2011-2012 Season

Video & Quotes: Zack Novak Previews Penn State

Zack Novak met with the media this morning before film to discuss Michigan’s upcoming Big Ten opener against Penn State. Novak discussed last year’s slow start, the team’s performance to date and much more. Watch the interview in the embedded media player below or find a full transcript after the jump.

  • “I like where we’re at right now. We’ve improved a lot over the preseason. Obviously our record, 10-2, that’s a pretty good preseason record. We’re in a good place right now and there’s going to be a lot of new challenges, teams are going to get a lot better – quickly. But everyone is in the same boat and I think we’re ready for it.”
  • On preparing the freshmen: “We tried to rachet it up a little bit in practice. We’ve been working on a lot of skills the last couple days: getting banged going to the basket, even working Trey guarding us in the post. Trying to get him to realize that things are going to change a little bit but I think they’ll be alright. Going to Maui, playing the teams we’ve played, they know what to expect”
  • On whether Burke needs some games to adjust: “Maybe but we also thought he’d need a couple of games to get used to playing in college and we all know how that went. I think he’ll be alright, he’s a tough kid and the way he plays I’m not worried about him”
  • On what he is worried about: “Uh, the same stuff that any captain would be. Just make sure everyone is on the same page and that we keep working hard toward our goals everyday. That’s the biggest thing and it’s a long season so you just have to make sure that guys keep on the right path.”
  • On holding serve at home: “For sure. That’s one of our big goals this season is to hold serve and protect home court. That’s something that you’ve gotta do and if you want to win the Big Ten you have to win at home”
  • On developing his mid-range game: “I worked hard at it over the summer but a lot of it is the product of my teammates. Especially the assist numbers going up, it seems like every time I pass to someone they make the shot so that helps. With so many shooters there’s a lot less help so it’s easier to get in there.”
  • On whether he’s defended differently: “A little bit for sure. I think the biggest thing is being able to use the shot fake effectively and then get two feet in the paint. That’s something that we’re trying to do.”
  • On Penn State:  “Frazier is obviously really good. He’s getting to the foul line a lot, scoring for them, I know he’s quick. You could tell last year when he would pass up shots to defer to Battle and they’d get mad at him because they obviously saw in open gyms that he was a really good player. They’ve got some other solid guys around him and I know they have a new coach. I’m sure they’ll go through some pains with that but they’re a solid team.”
  • On not missing Battle: “No I wouldn’t say that. It’s always fun to play against the best guys and he was a really, really good player. It seemed, kind of like me, it seemed like he was there forever and he was very tough to guard.”
  • On dealing with Penn State’s offensive rebounding: “It’s just been the same message all year. You have to attack people with your hips when you are blocking them out and you have to be the hammer not the nail. If you get that first initial hit in then you’re going to get a lot of rebounds.”
  • On whether this team is more ready than last year’s for Big Ten play: “I think so. Especially with the majority of us having gone through that. We know what to expect. We know the level of play that it will take. I definitely don’t expect to start 1-6 again. We learned our lesson through that and we know what’s expected.”
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