The staff is very heavy on discipline. There is a ton of instruction and there is no tolerance for excuses. Furthermore, it’s very apparent that there is no room for placing blame on teammates. At one point a mistake was made on the court and one of the players involved exclaimed, “that was his fault!” That’s when Amaker interjected, had a few words for the player in question, and then resumed the drills. The message was clear. Focus more on what you can do better as a player as opposed to what your teammate may have done wrong. During another sequence of one of the scrimmages, both the maize and blue teams came down and put quick jumpers. Coach Amaker immediately blew the whistle to stop practice and said something along the lines of, “What in the heck are you guys doing? Both teams! Who in the heck do you guys think you are?!…Run the offense!” Structure, discipline and accountability. Those are all a part of the standard that the coach is so vehement about setting and maintaining, and they were all present in the practice yesterday.
Other brief observations:
- Defensive intensity: Last season there was a marked improvement in this
area, and this season should be no different. Contrasting the technique employed
by this regime to that of past teams reveals a great deal. Defensive rotation
is really stressed and details that might seem minute, like getting and keeping
your arms up when guarding your man, are given serious attention.
- There will be no easy buckets down low. Between Graham Brown, Amadou Ba,
and JC Mathis, there is some serious attitude in the post. Expect a little
friendly contact whenever the opposition goes into the lane.
- One of the areas that will need to improve the most is catching passes in
the post. There were a few occasions where the postmen were fed the ball in
good position to go up and convert an easy bucket, but weren’t able
to because the ball was fumbled. This will, without question, get better in
the coming weeks.
- Another glaring trait of the practice was how much the team runs. Conditioning
won’t be a problem at Michigan because these kids do a ton of wind sprints.
The majority of them are NOT of the disciplinary variety either. They’re
a normal part of the practice regimen.
- Bernard Robinson Jr. appears to have really accepted the challenge that
coach Amaker put forth in the offseason. The young man is looking for the
three point shot and hitting it. He was the man yesterday! He did everything
well. He drove into the lane, found the open man, AND rebounded. He really
seems poised to lead this team and have an All Big Ten performance this year.
- Lester Abram is going to be the unsung hero of this team yet again. He’s
so unassuming, but at the end of the night he will have filled up a stat sheet.
He was money from deep all afternoon!
- I said in the Maize
and Blue scrimmage report last week that Brent Petway is a work in progress
and will have to be brought along by the staff. Well, that process was very
evident during yesterday’s practice when Coach Ramsey laid down a “no
dunking” edict for the Georgia youngster. The young man went to work
on his jumper for the rest of the practice. He just continues to improve.
- Dion Harris and Dani Wohl didn’t participate yesterday because of
minor injuries. Both will be fine.
Be sure to check back for pictures from the practice tomorrow.