Michigan Practice: Player Quotes

39915_118010154914763_113453778703734_113235_314346_n[1]40401_118010274914751_113453778703734_113250_876212_n[1]Photos from Michigan Basketball’s Facebook Page

The media had the opportunity to chat with some players after the practice and here’s what they had to say:

[More from practice: Player impressions / Beilein presserPractice video part 1 / Video part 2]

Darius Morris

“You’ve got to be a leader out there, that’s what I’ve been doing all my life.”

Darius seems like he’s been ready to step into that role and I think he’s well-suited for it. He also said the freshman are coming along well and that he was glad the team gets ten extra practices this year:

“Wish we could get them every year, because they’re going to be ahead of the game.”

Given the low expectations for the team, Darius is ready to surprise people:

“I like it this way. It’s the same thing as when I was at my high school. Private school, didn’t have a whole lot of talent and I feel like that’s when teams play their hungriest and play their best.”

Colton Christian

Colton said that even though the coaches have been throwing a lot of information at the freshmen given the short time they have to prepare for the Eurotrip, he’s been able to pick things up:

“They’ve been working with us, all the vets have, on getting us caught up. Usually they probably do one play, go through it a whole week, but we’re in the locker room, going through plays so it’s good.”

He also said he’s more than just a defensive player:

“I’ve always loved defense and rebounding, but I want to be able to move to that 3-4 soon instead of playing 4, so I’m really trying to learn at the 4 but also moving to that 3 position.”

Colton was showing off some of his versatility during the practice, at one point nailing fadeaway jumper in Matt Vogrich’s face on the baseline. He said he’s comfortable shooting midrange shots but is moving out:

“Midrange, right inside the arc is my strongest points, but as long as I get those 3’s down I’ll be good.”

Evan Smotrycz

Evan said it’s been hard picking everything up because he essentially has to learn two positions, but he’s coming along:

“It’s tough because I got to learn the 3 and the 4 spot, but repetitions are coming easier and over time, watching film, I’m sure I’ll get it down.”

He also said he and his toe will be good to go for practice next week. Evan cited Darius and Zack as the two upperclassmen who he looks to as team leaders, especially Zack for him because Zack had to play the 3 and 4 last year:

“He’s shown me how to run that and he’s been giving me some tips on how to run off screens and stuff like that.”

Tim Hardaway Jr.

Darius said Tim was one of the players he was most impressed with, partially because he was the only freshman who hadn’t gotten badly injured. Even so, Tim said despite the injuries the team’s chemistry continues to develop:

“It’s been developing really well. Doing a lot of talking to each other, running the offense, being in the locker room, going over a lot of plays, making sure everybody knows what they’re doing.”

Coach Beilein said Tim is a very coachable player, and Tim said that comes from his dad:

“It comes from listening to a lot of stuff my dad’s been talking to me about taking criticism and just listening before speaking.”

He also said the thing that surprised him the most about Evan, his new roommate, was how tall he was.

Jon Horford

Jon stressed the way the team has bonded and the chemistry they’ve been able to develop in a short period of time:

“We get along really well and everyone can talk to everyone and no one feels like they can’t say anything. It’s a good team to be on.”

He also talked about working with Bacari Alexander:

“He’s a great guy. He pushes you. He’s all about toughness, toughness, toughness, no hands on the knees, no resting.”

Jordan Morgan

Jordan talked a lot about the odd position he’s in now, teaching the young guys but still essentially being a freshman himself:

“I’m teaching the more basic stuff, but I’m still learning.”

The post presence of this year’s team is going to be a stark contrast to that of last year’s team, and Jordan knows that:

“I think it will, because I know things now that I learned halfway through last season. Coach B got mad at me for not doing some stuff, but now that I know these things I can take the next step and move on.”

Overall, the practice was very illuminating, especially for a team with so many question marks. There should be two or three of these open practices left and you can bet we’ll be there.

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