The Wolverine

June-July 2012

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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guard needs to really be able to put the ball on the deck. Stu Douglass' talent as a two guard gave us two guys that could put the ball on the deck this year. When we made the change and went smaller with Stu as a starter, one of the big reasons was to have more penetration. "Nik can do that. I cannot wait to "We're excited about that. Our two coach him as well. He has a passion for the game like few have. He wants to be a player, and he'll live in the gym to get there." The Wolverine: You recently signed another point guard, Spike Albrecht, who hadn't been highly publicized. Can you address your assessment of his game? Beilein: "Spike is so unique. The eyeball test is not the way you give a scholarship to Spike Albrecht. When he gets the ball, what he does with the ball, the timing of his passes, it's really rare. "We are big at putting the puzzle together. He was a big piece of the puzzle. We wanted someone who could run our team and had experi- ence in running a team. We wanted someone who could throw lob dunks for all these great athletes, hit threes from deep and also make simple pocket passes out of the pick-and- roll. "They're simple for him. They're not simple for others. The game comes so easily to him. It's astonish- ing, when you look at how efficient he is at his smaller size and weight." The Wolverine: How much could Beilein said that the extensive minutes point guard Trey Burke played in his freshman year give him valuable experience beyond what the typical rising sophomore would have. Tim Hardaway Jr. and Glenn Rob- inson, or Mitch McGary and Jordan Morgan, operate on the court at the same time? Beilein: "We will vary between put- tice. If you asked, who scored the most points inside in practice, off of one or two moves, it was Max. "Then on the outside, he's got a ting the five best guys on the court at times, the five best players who can help us win, and matchups with other teams. Sometimes we want teams to match up with us, and sometimes we've just got to match up with other teams. It depends on where the other teams' strengths are, compared to our strengths. "We could go with a lineup that is to his own self-improvement was in- credible this past season. He made the best of his injury, by really work- ing hard and studying the game. "Jon has such great hands. Whether it's a rebound basket or an outlet pass, he's really going to help us in those areas. His defense and ability to stay away from fouls has improved a great deal. "Max can truly be a perimeter big. get Jon Horford back, and have Max Bielfeldt available? Beilein: "Jon's focus and attention You could throw him the ball in the box, and he was probably our most effective scorer inside during prac- and we are more stationary at other times so we can just create spacing. Frankly, some teams guard motion better than they guard standing still, and some teams do the opposite. It depends on whom we are playing. "We want to be versatile in our schemes, so we can attack many dif- ferent ways." The Wolverine: What would be the next logical step in making this a Sweet 16 and beyond program? Beilein: "There is a consistency we want in our program. We are getting closer to that consistency with three appearances in the last four years. With that continued success we will PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN have years where we will advance further and further in the tourney. "Our hope is that we will get on a more traditional, with two big guys and three guards. There is also one lineup you could put out there that has the two, three and four all 6-5 or 6-6 with the big man and a point guard. We will try to be very versatile." The Wolverine: What will it mean to 34 THE WOLVERINE JUNE/JULY 2012 chess game do you have to play this offseason in terms of countering how teams were defending Trey Burke at the end of the year? Beilein: "We have to be versatile in beautiful looking jump shot. He's never had those opportunities in games, and that will still take time and experience. He and Jon can both be a pick-and-pop four/five man, too." The Wolverine: How much of the have a senior-laden team, or one much younger but extremely talented? Beilein: "Part of me loves a senior- run one of these years and play right through the end of March and win another NCAA championship." The Wolverine: Would you rather that approach. We always ask how many times do we need more mov- ing parts in our offense? We have to be cognizant of that, when you have the point guard in ball screens so much of the game. So we keep people moving on some occasions laden team, because that's really a lot of fun to coach. I've had a couple of those. There was a great trust that they knew what it took to win. "However, this puzzle aspect re- ally intrigues me. Putting together this young 2012-13 team, which has a great deal of talent, will be interest- ing. That's what makes our coaching staff click. We love putting the pieces together regardless of the age of the team." ❏

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