Suddenly, I'm picturing dreads on the basketball court. If anyone pulls a Denard.. they might as well go all out.
Michigan Basketball Season Preview: Media Day
Part the First in a preview series for Michigan Men's Basketball
The first part of Media Day was a role reversal of sorts, as Michigan's coaches put reporters through a typical (though abbreviated) workout for the Wolverines. Yours truly is pictured at right (photo by Julian Gonzales of the Free Press) being laughed at by John Beilein.
The workout was fairly light aside from a couple of the exercises that were designed to get our hearts working. It wasn't that tough - unsurprising considering most of the participants were middle-aged, and I'm not. One thing that surprised me was how much of the workout was devoted to injury prevention.
For more on the workout, Mike Rothstein of AnnArbor.com, Rod Beard of the Detroit News, and Joe White of iSportsweb all covered it. iSportsweb also has video, so you can make fun of how hilariously unathletic we writers are:
Player Notes & Quotes
Stu Douglass - The Europe trip helped the process of integrating new guys into the team, and they're poised despite their lack of experience. Guys are willing to put in the work to build something from this team, and to win. There is no making up for the personnel losses from last year's team, they're just looking at this as an entirely new squad.
Zack Novak - The lack of expectations will help motivate the team, and maybe sneak up on some people: "We like the position we're in right now." The goal of the team is to get better and grow each day, not necessarily any win totals. It's on the team leaders to help guide the younger guys toward that goal, and keep them on an even keel - not getting too high or too low. The young guys are going to be able to step up, too. Matt Vogrich "hasn't missed a shot in weeks" and the big guys are working hard - "I can go to battle with someone that's been working like they have."
Evan Smotrycz - The goal for Michigan is to improve to a level where they can compete with Michigan State and other top team in the country on a nightly basis. With no proven talent in the frontcourt, there's pressure for the young guys to perform, but there's also an opportunity for them to grow. The team's leaders have developed and guided the team in the Europe trip, in open gyms, and in workouts. The goal for every college team is to get to the NCAA tournament, but the Wolverines are more concerned with getting better every day and helping the team win.
Matt Vogrich - Novak is the most vocal player on the team, emphasizing toughness both physically and mentally. There are going to be ups and downs over the course of the season, so the players need to be able to play through them and not let their play be affected. Matt isn't necessarily gunning for a starting role, but whatever the team needs from him. He just wants to get enough minutes to prove he's a play that can help the team succeed.
Jordan Morgan - Jordan is finally 100% healthy. He's struggled with a couple different injuries since arriving at Michigan, and he's excited for the opportunity to be healthy. With no game experience in the frontcourt, there's pressure and opportunity to perform.
Coaches need to adapt to twists and turns during the season, but Coach Beilein likes where they're starting the year. There's a competitive spirit within the team, and expects the players to step up, particularly shooting the ball: "We don't have 1/6 nights from three." He urged everyone to look next door to Michigan Stadium if they don't believe this team can improve, saying "Just look at what Denard has done this year." If anybody on Michigan's team makes a similar leap, they'll surprise some opponents this year.
The rotation should be more inclusive this year, featuring 9 or 10 guys. More on Beilein's comments about individual players in the personnel preview coming later this week.
I think Novak with some dreads would be unstoppable.
Vogrich would be more epic, just saying.
Actually. Vogrich, Novak, and Stu. Ahhh, yes.
I hope he didn't want them to see Kelvin Grady and get the idea that if basketball doesn't work out they could always go play football.
Great comment, but maybe he's an example of why they need to work hard on the court.
OK, that surprised the hell out of me. I would think Novak -> Darius -> Stu
Vogrich said that Novak is the most vocal.
Reading comp fail on my part, thanks.
Tim - Can you play corner/FS?
Digging the Fab Five black socks.
ADD moment causes me to crap myself:
I scroll down and see 'Michigan Basketball...' title- not really paying that much attention.
I then see 'The Workout' subtitle and read about two words until, "Oooh, video!"
I click video and begin to panic thinking, " Our freshman class is doomed! Who are these incredibly unathletic players and how did they ever make it to Michigan?!"
I quickly scroll back to the top hoping that an ADD oversight has caused me to miss some important piece of information.
And there it is: "...was a role reversal of sorts, as Michigan's coaches put reporters through a typical workout..."
False alarm. Crisis averted. I'll go change my pants now.
Tim looks the least dorky. I'm actually slightly surprised.
Ah, yes, the little white guys. Hilarious.
EDIT - whoops, this was a smart alecky comment meant as a reply to someone further down the page. Reply Fail.
... No seniors, but we have a really weak non-conference schedule this year. 3 tough games out of 12; utah who beat us last year, clemson, and syracuse on the road in primetime. Taking an 9-3 record into conference play would be huge for the teams confidence.
I think 9-3 is a possibility, but instead of losing to Utah (who is really not very good, I mean we aren't either, but you know, yeah, I hope we win), we're prolly gonna lose in the consolation game of the legends classic.
... exclude the utah game since everyone expected us to win and they whipped us last year
Because I would really like to be clairvoyant.
Not because I expect great basketball, but because I look forward to watching this team w/o preconceived notions of W/L record. It will be relaxing and not angry.
Tim, you're so flexible! Bet the ladies love it.
I'm a cleveland cavs season ticket holder and M's team this year reminds me a lot of the cavs. A lot of good but not great players who will go all out every game.
One cool note. Last night I got to the edge of the court for the pre-game warmups and shot Manny a "go blue"! He turned, smiled at me and gave a thumbs up and "go blue" right back.