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March 20, 2009

John Beilein

Stu Douglass

Manny Harris

Zack Novak

Deshawn Sims


KEVIN KLINTWORTH: Now up in the interview room, University of Michigan, Manny Harris, DeShawn Sims, Stu Douglass and Zack Novak.

Q. Simulate Blake from practice. Seriously, how do you guys prepare for somebody like Blake?
DESHAWN SIMS: He does a great job of playing all the big men, great big men around the country, and it's hard to simulate a player of this talent or any other talent. We do the best we can, and just know the goal in mind is not really trying to equal the potential but just trying to get work done and being able to know the positions, whatever it may be.

Q. Zack, do you think having played a game in this tournament is going to make a difference how everybody settles in the in first few minutes of Oklahoma?
ZACK NOVAK: I think definitely it will help a lot. It's kind one of those things. We're a young team and obviously none of us have ever played in the tournament before. So I mean, it showed the first couple minutes against Clemson. We were a little shaky, but then we relaxed as the game went on. So I don't think we'll have a problem in the next game.

Q. Stu, when 3-point shots aren't falling, people say, "Well, it's just a matter of a streak," Do you guys go back and look at film with the coach and look for technical stuff to do on your shots or maybe they're hitting the front of the rim, back of the rim?
STU DOUGLASS: Sometimes. The coach stresses not leaving it short, but last night we didn't talk about it much. Sometimes you just have those type of games and, you know, sometimes there's a tweak here or there but shooting is within the offense. Good shots, he doesn't care too much.

Q. Zack, how hard is it to look at this completely as a business trip without enjoying the fact that you're at the NCAA Tournament?
ZACK NOVAK: I think we are enjoying it. I mean, it is business, but I mean, nothing is guaranteed. It's going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity. I think it's kind of trying to find a balance.
I mean, when it's time to get to work, you get to work but, I mean when -- the whole time, you got to enjoy it because you don't know if it's ever going to be there again.

Q. Manny, one of the big matchups will be you and Willie Warren. What do you know about him? How do you think that matchup will kind of stack up heading into the game?
MANNY HARRIS: I don't know much about him, and I don't know if he looks at it as a matchup. I look at it as a matchup with Oklahoma and Michigan, trying to get our team a win.

Q. Manny, that was it like changing, adjusting your style of to keep Beilein's system? You are a driver and got into the lane and now more point jump shooting.
MANNY HARRIS: I was coming from high school, so I know I was going to have to develop as a player and that's all he did. He wasn't changing my style. He just developed me as a player, and that's pretty much it.

Q. You said last night you were going to play better in the next game and that obviously there were things that didn't work for you last night. What are you going to do differently and how do you know that, DeShawn?
DESHAWN SIMS: Know what?

Q. You're going to play better tomorrow.
DESHAWN SIMS: When it's tomorrow -- you always have high expectations of yourself and just going out and playing hard and aggressive, more hard and aggressive than I did the next night. I look at that as playing better. So, give more effort and play more aggressive.

Q. Manny, what do you know about the Fab Five and when did you first become aware of them?
MANNY HARRIS: I know a little about the Fab Five, just something that a lot of people just talked about but -- first time probably becoming aware of it was in high school or something like that. I know a little bit about them. I learned more and more each day almost at the University of Michigan.

Q. Have you met any of them?
MANNY HARRIS: Yes. Met probably two or three.

Q. Does playing in the Big 10 help you prepare for playing a physical player like Blake Griffin?
DESHAWN SIMS: There's great players, not maybe with the potential he has, but all over the Big 10. Physical play. Most of the Big 10 is for a big men game, it's dominated -- not too many guys getting 13 or 12 rebounds a game in the Big 10 because it's such a physical game. It definitely prepares to us play against guys of his caliber.

Q. This is for Stu and then for DeShawn. Short turnaround time for Oklahoma. You've seen how your coaches attack prep time. Can you tell me, give us a sense of how they've gone after this particular one and what they deliver to you in a short time? Was it a late night last night?
STU DOUGLASS: Pretty normal for a one-day prep. Film and walking through. The normal preparations. We don't have three days kind of like we did this last game, but, you know, they prepare us as best they can, and we're confident in that. You know, one day or three days, we're going to be ready.

Q. How about you, DeShawn?
DESHAWN SIMS: Coach Beilein stressed after the Clemson game, it's not enough. Anything we have to do to be prepared to play Oklahoma as far as mentally and physically, we just have to think of it that way. It's not enough just being here for Coach Beilein or his team.

Q. Stu and Zack, since you guys were named to the tournament, how much have you guys heard from -- obviously you guys were in high school last year at this time. How much have you heard from back home and friends? What's the traffic been like on your cell phones and Facebook?
STU DOUGLASS: Kind of crazy. I think I got like 60 texts last night. Wasn't really expecting it. Just a lot of support and a lot of love back home. People are just excited and proud of individually on this team -- you know, this team is doing something that's never been done before really in the last ten years. They're really proud of us.
ZACK NOVAK: Pretty much the same thing. Everybody -- being from like a smaller town like that, everybody is really excited and, yeah, probably lot of text messages, Facebook messages, everything.

Q. DeShawn, up until now, who is the toughest guy you've ever had to guard playing basketball, college, high school, AAU, whatever?
DESHAWN SIMS: Up until now, probably that I actually had to guard was Greg Oden. My first year I played, I played against guys who have been in the NBA, a number of players. But up until this point, Greg Oden.

Q. How did you do?
DESHAWN SIMS: He didn't score a lot of points, but he definitely controlled the basketball game while I was guarding him.

Q. Zack, obviously you've had to play out of position defensively a number of times with bigger guys. Have you learned anything from some of those experiences that maybe you can use on Taylor if you have to play him tomorrow?
ZACK NOVAK: I think -- well, obviously a big thing is I got to box out hard every time. I mean, they're more athletic than me, they're bigger than me. If I don't use leverage, they're going get the ball almost every time.
But I mean, it's just really about effort. When you're undersized, you got to put a little bit more into it than they do, and that's about all I can do.

Q. For Manny and then Stu. You guys, it had been ten years since Michigan was in the tournament. You get here. Now you've won a game, have a chance to go to the Sweet 16 with a win tomorrow. What sort of an attitude or mindset you guys have at this point?
MANNY HARRIS: Just feel good. We're enjoying it, every moment of, it and we're going to play hard and just try to grind it out and win as much games as possible. At the same time, we're going to have fun and the whole team and everyone just -- the team chemistry is good and everyone just happy to be here.
STU DOUGLASS: Just kind of the same mindset as last game and, you know, trying to keep the same mindset we've had all season. Just giving a hundred percent effort and coming out and playing to win. Not playing just to experience it, we're playing to win.

Q. Outside of Big 12 country, I don't think Blake Griffin was a household name until this year. Do you guys remember the first time you saw highlights of him on the TV, first impression, know who he was and what he could do?
DESHAWN SIMS: Seeing just like Michael Beasley, you know, first couple games. The guy had great games, and you start seeing him on TV every time. He plays hard, and just like seeing a player just like the last couple years like a Michael Beasley. You see him and the potential and you hope to get a chance to play against him one day.

Q. When were you first aware of who he was and what he could do?
DESHAWN SIMS: Probably the beginning of the year, maybe when they played Davidson. Stephon Curry. He grabbed a bunch of rebounds and put the team on his back.

Q. Deshawn, we saw last night Blake being the victim of a flagrant foul. Something kind of gone on throughout the season. Does that make you a little curious kind of what all the hubbub is about, that there's all this stuff following him and concussions and flagrant fouls? The other part is, do you worry he's a little bit protected because of that and might make it tougher on you guys tomorrow night?
DESHAWN SIMS: You know, when you pay your dues and you're a player of his caliber, I'm not saying that anything like the refs give him anything. He's just been in the wrong position. You know, guys from other teams see you and try to get you.
That may have been the case. But all I know we'll be ready to play Oklahoma on Saturday and we'll do a good job defending Blake and we have a great chance of prospering.
KEVIN KLINTWORTH: Any other questions? Thanks, guys. Being joined by Michigan Head Coach, John Beilein.
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: Playing a great team tomorrow. I've had a chance to spend most of the morning watching video on Oklahoma. Jeff does a great job and they really -- I mean, both the Griffins are tremendous players. There's obviously so much made about them, but they're not the only guys there. They have -- they have a quality team and quality bench.
So really now I understand why they're No. 2 seed.

Q. Coach, could you talk a little bit about the key factors behind your team's turnaround this season compared to last season.
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: I think experience is a big thing. Last year we were just -- because of attrition, we had four -- Tony Amaker had the great last season. They won 22 games, just missed the NCAA Tournament. But there were four seniors on that team, and when they were gone, they did most of the scoring. And then starting point guard on that team in December decided it was best we move forward. And so we were basically playing with an -- our leading player averaged three points or four points the year before.
We just went through it last year, and now they got another year's experience. These two young -- the three freshmen that are now the two young guys from Indiana and Laval Lucas-Perry, also, each one of them has had at least 19 points in one game. We needed them the most. A lot of our big wins have been those guys.
Combination of experience and the influx of three new players.

Q. Coach, what's the hardest part of these day and a half turnarounds in terms of preparation for your second game in?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: It's better than a half day turnaround, that's for sure. I think for the players, I think that we just put them through a pretty good regimen. You think if they were back in Michigan right now, they have to go to classes. There's a whole lot of other things they can do.
I think the coaches, we pour ourselves into it for -- virtually, of the 24 hours, 18 hours we pour ourselves into everything that we can know about our opponent. My assistants did all the work as far as the Oklahoma scout ahead of time, and now it's -- this day, I do a good blend of keeping our team fresh, at the same time, giving them as much knowledge as I can about the opponent.
And we watched lot of clips of last night to make sure our kids know, understand why you win and also got to understand what can cost you if you don't correct it.

Q. John, on Sunday you got your first NCAA bid at Michigan in 10 seasons. You're 40 minutes away from the Sweet 16. Who would a win against Oklahoma tomorrow mean for this program?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: There was a day when Michigan was a fixture in the Sweet 16 and that's what who -- if you can be a fixture in the Sweet 16, you have a great chance to get to the Final Four where we've been several times.
It's just another great step in the right direction. We have so many great alums and so many loyal student athletes and students at the university, boosters. Between all our -- I think we were second in the Director's Cup last year. All our sports are doing so well. I know that because of the media attention to our major sports, it's great that -- it's great when we can have good seasons.

Q. Other than a wrestling style takedown, how do you slowdown Blake Griffin?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: Oh, boy. It's really hard. I think you got to play great -- the individual line has got to be very tough, and then you have to play great team defense around him. You just start the scoreboard and say, okay, here, start 8-0 Oklahoma. He's already got four offensive rebounds, and then tell Blake he can't go to the boards the rest of the night.
He's going to get eight points just because he's so -- his timing, his instinct for the ball is terrific. You know that's going to happen.
Now, you got to find ways that you play him such that he's such a good passer. You don't give him three shots to other people, but you don't allow him to get your big guys in foul trouble or score at-will in the post.

Q. Coach, you talked about the maturity of your freshmen. Are there areas in particular where you've really -- what areas most are they different today than they were when they walked in your first practice?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: The biggest area was that they're accomplishing more by doing less in some areas. In other words, I think, for example, Stu Douglass sort of came in with the mentality "If I can see the rim, it's a good shot."
His shooting percentages have climbed as he's sort of been a little -- he's been more patient. Zack Novak has had to have two different -- he's played guard and played forward. Similar idea with him of just -- he's become a really great defensive player for us, yet he's playing people that are -- and he will tomorrow. He's playing guys that are 6-8 and 240.
Laval Lucas-Perry, the game is slowing down little by little for him. He could end up doing what did he for us in that Minnesota game. He's waiting for the right opportunity to get it going. His defense is getting better everyday.

Q. John, can you take a minute and talk about the roots of your offense that you call 2 guard and where that came from?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: Come from way back in the '80s. I have a great mentor, also, my uncle named Tom Nylan who coached Lamoine College for years. I also became the coach at Lamoine College.
We were running a point guard offense with -- like everybody was playing. And he played in the '40s, Battle of the Bulge guy and 101st Airborne, and he ends up -- one day we just cannot run an offense because we're not really good at the point guard position that year. So just said, "Why don't you just play like we used to play back in the day, back in the '40s and '50s. Get two guards, put your two forwards in the corners, put a high post, and run some scissor-cuts off the post and just spread the floor.
Sure enough, we began doing it at Lamoine back in the '80s, and once it started to work and the pressure was off, we decided that even if we got -- we weren't very athletic. When we even got athletic, this is the way we're going to play.
When we got to both Canisius and in particular West Virginia, when you have a 5-man that shoot the ball, the Pittsnogle type, it really opened things up.

Q. Coach, how much do you use the tradition of the Fab Five Glen Rice title in recruiting? Is that an advantage?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: Glen wasn't in the Fab Five.

Q. His national titles.
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: Okay. Obviously you come into our place, you see the banners, and we had Glen come back this year with the '89 team.
The Fab Five, we haven't -- people usually mention it to us. We have some restrictions there and some issues, but I think that right now if you think about the kids right now that we recruit, they are born in 1991 or '92. So they were watching Sports Center when they were 7 or 8. Some of them don't know about that.
It would be like when I was growing up, my dad telling me about how good the Brooklyn Dodgers or the New York Yankees were. Some of the kids don't understand that. So you really have to coach them in that. It's much different than if we had been there just a couple years ago.

Q. Was than an attraction to you?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: For me, when I looked at Michigan, you know, I didn't see it as some people may see it as a football school or anything. That's all I thought about. When I first began going to the Final Fours in the '80s as a young coach at Lamoine College, it was the Michigan fight song, the Michigan teams.
And go way back to when I first started following college basketball. Cazzie Russell and Bill Bradley. I got hooked on college basketball as a very young man. Rudy Tomjanovich, so many great players.
Then you go all the way through to the Fab Five, two are very -- Jimmy King works with us as an announcer. Jalen Rose is in contact quite often, Terry Mills, guys like that.

Q. John, in the past, I take it as good as Griffin is and as unique a challenge as he presents, you game-planned against his like in the past. I'm asking, as an example, can you give me a face and a guy like that?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: He has an impact on the game when I think about the guys he tried -- the impact. He's not the same player because he's not -- Carmelo Anthony is the guy that I'm thinking about at Syracuse. He was more of a small forward than a power forward.
We devised a great game plan, and then he just basically just destroyed our game plan because he get himself into leveraged positions and all of a sudden, it's just difficult to stop in those one-on-one -- when it gets in those one-on-one situations.
He's the first name that comes to my mind about when I said what do you do? You can't stop some young men when they really are that talented. We're going to try, though. We're certainly going to try.

Q. To follow-up on that, Morgan State chose not to double him. Not many teams have. Whether or not you feel like sharing with us whether you plan to or not, can you just evaluate that decision-making process as a coach?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: One of the things with Blake is he's such a great passer. That's what I've noticed in the tape. The guys on the Oklahoma team, they know he's a good player. So they're not looking for their own when he's opened. At the same time, he looks for them. It does complicate things a little bit, but no, I will not tell you what we plan on doing tomorrow.

Q. Going back the a previous question, I guess, whether your school is a football school or basketball school is a matter of perception. You spent the last seven years at schools that people think are football schools.
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: I never thought that West Virginia was, but that's okay. If you did, that's fine. You've never been in a Coliseum with 14,000 people going crazy, but that's okay.

Q. I've been in the football stadium with 70,000 people. Are there some challenges being coach at a perceived football school?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: It's not a challenge. It's a highlight. Are you kidding me? When we have recruits come in and you have that, I always wanted to coach in a situation like that that football -- football and basketball works hand-in-hand, whether it's recruiting, whether it's fan interest, all over the country.
You walk anywhere with this block M right here, and there's a lot of people saying "Go blue" to you, and whether their initial loyalties to the program came through football or came through the Fab Five days or the Cazzie Russell or the Rudy days, they're loyal to us.
I always looked at that. That was never a challenge. I would assume Oklahoma may have that similar type of situation. We say it's only an advantage to have that right in your backyard.

Q. Coach, you've talked about over the course of the year Deshawn sometimes has mental lapses. You went to him a couple times yesterday on the bench. Was yesterday a game where he had a couple mental lapses and if so, how do you change that in such a short-term?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: I don't mean that in a negative tone. I have mental lapses all the time. We all have mental lapses. Our biggest thing with him is just pull him out for a second. He's very caring. He wants the team to win so badly that sometimes he'll carry a little bit too much on his shoulders.
That's what I mean by that. "Okay, it's okay. The building just didn't fall down because you missed that shot or your man scored on you. Let's go back out there." That's basically what it's doing is being positive with him when he has -- anytime that he just loses his focus for a bit.
Just like when you see me, you know, discussing something with an official. I'm probably losing my focus for the next play. But everybody does that, every member of our team does that. It's just he's such an outstanding player, people night notice it more.

Q. John, what are the guidelines of shooting a three and how do you technically help a player when they go into a 3-point shooting slump? How much film do you go over it or let them get out of it?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: All the our shooting drills in practice are timed, and there's a certain number you have to make. So we're trying to make it in a game-like situation so that they know whether they're shooting the ball well in practice. If they're shooting well in practice, they basically have a pretty green light when they have time and space.
Different guys, their time and space will vary as a guy like the Pittnogles didn't need much time and space. If -- let's say, we're watching them practice, we film every practice, we filmed today's practice. We'll go over today's practice.
If one of our guys has been struggling, I'll make a point today when we watch the film together of him shooting that jump shot, and I might just replay it five, six times, talking about other things. But I know what he's looking at, the ball going in the ball going in, the ball going in. He might have only made one shoot today, but I'm going to show it to him five, six times.
You got to keep them believing. Had a very good player as a son who was a streaky shooter. I know how sensitive the psyche is on that. You really have to be positive with them. That's my belief.

Q. Coach, can you talk a little bit, you mentioned Carmelo Anthony. The coach mentioned yesterday Len Bias in terms of style. Is there a style player that you think that Blake Griffin reminds you of?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: Leonard "The Truck" Robinson. You probably never heard ever him. I'm probably lost for who would be there. Shane Battier is a player that was such a great team player and really he saw the court, you hustled so much. Whatever team he's on the NBA, they start winning when gets there.
I'm trying to think everyone that big that really runs and has guard like skills yet rebounds.
I don't know if those are good comparisons or not. I probably haven't thought a lot about it. Probably when I'm watching a lot of great players in the future, I'll probably say more and know more a little bit who he compares to. All I know is he's good, real good.

Q. Coach, how serious were you in the Oklahoma job when Calvin Sampson left and how far did the discussion get with them?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: I'm not going to talk about that. They've done a great job and made a great choice. Thank you.

Q. Coach, when you have a player that's getting as much hype or attention as Blake, how do you tell your team to focus not just on him but there's other players on the court that can score, too?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: Say one more time.

Q. How do you prepare your team to not just focus on him?
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: We see that in the Big 10 everyday. You got a guy like Jamelle Cornley at Penn State and Talor Battle, you got to guard on the outside. Robbie Hummel, E'Twaun Moore is running around more, too. JaJuan Johnson is inside. You have to pay attention to him.
I said this team is not a one-man show. This team is very, very talented and so -- it's an everyday occurrence for us really to guard two actions, we call it. Two guard, two actions. The main action and what's their next plan that's happening at the same time.
Obviously one of our actions always has to be where is Griffin, where is Griffin, both Griffins, but in particular where is No. 23?
KEVIN KLINTWORTH: Last question.

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about the details of your day today? I assume you woke up a pretty happy man.
COACH JOHN BEILEIN: I can't imagine why I had trouble sleeping last night, but it took a long time to go to sleep. I had an early morning and watched a lot of tape, did a couple personal things I always like to do, and then we were watching more tape and met with the team.
Now we go back and I watch some more tape and meet with the team again. It's great -- this has been a great place to host this thing. The arena is tremendous, our hotel is tremendous. It's been a great stay. We'd like to do there again next week if we can.
KEVIN KLINTWORTH: Thank you, Coach.

End of FastScripts

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