ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Two days from boarding a flight to Italy for a four game schedule overseas the Michigan basketball program continues their preparation, fully utilizing 10 valuable practices this August.
“It’s been a really busy summer and we have been able to do a lot of things but it’s been busy,” Michigan coach John Beilein said Wednesday. “We’re ready to get on the plane on Friday and head overseas to continue the growth this team is really going to need all year long.
“I think things have been productive, we’ve been delayed a little bit by injuries that have kept us from having a big enough group. Thank goodness Lavall Jordan is still in pretty good shape and can go with us but we’re plowing through things and trying to give them as much info as we can, as much conditioning as we can without overloading them.
“And I expect us to go over there and play our best but we could be overmatched in some guys just in experience and size, but it’ll be good for us.”
Beilein quickly ran through all of the injuries Michigan has been dealing with throughout the summer.
“Probably the one that we least planned on was D.J. Wilson,” Beilein said. “Right from the beginning with the injury to his right pinky has kept him from doing almost everything other than we found out he can really do shuffles with nobody guarding him really well. That’s been difficult cause we were trying to experiment with him at a couple of positions but we never could do it.”
“We had been very hopeful Max could play when he’s over there but he’s not going to be able to play. He’s still not moving the way want him to move.”
“And then Austin Hatch is continuing to rehab and he’s in some drills and he probably will play in some games over there but he’s not as ready as we hope he will be later on.”
The most encouraging news for Michigan is the return of junior Caris LeVert after undergoing surgery on his foot after dealing with a stress fracture down the final stretch of last season.
“Caris started playing last week and is not himself yet but as you can imagine he was pretty much dormant for 16 weeks and so today you’ll see some of those flashes,” Beilein said. “It’s just a matter of getting back into game shape.”
Beilein didn’t provide an iron clad starting five leading up to the four game trip in Italy but did shed some light on who is in the mix and what spots each are working at.
“Well I think you’ve got to look at the guys that played a lot last year when you look in the back court,” Beilein said. “You have Derrick, Caris and Spike; those three are going to play and then Muhammad is vying for time there as well in that back court.
“Zak has been playing both sides of the floor, Kam’s been playing one side of the floor and then our two big guys Ricky and Mark have been sharing that work load.
“I like what we’ve seen from Aubrey Dawkins. He shoots the ball really well and he’s athletic. There’s some things like Hardaway and there’s some things like Glenn in his game but there’s a lot of refinement to do.”
Chatman picking things up
The highest rated member of Michigan’s freshman class is do it all wing Kameron Chatman.
Through just shy of two months on the floor and in the film room in Ann Arbor, Chatman has impressed Beilein.
“Here’s what’s the biggest thing and I always probably say this too quick on people but his basketball IQ has been outstanding,” Beilein said. “He’s picked up some of our concepts and some of our actions as quick as anybody we’ve ever had. So really, (he’s been) very productive as far as his talk and knowledge of the game. Still trying to figure out the sweet spots of his game.”
Part one of Beilein's time at the podium below: