Jordan Morgan, now a redshirt junior and Michigan’s top returning big man, talked at Media Day about how he’s helping along the freshmen, the Michigan program’s transformation. You can watch Morgan in the embedded media player below or read the full transcript after the jump.
On the transformation of the team since he arrived:
It’s come a long way since my redshirt freshman year, when there were a bunch guys who were supposed to finish last in the Big Ten. Just a bunch of misfits. We did what everyone didn’t think we were supposed to do. Now it’s to point where everybody just has all these expectations.
On what that change has been like:
You try not to get into all that. I don’t, and I hope my teammates don’t. Michigan’s been in that situation before. I’ve seen that and I know all that preseason stuff doesn’t matter when it gets down to it. It doesn’t really matter. All that preseason stuff it just guys knocking their heads together trying to see who will work well together and who’s not. We don’t want to be one of those teams that is supposed to do well then falls out.
On how he deals with the expectations:
It’s important not to change your mentality. We’ve always had a mentality, at least since I’ve been here, work hard everyday. Be the best you can every day, and focus on getting better every day. If you’re not getting better, then you’re getting worse. We just take it one day at a time, every workout. Let’s get better today. That’s all you can do. I think we’ve done a good job of learning from our mistakes. Last year we didn’t lose two in a row until the end. We always try to learn from our mistakes. We can’t lose those traits just because someone says we’re supposed to be good. That’s how you get to being in that position and then fall out.
On how the NCAA Tournament loss keeps them motivated:
Some people might, but I try not to dwell on negative things. I’m not gonna lie, I was mad about it for a while. But all my motivation, all my workouts and all my energy that I brought to team workouts has been with a focus on this year and enjoying this season and making the best out of it.
On how all the freshmen make this year’s team different:
Coach Jordan says, ‘When you start getting guys with this much talent in the gym, you start seeing things you’ve never seen before.’ You got some really athletic people in here, some really skilled people, and some of the things that go on are just wild. But we have a lot of good players in here, so that’s to be expected. All that’s cool in open gym and stuff, but if we can’t come together and get that as a team it won’t translate to wins.
On having support behind him in the post:
I think it gives us a little versatility. We can do different things on offense. It gives us a lot of size, length, and rebounding ability on the defensive end. It gives us the ability to play with different looks, and a lot of depth, too. And not just at the bigs — we got a lot of depth at the guard position, too. So when you get this many talented guys together, it’s a lot of competition. I think things can turn out well for us.
On what he’s done to acclimate freshmen:
Coach B is big on teaching culture. When they got here, we were having meetings just discussing the culture here, our core values, what it means to play for Michigan. I think what’s most important is us veterans coaching the young guys on mistakes we might have made when we were in their position, some of the things that can happen. Just giving them some of the knowledge that we have, I think they’ve really soaked everything up and really willing to listen.