ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Now a sophomore, Ricky Doyle knows he has to be physically and mentally stronger if he’s going to have a successful year in the paint in 2015-16.
After all, he plays in one of the toughest leagues – the Big Ten – and will play key minutes at power forward for a Michigan team that generally runs one big man on the court at all times.
“Being physical is the one who willing to do the dirty work,” Doyle said at Michigan’s media last week.
However, was quick to add he won’t be doing it alone, noting U-M’s added depth in the paint with Mark Donnal, D.J. Wilson and Moe Wagner.
“We’re all just working together,” Doyle said. “We go to practice everyday as hard as we can. We have drills that you would think we are football players, just hitting each other.
“In the end, iron sharpens iron. In the end, we are all getting ready to be physically tough. So when our time comes, it’s up the coaches on who plays and who doesn’t play. But I’m sure all of are going to be well prepared for the season.”
Second go around
Doyle, who averaged 6.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, while making 19 starts as a freshman, admits his mindset hasn’t changed heading into this season -- and is just working on retaining his knowledge from his freshman season to apply to this year moving forward.
“It’s still the same, really, because time just flies,” Doyle said of his sophomore year. “But to me I still feel like a freshman. But I have all that year of knowledge under my belt.
Adding: “It was a great season last year. Obviously we wanted to do better. But having that knowledge, I can mentality and physically prepare for the upcoming season and get ready to really make Michigan proud, and do the best for our season.
“I feel like I am not the only one. To just have that knowledge of the game now, we were put in tough situations, a lot of overtime games that didn’t come our way. But I feel like we are now mentally prepared to finish through those situations.”
Moving forward, however, Doyle says he plans to continue being a student of the game.
“I really want to expand my knowledge of the game,” Doyle said. “You know, become a better student. I wouldn’t say coming in I knew all the move sets, but it was knowing when to use those move sets. Like I don’t have to pump fake two or three times, I can got straight up and have an easy shot. So I guess it’s more experience I had with it under my belt just having the feel of the game and know when to use what.”
Michigan opens up play against Le Moyne on Nov. 6 for their exhibition opener.