'Fear of failure' gone for UM's Dakich
Ann Arbor -- When Andrew Dakich had to burn his redshirt last season because of injuries, his first games were in the Big Ten season, including one against Michigan State at Breslin Center.
This season, his debut was against Delaware State at Crisler Center.
That's an easier entrance, to be sure.
"Last year, I literally peed down my leg every single game," Dakich said, to laugher from reporters following Michigan's 80-33 victory Saturday. "The fear of failure is not there anymore. Last year, I was scared of my own shadow, to be honest. It was kind of evident to a lot of people.
"I had a blast out there today, and I didn't really have a blast last year."
Dakich, the junior guard, agreed this week to give up his redshirt when it was clear Spike Albrecht (hip surgeries) was going to be lost for the rest of the season.
It wasn't that tough of a decision, he said.
"I don't wanna redshirt," he said. "I just thought it was gonna give me (an extra) year to have to go play somewhere else or play here.
"At the same time, this is kind of a dream. I've always tried to play in the Big Ten."
Dakich entered the game at the 13:14 mark of the first half, and had his first points of the season a little over a minute later when he passed up an open look at 3 to drive the basket for an easy layup.
The crowd, not a big one by any means, gave him a hearty ovation.
He added a layup in the second half, but missed his one 3-point attempt. It was so deep, he even muttered "bank" to himself. It ricocheted off the backboard.
"I wasn't gonna leave it short," he said, smiling.
Dakich wasn't happy with his two turnovers; coach John Beilein chalked those up to perhaps trying to do too much in his first game since last March.
With the Wolverines banged up -- there's no sign of Derrick Walton Jr. (ankle) returning anytime soon -- Caris LeVert is the lead guard, followed by Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman.
Dakich is next up after that. He played 20 minutes Saturday, and added three assists.
"I'm just telling you, he doesn't look the part, but he sees the floor and he's got a lot of Spike in him," Beilein said. "I've got a lot of confidence in him right now. ... There's the times he's got that 'it.'"
"He doesn't shoot it like Spike, but he can shoot it. It's as good as we can do right now."
There was a change in the starting lineup.
Duncan Robinson was in, and Aubrey Dawkins was out.
"We feel right now, the floor defensively and offensively is better as a starter for Duncan. Get him in there and let him go, and get more scorers out there," Beilein said. "There's just a different flow right now with him. It makes other guys better."
Robinson had four assists, and Dawkins, off the bench, had three.
Dawkins thrived in the absence of several starters last season. Beilein hopes maybe a step back could do him some good.
"Right now, it would be really good to get him used to this shooter-off-the-bench, rebounder-off-the-bench, energy-guy-off-the-bench," Beilein said. "It doesn't mean he can't get back on that starting lineup."
Kameron Chatman had his best game of the season, with 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting.
He also had a block, three assists and no turnovers.
"He made shots, but I don't want that to be the indicator whether Kam plays or not," Beilein said. "Can he guard his man? Can he guard action? And can he rebound, get on the floor for a ball.
"That (10 points) is just gravy. His primary role is to guard the heck out of somebody and rebound."
Chatman had three rebounds in the victory.
D.J. Wilson missed the game with a sprained right ankle suffered in practice Friday. He was wearing a walking boot, and there's some swelling.
Beilein seemed to start to say Wilson would be out "a while," but quickly cut himself off and said, "Maybe a week or two. I have no idea."
... Assistant coach LaVall Jordan this week went to Beilein with film to show how many opportunities Michigan passes up on the inside. Going inside was a focus Saturday, and it yielded impressive results, with 36 points in the paint and 10 points for Ricky Doyle.
"We're learning to look at them," Beilein said of the big men. "But they've gotta make them for us to trust them, as well."