The expectations among fans were sky high for redshirt freshman Laval Lucas-Perry when he hit the floor Saturday versus Oakland. Amidst all of that excitement, though, his coaches warned against anticipating too much too soon. The Flint native blew up that reserved forecast by nailing four triples en route to a 14 point debut. He followed that up with a two-triple, ten point performance against Florida Gulf Coast Monday evening. It’s quicker start than Beilein & company may have anticipated, but they still insist that his becoming fully acclimated is still going to be a process.
“I was telling one of the other assistants that (Oakland) was a perfect game for him to start because we were playing against a zone team where he didn’t have to go through all the normal reads that all of our kids had to go through early on with the offense,” explained Michigan assistant Mike Jackson. “He is going to have to start doing that in future games, but just for him to get his feet wet and step into some jump-shots was great for him and it was great to see him knock them down.”
For Lucas-Perry it was just business as usual.
“I think I shot the ball like I’ve always been shooting,” said the Wolverines’ newest weapon. “I’m a good shooter and I think my teammates got me open and I took what the defense gave me.”
Lucas-Perry was actually one of the more efficient shooters in Monday’s victory and helped keep his team focused and confident.
“We had to get in our flow and get in our half court game (against FGCU), because they were pressuring more than Oakland… Oakland played a zone,” Lucas-Perry said. “I think we meshed well with that. I thought we had some good looks, but unfortunately they didn’t go in. Again, we locked down the defensive end, but we still had some mental lapses. Sometimes we don’t hit open shots and sometimes we got to do something else that has got to work. Like drive to the basket, play defense and get steals. I think that’s what we did (to get the victory).”
It’s reasonable to believe that Lucas-Perry will have peaks and valleys in his offensive output in the coming weeks, but throughout it all a few things that will remain consistent are his toughness and leadership. Those are traits his team has seen him display for well over a year. Now that he is a part of the regular rotation he is intent on carrying his intangible strengths from practices over to games.
“Now I’m more in the lineup, so I’m not on the scout team at all now,” he said. “My job was to be the best player on the opponent’s team and make the other guys work on defensive and offense. (Playing in the offense now) is like the first time. It’s a good experience, because I get a different look at it and so I’m learning on it. It’s going good. Coach Beilein told me to take it one game at a time. It’s one game at a time and I’m taking it one game at a time, but it’s a process. I think I’m meshing well with the team and he’s building me into the rotation and teaching me new stuff and telling me to talk more – a leadership role.”