Video by Josh Newkirk and Sam Webb
Story by Josh Henschke
Ann Arbor, Mich. -- The Michigan basketball program celebrates its 100th squad in program history this season. U-M basketball head coach John Beilein also allowed the media to get a glimpse of the 100th squad during its media day on Thursday as well.
Just like any season, questions surrounding the status of the team will always arise. This is particularly true with redshirt freshman forward DJ Wilson. Having to redshirt last season due to injury, Wilson is back and spent much of the previous year rehabbing and working hard in the weight room.
Something Beilein noted himself to reporters on Thursday.
"DJ Wilson can defend, he can shoot and he's a pretty good passer." Beilein said. "He's 235 now, he's trying to play at 235 instead of playing at 190. That's a thing where every day there's something new that happens with DJ where we say, 'okay, that's the right step.' When you grow up that long and you're 170, 180, 190 and all of the sudden you're 235, there's some habits you have that he's trying to change to use that hard work he's done in the weight room."
Now that Wilson finally looks the part, Beilein will be allowed to keep him in one position moving forward. Which is extremely important from a developmental standpoint.
Also developing is the relationship between the U-M coaching staff and German Moritz Wagner. Beilein has praised Wagner's work ethic previously but took an opportunity to praise him once again and add that the two sides are learning from one another.
"It's much easier for them just to be in one position," Beilein said. "Fortunately both Moe and DJ are pretty good at picking things up. That's really been good, Moe is exceptional. I know I said that before about some guys and sometimes once you get past the addition and subtraction they sort of stopped. I don't see any stop in Moe's learning curve right now, it is exceptional the things that he says that we just marvel at. He teaches us things sometimes."
Beilein, in his best German accent he could possibly muster, gave an example of just how that learning curve is working for Wagner. Using a practice situation, what Wagner did on something so simple really opened his eyes.
"The other day he switched out and denied Caris (LeVert) the ball and created offense because he missed it," Beilein said. "I said, 'why did you do that?' and he said 'I did not want him to get the ball,' and because it would be a bad mismatch for him. And it was like, all right, that's something the pros think about. But he was thinking about that even though he created offense."