Beilein's Roundtable (Week 5)

Michigan basketball coach John Beilein met with the media yesterday to discuss his team's shooting woes and look ahead to tomorrow's match-up with Utah. The Wolverines third-year headman also discussed the health of Jordan Morgan, Ben Cronin, and much more.

Question:  Some of the guys that have struggled in games; is it the same way in practice or does that change from practice to game?

Coach Beilein:  "I don't think we've had too many times in practice that we saw guys being really consistent, I mean really, back-to-back-to-back days.  People have a good day and it is something that we're trying to change our practice atmosphere a little bit.  We're going to play a little more instead of drill as much.  Get the repetitions but also get them more scrimmage type of situation in practice so that it does hopefully transcend in games."

Question:  Have you gone through something like this before; not just one or two guys but the whole team?

Coach Beilein:  "Oh my god yes.  There was a time when we were the 10th ranked team in the country at West Virginia.  The first time they had been ranked in a long time.  First time they had started out 10 – 0 since Jerry West was playing.  We went to Villanova and got beat.  It was the largest defeat by an unranked team to a ranked team in the history of college basketball.  It was like 30 or 40 points and we came out of that and the one for 17s behind the arc, in front of it; we were all over the place.  We virtually lost four of our five Big East games.  We turned it around with Pitt, never looked back and went to Elite Eight.  At Richmond, I remember the same thing.  Here is has been the same thing, you go through them and you just try to get through them.  You're not very pretty when you don't have those things going."

Question:  When it is your best shooters, do you just stay out of their way a little bit?

Coach Beilein:  "No.  We've been slowing them down, watching them on video tape, seeing if there is any flaws that we can see.  But I think game there was four in a row that went in and out.  What are you going to do; you just got to keep…we make those four in a row and all of a sudden you're up by 12 and you win by 25 and everything is normal.  Try not to make too much of it, almost like foul shooting, but at the same time you have to get extra reps.  Maybe they're arm weary or leg weary as well."

Question:  Is it mental?

Coach Beilein:  "It could be mental, all of them.  Certainly part of it is mental because if you've ever played sports or played basketball it is…there are some days that you don't think you can miss and there are days when you don't think you can make it.  So you got to go keep giving them confidence."

Question:  The second half it looked like Manny (Harris) was able to get some down, hit a few threes; do you see progress from him?

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah three for four.  We haven't been able to practice.  That's as rough a stretch as you'll have, because you had the three games in four days.  Today will be the first day that we'll be able to practice a little bit and I'm looking for him to have a good day today."

Question:  Is he going to be limited at all?

Coach Beilein:  "He's going to be limited a little bit.  We have a week off during the exam period but it is definitely affected his, as you can see he has had trouble going by people several times when he had leverage and didn't do it.  He's definitely not at 100%.  I think the three games in Orlando certainly affected him in such a short time."

Question:  Utah has been kind of all over the map in terms of success; what do you expect from them?

Coach Beilein:  "Once again, just what you always expect from Utah.  They are huge.  I mean we're talking seven feet, 7'3", 6'11", skilled players.  They got some guys back from a team that was very, very good last year.  We will not see size like this the entire year.  So just adapting to that.  We have the altitude.  We have the first road game.  There are a lot of different things that are healthy for us in the long run.  Right now it is going to be difficult to overcome."

Question:  On preparing for the altitude in Utah.

Coach Beilein:  "We very rarely go and practice at the other place the night before.  We usually practice her and just shoot at their place, but we are going to go out there earlier.  We are catching a flight (Tuesday) to get out there so we can practice there on Tuesday night."

Question:  Are you going to do anything here?

Coach Beilein:  "No, nothing."

Question:  What does altitude do?

Coach Beilein:  "The only time we've played in it is in Albuquerque (New Mexico) and I asked Patrick (Beilein) today if it affected him that much when we were in Albuquerque and he didn't think so.  Apparently it does both some young men and women more than it does others.  So we will just do one practice there at a pretty high speed, so if there is an affect, it is not a shock to them."

Question:  What about the time change and other stuff as well?

Coach Beilein:  "It is a long way to go and I just wanted to practice there one time.  Usually when you go across the country you do want to practice there.  It is a long trip.  It will be like playing a nine o'clock game here.  The kids will like it.  The coaches won't be able to sleep in, but they will get to sleep in.  We will try to get them on their time for a bit."

Question:  Looking at Utah's height, how does that affect your game plan; do you still want to get DeShawn (Sims) established early down low?

Coach Beilein:  "We'll have to see what they give us and how they play us.  DeShawn has been able to score on big guys at times and other times he's struggled.  So we have to find out where he is, whether he is scoring inside; whether he is 15 feet, will they reach him all the way out to three, all those areas.  That's good that he is versatile.  We just hope that the part that we and he chooses is the right one."

Question:   More on Utah…

Coach Beilein:  "They are very big and you can mismatch them and hope for the best or you can match them and hope for the best.  I think we'll have both of those concepts ready to go."

Question:  How is Jordan Morgan progressing?

Coach Beilein:  "He's doing okay.  It is more of an individual development thing with him right now, knowing where is and we haven't really had time since he became eligible to teach him – we're trying to get our other freshmen that we're playing in there, but his progress have been pretty good.  He's getting in better shape.  We will just have to wait and see.  Again once we get to exam week and things like that, we will have to make determinations with him and Blake (McLimans) if and when we are going to use them.  We can always hold it and use them later on if we need it."

Question:  Ben (Cronin) you noted the limp, is he getting rechecked at some point?

Coach Beilein:  "Oh yes.  We're consistently checking where he is.  He's not healthy enough to run and jump the way that he used to and until we get that, there are spot minutes that he can play.  He needs to be more mobile than he is right now to help us in games."

Question:  Was there a thought of not playing (Ben) earlier in case this ended up being a season long thing for him again and trying to preserve a medical for him.

Coach Beilein:  "To get a six year medical; he's already had one medical.  So the six year medical is a different dog sort of speak.  I don't know where that one goes but when we get here at the semester break; we have to keep that in mind if that is an option.  We feel bad for him.  He's worked very hard in rehab but it hasn't been to the point that we had hoped at this point as far as him getting himself straightened out."

Question:  Has he made any improvement in it?

Coach Beilein:  "Some.  It is definitely better than it was and he is able to run at a full gait but it is just movement from side to side."

Question:  Going back to the shooting, how do you prevent kids from over thinking and maybe even the coaches from over thinking?

Coach Beilein:  "I think part of it has been…I think in the BC (Boston College) game, there was some shot selection issues where maybe five or six were poor choices at the time.  I think we had a couple the other day, poor choices.  For the most part, it is just like foul shooting.  What do you do?  Do you scream at them and say make your foul shot; that's not going to help it.  You have to just continue to work with them and it just takes one or two, like with Manny, he made that first and the next two were easy.  Particularly with Stu (Douglass) and Zach (Novak), for them to go one for 11 in a game, I don't think we'll see that again, I hope we don't."

Question:  With Stu specifically, just looking at the numbers, it has been a season long issue for him; is it maybe flaw in what he's doing?

Coach Beilein:  "No.  He shot great in the preseason as well.  We just got to go through it.  You look at his assistant turnover numbers and he's doing some other things on the floor.  He's getting better defensively.  We haven't discovered anything at all but we'll continue to work on him.  I shot with him this morning and we'll keep working on it.  Tell him what he can do and not what he's not doing."

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