Beilein Sees Team Chemistry Shining Through

John Beilein reflects on his squad's 83-49 victory over Norfolk State. Michigan's headman cited his team's chemistry as one of the primary reasons for success.

John Beilein Opening Statement:  "I was really happy with our defense tonight.  We took Corey Lyons and (Michael) Deloach, #2.  One was averaging 25 points coming in and the other one had six 3s in one game.  To hold a team to 49 points at that pace; we rebounded the ball.  We did a lot of things that you have to do.  I think they got some offensive rebounds at the end but other than that they didn't get many.  We'll take that.  When Manny Harris can get 10 defensive rebounds that's the greatest fast break you can have, just go.  Everybody just has to run at his speed, which is pretty darn fast."

Question:  What happened with Zach Gibson?

John Beilein:  "He fell on that step across move underneath; he fell right on his tailbone.  So he tried a little bit and he was really in some pain.  A tailbone bruise is a matter of a few days, we hope.  We just got to treat it with ice right now.  He didn't feel like he could go.  I think if it had been a closer game, we might have done some more things with him.  It was good because he got off to such a good start, but it was too bad he got hurt."

Question:  The kids have been running the ball (up the floor).  You guys got a lot of easy baskets.

John Beilein:  "Yeah I think our offensive transition game was exceptional tonight.  That's a tough thing early in the year for all teams, defensive transition.  We were able to score some easy baskets.  We still haven't really shot the ball yet from the outside.  Our shot selection still has got to be tweaked a little bit.  I was pleased that you can get easy baskets if you run.  We're trying to convince guys.  We do want to run.  We do a lot of half court stuff.  We want to run on every rebound, every turnover at full speed."

Question:  Coach another slow start; do you kind of see this happening…?

John Beilein:  "I don't know.  I thought that time we had wide open looks.  It wasn't a matter like we didn't execute.  We missed badly, 0-10 they told me.  That's not good.  We got to continue to work on that.  We'll have to wait and see if it lingers in the Big Ten play.  Either change lineups, change pregame routine, change something."

Question:  Is that something that you hope to kind of change sooner then later or do you have to kind of let them play through it?

John Beilein:  "We'll have to play through it.  Anthony (Wright)  had wide open shots and I think when Laval Lucas-Perry becomes eligible in December that will be another component that you look at, okay how does that affect him.  He's obviously a very good player.  He's going to be in the rotation, where is he.  I think we'll just wait and see.  Until it costs us a game somewhere along the line, I won't make any changes until we really feel that it has been detrimental to our chances of winning."

Question:  Did you like it how they shared it tonight?

John Beilein:  "Yeah.  It looks like we had 66% assists here, 21 out of 32.  If we can get 60-70% assist to baskets that's pretty good.  If you look at the 18 offensive rebounds, probably 10 of those were put backs.  So it means that almost every basket had a good assist on.  So that is good to have.  They're looking for each other."

Question:  Zack Novak said that you told him to be a little more aggressive out there?

John Beilein:  "Yeah he can really shoot the ball.  Here he goes all of a sudden your playing in high school and the next you know, you're in the (Madison Square) Garden and being guarded by Duke, being guarded by UCLA.  He has had some looks in some other games.  He and Stu (Douglass); it would be a toss up of who is the better shooter.  He has got to be aggressive and look for his own shot.  Their still learning, what's a good shot.  They're some I want Stu to take and they're some I don't want him to take.  That's what we got to work through."

Question:  How have the two of them worked together to make each other better?

John Beilein:  "They're great friends.  They really get along very well and it's healthy to have that.  Like I said when Laval Lucas-Perry becomes eligible, then we may change some other things of who plays where.  It's a good problem to have when you have shooters out there, but we can't get enough of them out there."

Question:  It seems like one of the best games Jevohn (Shepherd) has played in his career.

John Beilein:  "I just think he saw some seams here and there that he could get to the rim.  We've been trying to get him to not what we say…some players are like this, especially when they don't get a lot of playing time.  The ball is like a grenade.  They got to do something with it.  Just wait, pick your spots and use your athleticism in spots.  That's what he is being a little bit more selective instead of maybe just taking his head down and making a play.  It was great to see him hit that early three, because we needed it."

Question:  Next game is Saturday, what are you trying to get done?

John Beilein:  "Tomorrow, I'll watch the film.  We practice at 3 o'clock.  I think we still have classes tomorrow.  I'll pick up more after the film, alright this is what we have to work on.  Friday will be more of Savannah State and so will Thursday a little bit, but it will be more of what we have to do to win over the long run.  They didn't let us run anything today.  They just trapped and trapped and trapped.  I really like the ideal that they trapped us like crazy and we really only had the 14 turnovers and some of those was we just threw the ball…we are not throwing the ball to the outside hand and the guy is not coming strong to it.  We should've got some backdoors tonight."

Question:  Did you like the pace tonight; how it kind of lends itself to Kelvin?

John Beilein:  "Yeah, his speed.  When you put him in the game and people are trying to trap you.  There are not a lot of whole lot of plays that you have to run against it.  He goes around people and gets you right into advantage because he's so quick.  So when you press up on him full court, he can go by some people."

Question:  You had 53 rebounds that has been kind of a low point through the season with rebounding; what just happened out there, Manny with 15?

John Beilein:  "One of the things is that we weren't playing UCLA or Duke.  That's a big reason why we got 53 rebounds.  I don't think we get those rebounds against those teams.  Norfolk State is coming from a mid major league, low major league and they don't have some of those same athletes, so we really came in and rebounded.  We did the last couple of days, we've worked hard on boxing out every day.  Just finding a man and boxing out… things that we probably haven't emphasized enough."

Question:  How has Ben Cronin come along with his conditioning?

John Beilein:  "Yeah, you can see him out there.  He still has that limp, but I was glad he could get some time in there.  I think we still have a few games if we don't think that he can be at 100%, wait and see.  I'm glad he could get out there and I thought he did fairly well."

Question:  Through five games on the season with a couple on the road and three here at home; is there anything that maybe has stuck out that you're going to be able to do better than you thought or vice versa?

John Beilein:  "My whole thing so far is that our team chemistry so far has been very good.  Of course when you're 4-1 and not 1-4 that's hard to promote team chemistry, but I think that has been the most impressive part so far.  The kids are really getting along well.  They police themselves a little bit and that's refreshing."

Question:  Tim McCormick said that Laval Lucas-Perry is going to be the best point guard here since Rumeal Robinson.

John Beilein:  "(Laughter) He's been good.  But let's talk about this game.  He's been good and it will be good.  He's work hard for a year now.  I think he's counting the days and when he comes in here, it'll be very good to have him in the lineup as well.  He'll have to earn what he gets."

Question:  You had five guys score in double figures, is that more of a testament to the fast pace tonight or players being more unselfish?

John Beilein:  "We share the ball.  I don't know all the assist numbers, but Manny is averaging four assists a game.  I know he would like to take some of those turnovers back.  If people are willing to pass the ball then other people are going to be able to score.  Kelvin did a good job distributing.  Jevohn had three assists and no turnovers.  I hope we have an unselfish team."

Question:  You're splitting the teams up in little groups for Thanksgiving.  Is that a tradition?

John Beilein:  "Yeah, we've always done that.  Usually what we'll do is that the guys that are within two hours away; they have plenty of time to get home because we'll give them almost 24 hours to get home and come back.  The guys that are more than two hours away, we'll split them up with the coaches."

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