Beilein on Media Day, Part II
Part II of head coach John Beilein's Media Day press conference, during which he discusses the student ticket surge, his depth, DeShawn Sims and much more …
On whether last year's success really did whet the appetite: "I hope so. I know it has mine. We realize that these things can be done, and hopefully there's more out there."
On the next step for the program: "I don't know that. I think stability. If you look at the really good programs, they're continually trying to get a better seed in the tournament. They're trying to jockey into position. To get into the tournament right now is a reasonable goal, and then advance after that.
"We want that stability that you look across the board, you go to the tournament … there's going to be slippage for all teams at different years as we continue to recruit further and further out and you try to predict the future two or three years ahead of time. That's stability that you see in the really good programs."
On how DeShawn Sims and Manny Harris can improve: "I think they know the level they're playing in, and the level they have to practice in order to be successful would be number one. Both of them, just watching them assume ownership of the team. When you assume ownership of the team, that's usually a major step. They need to do that 100 percent. But until they're cast into that like they are right now, you don't know how they'll respond."
On the depth on this team and whether it makes it hard to keep people happy: "Yeah, and one of the issues with David [Merritt] and C.J. [Lee] last year, C.J. was in there shagging balls at the beginning of the year and not in there that much, and then he emerged as a starter. He was always great with team chemistry. That's always an issue.
"Right now we're trying to get longer and longer on the wings, quicker on the wings. Until we get there, we've just got to continue to work through the depth issues, play small, play big. I don't know."
On selling around 2,600 student tickets: "I'm very pleased. I can just see it when our players are on campus; we had already had one Maize Rage meeting. They've had two meetings, actually, but you watch them at the football games and they've got 24,000 up there. There's a culture here for that, for athletics, and now we just don't ever want to lose this. We want this to be the business as usual at Michigan that students attend games, they love their team and the team loves its students. That's the culture I want to embrace."
On whether Darius Morris has a West Coast swagger: "You're stereotyping here. I think he's confident. I would want our players to be confident."
On where he'd like to see Sims improve the most: "I know his dream is for us to go back, get in the NCAA Tournament and have a great year, then go on and play at another level. That's always a focus for us to get those guys ready to play, but he's 6-7 1/2 … to have more assists, to have more gritty type of rebounds, to defend a four-man on another team, not just a five-man. Create match-up problems for other teams; those are things he can do.
"He evolved last year. Now he's got to continue to do more in that area."
On grades over the summer: "We had a good semester last spring, we had a good summer. All in all, I'm really pleased. Their accountability has been really good. We have great backup here with our academic center. They really have done a wonderful job. We feel good about the direction of that.
"Like I said, I'm glad I'm not going to a calculus test right now, but we're not sweating that right now, either. We understand this is a great school and they've got to perform."
On Kelvin Grady as a football player: "I think it's a great story, and I try to follow the football team as closely as I can, but I think it's a great story. Our whole team is wishing him so much success.
"I want somebody to kick him the ball one time. I'd like to see him just get some space to run sometime, but he's got to catch the ball and somebody's got to kick it to him."
On the practice facility that's slated to break ground soon: "About every month or two we have a meeting. I'm just so impressed with the quality and efficiency this thing is going to allow us to have. It really could be special, and I'm so excited about being a part of the planning and the finishing and moving in there one day will be a great day. A great day."
On getting so much of the scoring from two players last year: "I don't know if those proportions are bad, to have that much. When they're gone, you just have to find other guys to make up those proportions. I'm very pleased with the number of shots they take, the opportunities. That strategy has worked well for us in the past, to try to have an offense that a lot of people have opportunities, but as people evolve and grow they get comfortable in certain areas and you know they can score and try to get them those opportunities.
"I feel good about those two as far as having an inside and an outside threat. It's really important. We haven't had that probably since West Virginia when we had Gansey and Pittsnogle at the same time. DeShawn and Manny, very similar."
On Harris being a more complete player: "This is crazy because he's one of our better shooters. I want him to shoot the ball, balance between his drives and his three-point shooting. Stu and Zack, we want balance the other way - drive a little more, but still shoot it. Manny we'd like to shoot it a little bit more and pick his drives. That's his strength - we can't forget that.
"He's a great shooter. When given a choice, he's got to continue to make those decisions. Is it better to drive into a crowd, or I'm wide open right now, I'm going to knock it down. That Minnesota game, that last shot in the corner he took that really put us into the tournament, he thought about it for a second, thought I might as well shoot it - I'm wide open. In it goes; we're a good team.
"I want him to continue to learn to do that. I think he's capable of being a very, very good defender. That's another area we've got to continue to work on."