Michigan's senior Jordan Morgan has played his last game today in the 75-72 loss to Kentucky. Morgan…
Beilein Reflects Upon the Season
John Beilein: "Boy he met the challenge this year head on and did a great job. It is one of those guys, the jersey won't be in the rafters, but it will be when the coaches look back, those were the intangibles that you need to win. Jordan Morgan is a perfect example of a great Michigan player, who goes to college for all the right reasons."
Question: Talk us through that last play where Harrison hit that shot.
John Beilein: "First of all, we had a foul to give and we wanted to give it under ten. We probably gave it right at ten, but it is tough for the kids to know the clock. We were going to play very containing defense. They are very good at getting in the lanes. It is very hard to take a charge. We were certainly worried about #30 there in a pick and pop (Julius Randle). So we were containing and keeping them right in front of us and make them score over us. He was pretty deep. I think we were on him pretty good. He made a great shot."
Question: Caris (Levert) almost blocked it. Do you guys just tip your hat to them at that point and say nice play?
John Beilein: "Exactly. I would have been as upset…you guys have watched us all year. If somebody got to the rim on us on that, that would have been upsetting or it ends up being a foul called or a controversial call, we were going to say, they're a 33 or 34% shooting team. That Harrison has been shooting 50% the last couple of days, so we had upgraded him to what we call a three gap. Where you're really going to stay into him, even up to NBA range. I think he was beyond that."
Question: Every team has its own legacy, the thing you remember, what are you going to remember about this one?
John Beilein: "This is such a…and I mean it in a positive way. It was so maintenance free. There wasn't drama. It was just, ‘Coach, we're here to go to work.' That's what is really special about them. Our coaches were allowed to coach so much and we weren't chasing people around for any of the wrong reasons. They were so focused and so selfless. It was what I think coaches really get into coaching for, is to have the opportunity to coach a team like this."
Question: Talk about that stretch to start the second half where Jordan picks up the third and you have to stretch it out and get ten minutes from the other bigs and they did a great job of holding out.
John Beilein: "Yeah they did. That was a couple of rough things for Jordan, where it was sort of the wrong place, wrong time. He is such an anchor in there for us. We just hung in there, hung in there. They got away from us a little bit and that shows what these kids have done all year long. When things are going well, they were pretty good at playing through it and when people would make a run at them, ‘Okay, we're still good. We'll just play.' I think when they made that run, I don't think any of us were worried, we were going to come back, but it just wasn't enough."
Question: That was such a great game and your players left it all on the floor. Is it easier to take?
John Beilein: "Yeah. There are games that end right now and there is officiating controversial or there is some crazy thing that happened or your team just comes out and lays an egg. That didn't happen. It was well officiated. It was an exciting basketball game, much like our championship game last year. Did we turn out winning the game – no, but I think everybody walked around here saying, ‘College basketball is a wonderful and I loved watching these two teams play'."
Question: Kind of ironic that three point shooting is what got you? I mean they were banging you on the inside and then Harrison hit not just the last one, but four of them.
John Beilein: "(James) Young in the first half kept them in it and those four that Harrison hit…I mean he is a 34% guy, but they were really good at driving and that's how they got so many of the offensive rebounds. They drive, we help a little bit because their good. Their length…6'6" guards, that's what really screwed up our zone. A 6'6" guard able to see over everything. They were able to make a couple of good shots against the zone and make a good pass."
Question: Last year after the title game, you said the sun is going to come up on this program no matter who stays, goes or whatever. Did this year's team really are kind of have some staying power?
John Beilein: "I forgot about that. Yeah. It is the story of college basketball right now. With transfers, pro departures, there is always going to be change right now and you've got to accept it and you've got to move on and say, ‘Okay, what do we do now?' We just keep going. The sun will come up tomorrow. I'll have a cup of coffee, it won't taste as good as it might as tasted. As it tasted for these last few games. It will be…I'm really pleased with the program, the direction of the program to keep it going."
Question: Did this year prove to you that no matter what happens, you guys will be able to (make deep runs)…
John Beilein: "You've got to remember, we had some great luck this year in games. It can happen. It gives a lot of credence to having a good team that plays together. We had some talent now on this team that we know we had good players. Nik (Stauskas) had so many assists, and Glen (Robinson) and they gave so much to the team. Watch Mitch (McGary) on the bench just now, Jordan Morgan. It was so much about the team."
Question: The early years in the program were an NCAA bid was even celebrated, what does it say now that the Elite Eight is a little bit of a disappointment?
John Beilein: "I don't think it is a bit of a disappointment. I think it is…I think the only thing that would have disappointed us is if we did not make the NCAA tournament and we didn't compete. This is a tough time. So it is not to me. It may be to our fan base, but if you took a poll…I may be crazy, yeah they're disappointed we didn't get there. There not disappointed in this team."
Question: What did you say to the guy after the game?
John Beilein: "The big message was that as a coach, we all learned from these experiences too. We're always learning. We learn so much what a team can do if they have no agendas, gave their best. We had a lot of distractions. In today's world, you have a lot of distractions. We said, I want…remember what happened this year. Because coaches get to coach again, but players don't get to often play that much. Remember what happened, you're going to be a husband, you're going to be a leader, you're going to be a father. You're going to have the opportunity to reflect back on this team just like Big Terry Mills does on his '89 Championship team. He looks back on that team and knows that was special and this team is just as special just didn't get a couple more games."
Question: Change happens, but a lot of change could happen to you. Do you have a feeling for how many guys might….
John Beilein: "No. Like I said, if anybody asks them, it is the wrong place and time to do that. We'll address anything. This is an ever changing world of college basketball right now. We're going to pride ourselves on adapting to our future."
Question: What will you remember most from Jordan Morgan's five years here?
John Beilein: "I think these last three to four weeks that he has been such a mainstay for us. His graduation is going to be a special day and I look forward to it. I know Kathleen and I will look forward to watching him graduate. He is going to be so successful in whatever he does. It is just a wonderful story."
Question: Mitch just wanted to be in uniform so bad to be with the players on the bench together, did that speak to the whole team?
John Beilein: "Yeah I think that it is. That really sets the tone for who we've been. Here is someone who obviously has great talent. The cards haven't fallen his way this year with injury and here he says coach I want the uniform. Him getting up back and forth, I hope his back is alright with the way he was jumping up and down. We love that young man and he has been a huge part of this team."
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