March 12, 2009
THE MODERATOR: We'll take an opening comment from Coach Beilein and then do questions for the players.
COACH BEILEIN: I've sensed that the last month we've been trying to find a rhythm and get to a rhythm where people really felt comfortable with each other and timing and things like that.
And even though it resulted in a couple of losses, I felt that we've been playing pretty well. But I didn't expect us to play this well. First game we got three freshmen out there and we just played a tremendous game. Manny got his 1,000th point. We went to him a lot early. And he delivered and then he became a passer and found others, but it was a team effort all the way.
Q. DeShawn, your body language during pregame introductions should have told us that you were determined to play this game and play it hard and get this team into the NCAA tournament and the next round. What was your mind set coming in?
DESHAWN SIMS: It was definitely just the last four or five games, I've been in the mind set where my teammates, my coaches, even my family, has been keeping me confident and telling me things that I need to do just for the team to be successful, and I'm just trying to execute that and play to the best of my ability. And whatever it took as far as me amping myself up, I've done it.
Q. Coming in, was your guys' main motivation that a win today would secure an at large bid for the NCAA tournament?
MANNY HARRIS: That was definitely a goal. We didn't want to put too much stress on it and stress it too much to where we felt like we had pressure on us. But it was definitely a goal. We thought about it.
Q. Manny, you guys you were trying to get the ball to DeShawn a bit there. When you see a guy that's on fire like that, is that your mind set to feed them the ball down low in the post?
MANNY HARRIS: Definitely. He's been playing great the whole year. He can score almost he feel like when you give it to him he's going to score. You sometimes don't even go rebound, which we gotta do. But that's how our team build off him scoring and him getting into it, that's how our team we build off that.
Q. DeShawn, what was Iowa trying to do against you and how were you able to exploit it to the level you did?
DESHAWN SIMS: They got two physical bigs and they definitely tried to get into my body and be very strong with me.
I have a great feel for when someone's pressuring me as far as putting their body on me, how to spin off and find open seams. And I was able to do it today because of the big guys.
Q. Manny, can you sense when DeShawn's ready to have a game like that? You spend a lot of time around him but can you sense by his body language that he's ready to go?
MANNY HARRIS: Yeah, you can tell from the start, even from the hotel room or something, you know when you're ready to go. He talks about it, he says something about it. His whole body language is different.
Q. DeShawn, could you just talk a little bit about Illinois and what you think they're going to try and do to stop you, just sort of set that up, thoughts there?
DESHAWN SIMS: I'm not sure. We split two we split one with Illinois and they're a great team. They pressure the ball well. I think our coaches do a great job of not letting us think about that, but just giving us a game plan for we can go out and execute it. So really I haven't thought about it. And I probably won't be thinking about it.
COACH BEILEIN: Until tonight. (Laughter).
Q. DeShawn, in the second half when you had that foul and you yelled out "no" at center court really loud, was that at all out of character for I guess what was going through your mind at that point?
DESHAWN SIMS: Just a mental block. And I forgot that refs were calling the game and I could get a tech or something like that. I just spazzed out for a second, but everybody knows what to do to get me back into the game. And Coach calmed me down and I forgot about it after that.
He took me out of the game. He didn't want me to get a tech, because sometimes I'm a little crazy. (Laughter).
Q. I guess the shot after a win like this, what do you feel is possible for the rest of this tournament? You've got a potential for playing three more games here?
DESHAWN SIMS: I think if we were sitting and we had upper seed and seeing a team compete like we competed against Iowa, it would bother me and I would want to have played a game first. It's hard to play in tournaments when a team has already played and they already lose.
And we've been conditioning all year, we didn't have any games where we showed we were fatigue. So it definitely means we're going to carry a lot more momentum into the next game.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. We'll finish up with Coach Beilein here.
Q. DeShawn is going to get a lot of attention for this game, obviously. But could you talk about Manny's game overall and what he contributed to this?
COACH BEILEIN: Especially when we were up ahead, a good lead, but then down the stretch there his ability to shoot a 3 is the stats don't really always tell you how effective a 3 point shooter he can be. We're just trying to get him to understand when he's open, when he can shoot it.
And he really made a big difference, obviously, when they were collapsing more in their round to DeShawn. But when he trusts what we're doing there, he says his 18 points right there, they were just textbook of how you want to execute your offense in order to get a player like him open.
Q. Coach, obviously you want DeShawn to play loose, but are there times you have to kind of reel him back in when you sense him kind of getting crazy like he likes to say?
COACH BEILEIN: He's just got a great personality. He's great to be around. And I want our guys to have fun out there. But he can quickly you know, when you yell "no" at an official, a poor official might even call it a T right there at that time.
So you have to be very careful that he knows now that the good official is going to look at him and say, no, we don't put that here. So you just gotta be careful of that a little bit. Because we're still talking about college aged kids, talking about young kids. And I think that's where he's been the most consistent the best thing about it is his consistency with his attitude over the last month of not just being up or down, just staying consistent.
Q. Can you talk about the job that C.J. did on Kelly early and the energy he played with?
COACH BEILEIN: I think there were two really big defensive stands out there. I thought Manny Harris did a great job on Gatens as well and then C.J. on Kelly. Kelly had 11 assists in a game recently. Maybe it was our game he had 11 assists and two today and five turnovers. C.J. has done a great job defensively for this team, and David as well.
But Manny's job on Gatens was pretty good. Gatens can play. He's not just a shooter, he can take it to the basket. Did a wonderful job on him.
Q. Eight players scored for you guys. Can you talk about the importance of having more than two primary scorers in a tournament setting?
COACH BEILEIN: Over these next couple days, if we're fortunate enough to stay here, if we can beat Illinois, it's important that we have a well rounded group. I think when you talk about Laval's two 3s and Zack's, it's hard to say they're key moments of the game, but knowing teams, knowing how we've had a couple times where we've come back from big deficits, you're up 15 or you're up 16 and you get hit by a 3 and another 3, it takes a lot of life out of the other team. And we had those type of shots tonight that those guys had. So I think we still need more and we try to give our guys as much rest.
But at this time you can't play like this tomorrow. You gotta play to win that game first before you worry about giving people rest.
Q. Coach, you guys had 22 assists. Would you say that's the stat you may be most pleased with knowing that it wasn't just DeShawn created shots?
COACH BEILEIN: 22 assists on 29 baskets is a great percentage. It gets the defense gap, defense like Iowa, it's not a team that you're going to score a lot just off the dribble drive. You're not going to get openings to go to the basket. They're going to close it in, so you have to drive and kick, drive and kick, find people.
And if you don't have a good passing team, you can't do that.
Q. Remember when you first met DeShawn, two Aprils ago, until now, what differences have you noticed in his personality and his playing style and how has that helped you?
COACH BEILEIN: He was one of the first people I called when I ended up getting the job. I talked with him over the phone. I had a delightful 10 minute conversation with him, and what I was most impressed of here was this new coach, and here he was, like I said, listen, we gotta address this issue. Are you in with this thing as you get a new coach?
And there was never any doubt in his mind or my mind, showed no wavering at all. Coach, I came to Michigan to help turn the program around. And it was great chemistry from the beginning.
Now, we've had our ups and downs, but now that I'm seeing his consistency and natural things, just like you when you're a freshman and you're a junior, your growth is tremendous both mentally and physically. You just change. And he just continues to change in a very positive direction.
Q. With 4:26 in game well in hand rather than pull all five kids off the court at the same time you brought Gibson in for DeShawn. Was part of that to show respect and letting him get the applause of the crowd?
COACH BEILEIN: No. I just wanted to get him out of there before he got hurt. And the same thing with Manny a few minutes later. I wanted to sub I don't do a lot of the five at a time unless the game's I just wanted to get him out as quickly as I could.
I forget what happened but I also wanted actually wanted to get Zack Gibson five minutes because in these tournaments get in foul trouble and we'd need him a lot more. It would have been a good thought if I had that in mind, but I'm not smart enough to do so.
Q. Your team shot very well from 3 but you're also very successful working the ball down low. How does that make you feel moving forward from here?
COACH BEILEIN: Well, it's good, and Iowa is a very good defense. Illinois has an even better defense. They really guard you. They really guard you.
So we've strived for balance on the team all year long. And throughout my coaching career. Sometimes you just can't do it. And this year we've been able to have a good balance as the season went on. I think it's been a key to our success right now, in February and March.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, if you could just make a couple opening comments. We'll take questions for the two Iowa players and finish with Coach Lickliter.
COACH LICKLITER: This is a team that has competed throughout the season at a good level. Seldom have they been in a situation like this. I think West Virginia was like this, maybe one other.
But today was we ran into a team that we just couldn't challenge them. It started off early. And just it was one of those things where we didn't have an answer for them defensively.
It's a team that Jake Kelly shifted over to the point and had done a great job, but we still had limited time. So we've got less options offensively than what we need.
But he's done a terrific job at that position. Cyrus has come back and played 42 minutes last game. Played quite a few this game, after missing most of the Big Ten. So these two guys have done a really good job.
And it's hard when you're competing to gauge progress if you're not winning. But they've set a foundation, I think, that we can build upon and it's not the year we wanted, but the way that they played and the way they approached it I'm proud of this team. It's a tough way to end.
But I'm proud of the way this team has responded throughout the year.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Jake or Cyrus?
Q. Jake, can you talk a little bit about what they were doing defensively that kind of neutralized you and Matt and what were they doing differently?
JAKE KELLY: I don't think they were really doing that much things different than the last time we played them at home. We just weren't executing well. And I think we weren't getting good enough screens and I wasn't doing a good job of maybe pushing the screen and using my teammates to do some more things for me. I think I was forcing some stuff.
But I think we just fought really hard and it's just one of those games where it got out of hand early and we couldn't corral it back together in our hands.
Q. Both players, if you could reflect maybe back to the start of the game and just your thoughts over that first five minutes or so. Cyrus first, Jake?
CYRUS TATE: I think we let Michigan get comfortable early in the beginning of the game. And they kind of got a roll going and comfortable. At a point the game got out of hand and we tried to fight back throughout the end of the first half and tried to in the second half make adjustments to cut the lead down.
JAKE KELLY: Yeah, just to add on what Cy said, I think DeShawn got them off to an early start and they just got rolling from there. He gave all his teammates confidence, and from there on out everybody's comfortable and knocking down 60, 70 percent of their shots. So it's tough to defeat a team like that who is capable of shooting the ball like they did.
Q. Cy, obviously not where you want to end your career at Iowa, but is there anything you'd like to say to the fans, to the university as a whole, as how your time at Iowa was?
CYRUS TATE: I just wanted to thank the university for giving me an opportunity. It was a long ride getting here to this point. And it's been great. And I wish things could have been different. But for the most part, I'm just thankful just for having the opportunity to be here and play for Iowa.
Q. Cy, what specifically was Sims doing to be able to get so open and do so much in the first half especially?
CYRUS TATE: I don't know. It's not much from what he's doing in the past, but he's got a real good rhythm, and he got real comfortable and he's hard to guard. He's hard to guard throughout the game.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach.
COACH LICKLITER: I'll say this, these guys are real classy guys. They wouldn't make any excuses. I probably didn't help them near as much offensively as I would have liked to. But you can see neither one of them are going to make any excuses.
Q. Coach, when a player like Sims gets off on a start like he did, what goes through your mind and is there anything that you can do to just stop that?
COACH LICKLITER: It's a lot harder to stop it than it is to try to prevent it. I thought that his floor positioning was to their advantage. He caught the ball where he wanted to catch it, and then was able to basically as these two guys said, he was very comfortable.
And that's a big problem. I think the last couple of games and I can't remember, I thought up there, especially, we were able to challenge him for spots on the floor. We couldn't do that today. And we did some switching and to their credit they rolled him right into their post on our guards and we weren't able to counter that.
And that's a coaching decision. But I did think that he got awfully comfortable, and like I say, we weren't preventing his touches.
Q. Todd, how do you feel
COACH LICKLITER: Sick. Excuse me.
Q. I have a follow up question.
COACH LICKLITER: Okay. I thought I'd tell you just so you'd know. I'm sorry.
Q. That's all right. How do you feel your program is as opposed to where it was a year ago today and how do you get it to a higher level a year from now?
COACH LICKLITER: Well, I mean, I think, I've said this a couple of times, we've made progress. And you're never satisfied until you've reached your goals. And there's a lot of contributing factors to getting a program to a championship level. And we're working diligently within the program to make those things happen.
I told the guys today, afterwards, that they had fought hard almost all year. And that's a big step. I think they've laid a foundation, and if you're not winning, then you sure better be getting ready to win. So much of that is approach. So much of that is competitive spirit, as wanting to be coached. Personnel. Things of that nature.
And these guys, I think, have established a real good approach, a competitive approach. Are we where we need to be? No. We need to improve on that. But we've got an off-season to work on it and a recruiter or two coming in and some growth.
If you look at the guys who returned, Jake Kelly, Jarryd Cole when he was healthy, Jeff Peterson, Cyrus Tate, those guys that returned that were contributing, you know, too me they were better within our system. They were better players. And so we think that it will continue to evolve that way and not because we want it to or hope it does but because they make it happen.
So all we can do is control the things that we can control: the way we approach the game, the way we teach it, the personnel we recruit.
Q. Are you interested in going to the tournaments that are not the NIT?
COACH LICKLITER: I think that the criteria is a winning record for most of those. And that would probably eliminate us. We're set to go on our trip overseas in the end of May. And so that will be our focus now, as far as we'll get 10 practice days. We'll have our individual instruction, and we'll play, it looks like, in Italy and Greece.
That should be our postseason at this point is what I'm looking at.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.