Tim Hardaway Jr. not freaking out about his shooting slump, says maturity will pull him through
ANN ARBOR -- If this was last season, Tim Hardaway Jr. might be on the verge of freaking out.
The Michigan junior guard was 3 of 13 from the floor earlier this week and is now shooting just 33 percent (20 of 60) over the team's past four outings.
He's in a slump.
But, thankfully for him, this isn't last season. And Hardaway, who says he's a year older and a year wiser, claims to know exactly what to do about it.
"I know what's happening right now, and I know how to control it," said Hardaway, whose third-ranked Wolverines will take on West Virginia on Saturday in Brooklyn, N.Y. "I know how to take care of it.
"I'm just going to get in the gym, get extra shots up and get extra reps."
When Hardaway went through a massive shooting slump last season, he seemed anything but even-keeled when it came to answering questions about why he was struggling.
He often said he wasn't sure. He didn't really want to talk about it. He was frustrated.
This season, Michigan has options. Glenn Robinson III and Nik Stauskas can almost always pick up the slack if Hardaway is struggling, And Trey Burke's still pretty good, too.
"It's easier now," he said. "There are a lot more guys that are capable of making shots.
"I still have those moments (wondering) 'why that shot didn't go in,' but you have to move to the next play and do a better job of focusing on that next play, whether it's on defense or offense."
Options and confidence aside, Hardaway is very much entrenched in another shooting skid -- especially from downtown. Hardaway is shooting just 21.6 percent from 3-point range over his past seven outings, and is down to 33.3 percent for the season.
Last year, Hardaway was woeful from the outside, hitting at 28.3 percent on the year.
When he's shooting rushed, quick, ill-advised shots -- he's in trouble. When he's in rhythm, he's usually just fine.
Michigan coach John Beilein said Hardaway was "on fire" over the past week at practice, and expects this skid to come to an end sooner, rather than later. But at the same time, he says Hardaway's high-level of emotional play and intensity will always be something the 6-foot-6 guard has to work through.
Beilein isn't crippling him with shooting tips, he's just supporting him and allowing him to work through it.
"I don't know if I have a trained eye for it or I just know him," Beilein said. "But I know when that shot is missing by inches, or is just way off.
"He's ready to play."
Michigan may have more options outside of Hardaway this season, but make no mistake, the Wolverines absolutely need him to be at his best if they have any plans on reaching their potential.
Hardaway proved what he's capable of during an MVP performance at the Preseason NIT earlier this year, and teammates say they'll do anything they can to make sure that player reappears again soon.
"We have to just keep getting him the ball and keep feeding him," Burke said. "Sometimes he gets down on himself, but we tell him to keep his head up and keep shooting.
"He knows what he can do and we all know what he can do."
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