Beilein's Message: Keep Shooting

John Beilein has preached to his squad to never be bashful with taking opening looks... even if they're not falling. Last night that was put to the test with 42 threes. The Wolverines made only 12 (28.6%), but they won the contest 76-59. Beilein's message afterward... keep shooting!

Coach Beilein Opening Statement:  "As everyone (knows), especially after what we went through last year, we celebrate every win no matter what.  I don't think obviously it was our best performance, 15 turnovers.  I do like the idea that we weren't shy.  We shot the ball.  We just didn't shoot it very well at times and then you're all of a sudden struggling...we lost our confidence for a five minute period and all of a sudden now they gain some confidence and their playing to win and we're playing not to lose.  Just that little five minutes there hurt us as far as the outcome, but we'll take the win."

Question:  You talk about not being shy shooting but there is obviously a line as a coach that you want a little bit of restraint?

Coach Beilein:  "You know when people play…that's called a sagging defense.  You are not going to drive the ball against them and you are not necessarily going to get some stuff for Peedi (DeShawn Sims) inside, but it is really tough.  If they're going to dare you to shoot...  I make this analogy all the time, if people do play us like that, that's what you need to do.  It would be like someone just putting eight in the box and you're going to say well we got to get a running game and we got to find ways to run, you can run right into tackles all day long when you got to stretch the field.  So it's analogy, that's what they were doing.  They were really packing things together and that's what I loved about the way they got it down to eight or whatever and DeShawn hit two more 3s and then Laval (Lucas-Perry) with an assist from Manny (Harris) and then Kelvin (Grady) hit one with an assist from Manny too.  Then all of a sudden now it is back to a 13, 14 point game."

Question:  Is that the beauty of not being shy... that eventually (the shots will start falling)?

Coach Beilein:  "It drives you crazy sometimes and I know it will drive you guys (in the media) crazy sometimes, but you got to take what the defense gives you – you really have to do that.  I'll watch the film and think there is probably five or six that I would take back but other than that, those are also while we were up.  Our defense was good but it was also why we were up by 19.  Still it is 35%, but these games and these situations like that, ready to go home for break, it is typical of what happens to some teams – we're not perfect."

Question:  In contrast to last year, you feel now that run's going to come at the end of the game?

Coach Beilein:  "I think we have…I love the idea, we could have done it again, just like the other night when they cut it to four and now all of a sudden we hit two 3s and what is everybody so nervous about.  It's the same thing that happens, that's what you have to have, that swagger to come out and make that extra play and I thought when we needed to make highly intelligent plays down the stretch, we did."

Question:  Zach Novak is struggling a little bit right now.  Do you just tell him to keep shooting through it?

Coach Beilein:  "Oh yeah.  Yeah, he struggles within his own mind sometimes but he is back rim and back rim and back rim and that doesn't make any difference to me.  If he is off right or left; we really look at that; how are they missing.  Kelvin Grady, how are they missing, is their shot off or are they just either slightly short, slightly long.  I love the looks he takes."

Question:  Did you challenge DeShawn to be a warrior tonight?  20/20 tonight.

Coach Beilein:  "Those five offensive rebounds that he ended up getting, probably turned into 10 points or close to that.  He really likes where he's playing right now, inside with the ability to shoot from the outside.  He's got to just get after it.  Just play at his highest level all the time and he's going to come up with stats like that, just with intensity – just with intensity.  With the way the packed it in on us, there wasn't a whole lot of room for him to move, but if he just tries to keep balls alive, it is a different thing."

Question:  You have Kelvin out there as one of the guys, it seems like you have a lot of confidence in him.

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah when we need scoring, I really trust his jump shot and from a deep range, especially against a packed in team.  David (Merritt) had a couple of really good looks and had shot well in his last two games, but I see Kelvin every day and if it was a shooting game, Kelvin may be one of our best, and I know what he can do."

Question:  Laval Lucas-Perry seems to be fitting in real well?

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah, yeah, you could see the defense, there was so many things that he wasn't able to share with us.  I know you guys think that's crazy, but there are so many things that when you're watching your top eight or nine plays go against your scout team, very rarely are you working with your scout team on how they play.  You're watching your team and as a result, he's trying to figure out a lot of the other things that go on with college basketball, defensive transition today, who's back, who's got the ball, what the rotations are.  But I do really like the way…that was a big shot he hit today.  That was a big shot."

Question:  I know you don't put a lot of stock into it, but being ranked now in the top 25, is that a nice reward?

Coach Beilein:  "I wasn't aware of that actually.  It is a great accomplishment so far, just so far.  I'm sure that everybody knows that we got a long way to go.  If we're going to be ranked, let's be ranked in March, that's when we want to be ranked."

Question:  You talked about Thanksgiving that you guys did some things for the players, what do you for Christmas?

Coach Beilein:  "We are getting every body home.  We will practice.  We have always practiced the next day.  We are going to practice.  We are going to lift weights.  We are going to watch film.  So that when we come back, we're coming back the 26th for a night practice.  So they'll actually have 24, 25 and then be able to travel back on the 26th.  So that is two full days at home and they probably need it right now.  After the Oakland game and then this game back to back, I know we need a rest.  We'll get them all home. Everybody is going to their home, which everybody needs to freshen up for a little bit."

Question:  Getting back to Kelvin for just a second; he came into the game with only six turnovers all year, what's gotten better with him in that area?

Coach Beilein:  "I think he probably really has worked very hard with his game, #1, but I think he just sees the floor and sees the things that are happening in a game much better than a typical freshman.  Both he and Manny, played their senior years at 17 years old and then when they turn 18, the next thing they know that they're playing on a major stage.  I don't know, his numbers weren't too good tonight, he had a couple, but he really has taken care of the ball.  David Merritt, their assist/turnover ratio between the two of them; they both have five or six turnovers at this point."

Question:  What did you think of Manny's shot selection today?

Coach Beilein:  "I thought he didn't play very much.  I thought it was pretty good.  I thought he took some good looks – good looks.  He's got to understand that when he drives to the basket there is a lot of people waiting to take charges, I don't know the value of the call, whether they were good or bad, but he is going to have those things and he is going to have to stay out of foul trouble and stay solid, but I thought they were good."


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