Levert not surprised by his breakout season

Last year on this team Caris Levert's role was all about defense -- that is how he was subbed onto the floor. This season is a different story. After an outstanding off-season of hard work and a little help he has made himself into quite the player for Michigan.

The growth that players make between their freshman and sophomore seasons -- if they put in the work -- can be outstanding ... but first you have to want to do. Last summer Caris LeVert decided he wanted a bigger role with the team this season. So he decided along with his buddy to stay up at Michigan, while everyone else went home, and try to get better as a player.

"After the season myself and Nik Stauskas decided that we were going to stay for the spring term when everyone else went home," LeVert said. "We worked hard every day in the weight room, on the court, and watched a lot of film as well. I think that really was a benefit to me staying in the spring time, and working on my game. I feel like I have prepared myself for this situation I am in. I believe it has really helped me out a lot."

Hard work has allowed Caris to have a much larger role on the Michigan basketball team than the one he had last year. His work in the off-season has easily made him into one of, if not the best, all-around player on this team. Yet he had to understand what the team's role was for him, and learn from others what it took to play on this level and perform well.

"Last year I had my role. I was more of a defender, and an energy player off the bench, with the great guards we had in Trey (Burke) and Tim (Hardaway). I watched last year how they went about their business and excelled in the offense. I kind of took that to put in my own hands and tried to implement that into my game this year."

Coming out of high school, the Pickerington (Ohio) native was a scorer who could put up points in a hurry. Attending Michigan was a big change offensively. Coach Beilein's system demands that you understand the game of basketball. Caris really likes what the offense does for his team and how tough it is for any team to defend them.

"I was a scorer in high school, but Coach Beilein's offense is a little different. But once you get comfortable it is a great offense to be in. As you can see everyone is a threat to score, and everyone can shoot pass and dribble. I can imagine it is a pretty tough scout for a team."

As far as the success he is having, Levert is not surprised at all. It is something he has expected because of the work that he has put in.

"I am not surprise," he said. "I am very comfortable in this role. I have been doing this for a long time. I feel like I've prepared for this situation and I think it has really helped me out a lot."

  Part of Levert's success would certainly have to go to the coaching staff for having the confidence in what he can do on both ends of the floor.  They have helped to groom and teach him along the way so that he could become the player that he is.

 "Coach Beilein recruits great players, so that when we get here he just gives us confidence to play our games. It has really benefited us throughout the tournament to play our games. Coach Jordan has been along the whole way. He has coached great guards in Trey (Burke) Stu (Douglass) Zack (Novak) and Tim (Hardaway). I believe all of them are playing professionally. Coach Val (Jordan) is a great coach -- he knows what he is talking about and he has really helped us a lot this year."

Caris Levert has a lot of confidence in himself and his teammates during the run that Michigan is on in the tournament, and they are having fun playing basketball.

"At the end of the day, it's just basketball," he said. "We are having fun doing what we love to do. We are happy to be here, but at the same time we want to compete and win the game."

The young man out of Ohio has worked hard to get to where he is, and plans to stay there through effort and hard work. Don't expect him to be surprised at the success that he has worked at to achieve.

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