After the victory, John Beilein spoke about Walton’s injury, which may be serious enough to sideline him against Michigan State. He also commended Zak Irvin for his rebounding and assist numbers and compared Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman to a 1970s NBA player.
Opening statement: “For some reason, Petteway had a bad game again, just like last year, and we were very fortunate to get a win because of that. Proud of our guys. Obviously, you noticed Derrick wasn’t able to go. He wasn’t able to practice the last two days at all or even do anything on it. We felt it wasn’t going to change if we don’t give him some extended time off. And Mark Donnal just came up sick yesterday. We tested him for a bunch of things. He could have given us minutes if we needed them, but given the fact Ricky and Max felt pretty comfortable, we decided not to use him as well, give him as much rest [as possible].
“Really, guys stepped up all over the place, in particular Max and Spike and then Zak Irvin. One of the things I was working with him over the summer was rebounding and assists. So for him to get 12 rebounds and three assists is a huge step in his growth. Good win for us.”
On Derrick Walton’s injury: “What’s happening is his toe, he’s overcompensating now. We worry about that. Spike was doing it with his shot. It was hurting him when he landed sometimes, so he started shooting differently. [Walton] started running differently, and those 40 minutes the other day just made it too painful. It was an easy decision.”
Note: Later, Beilein said Walton “couldn’t go to class without a scooter.”
On Walton’s status vs. Michigan State: “I do not know. We’re actually going to go and do more examinations tomorrow.
“… We’ll know more tomorrow. My uneducated decision is he sprained something in his foot, strained something in his foot by landing over and over the wrong way. The toe seems to be getting better.”
On making up for Walton’s absence: “Muhammad is used to taking the majority of shots in high school. He’s just grown little by little. He’s got the speed that we need right now. While I’ll say that, ‘There’s 25 more shots,’ we’re not saying to them, ‘Muhammad, you need to take seven more shots.’ Just shoot it when you’re open, and you’re not coming out. And just go out there and play, play nice and relaxed.”
“He just can run by people on the fast break. And he doesn’t even know what he’s doing yet.”
On Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman attacking the basket: “He’s really got some speed, and coming in the door, he didn’t like to use it as much. He’s that north-south player. Now this is a bad comparison, but I can remember when Randy Smith was with the Buffalo Braves — I’m really dating myself. He’d just run by people. And people would try and get in front of him. You’d say, ‘How is he going by him?’ And he would just do it. He just can run by people on the fast break. And he doesn’t even know what he’s doing yet.”
On Dakich contributing eight minutes: “Character and culture are so important in every winning program. He and Sean have been such a big part of this thing. They watched it last year. … Every minute will get a little bit better.”
On treating team like a basketball puzzle: “This is not the puzzle you enjoy. [Laughs] Just ask my wife; she’s back there. I have not been a pleasant guy to be around the last couple days. Unfortunately, you get to think, ‘What is it now? What is it now?’ All you do is work your way through it.
“… I embrace it through work, not through any happiness.”
On Zak Irvin: “If he ever really got it going — and he will — he’ll do his share of celebrating and really enjoy the experience. And I want him to.”
On re-classifying Max Bielfeldt again: “We’ll stay with where we are right now. There’s going to be all kind of decisions at the end of the year on all kinds of things.”