ANN ARBOR, Mich. — University of Michigan men’s basketball head coach John Beilein announced today (Wednesday, July 11) that guard Corey Person (Kalamazoo, Mich./Central HS) will return for a fifth year of eligibility for the upcoming 2012-13 season.
“Corey has ingrained himself in this program, and we were thrilled to extend him the offer to return,” said Beilein. “There are so many great intangibles Corey brings to the program — leadership, attitude and character. With a very young team, we feel it is very important that Corey bring these intangibles back for one more season.”
“It has been a great honor to be a part of this program and to return is just a blessing,” said Person. “Coach Beilein and the staff have given me a great opportunity to continue my career and to be a leader for this team — something I take very seriously. I look forward to helping this program reach all of its goals.”
Full release after the jump. (Photo: iSportsWeb)
Person has seen action in 22 games off the bench during his time at Michigan. Last season, he helped the Wolverines to their third NCAA Tournament selection in four years and the program’s first Big Ten title in 26 years and posted a career-best seven points and two rebounds against Ohio State at the Big Ten Tournament.
Additional Comments from Fifth-Year Senior Corey Person
On coming back for his fifth-year … “It was unexpected. It was definitely not something that I expected. It is actually kind of funny because Coach Beilein always joked around last season whenever I would be talking. He would say ‘don’t start thinking about a fifth year.’ When it all winds down and you start thinking about getting one more chance for a Big Ten title or going after a national championship, I knew I wanted to come back. I wanted one more shot. For it to actually happen, to have them ask me to come back for a fifth year, right before I went home, was such a blessing. The first thing I did when I got out of the meeting was thank God. A lot of people wish for things like that, but it never comes true. For it to actually come true for me is just so special personally. Over the years, even at other schools, I have seen where guys don’t get that fifth year, or their coach might decide to go another route. So for Coach Beilein to actually want to bring me back, on top of that with me being a walk-on, I know how rare it is. At the end of the day, I love playing basketball and I love being around my teammates. Coming back, I just feel so blessed.”
On being a leader for the Wolverines … “In the beginning it did not come naturally for me. My first year, I wouldn’t say that I was a leader. I’ve always said that I sat back and watched what C.J. (Lee) and David (Merritt) did my freshman year. I watched what they did every day in practice, what they did in games, what they did outside of games and how much of a difference they made our freshman year. They really helped us surpass a lot of what people expected us to do. When they graduated, they told me ‘to find my niche on the team.’ I knew I needed to take their advice. Once I did that, it (being a leader) came naturally to me. Going out there and leading the guys every day, in practices, before the games, during games and even after games is something I take a lot of pride in. I just try to lead the guys as much as I can.”
On if his leadership will be his strength this season … “Yeah I believe so. It was one of the main purposes of me coming back — to be a leader. We have a lot of guys returning, so not to say that other guys cannot do it, but I really feel like Coach Beilein saw a quality in me — leadership. A lot of talent with no leadership doesn’t go anywhere, so you need somebody to help set an example for all of the young talent that we’re going to have this year.”
On his academic plans … “I plan on working on a minor and applying to graduate schools. I’m looking to start my masters in either sports management or organizational studies.”
On what he learned from Zack Novak and Stu Douglass and what he feels his legacy could be … “I hope the legacy I leave behind is that I helped this team reach its full potential. I won’t be in the record books for stats, but I feel like my teammates know how much work I put in and how important this is to me to work hard. Even though people outside the program might not know, I have earned their respect. That is the most important thing — the respect of your teammates and the respect of your brothers. With this team reaching its full potential, more people are going to dive into what made this team tick, and hopefully when those questions are asked I will be a part of the answer. If I can do that, not only for myself, but for Michigan in general, that would be a great accomplishment.”
On if he will continue his well-known pregame huddle dances … “(Ha, ha) Yeah, I am going to go out there and have fun. I need to make sure the guys are relaxed. Focused but relaxed. At the end of the day, it’s still a game. You’re still going to see me out there dancing for the pregame routine. You can always count on that.”