We caught up with Zack Novak to discuss the upcoming season, the program that he left behind, Mitch McGary and most importantly a new t-shirt that hes selling this season.
Everyone wants to know about leadership. Who do you think captains this years team and do you think leadership should be a concern? I think many people are worried about the leadership because of what happened in the 09-10 season after the departures of CJ (Lee) and Dave (Merritt). This is a totally different situation, though. Coach B had only been in Ann Arbor for two seasons and the culture was nowhere near set in stone at that point. All of the players on the roster now only know one way to do things. The coaching staff has put a ton of emphasis on establishing what exactly it means to be a basketball player at the University of Michigan with their core values: Unity, Passion, Appreciation, Diligence and Integrity. I have no idea who will be named captain, but I do know that every returning player on this team knows the right way to do things. From the reports I get, the freshmen are extremely receptive to the culture around them and are buying in. Without being around the team every day, its impossible to throw out names, but Im not very concerned about it. The guys know the potential they have this year and I believe they will all be focused on the right things.
Mitch McGary has been described as a bigger version of you. Both coming from Chesterton, what do you see Mitch contributing this year? Whenever I think of Mitch McGary, I cant help but chuckle to myself. Ive known Mitch since he was about 9 years old playing up a year in Little League baseball. Im not sure everyone realizes that Mitch was actually a freshman on my high school team during my senior year because he took his prep year. That kid has grown so much not only as a basketball player, but as a person over the past five years. I joke with him a lot telling him he copied me because when he was younger he was not the madman he is today. I watch him play now and I do see a lot of myself in terms of intangible qualities. Thankfully for all of the fans (which I am now too), hes 611 with those qualities and not 64! Finally, we have a four man with some size. About time.
The other hot topic this season is playing with two posts. For all intents and purposes you were Michigans power forward for the last year. How do you see the four spot playing out this year with so many different styles of players and options, none of which are really a true stretch four like weve seen under Beilein. This is an interesting one. I think the team has a couple of great options here. With Trey being as good as he is, the coaches tooled with the offense to get him in more ball screen situations. That trend started with Darius and picked up even more last year. My freshman and sophomore years, we did not set hardly as many ball screens because our personnel didnt call for that. My point is that Coach B has shown his willingness and ability to tweak the offense in order to fit the tools at his disposal. I think you will definitely see two post line ups this year if for no other reason than the amount of depth that they suddenly find themselves with in the front court. We struggled on the glass at times in the past, but with two bigs that shouldnt be an issue any more. All of that being said, I wouldnt expect the 4 guard line up to be completely scrapped either. G Rob (Glenn Robinson III) is more than capable of playing the 4 and also a huge upgrade over yours truly on the glass. I get a kick out of everyone making a fuss about natural positions. In a 2 guard offense there are three positions, not five. We run 2 guard here in Holland and Im now at my natural position playing the 3 and I feel absolutely zero difference. Defensively, there are so many switching patterns that you end up guarding almost everyone else anyways. I even think Tim is versatile enough to play the 4 position in a pinch. I think he would have a much easier time guarding the opposing 4 men in the Big 10 than they would have guarding him.
Shooters. You, Stu and Evan were a significant chunk of the three point shooting attack last year, will this team have a deficiency of shooting options? This is a two part answer. First, I dont think there will be any deficiency at all. Trey is an underrated shooter in my opinion. He has to take a lot of very tough shots from the deep and converts them at a pretty good rate. When hes open its usually in. I think T-Hard (Tim) will also get his stroke back this year. He has diversified his game much more now to the point where he isnt going to be forced to take some of the tough 3s he has in the past to get his shots in the offense. Shooting open shots equals better efficiency. Nik seems to be a huge option, but I know it is very hard to come in and shoot with high efficiency as a freshman (see Jon Diebler) because of the quality of the defense compared to high school and the wear and tear the body takes. With the exception of a little slump last year, Matt Vogrich (Matty Ice) has shown the ability to hit shots throughout his career. The team has a number of options for people that can hit the three. The second part of this answer is with the weapons this team has I dont think they will have to be nearly as reliant on the 3 point shot as our teams were. Stu and I came in with a mindset that we were 3 point shooters. Over our careers, we were able to develop to the point where we were comfortable putting the ball on the deck and scoring off the move, but at the end of the day I think both of us would agree that if we needed a big bucket we would want to get some daylight to get a 3 off. That means we almost always had two guys on the floor that were primarily shooters. With this team, they have guys who are more than capable shooters, but that isnt necessarily the first shot they look for within in their game. The ironic thing is, having so many guys that can put the ball on the deck and get in the lane will open up the 3 point line more I think. Remember, shooting open shots equals better efficiency, so I dont think they will have issues there.
Name a surprise player on this years team and why. With all of the coverage on the team is it even possible to have a surprise player? I feel like everyone knows what time those guys go to the bathroom. If I had to pick one though I would have to go with my man Spike. Funny story here. Ive been good friends with some Crown Point guys, including Spikes brother Steve, since I was about ten. In the spring term after my junior year, I was over their way staying with another buddy. I went to an open gym and was unable to play because I had a little injury. Spike was playing that day and I remember thinking to myself, What is the difference between a guy like Spike with no offers and other people Ive played against in college that I swear are no better than he is. About 8 months later, that same buddy I was staying with called me and told me Michigan was recruiting Spike and the rest is history. Spike can hoop. I think hell have a great career.
How are things going in Holland? I saw that you dropped 32 points last week. Hows the season for your team and how are things going individually? Things are going well here in Holland. Our team is 3-2 in the league. Our coach patterns our offense off of Coach Bs 2 guard system, so it was a pretty easy transition on that front. Its different from college in the respect that my team needs me to score a little bit more and I cant play quite as physical without getting in foul trouble. On Sunday, I just had one of those days. Bacari told me all last season that one day he just felt like I was going to go off for 30. Unfortunately, it never happened at Michigan, but I think it was the day he was talking about. Im not sure if Ive ever been more on fire to start a game ever in my entire life. It was definitely a ton of fun and above all else we got the win. We play this upcoming Saturday against Rotterdam. On a side note, we played our second game against Leiden and as I was walking out of the gym I saw a Jevohn Shepherd (aka the Chief) hanging up on a huge poster. It was nice to see a familiar face.
This interview was posted on http://www.umhoops.com/ By Dylan Burkhardt | 2012-2013 Season | Posted on October 31, 2012 at 2:55 pm
Netherlands outgun Great Britain in Manchester - 4 hours ago
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Great Britain - Netherlands 71:83 Netherlands opened their test series versus Great Britain with victory. Five players scored in double digits for the Dutch team as they rolled to a comfortable victory. Worthy de Jong (194-SG-88) led the effort with 15 points. Netherlands got to a strong start to the game. The Dutch side grabbed a 29:22 lead after the opening quarter. Netherlands stretched the lead at 32-point mark at the interval 56:24. Great Britain picked up the tempo after the long... [read more]
Great Britain - Netherlands 71:83
Netherlands opened their test series versus Great Britain with victory. Five players scored in double digits for the Dutch team as they rolled to a comfortable victory. Worthy de Jong (194-SG-88) led the effort with 15 points. Netherlands got to a strong start to the game. The Dutch side grabbed a 29:22 lead after the opening quarter. Netherlands stretched the lead at 32-point mark at the interval 56:24. Great Britain picked up the tempo after the long break. They pulled closer in the second half but could not avoid the defeat. Yannick Franke (194-G-96) produced 14 points, while Thomas Koenis (210-C-89, agency: Court Side) and Arvin Slagter (191-G-85, agency: Court Side) finished with 13 points each for the Dutch side. Gabriel Olaseni (211-C-91, college: Iowa, agency: Pensack Sports) and Kyle Johnson (195-G-88, college: LIU Brooklyn, agency: Two Points) responded with 13 points each for Great Britain.
Weert keeps van Vugt for another season - 4 hours ago
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Maxxcom BS Weert (Eredivisie) re-signed 25-year old guard Jeroen van Vugt (193-91). He played there last season. In 26 Eredivisie games he recorded 7.5ppg, 2.9rpg and 2.2apg. The previous (14-15) season van Vugt played at Black Eagles (Prom.Divisie). Among other achievements his team made it to the Eredivisie Semifinals in 2011. van Vugt received also Eurobasket.com All-European Championships U18 Division B 3rd Team award back in 2009. He represented Holland at the European Championships... [read more]
Maxxcom BS Weert (Eredivisie) re-signed 25-year old guard Jeroen van Vugt (193-91). He played there last season. In 26 Eredivisie games he recorded 7.5ppg, 2.9rpg and 2.2apg. The previous (14-15) season van Vugt played at Black Eagles (Prom.Divisie). Among other achievements his team made it to the Eredivisie Semifinals in 2011. van Vugt received also Eurobasket.com All-European Championships U18 Division B 3rd Team award back in 2009. He represented Holland at the European Championships U20 Division B in Sarajevo (Bosnia) five years ago. His stats at that event were 8 games: 10.8ppg, 2.8rpg, 1.6apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 47.6%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 75.0%. van Vugt has played previously for two other teams: Dukes Unlimited Den Bosch and M.Magixx. The scouts decsribe him following way:
Real shooting Guard with great 3pt Range. Got stronger and is a good defender. Just need a chance to play in a System where they use him well.
Maxxcom BS Weert (Eredivisie) inked 23-year old point guard Kasper Averink (183-93). He has played for the last five years at Zorg and Zekerheid Leiden (Eredivisie). In 20 games he averaged 4.0ppg, 1.7rpg and 1.4apg last season. Averink helped them to end the regular season as a second best team in the league. They also advanced to the league semifinals. Averink also played 6 games in FIBA Europe Cup where he had just 1.3ppg, 2.5rpg and 1.3apg. The previous (14-15) season Averink played a... [read more]
Maxxcom BS Weert (Eredivisie) inked 23-year old point guard Kasper Averink (183-93). He has played for the last five years at Zorg and Zekerheid Leiden (Eredivisie). In 20 games he averaged 4.0ppg, 1.7rpg and 1.4apg last season. Averink helped them to end the regular season as a second best team in the league. They also advanced to the league semifinals. Averink also played 6 games in FIBA Europe Cup where he had just 1.3ppg, 2.5rpg and 1.3apg. The previous (14-15) season Averink played also at Leiden. In 21 Eredivisie games he recorded 3.4ppg, 1.3rpg and 1.5apg. He contributed in the Supercup final. He won Dutch Eredivisie championship title in 2013. Averink represented Holland at the European Championships U20 Division B in Pitesti (Romania) three years ago. His stats at that event were 8 games: 3.0ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.4spg. Averink has played previously professionally also in Slovakia (Prievidza).
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