For Michigan basketball fans that came to last night’s exhibition game against Ferris State hoping to learn John Beilein basketball didn’t have to wait very long.
On the first possession, Michigan forward DeShawn Sims hit a 3-pointer from the right wing.
Sims made just one last season.
He started the second half in the same way, knocking down a three for the first hoop of the period.
Forget making them.
Sims attempted seven threes all of last year. He finished last night with six tries – he made three.
“He’s shown us that he can really shoot the ball in practice, so he has a greener light than other people,” said Michigan coach John Beilein, whose teams are known to shoot frequently from behind the arc.
The Wolverines continued the long-range shooting all night, hitting 10 from downtown in the 78-40 win under the new lights at Crisler Arena.
In addition to some of the outside shooting, Beilein liked the team’s attitude.
“We ran on an off the court; the kids looked like they were playing as a team,” Beilein said. “They shared the ball.”
The Wolverines finished the game with 14 assists.
He cautioned, however, not to take too many positive things out of this first exhibition game.
Along with those assists came 19 turnovers – something natural for a young team in a new system. But even that was an improvement upon last week’s unofficial scrimmage against Kent State. Beilein joked his players did a better job of throwing passes to Michigan players last night instead of the opponent.
“I could stop the tape and make five different remarks on every single play,” Beilein said. “So, that’s the way it’s going to be for awhile. . But we’re not that good at anything yet. And it’s going to take a long process.”
Part of that process has been working on the fundamentals of shooting – and maybe even more important – the confidence to shoot.
“When I got out of the shower this morning, I knew I was going to shoot that three because it’s a confidence that I have now in my shot,” said Sims about game’s first shot. “I worked enough on it, and (I’m) gonna keep working on it to get even better at it. I wasn’t surprised that I made it at all. I knew that it was going in.”
Sims’s three, two Coleman threes and a Zack Gibson putback off a missed three helped the Wolverines build an early 15-2 lead that they never relinquished.
About six minutes into the game, freshman Manny Harris came off the bench with four other subs and immediately made an impact by scoring Michigan’s first basket with a layup.
Harris led Michigan with 15 points, but his impact was felt all over the court. He provided energy off the bench, jumping the passing lane and grabbing rebounds in the key.
“He was flying all over the place,” Beilein said. “He has a chance to be a good player one day because of those qualities. … He wants to be a good player, and he’s willing to be coached.”
Harris was just one rebound shy of a double-double. He might have achieved that mark if not for a late-game injury.
With three minutes left in the game, Harris went down in front of the visitor’s coaching box. He lay on the floor for moment, not moving his leg as the entire arena went silent – more silent than the sparse crowd had been all night. Harris got off the floor under his own energy, sat on the bench with his teammates and walked the steps up to the locker room.
“I think that when he hit the floor pretty hard. It shook him up pretty good,” Beilein said. “We’re very hopeful.”
With one week until Michigan’s season opener against Radford next Friday night, Beilein set the schedule so his team would have enough time after last night’s game to prep for the first regular-season game.
“We’re not going to know the system all right now, but if you work hard, sometimes you can cover up for the little things,” junior Jerret Smith said.