It’s been a roller coaster of a week for the Michigan Wolverines men’s basketball team. After losing at home to a bad MAC team in CMU, they had their most dominant performance of the year against Maryland, thrasing the Terrapins by 35 points.
After the CMU loss, freshman point guard Dug McDaniel spoke about a players-only meeting the team had after practice. From what we saw in that win, there seemed to be a complete shift in energy and effort since that meeting.
“It’s deeper than basketball, we had to figure out stuff within ourselves,” McDaniel said. “We had a team meeting and got everything off our chest, just let everybody know where our heads at, how we feel. That was very important — and it shows today everybody was on the same accord for 40 straight minutes, and I feel like we got a good feeling going forward.”
McDaniel mentioned no one really called the meeting, saying, “we all just felt like something was off, and we all just felt like we needed to talk.”
Head coach Juwan Howard said he ultimately did find out about the meeting after Terrance Williams II said he was going to be a little late for a private film session. He was happy the team took matters into their own hands and expressed their concerns openly.
“It was great to hear that guys were doing it and it was player-driven, not coach-driven,” Howard said. “It’s nice to see the maturity of guys, trying to find solutions within. As a former player who’s now coaching who’s been apart of those team meetings, some of those meetings can be some BS cause guys are afraid to speak up and say real things to one another. From what I was told, guys were honest and real, and that right there has a response and a carry-over, and we saw the carryover today.”
There was a little extra motivation in this game for all three of the players made available for postgame quotes (McDaniel, Williams II and Hunter Dickinson).
“We’re all from the DMV, Maryland didn’t recruit all of us,” Williams II said. “It’s just fun playing with these guys, these are my brothers, I’ve known them since we were younger. Just coming out here and doing that to Maryland feels good.”
“Maryland fans would probably think that this is all I live for,” Dickinson said, following his dominant 32-point, 12-rebound performance. “To be fair, it did lose a little bit of juice with the changes and everything. But Maryland is still the hometown team, it was like two miles away from my high school, so it still has some, but it does lose a little bit of juice.”
Dickinson had one of his best games of the season in that win, and he was thrilled with the way the team was sharing the ball and firing on all cylinders offensively.
“When it gets in to me, I’m very unselfish,” Dickinson said. “I enjoy my teammates’ success. These two know i’m going to pass it out to them if I get doubled. So I think that balance of inside-out is something we have. When it’s clicking like that, we’re a really hard team to guard.”
Dickinson (20) also passed his head coach in career double-doubles in this victory. Howard had some praise for Dickinson, speaking on how the big man works incredibly hard while also being a team-first player.
“It’s beautiful to hear that,” Howard said. “Hunter getting the opportunity to continue to do really good things out there on the floor, team-wise and also individually. With the work he’s put in, I’m not surprised — I said it to him, continue to break records, but make sure you do it with a victory.”