Beilein Gets Read on Team in Europe (Part 1)

John Beilein met with the media yesterday to break down what he learned about his team in Europe. In part one Michigan's headman discusses his impressions of Tim Hardaway, Jon Horford's progress, his early thoughts on his playing rotation, and more.

Coach Beilein:  "We can work out with four at a time until September 15 and then on September 15, we can go as many as we want to at a time instead of the two hours a week and we'll probably go to six or seven and splash in some team workouts.  We have a very short window.  A lot of universities start in August.  That's the first day you can work out when your classes start.  We start later, we end early that's why it was important with this summer, we could at least get some work in with some young people."

Question:  Are you going to be having specific people going with specific people are you just going to try and mix and match?

Coach Beilein:  "The first week, I'm putting the freshman together over and over again to just talk about a lot of the things that we had to rush through, whether it is your stance, any type of kick step or back door cut or shooting form that we want them to use.  Get Evan (Smotrycz) and Tim (Hardaway) to dirty it a little with their back to the basket, Colton (Christian) as well.  Because we are just trying to get their perimeter footwork together, but they also need to play inside, just things like that.  The guard play, I anticipate Zack Novak will play between forward and guard, so he needs to be working…he'll go one minute with the forwards and one minute with the guards, just the two hours a week is very short."

Question:  Did you kind of get an idea of what your rotation was going to be this upcoming season or are you still…?

Coach Beilein:  "A little bit.  I won't talk about right now, but there was some things that I felt more comfortable with after that we were done.  One is the versatility of Zack.  We recruited Zack to be a two or three man and he has been mismatch at the four, but it worked very well two years ago and it allowed him to do some things but he'll be guarded by a quicke guy, so he has got some things that he still has to work on.  It did give us a better idea of what we had."

Question:  It seems like a trip like this, you can do one of two things, really try to figure out what your top line players are all about in pressure situations or find out about your entire roster?

Coach Beilein:  "The first two games were probably if we had played the first game the fourth game, it probably would have been a win.  That first game, all right you go in, you go in.  We tried to get everybody the experience.  Everybody worked so hard, 10 days, let's get everybody in…I think everybody played but one player (Colton Christian).  Then the second game, let us try these combinations.  The last game we shortened it up a little bit, but we also got in foul trouble.  I mean, we were in foul trouble immediately because of the things that you tell young kids.  You got to be in position, you got to be in a stance and all of a sudden you got a 26-year-old 260 pound forward and you get in foul trouble.  There was both things.  We experimented for the first couple of days and then tried to shorten things up the last game, so we could know what we could attack.  What people's strengths and weaknesses were."

Question:  Who was your best player over there?

Coach Beilein:  "I don't know.  Every game there was somebody who stood out.  All the way from Matt Vogrich the last game, forget about his points, he had seven rebounds against some pretty athletic players.  He was in there doing some of the things that we had seen in the summer prior to him coming to Michigan; the summer prior to his senior year.  Tim Hardaway and Evan both for freshman seemed very at ease with what they were doing.  Zack, Stu (Douglass), Darius (Morris) all had their moments."

Question:  You obviously lost your top two scorers, did you get a better feel over there who in game situations is going to be able to score for you?

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah and I think it will vary.  Like I said, all those guys, I like the swagger of both Tim and Evan immediately that they were…you got to have a guy with swagger that you can tone down a bit than have a guy who is afraid out there that you have to give him permission to go dunk on somebody.  They were both…I liked how they both played.  They just seem to be as the more we played together, everybody became more comfortable both as a team and what it is like to play at this level, play at college basketball and play against pros."

Question:  You said in practice that Tim, you felt would have maybe something special.  Did he back up what you saw over there?

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah he showed some really…we did a lot of the things that we did with Manny (Harris) with him, a lot of the similar action and he handled it every well. What was really good was his rebounding the last game.  Again, you are not rebounding against other 18 year olds.  Rebounding…the bigger you get the stronger you get, it is a great advantage.  He got some rebounds that were high traffic rebounds that you hope as you get stronger, but he weighs 190 right now.  I think Manny's highest weight was 188 that does…it is tough to get in there and rebound when you still have strength to gain."

Question:  Was Colton just now…?

Coach Beilein:  "He tried to go one time and he felt a twinge and we have experience with this with Manny last year, the whole preseason.  So we just backed it off and said watch, learn and we'll try to do as many just passing drills with him to just clean up fundamentals, but he is one young man that you cannot tell not to sprint.  You can't tell, don't play hard.  He's going and that's how he re-tweaked it, burst.  He is going to go hard."

Question:  What's the injury?

Coach Beilein:  "A hamstring."

Question:  What's the latest on that?

Coach Beilein:  "I'm hoping it'll be 100% once we come back.  For the first week, we'll go slow, but he is one tough kid and he showed that a lot in the early indications.  He is very coachable.  He really wants to be a player and he's willing to do whatever it takes to get on that court and hustle is one of them."

Question:  You were really happy with (Jon) Horford that last practice before you left.  It looked like his minutes kind of diminished the last couple of games there.  How did he play, how did he fit into the rotation?

Coach Beilein:  "He fit in well.  But going through a lot, we use our big guys a lot in transfer situations, the offense goes through them quite a bit and he was just maybe a little bit of tape-delay on some areas.  He will have no issues with it eventually.  He just needs repetitions.  So we went into that last game and we got up by 20 or so, I thought if there was one game that we needed to come away with a positive note, guys felt more comfortable at that time needed to play down the stretch.  I can't wait to coach Jon again and we really feel very strongly about his potential."

Question:  You said before you guys left that you would wait until after about any sort of walk on scholarship issues; did you resolve whether you were going to give any walk on scholarships?

Coach Beilein:  "I don't anticipate that, no.  Of the roster players, I don't anticipate that."

Question:  With Darius, is it a matter of you know what you're getting in terms of his ball handling and all and the rest of the…?

Coach Beilein:  "His quickness, his defense and his setting people up was very good.  The distance of the line that through us.  Travis (Conlan) didn't know.  The teams we played apparently didn't know until two weeks before that they were moving the line back almost back to the NBA line.  I think we might have had three turnovers where Novak is open in the corner, but he steps on the line as he kick steps to go in and shoot it.  Darius stats would be screwed by a lot of time, three seconds to go on the shot clock, the balls in his hands and he has to heave one from NBA range.  I'm sure he realizes that he is a better shooter and scorer than that, we're going to work real hard with him because he does some things to beat pressure.  We had man-to-man full court pressure almost every game.  Part of the 24-second clock is getting where they cannot run their stuff and they certainly cannot get a shot clock play if they cannot do it.  So they tried to pressure him and he did not…he had the ball in his hands a lot and really took care of it."

Question:  Do you feel any better about your size?

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah.  Our plan is to go into this, the rule is not to play small, to play big but we'll go small when we need to.  That's the way we always envision it, but you also got to try and put your best guys out on the court no matter what their size may be.  If there are some games where we think it is best to play four guard types, we're going to do it.  If we think sometimes it is good to play both big guys, we're going to do it."

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