ANN ARBOR — Michigan head coach John Beilein was asked Monday what it meant for his team to sweep the Big Ten’s weekly awards.
Beilein paused, turned to his left looking for an assist from his sports information director.
“Player of the Week was Jordan Poole,” Tom Wywrot informed him. “Iggy (Brazdeikis) was Freshman of the Week.”
“That’s what it means to me, right there,” Beilein said. “I won’t even tell the players.”
Beilein conceded that Poole, who averaged 19.5 points in wins over North Carolina on Wednesday and Purdue on Saturday, and Brazdeikis (18-point average) performed well last week.
Poole made five 3s and grabbed five rebounds in each of the games. His defense has been praised as well. “I’m watching this kid grow exponentially right in front of my eyes as far as what’s important (to winning),” Beilein said.
Brazdeikis shot 65 percent from the field in the two games, including 4-of-7 from 3. The freshman has now made two threes in each of his past three games after making three total in his first five games.
Beilein said Brazdeikis became so effective at driving to the hoop that he forgot about his outside shot. “And so he just had to take a step back and say, ‘Wait a minute, I can shoot. I have to look to shoot as often as I look to drive.'”
Last season, despite winning a program-record 33 games, capturing the Big Ten Tournament title, and advancing to the national championship game, Michigan did not win any individual weekly honors from the conference. Before Monday, the last Wolverine to win Player of the Year was Derrick Walton Jr. on March 6, 2017. The program’s last Freshman of the Week came four seasons ago, when Aubrey Dawkins claimed the award on March 9, 2015.
“I don’t care and neither do they,” Beilein said about the latest honors. “But they had a good week, and it was a great week between two sellouts, really loud crowds, played two really great teams.”