Sophomore guard Josh Bartelstein is the latest Michigan player to have a regular feature on MgoBlue.com. His "The Bartelstein Blog" just got going with today's entry.
In it, he talks about the first few days of fall practice:
Coach B wants to set a tone for the season and so far I'd say he has done a pretty good job because all you have to do is walk in our lockerroom and see everyone sitting in the cold tub. When Tim (Hardaway) is sitting in 50-degree water, you know we are working hard. Tim really does not like cold water and getting him in there is like getting a little kid to get their first haircut: a lot of moaning and screaming. We have been doing a lot of defensive drill like shell drills, getting through screens and transition defense so that we can set up our offense. We really want to run this year, and the only way you can run is by getting stops.
And talks a lot about Zach Novack:
So far one of the most impressive players in practice has been Zack (Novak). It is not because of the hustle everyone loves, or how good of a rebounder he is even though he is 6-3. By the way he is 6-3, not 6-5 and do not let anyone tell you otherwise. Zack worked extremely hard this summer to become a complete basketball player. Last year, Zack was someone who could knock down shots but really could not create off the dribble at all. I remember telling Zack after the season he needed to spend all summer working on his ball handling. He can shoot it with the best of them and really is a freak athlete -- look at last year's dunk contest -- but he was not as skilled as he could be. Well, he is as skilled as anyone on our team now. He spent tireless hours in the gym dribbling through cones and shooting pull-up jumpers in the offseason. Zack can create not only for himself in practice, but also for others, which is what we need for him to do.
Oh, and apparently Novak was a PK for his high school football team.
According to Novak, he can consistently kick 50-yard field goals with ease, which is better than a lot of NFL and college kickers. This all started in Amsterdam when Zack just blurted out he could play both basketball and football at Michigan. No one on our team believed him, even Tim who will believe anything called him out, but Zack guaranteed it. I suggested we have a contest in between quarters at the Big House but Zack will not agree to that. The only issue with Zack kicking is that he cannot kick extra points or anything close. Apparently, one of his first extra points in high school he kicked right into the line. The long snapper fell over in pain and missed the rest of the game. So I guess we could use Zack just for the deep field goals because we do not need any more injuries to our linemen.
So apparently Tim Hardaway, Jr hates the cold tub (who can blame him) and is quite gullible while Zack Novak is 6-3 (shocking), is now as skilled a ball handler as anyone on the team (really now), and just might be the answer to the football team's kicking woes (but since he can't play both sports, we'll never know).
Also, it appears Coach Beilein decided to use that European trip as a test case for an aggressive defense and an offense that pushes the ball up the court for shots that don't take 35 seconds to create. This is definitely going to be an interesting season.
Continue to watch for 'The Bartelstein Blog" for other MBB insights and if you have a question for Josh, submit it at email@example.com.