Tim Hardaway Jr. announced that he’d be entering the NBA Draft, forgoing his senior year of eligibility, earlier today at the Crisler Center. Hardaway, John Beilein and Michigan’s assistant coaches were on hand to discuss the announcement. Here are some assorted quotes from Hardaway, Beilein and assistant coaches Jeff Meyer and LaVall Jordan.
Tim Hardaway Jr. — Watch the press conference
- “It’s my decision, I was trying to make the decision that’s best for me. I had the help of my coaching staff, my family, all my teammates helped me out. The last two years really prepared me for this situation and for this privilege. All the hard work, preparation and just going out there and playing as hard as you can, I’m thankful for it.”
- On what changed from last year, when he decided he wasn’t ready: “It all came down to preparing differently, and just doing whatever I can to help the team win. Just focusing on team concepts, focus on what I can do to make this environment better. I just tried to play my role on the team and only for the team."
- On when he made his decision: “I made my decision yesterday. It felt better for myself to just lay it out and get it off my shoulders. I talked to coach Beilein and I talked to my father and my family. And like I said, it was the right decision for me.”
- On whether a weight felt lifted now that he’d decided: “I would be lying if I said there wasn’t (pressure). It’s a tough decision. You have a chance to come back for your senior year, or you have an opportunity to go to the NBA. Like I said, just trying to make the right decision. It was a win-win situation.”
- On the influence of the advisory committee on his decision: “This was my decision. It wasn’t about the advisory committee. It was my decision and what I wanted to do. Obviously I had input from my coaches and my father, but it was my decision and they were behind me 100 percent.”
- On how growing up around the NBA affected his decision: “(Growing up around the NBA) helped me a lot, just being around it, just watching what my father did while I was growing up. It gives me a little leeway, but like I said, everybody’s going in there with the same mindset. There’s no leeway once you get past it.”
John Beilein — Watch the video
- “In three years (Tim Hardaway Jr.) has three watches, two rings. It’s incredible what he’s accomplished. With all respect to Darius Morris and Zack Novak and Stu Douglass and these guys, this guy’s been through it all. He hasn’t had a bad year yet. Every year has been another step in the right direction.”
- On where he’s seen improvement in Hardaway’s game: “Handling the ball more was really big, that’s when we shifted him to the off guard. Because of the youth of this team, we probably didn’t use our passing offense as much as we have in the past, which would give him a lot more assists. We kept the ball pretty much in Trey’s hands. We saw what he could do in his dribble game, and his ball handling has improved so much. The second thing was just his vision for the floor was really enhanced, and his defense was outstanding. There were several times when we won games because we said, ‘Tim, you got that guy now.’
- On how the departures of Trey Burke and Hardaway change the team: “It’s been a change every year now. It’s not all that bad at times, because when you look at these two situations, these two guys are convinced they’re ready. If they’re convinced they’re ready, then the college option is probably not the right option.”
- On Zak Irvin arriving next year to fill Hardaway’s spot: “You can put him anywhere out on the court, probably 1-4 if you needed to, if you really wanted to play with the four guards that we have. I don’t know how much we’ll go there. We like the flexibility to be able to do that. When you’re playing the South Dakota States of the world, the Northwesterns of the world, even Illinois last year, it was really helpful to be able to expand our defense. But you also have to play against teams like Ohio State and Michigan State if you’re going to win.”
- On if he feels Hardaway is ready: “I feel he’s ready if he feels he’s ready. The one mistake we never want is a kid coming back here wishing he was somewhere else. With everything that Michigan gives to young men, the NBA is very attractive. He’s less than a year from graduating, both guys have promised me they’ll come back in some way shape or form and graduate. They’re both in great academic standing. This is the new age that we’re going to be dealing with very often. Where hockey and baseball have farm systems that are outside of the colleges, football and basketball is a farm system for the pros.”
Jeff Meyer — Watch the video
- On if Caris LeVert is ready to step into an expanded role: “Well, he’s not ready right now, but the good news is he’s got enough game experience that he understands the role, the responsibility. He can go to work in the weight room now and do what Tim did two years ago, get bigger and stronger and faster and play with more power. Caris will do that, he’s very dedicated.”
- On if other players are seeing the way Michigan develops talent: “At this level I think every young man wants to play beyond college. And if we want to compete for Big Ten championships and national championships, that’s going to be in the equation. No doubt, these young fellas have seen both Tim and Trey put in the hours. I mean, work diligently, during the summer, during the offseason, before practice, after practice, developing their skills and trying to make their game more complete in the time that they were here. … I really believe that Nik (Stauskas) and Caris and Spike (Albrecht) are going to be working overtime to continue our tradition of developing players.”
- On if the coaching staff saw this coming: “It’s not like we didn’t see this coming. We saw it coming 12 months ago when we offered Caris LeVert. It was pretty clear to us if Tim had a breakout junior year, after Trey’s decision to test the waters after his freshman year, we’d better be prepared.
LaVall Jordan — Watch the video
- On what he talks to NBA scouts about Hardaway: “I think they can see (how much Tim grew as a player), that’s what they get paid for. Our conversation is more about his daily approach. Tim’s got one of the best work ethics I’ve ever seen. He prepares as well as anyone I’ve ever coached. So the conversations we have with people has been how he goes about it, what kind of person he is, what kind of teammate he is. And on all those, he’s passed with flying colors in our books. He is an exemplary teammate and Michigan Man through and through.”
- “I believe in Tim Hardaway. There’s a reason we’ve won 76 games since he’s been here. I know coach Beilein feels the same way. It was just about gathering information and Tim being comfortable either way. I don’t think he could have gone wrong either way. Our kids’ dreams are our dreams, too. You come to college to be able to live your dream one day, regardless of what that is, when you walk in your freshman year whether you’re an athlete or not. To help those guys get there is an added benefit for us.”