DeJulius, Teske Discuss New Roles Under Howard, U-M's Winning Culture, More
Michigan Wolverines head basketball coach Juwan Howard spoke this afternoon about how well his players understand their roles this season, a sentiment that has become especially evident in recent weeks.
Redshirt junior center Austin Davis, for example, has excelled in his role as a big man who spells senior center Jon Teske for anywhere from 11 to 14 minutes a game as of late, while sophomore forward Brandon Johns developed immensely while junior forward Isaiah Livers was out with injury.
Johns has seen his minutes decrease a bit since Livers’ return but has still fully accepted the role, with the sophomore forward epitomizing “The Team, The Team, The Team” mantra.
Every player has bought in beautifully in Howard’s first year, including sophomore guard David DeJulius, who has served as an offensive spark off the bench at times this season.
“In home games, I like to stay on the bike a lot to keep my lungs ready,” he explained when asked what he does to always ensure he’s prepared for game action.
“I also sprint up and down the court my first few times out there. I stay mentally strong, and watch how ball screen reads are going defensively for us and things of that nature.”
Teske has been asked to take on a different offensive role this season as well, posting up more now than he ever has in his collegiate career.
“[Former head] Coach [John] B[eilein]’s system had me playing more up top, but I’m playing on both blocks under Coach Howard now,” he explained.
“It’s something I need to continue to work on, and he preaches about counter moves and continuing to improve my game down low.
“Teams will try to take something away, which is why it’s important to have another move to go to.”
Teske has already built up quite the legacy at Michigan, with he and senior guard Zavier Simpson picking up their 105th wins in a Wolverine uniform on Sunday, marking the most in program history.
A few of the accomplishments for the tandem along the way have included back-to-back Big Ten Tournament titles in 2017 and 2018, a trip to the National Championship and a program-best 33 wins in 2018, and a school-record 17-0 start last year.
“A lot of people hit me up, and Coach Howard mentioned it after the game,” Teske smiled. “It’s special for X [Simpson] and I to be a part of it.
“[Former players] D[errick] Walt[on] and Moe [Wagner] were in the locker room after the game, and I give them so much credit for carrying us my freshman and sophomore seasons.
“We continued it as juniors and seniors, because that’s what we do here — win. Hopefully [junior guard] Eli [Brooks] and the juniors have a chance to break our record next year.”
Teske’s legacy isn’t quite complete at U-M, however, with plenty of time left to add another incredible chapter this season.
Winners of five of their last six, the Wolverines are once again trending in the right direction and are on pace to be a team nobody wants to play come March.
A Wednesday trip to Piscataway, New Jersey, to take on Rutgers looms large, however, with the Scarlet Knights having posted a perfect 17-0 record at home so far this year.
“I remember it being a nice atmosphere there,” DeJulius recalled, when asked what he remembers about playing at The Rac last season.
“It’ll be like that again, times three, because they’re undefeated there. A lot is at stake for both teams. We understand the degree of difficulty it’ll be going in there, and we know we’ll have to elevate our play.
“We brought it at Madison Square Garden, and we’ll have to bring even more this time. They’re a very confident team and we can see it on film.”
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