The Wolverine

December 2015 Issue

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 85 of 162

M ichigan enjoyed a healthy NCAA Tournament run in re- cent seasons, culminating in a trip to the championship game in the spring of 2013. That's why last year's injury- riddled drop to a 16-16 record and no postseason play proved so painful. The Wolverines faced plenty to overcome, losing Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III and Mitch Mc- Gary early to the NBA, and see- ing returning guards Caris LeVert and Derrick Walton Jr. succumb to season-ending injuries. In the end, their campaign finished at the Big Ten Tournament, something no one on the roster had previously expe- rienced. Now, coaches and players are ready to get back to what had be- come the norm — The Big Dance. "There is a sense of urgency that's very clear, in guys like [senior guard] Spike Albrecht and [senior guard] Caris LeVert in particular," Michi- gan assistant coach Bacari Alexander noted. "Here are guys that are rem- nants of the height of our success in the John Beilein era. "What we're seeing is the lead- ership they're bringing in the little things. How frequently are guys get- ting to the gym on their own? How often are guys doing all the extra work in the weight room? What are you doing in terms of eating? Sleep- ing? Hydration? "Things you would think coaching staffs would manage, they're doing instinctively because their desire to win is at a high level." But it's not just the seniors who are fully invested in winning big this year, cautioned assistant coach La- Vall Jordan. He's seeing emotional and physical investment throughout the roster. "They want it really bad, and I don't think it's just the veterans, ei- ther," Jordan said. "There was a lot of talk about the freshmen getting meaningful minutes and having this great experience. Those kids want to win, too. "They want to be part of the NCAA Tournament. That's what you grow up wanting and dreaming about when you're a kid. I think the entire locker room is hungry to get back   MICHIGAN BASKETBALL Wolverines Are Not Afraid To Dream Big Senior guard Caris LeVert said he and his teammates are using last year's injury-rid- dled 16-16 finish as motivation to get back to the NCAA Tournament in 2015-16. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

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