Question: What about his conditioning and his kind of improvement from the beginning of the year to the tournament this time around.
Bacari Alexander: “It was everything. When you talk about who Mitch McGary is as a player, he is a guy who rebounds the basketball at a very high clip, you know. Conditioning allows you to continue that prowess. So as those levels of conditioning got better throughout the season, you noticed that that rebounding number went up. It is also with minutes played, it allows you to play as hard as you can, as long as you can, longer.”
Question: How hard is it to improve your conditioning while going through the grind of playing and practicing during the season?
Bacari Alexander: “It’s a challenge because there is a balance between a practice time that you get, the rest intervals that are needed for recovery and then the dietary intake that one must take, not to mention the late night binge eating when you are studying. So that balance of trying to find that sweet spot between all of those things is something that can be difficult.”
Question: What has your contact been like within this past week? At what point did you know for sure he was coming back?
Bacari Alexander: “You know what, my inclination in terms of their decision probably did not come down until like the 12th hour, similar to what they discuss in their press are there. With Mitch, we talk often, as you would imagine, as his position coach and so training tables, he’s the same guy. He never walked around kind of stressed out or woe is me. It was always pretty upbeat and jovial Mitch McGary that we all come to enjoy.”
Question: You guys have a certain identity offensively. With Trey gone does that shift or is what you guys is what you do?
Bacari Alexander: “You know, I think on some level our players have maybe a subtle level of adaptability with regards to the personnel that comes in. Derrick Walton is a guard that enjoys the assist, probably you will see a lot of guys out there being an integral part of the offense based on the style of play of the point guard who is coming in. I think the other part of things is time, tested, and true, John Beilein basketball, a lot of ball movement, player movement, getting out in the fastbreak trying to score in the first four to six seconds. I think next year it will be a just as exciting brand of basketball.”
Question: Obviously, you had a very young team in the rotation this year but the five seniors to help teach the culture and all that. This year you are going to have a young team top to bottom really. Any plan yet on how to deal with that?
Bacari Alexander: “You know, again, I think you have a group of guys that are always chomping at the bit with this next man up mentality. When you look at guys like Jordan Morgan and Jon Horford, you know, guys who have played minutes now like Glenn Robinson, Mitch McGary, and Spike Albrecht, and Nick Stauskus if you will. Those are a number of guys who have been through the wars that will be eager to step up as we mold them towards what our culture is.”
Question: Are Morgan and Horford particularly important given that they are the elder statesman as far as years?
Bacari Alexander: “In terms of the years played, there is always some significance. Jordan Morgan has always displayed strong leadership characteristics. I think he has been waiting on his turn. I think it will be a partnership, a two-headed monster, if you will, in Morgan and Horford, with regards to leadership on our team and in the locker room.”
Question: How big of an opportunity are the centers going to have next season? Because you are losing Trey and Tim, but you have a have some guys who have played a lot of minutes down low.
Bacari Alexander: “It’s going to be a competitive environment, as you can imagine and what we hope for is that everybody comes back and improves in some aspect in their game. I think as a result, what you will find is what I like to call production by committee, you know, in the sense that Mitch can provide energy that we have enjoyed, you know, Jon Horford will provide the length that we have enjoyed. Jordan Morgan will provide the smarts that we have enjoyed. Then you just go on and on and on. In that whole sense, Max Bielfeldt, Mark Donnal who will be coming in. So I think it will be another embarrassment (of riches) for me as a position coach.”
Question: It makes your job a little easier?
Bacari Alexander: “Certainly. The harder they work in the off season, smarter coach I become.”
Question: What do you like about Mark Donnal?
Bacari Alexander: “You know, I think with Mark, he provides a player that is very versatile. He is a young man who can stretch beyond three. He can put the ball on the deck. He is an underrated passer. I think his skill set speaks pretty well to what we do. I think it will allow us to do some things creatively in terms of moving him around. Similar to what Mitch McGary will blossom into in the future.”
Question: At times this we talked about the struggle of finding minutes for all these guys with so much depth down low. Adding Mark now, how much are you going to be rotating, how much can we expect all these guys to be on the floor?
Bacari Alexander: “Any speculation on the rotation at this point is a little premature but I suspect that our veterans who have logged a lot of minutes will be guys who get early consideration, whether you talk about Mitch, Jon, and Jordan Morgan. From there, it is wait and see.”
Question: Give me a kind of synopsis. We saw you guys have sort of mandates for, for instance, what you wanted Tim to work on and improve upon in the off season. Kind of give me the breakdown of Glenn and Mitch, the things that they need to improve upon in this off season.
Bacari Alexander: “I think their skill set is going to be married to a migration plan that we have for them. Most of those guys throughout the season have either played either the five position or the four position in Glenn’s case. For Glenn to migrate to the three, I think he has to be an improved runaway shooter, as well as the ability to put the ball on the floor, use the ball screen to make proper reads out of that, as we saw to Tim Hardaway and Nick Stauskus. And then for Mitch McGary to migrate to his position, I think, is important for him not only to improve his level of conditioning but let us extend the range on his shooting beyond the three-point arc, get him on balance in the high post when he is driving, and just finish at a higher clip around the rim. We just want him to be a very efficient player coming in the next season. A lot of that will come with reps throughout the off season.”