Dre's Blog: Walton, Horford, Lavall Jordan 

On the day before Michigan plays Tennessee, the media had a chance to speak with players and coaches. There was a lot to discuss -- from reasons some of the players came to Michigan to Michigan's success on the hardwood and player development. We spoke with Derrick Walton, Jon Horford and assistant coach Lavall Jordan.

Derrick Walton

What made him want to come and play at Michigan.

"The point guard position and how they use the point guard in the offense," Walton said. "Also my close relationship with Coach BA. (Bacari Alexander) I trust him a lot to (want to) come here and be around him for the next few years. It was also how Trey Burke played the point guard position. I kind of remember Darius Morris playing here but I vividly remember Trey Burke. I watched him in person a few times. I really visualized myself doing the same thing, just watching him play here. It was the freedom that they gave him at the point guard position. That is exactly what I was looking for, and that is what attracted me to Michigan."

He talks about how he feels he is playing the point.

"I am getting back to my normal self -- being the type of player that can score and pass. At the beginning it was kind of rough trying to transition from high school to college, but I feel like now I have found my sweet spot, now I am just out there going for it. I am trying to please my coaches when I am out on the floor and then just playing naturally when I am out on the floor -- with confidence -- and that is helping out a lot."

Challenges that Tennessee poses for the Wolverines.

"They are a bruising type of team that goes inside a lot. Our bigs are going to have their hands full. As guards we want to try and help and crash down, and maybe double when we need to. The main thing is we have to rebound and keep them off the glass."

The Big Ten is a tough conference.

"Well, the Big Ten is a tough conference -- you cannot take any games off . You can be beat by any team in our conference. The records don't always show just how good a team is in our league. I can't speak about other leagues but this being my first year in the Big Ten you have to bring it every night."

Jon Horford

Why Michigan continues to be successful.

"I feel like it is a by-product of hard work, and recruiting good kids who you know are low-to-no maintenance that are dedicated to a common goal here at Michigan. We go into it knowing what hard work and preparation they go into returning to places like this, and when we follow the blueprint it keeps getting us to where we want to be."

  What appealed to you when you came to Michigan?

"Well to be honest I am a Michigan kid, and I knew there was potential at this school, and they were on the rise. The year I came in it didn't look that way to people, but I was just like: Michigan is going to be one of the best. I didn't even know how long it was going to take or even if I would be a part of it, but it all worked out."

  Check your ego at the door.

"We have a group of guys that trust each other and feel comfortable with each other, even when guys are going out of whack like people naturally do from time to time, all people. We have people who are willing to say to anyone, 'Hey man, you're acting a little crazy, you need to check yourself'; or 'Hey man, your attitude is not that great.' We say, 'Hey, I know you are going through a tough time but you got to get over it.' It's just a family, it is a family thing. You know it is hard to talk to people, to check other people and be honest with them. When you realize that everyone goes through those situations, everyone gets upset and gets out of whack, it makes it easier to help."

  lavall jordan

Continue to having to prove yourself to everyone.

"That is the fun part. Our guys embrace that challenge of doubters, I guess you can call it, but we believe in ourselves. We believe in our system and what we do in our locker room as well as our program. Just to get out and actually put it on display for others to see is the fun part for these guys."

On this coaching staff winning with different types of talent groups each year.

"We do the best we can with what we have. Coach Beilein does a great job of taking a look and figuring out what is the best position to be successful. We look at what are some of the things we need to commit to each particular group, and then we create a buy in with the players. When we do that we have shown that we can be successful in a variety of ways. But the principals and foundation does not change. One of those foundations and principals are taking care of the basketball. Those are things we are going to do year in and year out. We will be in good defensive position as best we can. The ability to be a willing passer and be able to think the game. That is something we educate our guys on throughout the year. And understand the game at a higher level."

Player development.

"It is something that we pride ourselves on, no doubt. if you come to Michigan you are going to improve as a player, you are going to learn the game and improve your own individual game. I think our record shows that when you come here you get better over time -- your skill set, your IQ and your mind for the game improves. So you will be ready for whatever -- should you choose to move on after this you will be prepared for that too. That is something that we pride ourselves on a great deal -- of making sure that guys can trust us that they are going to become better players when they leave out of here."

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