Michigan head coach John Beilein isn't usually in a laughing mood. The winningest coach in Michigan history is normally all business. However, after last week's scare on the runway, Beilein has a new appreciation for life and he's making sure his players know it.
"He's the head dog of this entire program so to see him laughing and joking lightens the mood around here," said senior point guard Derrick Walton Jr.
Beilein cracked a few jokes and spent much of his media session smiling and enjoying the moment--something he often tells his team to do but he usually doesn't follow his own advice. "I'm one of those typical coaches who doesn't stop to smell the roses enough, does not appreciate the day," Beilein said. "It's like that big, heavy doctor that tells you that you need to lose weight. That's me," he said with a laugh.
Walton says the team often takes after their leader. "We get our strength from him and he gets his strength from us. I think it's cool that he's smiling a lot more and having more fun. It's the kind of thing we've always envisioned and for it to be happening around this time is pretty special."
The light-hearted mood has spread through the team who spent a good part of their open practice joking with each other and laughing.
After all they've been through this season, the Wolverines are determined to enjoy their time in the NCAA tournament and, hopefully, stick around awhile and have some laughs.
The team's senior starters, Zak Irvin and Walton Jr., are preaching focus and execution this week because they don't want their college careers to end just yet.