Beilein coaxes strong effort out of Dawkins

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Ann Arbor — A couple hours before tip-off Saturday night, Michigan coach John Beilein summoned Aubrey Dawkins for a little impromptu film session.

Beilein didn’t think Dawkins was hustling on the fast break, at least not like he was capable of.

“He is lazy getting out of the box,” Beilein said. “He thinks you win the race at the end. Your first three steps, you win the race.”

Dawkins got the message, and hustled into prime position for several crowd-pleasing dunks — and 19 points in all during Michigan’s 105-46 victory over Youngstown State at Crisler Center.

“Yes, I tried to really go my hardest. To use a sprinter’s analogy, try to get out of the blocks as fast as I can,” Dawkins said.

“Coach is a smart guy,” he said, with a laugh.

It’s easy to show a player some film and tell him how to fix a problem.

It’s not always so easy to make the adjustment. But with effort, you can always make the adjustment — and Beilein was proud that Dawkins, a big part of last year’s squad who’s trying to be this year, too, did just that.

“There’s a lot of, ‘Yeah, I got that, Coach,’ and then you go back to old habits,” Beilein said. “I call it application. We’re sort of giving you the application, now you have to actually do it.

“Once you apply it, you can be a better player.”

Triple-double talk

Caris LeVert got a triple-double Tuesday, and Derrick Walton Jr. dit it on Saturday.

So, the obvious question is: Who’s next?

Everybody asked following Saturday’s win had the same answer: Zak Irvin.

“Zak Irvin, my guy,” Dawkins said. “He’s been playing really good basketball. He has all the talent to make it happen. That’d be something special. No pressure.”

Said Walton: “We were talking about that. I think Zak is a really good candidate. He’s seeing the floor really well. ... If I had to guess, I think Caris would probably get another one, and then Zak would definitely get one.”

Even Beilein said Irvin is the best candidate. Of course, many Wolverines are limited, because they either aren’t threats to have many assists, or many rebounds.

Irvin not yet in groove

Speaking of Irvin, he had eight points in the victory, but he really hasn’t exploded offensively this year.

He’s still not sharp — especially from the outside — following back surgery before the season. He was 0-for-3 on 3-pointers and is just 7-for-41 for the season. Many of them are way off the mark.

Beilein isn’t concerned, though.

Just making one might be enough to get him going.

“It’s like a golfer who all of a sudden isn’t making the putts,” Beilein said. “It can grow on you a little bit.”

Slam dunks

Michigan’s reserves, late in the second half, forced a shot-clock violation on defense, and Beilein jumped out of his chair — then was beside himself that the guys on the bench, mostly starters, weren’t off their feet.

He didn’t like to see that.

“We’ve gotta embrace that more,” Beilein said. “We need to all stand up.”

... Dawkins on Walton finding him for his dunks today: “Open gym spring and summer, all the time, he’s gonna find me. Anytime I have a chance to make a highlight dunk, he’s gonna find me.”

... LeVert, on the balanced scoring attack the last three games: “It’s huge. You know we’re not always going to win by 50 points. We’ve gotta have everybody engaged, everybody’s confidence is really high.”