The Wolverine

February 2019

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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10 THE WOLVERINE FEBRUARY 2019   INSIDE MICHIGAN ATHLETICS Freshman forward Brandon Johns was one of the top players in the state of Michigan — and in the country — when he committed to U-M, and he's continuing to find his way. He contributed eight points and eight rebounds in a 74-63 win over Indiana Jan. 6, his first signifi- cant game action of the year. Johns recently answered some of our questions in this Q&A: The Wolverine: Head coach John Beilein said in order to play more you had to embrace contact, find another gear. How much have you taken that to heart? Brandon Johns: "That's one thing I've really been focusing on since I got here is just rebounding, playing with a high motor. "I think rebounding was what ev- eryone thought was the main thing I could do, and if anything else fol- lowed up, it's okay." The Wolverine: How hard has that transition been from high school to college? Johns: "You're not going to do everything perfectly when you're a freshman. Just to learn a lot of con- cepts … it takes time. We're just try- ing to keep my head up, stay posi- tive and keep moving forward. "[The speed of the game] is the one thing that takes time. For me, it took a couple weeks just because I was so used to the high school flow. Then when you start to get going at the faster pace, it's just natural." The Wolverine: How much have you learned from the guys who have been here for two or three years like teammates Charles Mat- thews and Isaiah Livers? Johns: "They'll do something so naturally, because they've been do- ing it so long [shakes head]. "And then when I get out there, I have to actually think about it … and when you think too much, you just mess up." The Wolverine: You've played both power forward and center. How different are those positions? Johns: "You have to use certain aspects of your game in certain ar- eas of the court. As a five [center], I use a lot more of the physicality part, a little more of the athleticism part. "With the four, I'd have to use a lot more of my athleticism." The Wolverine: You showed signs of "getting it" with your eight- point, eight-rebound game against Indiana. What have you learned most in your several months with the program? Johns: "I think one mistake I had was I came into the warm-ups not being ready, just in case [Beilein] did call my name. So I never really prepared for it. I think now it's kind of different. I'm kind of preparing just in case he does. "If he doesn't, that's okay, but I need to always be prepared." — Chris Balas Sitting Down With Michigan Freshman Forward Brandon Johns simple: He's a pass-rusher with the tools to play in multiple alignments. … Gary has the size and power to play 3-technique. Watching his tape at Michigan, he often plays outside the offensive tackle and uses his excellent athleticism and agility to set the edge and loop to the quarterback." Miller also called Bush "a plug-and-play starter at middle linebacker" and noted that while his 5-11 height can be a concern "he has the bulk (240 pounds) and athleticism to be a matchup problem for tight ends." NBC Sports' Jan. 14 mock draft has Gary going with the sixth pick in the first round to the New York Giants, while Bush was selected with the 16th pick in the first round by the Carolina Panthers. also has both Wolverines going in the first round, with Gary at No. 8 to the Detroit Lions and Bush at No. 30 to the L.A. Rams. Sporting News has the Seattle Seahawks selecting Gary with the 21st overall pick, but does not have Bush in the first round. "The Seahawks have had great returns from former Wolverine end Frank Clark, and Jarran Reed has revved up the pass rush inside," Vinnie Iyer noted in his Jan. 15 update. "But even though they could use some offensive line help, it's hard to pass on the versatile Gary, who can channel much of former Seahawk Michael Bennett." also has Gary but not Bush in the first round, with the defensive lineman being selected by the Carolina Panthers with the No. 16 overall pick. "Gary's potential is too great to pass up this late in the first round," Dan Kadar noted. "Gary is the complete package of size and athleticism for an end. He just never quite lived up to the hype at Michigan." ❑ Bush has been projected to go as high as No. 16 overall — by NBC Sports — in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. PHOTO BY BRANDON BROWN In his first significant game action of the year, Johns scored eight points and pulled down eight rebounds to help U-M defeat Indiana 74-63 Jan. 6. PHOTO BY BRANDON BROWN

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