Michigan basketball made the national championship without 5-star talent by ‘chopping wood’

SAN ANTONIO — It started with a book. As Michigan players were first gathering to begin the season, new assistant coach Luke Yaklich handed out some reading material. “Chop Wood Carry Water: How to Fall in Love with the Process of Becoming Great,” released by author Joshua Medcalf in 2015, was his choice.

The book chronicles a boy’s life long goal of becoming a samurai warrior, with his greatest challenge being “defeating the man in the mirror”. The words have stuck with Michigan all the way to the national championship game.

The Wolverines found themselves down 10 to Loyola-Chicago at the Final Four with under 14 minutes left. Michigan’s offense had shot just 29 percent in the first half, tied down by 2-of-13 shooting from three-point range. What did Michigan have to do to stake its furious comeback?

“Keep chopping wood,” point guard Zavier Simpson said after the game. “Take it one possession at a time.”

Simpson is a man of few words with a microphone in front of him, but it feels like there’s wisdom in his brevity. Michigan’s 69-57 victory puts the program in the national title game for the second time in six years. But unlike the 2013 team which featured an overwhelming amount of talent, these Wolverines win with gritty defense, tough

Article source: https://www.sbnation.com/college-basketball/2018/4/1/17185062/michigan-basketball-national-championship-final-four-loyola-chicago-villanova

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