Hunter Dickinson had the performance of a lifetime last night, scoring 33 points and adding nine rebounds in a monster performance over Michigan State.
The win was no doubt needed and well appreciated by the Michigan fan base. Interim head coach Phil Martelli took to the podium to discuss Michigan’s 87-70 win.
“When I walked up today at 4:30, up the tunnel, and I saw the players’ eyes, I was like ‘We’re good, we’re good.’ because I wholeheartedly believe if you want to know what somebody feels, look them dead in the eye, and that’s what I did,” Martelli said. “So when I took their pulse, game on, game on. I’m not going to have to convince them or we’re not going to need a hyper crowd to lift these guys. So tribute to them.”
Leading an entire team on an interim basis is no one-man job, so Martelli went on to effusively praise Michigan’s assistant coaches.
On the offensive gameplay, Martelli stated, “Howard Eisley called a flawless offensive game. The calls were his.”
Martelli also spoke about Howard Eisley, saying his, “offensive game calling was — if there was a quarterback rating and the highest rating ever was Brady — I’m supposed to say that, right? Because at Michigan, he probably has the highest rating. Howard Eisley, he pitched a perfect game.”
Martelli spoke about Dickinson’s impact — the angles he took toward the rim and his effort on defense. He even said if basketball doesn’t work out for Dickinson, he would be a great villain in the WWE.
He also gave some praise to freshman point guard Frankie Collins.
“I would say what I really appreciate is probably before we all leave here tonight, Frankie will be in the PDC working on his foul shot because a point guard can’t go 0-for-2 right? And Frankie, to go up another notch, has to become a better practice player,” Martelli said. “He’s getting there, right? He’s that proverbial 1%. But maybe tomorrow we’re going to tweak him and ask him to be 5% better in practice. Keep going, because as you look around the program, he’s going to have the ball. In this game next year he has to Frankie-plus-plus.”
Lastly, Martelli touched on Caleb Houstan’s improved defensive performance. In one of the best sound bytes of the night, Martelli stated, “I just think like all these kids, he’s a beautiful, beautiful human being. And to see him chop himself up in November, December, part of January — so he’s not the seventh player in the NBA Draft, does that mean he failed? Bless us, no. He’s a kid. He should be a high school senior. But again there’s bounce in his step, and thanks for pointing out that his feet have improved.”
Michigan takes on Iowa in the home finale on Thursday at 9 p.m.