ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The key to longevity in any certain is area is not to be afraid of adapting and learning new ideas to become more efficient in your craft.
For Michigan basketball coach John Beilein, a grizzeled veteran coach at the collegiate level, he is still looking to learn new ideas for all levels of basketball. Instead of trying to shift focuses in the middle of the season, Beilein and his staff are tinkering with new ideas that could help his team as the season goes on.
"We're testing a lot of things right now including making our offense and our defense extremely versatile," Beilein said. "Even more versatile than ever. But in order to do that everybody will have to be able to pass it and see, guard multiple positions. We're going to throw that around a lot and we won't know you can't try to make that adjustment in the middle of the Big Ten season. So we'll throw a lot at them, how many positions can some guys play? And how can our offense and our defense work that doesn't take a lot of brain power to get that done."
Beilein found ideas by observing practices of NBA teams. One team in particular, the local Detroit Pistons, have a connection to Beilein in many different ways. Perhaps is was a little bit of friendship mixed in with business but Beilein is trying to find things that could be useful going forward.
"Looking for ideas," Beilein said. "Guys like Stan Van Gundy, I mean, we go back 30 years and Jeff Nix played for for my uncle -- Tim Hardaway Sr. -- there's a lot going on where we know each other but, at the same time, if I told you some of the terminology that I hear..."
Some of that terminology Beilein speaks of was obtained in obscure ways and sometimes from an unlikely source. For one example in particular, Beilein helped himself from none other than Jim Harbaugh.
"For example, we have trouble with some of our guys learning how to cut," Beilein said. "I was over at Jim's (Harbaugh) practice, one of our coaches told our kids in cutting to stick their foot in the ground and go. And I'm sitting there and said 'that is terminology I needed.' We have trouble cutting and I went over here and I told our guys to stick their foot in the ground and go and everyone could cut."
Beilein plans on visiting one more unidentified NBA camp before returning to focus on the team. The one thing Beilein stressed, however, was what exactly he brings back with him. It's not about picking up a laundry list of things, it's about a select few ideas to implement immediately.