Beilein & LLP Return vs. Oakland

Michigan headman has been sidelined for the past week and redshirt freshman guard Laval Lucas-Perry has been sidelined for the past year, but both will take the floor again today when the Wolverines take on the Oakland Grizzlies at the Palace of Auburn Hills. Both discuss their feelings about getting back on the court, Lucas-Perry's impact, and more.

John Beilein

On his health … "I feel much better. It's something that you never think is going to happen to you, but I am feeling better and hopefully I will be feeling 100 percent on Saturday. Your health isn't always something you think about, but when you lose it, it's not very fun, especially when you are coaching a team."

On coaching Saturday's game … "The plan is for me to be there, on the sidelines, coaching like I always coach. I really missed this week with the team but I have a lot of faith in my staff and the players have had a great attitude."

On games missed in his career … "In almost 900 games, the only other one I missed was a game against St. John's (while at West Virginia) at home. My back went into a spasm where I virtually couldn't get out of bed. I don't think I have missed any more than three or four practices in my life. I've coached nearly 900 games and if you estimate three practices per game that is 2,700 practices. I pride myself on being strong but this was not something that you are able to just fight through. When you have vertigo symptoms it's just not something you can fight through."

On Oakland … "I'm so impressed with Oakland. With the exception of maybe Duke, UCLA and Maryland this will be as talented a team as we have played. If we can get a win against Oakland it will be a quality win for us. I think Oakland has great chemistry; they have made up for the absence of Derick Nelson (out due to injury) beautifully. They are really playing good basketball; they went on the road and won at Oregon, at (Wisconsin) Green Bay, they played Cleveland State, who just beat Syracuse, to a three-point game. Mid-majors that have to go on the road and prove that they can win I have a lot of respect for and Greg Kampe does a great job.

They have good size inside. Both (Dan) Waterstradt and (Keith) Benson are good post players, Waterstradt can also step out and shoot it. Their point guard is exceptional, he's got great quickness and he sees the floor very well. Then you are chasing around Erik Kangas who is as good a shooter as there is in Division I, so you have to always be cognizant of where he is because he is an exceptional player."

On the play of the team against Eastern Michigan"It was a very good win for us but as coaches, even after a good win, you always look at the things you have to improve on. The addition of Laval Lucas-Perry is going to be an adjustment, eventually it will be a very positive adjustment but getting him into the mix is why we love coaching, it's putting the puzzle together and that is what is going to be interesting. I love what our team has given us so far but we have to play harder, we have to play smarter and we are going to get better, but it's not going to be overnight." 

On Laval Lucas-Perry … "We will see how comfortable he is when we first get him in the game. He's going to have to play through some things, but that is okay. When we played the first game of the year and we had a couple of turnovers or missed a few shots, you couldn't take the whole team out. You let them play through it because it is the first game of the year; I think he will go through similar growing pains. He's going to need several games to feel comfortable but he is a quality player and he is going to have to earn everything he gets. I have no question that he will work hard to get that."

On playing at The Palace … "One of the differences will be the court, the NBA court with the NBA three-point line. We have to be very careful that we don't play at the NBA line, I thought we did that at Madison Square Garden, we ran to the NBA line. You have to play somewhere in between the NBA line and the college line when you can. But it is the same for both teams; Oakland doesn't have any advantage in that. I'm sure that they (Oakland) will have a great crowd and I'm sure that our Michigan fans will show up as well."


Redshirt freshman guard Laval Lucas-Perry

On playing his first game at Michigan … "I'm just going to take it slow, let the game come to me, play my game and get my teammates involved. I'm going to go out there and do what I do best. Score the ball, shoot the ball, pass the ball -- whatever I need to do."

On his feelings getting back on the court … "It feels really good; it's an early Christmas present. It's going to be a great experience for me, first game back, everyone has been looking forward to it and I'm not going to disappoint."

On what he can bring to the team … "I'm going to bring a defensive presence; I'm going to bring toughness. I'm going to bring an offensive presence, shoot the three and let my ability create for my teammates."

On Oakland … "Oakland is a good team. I've played with Drew Maynard and Johnny Jones. I played against (Erik) Kangas at DeWitt (High School). I've played with and against a lot of those guys, they are great players. Oakland is a very good team, a dangerous opponent and we have to go out and give it 110 percent."

On playing at The Palace … "It's going to be a great experience. Playing where Joe Dumars, Chauncey Billups, Rasheed Wallace, all of those great players have played -- it's going to be a great experience and I am looking forward to it."


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