There weren’t a lot of positives to take away from the 2022-23 season for Michigan men’s basketball, but Will Tschetter was certainly one of them.
He saw his playing time increase as the year went along, starting as a role player who did a lot of dirty work and eventually earning a starting spot. While 10.7 minutes per game on average doesn’t exactly jump off the page, Michigan fans who watched the games know how important of a player he was, especially in Big Ten play.
When asked to self-critique his game and what he felt the best about last season, Tschetter said on a recent episode of the Defend The Block podcast he felt a lot more comfortable as the year progressed, embracing a key role as an energy boost for the team.
“I think I gained a lot of confidence over the year,” Tschetter said. “Learning experiences, being able to know where I fit in, know how I can help the team, whether it’s coming off the bench, getting offensive rebounds, stuff like that. I don’t know necessarily where I thought I would be this year with what my role was, but I would say stepping into the role I had, I did the best I could.”
In terms of individual areas for improvement, Tschetter wants to get better with the ball in his hands.
“Got to improve ball handling, being able to handle the ball under pressure, (I’ve) already been working on that the last couple of weeks” he said. “My three-pointer obviously, I only shot 25%, I’m a better shooter than that, need to regain my confidence in that aspect. My defensive rebounding needs to be a little better, making sure I close out possessions.”
When watching games last season, Tschetter did get pushed around by bigger frontcourts like Michigan State’s. After a short break this offseason, he has been working to put on more muscle, lifting 3-4 times per week with the team and trying to personally get in the gym twice a day, six days per week.
“Just overall, looking like (putting on) probably 10 more pounds this offseason,” Tschetter said. “Physically developing more to be ready to become ready for next year.”
Tschetter also said he’ll be working a lot this offseason with Jon Sanderson, the legendary Michigan trainer. The Minnesota native has already gotten a lot stronger since high school but if he can undergo a Nik Stauskas-esque body transformation, he certainly won’t get pushed around as much by Big Ten opponents.
“People talk about how great he is, but really what it comes down to is how much time and effort you're willing to go up there and invest in getting bigger, faster, stronger,” Tschetter said. “From high school to now, I’ve definitely seen a development in how my body is built, how much stronger I am. It’s super cool to see the progress that’s been made in the weight room.”
Becoming a leader and improving as a team
This will be Tschetter’s third season at Michigan, as he redshirted his freshman season and played a key role off the bench before eventually becoming the starting power forward.
When asked about developing as a leader with a couple years under his belt, Tschetter said he wants to be more vocal. It’s been a roller coaster ride the last two years for this group, and he says it’s important to learn from both the highs and the lows.
“Now, it’s kind of a transition from leading by example to being what people call a servant leader,” Tschetter said. “Helping other people out and living through how you want things in your own sense to be brought out in others — I’ve been through highs, I’ve been through lows. I’ve seen what it takes to win, and obviously some things we got to correct. (We got to) make sure we learn from our mistakes. We’ve been taking the mentality that you win or you learn, and we really got to learn.”
Much like the rest of the team, Tschetter was disappointed to not make the tournament this past year, saying this team holding each other accountable and focusing on improvement.
“Personally, my goal coming here was playing in the NCAA Tournament every year. Not making it really hurts,” Tschetter said. “Program-wide, you see dudes are super frustrated. A lot of guys took a look in the mirror and said ‘what can I do better? how can I make the team better?’ We’ve definitely had those conversations, one-on-one and in team group chat settings of what we can do to turn the ship around and make it into a super successful season next year.”
There seems to be a sense of optimism within the program that it can improve next season, since they can learn from their mistakes last season. With another year of players like Tschetter, Dug McDaniel and Tarris Reed Jr., as well as a solid transfer portal class, there is a potential it doesn’t take long to turn this thing around.