The John Beilein era of intercollegiate basketball at Michigan began quietly.
Although the Wolverines’ first official game isn’t until tomorrow, an exhibition against Ferris State, they had a closed scrimmage Saturday with Kent State in Kent, Ohio.
Beilein brings closed preseason scrimmages to Michigan from West Virginia, where he also used the tactic. It’s the current Wolverines’ first experience with closed scrimmages – former Michigan coach Tommy Amaker didn’t hold them.
The two teams played two 25-minute halves, which included stoppages where media timeouts would be in a regular game. They then went through four-to-five game scenarios, such as playing a one-point game with 10 seconds remaining. A 10-minute session for end-of-the-bench players closed the day.
Nearly everyone played for Michigan, including sophomore Ekpe Udoh, who sat out of Thursday’s practice with a leg injury. Beilein said at the time the move was precautionary so Udoh could play in Saturday’s scrimmage.
Results of the scrimmage weren’t released.
The chance to play another team seems to be something the Wolverines, who are learning new schemes to mixed results, really needed.
Freshman guard Kelvin Grady and Beilein both singled out sophomore DeShawn Sims as the player who has been best picking up the new system of 3-pointers, backdoor passes and zone defense.
Sims has even shown up Beilein with his knowledge. He and Beilein disagreed about a read in practice last week. Beilein said he checked the film, saw Sims was right and now owes the forward five push-ups.
Grady also admitted he’s one of the players who hasn’t picked things up as quickly.
Although there’s no playbook, Grady said every drill in practice is part of the offense, so by working hard in practice, he should catch up with the pack.
Beilein, who has been coaching for more than 30 years, said that it has been challenging to teach 14 players his system rather than just the two to three freshman he normally has to educate.
“What’s frustrating is 32 years of a guy catching the ball with one hand and it going out of bounds, and you yell at him,” Beilein said. “And you’re not really yelling at him, you’re yelling at 32 years of watching somebody do that.”