Mr. Steady makes the Wolverines better

Stu Douglass has been known primarily as a jump shooter, but improving his game over the summer was high on his list. GBW finds out who helped to make him better and what it has done for the Michigan basketball team.

Since Stu Douglass arrived at Michigan two seasons ago everyone has raved about his outside shooting. But now he is expected to do more than just shoot from the perimeter. As an upperclassmen on the team he has been charged with doing more.

"Playing the point guard position, I am expected to run the offense," said Douglass. "So this summer I played against a lot of older guys trying to go pro, and it really helped me slow the game mentally in regards to running the point guard position.".

The former Hoosier State standout understood that his game had to be more versatile to take some of the pressure off of his teammates. Much of the credit for his improvement goes to his own hard work, but a great deal of it goes to good coaching as well.

Explained Douglass, "The last two years we were like, 'Manny is going to the basket, who is going to help him?' Darius, being young, tried to be that help. So this year we wanted to really help Darius, so me and Zack worked hard on getting to the basket. Coach Jordan helped us out, letting us know you don't have to be the most athletic guard in the league to get into the lane and create offense. Hesitation moves can get the job done."

Jordan is so pleased with the direction and growth of Douglass' game that his has given his young protege a nickname.

"If you look at the season so far he has provide what we have needed that is why I call him Mr. Steady," said Jordan. "Steady Stu. We needed some points in the Harvard game, he comes in and knocks down shots. We get a couple careless turnovers, he comes in and settles things down for us and runs the offense. We need a defender to slow someone down, he does that for this team. Coming off the bench, he has embraced that role and that is what we expect from him. Stu has a very good feel for the game, he is finishing better in the paint overall his game has really improved."

The decision to ask more of Douglass, especially when it came to running the point more, was would it take away from his scoring ability ?

"Well that is up to him," said Jordan. "We want him to be well rounded enough to pick his spots to score, and this year so far he has done that for us."

Douglass clearly has helped to keep Darius Morris fresh in games by spelling his sophomore teammate at the point. He is also much more vocal in directing some of the young guys on where they are suppose to be out on the floor. It is yet another part of his game that has continued to grow.

"My game is something that I have been working and working on," he says. "When we went over to Europe it wasn't the greatest but we kept on working. With more work now it is something I just feel comfortable with, and the work is finally paying off."

For the these young Wolverines to continue racking up the accomplishments, Mr. Steady has to be just that balanced and sound in what he does out on the floor to preserve Michigan's success.

More from Douglass going into tonight's game versus Northwestern below.


Question: Are you guys playing for revenge; that was your worst game of the year against Northwestern?

Stu Douglass: "Yeah that was terrible. That is definitely on my mind that is on everybody's mind."

Question: Do you think the guys will flash back to that even though you guys have had so much success since then?

Stu Douglass: "Oh yeah. It is payback and a whole lot of combinations of things, but payback is maybe the biggest."

Question: In saying that you guys have evolved since then; how so, what do you think you guys are doing better?

Stu Douglass: "We're still not starting the games great, but we're responding a lot better and we're staying a lot more focused throughout the game and a lot stronger mentally. We've learned a lot from some of those tough situations and we've improved from them."

Question: Northwestern's offense is pretty difficult to prepare for. With some of the younger guys, did you see confusion or anything like that?

Stu Douglass: "It doesn't matter how many times I see it, you can still get tripped up here and there. You can get caught up in guarding a guy instead of the action or vice versa. It is tough for first year guys to kind of digest all that, but I think we did decent job at times and we'll be able to look at certain plays we made defensively that were good. And just keep growing on that and showing the young guys, ‘this is how we did it when we got key stops' and kind of put it their heads and hopefully you can repeat those good plays."

Question: Do you expect them to able to execute better defensively this time?

Stu Douglass: "Yeah definitely. It has helped, I cannot really remember from first game to second game with them the past couple of years, but I'm pretty sure we improved defensively and just key on some of their players and some of their plays. (John) Shurna has been a little more quiet, so it is definitely a different situation from that first time when we played them."

Question: When that was happening that first half and Shurna was just ridiculous, was there something happening with you guys or was he just that hot?

Stu Douglass: "There were certain plays ... he hit three or four shots in a row and then we just didn't close out on him on the fast break -- some lazy plays. Some plays that we've gotten better on, and just a little more mentally sharp. We hadn't really giving up a whole lot. I think it was good practice for us with a guy like Talor Battle and the way he comes off screens. There are offense is completely different but it was good for us to kind of see that motion. I think it has helped us."

Question: I think you guys have just focused on game to game, but is there a part of this where you look at each other and say hey, we have a chance here to do what we talked about before the season?

Stu Douglass: "Yeah. We've said it out loud in the locker room. There is no hiding from it at all. Maybe a little difference from last year, we're able to take it one game at a time and still not get too scared about the whole big picture. But this week is crucial for us."

Question: Is there somebody that is kind of ring-leading watching that or is it literally everybody?

Stu Douglass: "I'm sure a little bit of everybody. We've talked about it. Like I said, there is absolutely no hiding from it, so we have to put it out in the open and just kind of accept it and embrace it really. It is kind of like take it as a whole new season a little bit."

Question: Do you think it helps you guys a little bit that you guys don't know where your scoring is coming from every night besides maybe Darius?

Stu Douglass: "Yeah definitely. I feel like it is more so this year, maybe it is different with guys like Manny (Harris) and DeShawn (Sims), but teams this year, I feel like I've seen different defenses more so than I have in the last couple of years. I don't know if that is true or not, but that is kind of how it feels little bit. They've taken away certain things, we have to adjust a little bit, but our offense has changed and I think we've been good at adjusting after those first four minutes after that first media timeout and start to pick things up. I know we definitely did that against Penn State."

Question: When you look at the possibility of the postseason is it the kind of thing where you say, we have a chance to do this if we take it one game at a time or how does it kind of play out when you have those thoughts?

Stu Douglass: "We're not preparing for Indiana today. We're preparing for Northwestern. That is how every team in the Big Ten approaches it, but mentally the last four to five games, we've been a lot better at doing that instead of getting caught up in the whole postseason talk and all that stuff."


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