the Syracuse game.

John Beilein: "I think our guys would really be excited about this. You would hate to go into that game or any of those games with other BCS teams with a loss to a smaller conference team. It hits you pretty hard. For our guys to come in there and we'll go in…we don't know any different now and we'll go in to win. Syracuse will be going in to win. I'm sure it will be exciting for us, but we'll really going to have to play really well."

Question: Did you know that you were going for your 600th win tonight and do you ever have a chance to reflect on your career and what you've done?

John Beilein: "You guys won't believe this but until I got to 599…because the junior college wins are not counted by some people and they are by others. Until somebody said 598, I really didn't know. I seriously did not know. It seems like 500 was just a little bit ago but that was 525….it's a long story (laughter). I know it is unique to be blessed this much to be allowed to coach this long as a head coach first of all and you go back to the junior colleges and the high schools and all the different levels. It may be harder to win there then it is at the University of Michigan and it is difficult to win at this level. But it is hard to win when you're driving vans as I said, eating at Ponderosa, McDonalds…Ponderosa was a big night, McDonalds was the other night and then you were going to play the games and driving back home."

Question: Do you have any mementos?

John Beilein: "I have something from every stay. Kathleen made me a really nice wall….for the 600 I probably have the ball from maybe 250 and 400, 500. We are putting together this wall because I love hearing from the kids at Erie Community College, Nazareth, Le Moyne. Those are a big part of my coaching experience and it really helped our coaching staff and our players develop as teams. Because you go back to all those mistakes you made when you were 29-year-old coach."

Question: Do you see yourself as the Joe Paterno of basketball coaches?

John Beilein: "(Laughing) No way. No way. God bless Joe, he does a wonderful job, but Coach Beilein will not be coaching that long."

Question: Going back to this Friday, you personally have had a lot of personal history of coaching against Syracuse when you were part of that conference, are you excited to…?

John Beilein: "You just want to get it out of the way that we've never beaten Syracuse. I don't think we've had a win and Coach Boeheim has had some great, great teams. I often joke that he has like 1000 wins and he would have around 1100 if he just played against us more. He's a great coach and an incredible style and I've always said that he is my mind, I have considered him the best or one of the very, very best coaches in college basketball. Just look what he does every single year. It is amazing. Just go to the Carrier Dome and look at the banner and try to find an NIT one. Every now and then you'll see one but everything else is NCAA – great coach, great team, great program."

Question: How much were you involved in getting Jalen Rose, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson?

John Beilein: "Well when the Legend's Classic…I don't think I understood the Legend's Classic until we actually got involved in it. Then they wanted to honor somebody on their home court. A lot of people came to mind and with the work that Jalen has done back in the city of Detroit, he has been one of the guys that we've seen quite often on campus. He's has come back. He has spoken. He is a great friend of the program through thick and thin. With him and one of the things that he wanted to do was he said why don't we bring Ray and Jimmy with us and we said great, this is wonderful. So they all came back, glad to have them."

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