The Modest Five? Michigan's freshmen far from boastful, they just want to fit in
ANN ARBOR -- For months, they were talked about.
Mitch McGary was said to be the Michigan basketball program's best big man prospect since Chris Webber.
Glenn Robinson III, a five-star freshman with an NBA pedigree, was labeled as a player who could instantly be the team's best athlete at both ends of the floor.
Nik Stauskas? Well, he was the perfect fit for John Beilein. A player with length who could shoot, pass and dribble -- an offensive weapon from the get-go.
Together with Caris LeVert and Spike Albrecht, Michigan's five freshmen are supposed to help give Beilein the most talented roster he's ever had in his nearly 35 years of head coaching experience.
But right now, the Wolverines' rookies are anything but boastful, nowhere near cocky and far from brash.
This five doesn't want to take over, it just wants to fit in.
"We just want to fit in," Robinson told reporters Wednesday during the team's annual media day. "Just be ourselves, and do what we've done all along.
"We came in with the right mindset that we want to get better, and we want to blend in with the team."
From an interest perspective, the five freshmen were the main attraction Wednesday.
After the group was done with a photo shoot inside the new William Davidson Player Development Center, Michigan's rookies were swarmed by cameras and microphones with questions about how they intended to live up to the hype surrounding their class.
Were they as good as advertised? Could they make an impact right off the bat? Would McGary and Robinson push for starting jobs immediately? Is this the best class the program has had in more than a decade?
"I'm not sure," McGary said with a straight face. "I'm not shooting down any expectations, I'm just going to work hard every day and do as much as I can for the team."
"People shoot out such high expectations. But we're just going to take it one step at a time. ... We just play ball."
When Michigan's freshmen arrived on campus in June, stories quickly surfaced that in early scrimmages, the five rookies were able to take a group of veterans -- including Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. -- to task in a pickup game.
There were stories about Robinson's standing vertical of nearly 12 feet. Players also witnessed Stauskas bury 78 3-pointers in five minutes during a drill. McGary? Well his 6-foot-10, 260-pound frame does enough talking on its own.
But these guys say they aren't here to brag. They're here to play, to fit in and to help Michigan win basketball games.
"Fitting in came natural," Stauskas said. "We've got a lot of great people on this team, and I think that's something coach Beilein looks at when he recruits. He's not just recruiting good basketball players, but good people.
"We've stayed humble, we're willing to work and that's going to work out for us in the long run."
Asked earlier in the day if he needed to temper the expectations of his incoming class due to the amount of hype they've been surrounded with for months, Beilein said no.
He doesn't need his five freshmen to enter the program and change the culture. The culture's already there.
They just need to work within it.
"All we want them to do is follow our expectations," Beilein said. "Be a team player, work really hard, work in the classroom. There's nothing to temper. What they need to do is follow along with what we want them to do, and it all seems to work out.
"They have done nothing (but) that. They're looking around saying 'what did Matt Vogrich do, what did Trey do, how does Tim do this?' And then they follow along. That's the expectation. If they do those things, all the other expectations will probably take care of itself."
The Michigan basketball program's had famous freshmen before. They were loud, they were confident, they were good -- revolutionary, in fact.
This group? They're not trying to start a revolution.
They're just trying to win.
"There's less egos, there's less drama," Stauskas said. "You've got to go out, you've got to play and you've got to win games. That's all this is.
"The media has hyped us up, but we're just trying to work hard. We're trying to win games. That's our goal."