David Merritt: "Not making the tournament the last 10 or 11 years. We all set a goal this year to get us back, coming off a 10-22 season last year. These guys came to the school to turn around a program and that's been the focus this year. Coach Beilein has done a great job building a culture where we come into the gym and we work as hard as we can to reach that goal. This is great for the University and the Ann Arbor community."
Question: Since CJ (Lee) has gotten in the starting lineup; what's changed for you guys offensively and defensively, it just seems like maybe a little more efficient team than you were before?
DeShawn Sims: "CJ has been a great vocal leader and he makes sure that we run the plays and we run them efficiency. Since he's been in the starting lineup, he has brought a lot of energy and he keeps most of us focused during the course of the ball game."
Question: Clemson guys talked about last year getting caught up in the hoopla of the NCAA tournament when they bowed out in the first round. What has taken place this week to make sure that doesn't happen to your team?
Manny Harris: "Just our players and coaches, everybody staying focus, knowing that it was a great accomplishment to get to the tournament, but knowing that it is not enough and that we got to continue to work hard. We want to come into the tournament and make things happen, don't just be happy to be here."
CJ Lee: "I'll echo with what Manny said. Again it starts with our leader – Coach Beilein. He has obviously been here before. He has just been talking about us all week, staying focused. Just kind of simplifying everything and just worry about the game, worry about what you can do. Obviously it's a big stage, but nothing has changed in terms of like the game stuff, just do what we've always done."
Question: I know you've guys have tried to look at this as just another game, but now that you're in the city, getting in last night. What's today been like for you and just being here and knowing you're at the tournament?
Manny Harris: "It's just a different feel than a normal regular game. It's like we happy to be here, but we just want to make noise in this tournament and it's
just like a different feel for us as players or coaches also."
Question: Fans have described this as a relief and just something that is kind of a fresh start for the program. Do you run into fans out there; do you have a sense of what this means to the town, community and people have been through a lot in the last 11 years?
CJ Lee: "I think we have a sense of what this means to the people that follow our program. They're obviously very excited about where we are and potential of where we can go. This is a stepping stone for our program in terms of the players that are here now, the coaches that are here, but we definitely trying to stay away from just concentrating on what the fans are saying. We realize we have to play the game, but it's great. Just trying to put Michigan back in the national picture, so that's gratifying."
Question: Have you run into people who've said things, maybe an encounter you've had with fans or anything like that?
CJ Lee: "Just walking in between classes and people saying thanks for getting us into the tournament and stuff like."
Players speak on tonight's Clemson Matchup
The Michigan Insider Top Stories
Walton Jr. does everything for MichiganDerrick Walton Jr.'s leadership has taken Michigan all the way to the Sweet 16 and possibly more.
The Michigan Insider9:47 AM
Wilson is 'having a lot of fun' right nowMichigan's D.J. Wilson is playing really good basketball right now, and he's "having a lot of fun" doing it.
The Michigan Insider8:43 AM
Winovich impressing in conditioningMichigan defensive lineman Chase Winovich has been impressing during winter conditioning.
The Michigan Insider5:08 AM
Mattison: Hurst, Gary must be consistentMichigan defensive line coach Greg Mattison says Maurice Hurst and Rashan Gary must be more consistent on the defensive line this season.
The Michigan Insider4:51 AM