The Michigan Daily-Thursday, September 6, 1979-Page 5C
BLUE EYES IMPROVED SEASON
By GEOFF LARCOM
The plan for Michigan's return to
Big Ten basketball supremacy was laid
out even before the 78-79 season began.
Early on coach Johnny Orr had
foreseen the possibility of a Big Ten
championship, along with a fighting
chance to grab national honors for his
And the players, fans, and most in-
terestingly, the usually pessimistic
writers, all agreed. Michigan would be
a contender. No problem. ,
Sure, why not? Phil Hubbard, a titan
his first two seasons, was back bigger
and stronger than ever following a
'season's respite to rest his surgically
repaired knee. In addition, Mike
McGee, who finished second in the Big
Ten scoring race in 77-78, looked ready
to blossom into a college superstar in
his sophomore season.
FINALLY, ORR and Frieder had en-
possible in averaging 148 points and 9.2
rebounds per game.
AND WHILE McGee didn't suffer
through the pernicious sophomore jinx
throughout the whole year, his play
lacked the consistency a contending
team requires of its "star."
"Defenses keyed on McGee last year,
and he began to take bad shots,"
recalled assistant coach Bill Frieder.
"Then he began to shoot less, not taking
a lot of shots we would have liked him
Yet Frieder is also quick to point out
that McGee had some outstanding
games last year. The "Geeter" pumped
Smith, Mark Lozier and freshman Joe
James in there, we think we're pretty
Indeed Michigan appears so well
stocked at guard that Orr and Frieder
may have a hard time sorting out a
starting backcourt duo.
ALONG WITH Paul Heuerman, Mar-
ty Bodnar was by far the most im-
proved Michigan player last season,
riddling opponents with his arching
jumpers. Also, Smith received plenty of
playing time for a freshman, and gave
Orr confidence that this winter he can
show the same type of improvement
Bodnar did in his second year.
Sugar Bowl-New Orleans
coaches and had little competition in
Along with Garris, Garner will have
to improve significantly for the
Wolverines to dominate the frontcourt
this year. The forward from Hammond,
Ind. impressed his coaches in
preseason practice with his vocal,
hustling brand of basketball, but in
Frieder's words "leveled off" as the
season wore on. It will be with par-
ticular scrutiny that Garner and Garris
are watched in the early practices.
A prime reason Orr and Frieder are
hoping for increased production from
the second forward spot stems from the
Wolverines' lack of rebounding
strength last year. Where Michigan on-
ce consistently outboarded its op-
position, the Wolverines ran almost
dead even last year, resulting finally in
a late-season change in tactics by Orr.
"WE WERE going to run the fast
break all we could last year, but Hub-
bard was not the same jumper he'd
been before the knee injury," said
Frieder. "So we went to a more
deliberate game, which was best given
the type of talent we had out on the
Following the season, Orr and Frieder
fought the perennial recruiting war
with the passion dictated by the rigors
of Big Ten basketball. On the first day
possible, Michigan signed guard Joe
James, along with forwards Leo Brown
and Ike Person.
James is given a good chance to
break into the starting five at guard,
following two straight years as the Ohio
double A player of the year and all-state
honors from both AP and UPI.
"HE REMINDS me a lot of David
Thompson (the former NC State star
now playing for the Denver Rockets of
the NBA)," Orr said. "James is a great
leaper and passer and could help our
Brown, another Ohio product,
averaged 22.4 points per game for St.
Peter High School while grabbing top
class A honors. Person, from
Barrington H.S. in Chicago, averaged
21.4 points and 13 rebounds per contest.
Both will compete with Garner,
Heuerman and Garris for spots on the
While Brown, Person and James op-
ted to play their college ball in Crisler,
highly sought blue chippers Tim An-
dree and Granville Waiters unfor-
tunately eluded Michigan's recruiting
ANDREE, THE big center from
Birmingham Brother Rice, selected
Notre Dame, while Waiters, another
sizeable pivotman, signed with Ohio
But the prime ,'eartbreaker for
Michigan came when Clark Kellogg, a
bonafide All-American, also decided to
play for Eldon Miller at OSU, making
the Buckeyes, who already were retur-
ning all five starters from last year,
good bets for the Big Ten title as well as
"Ohio State definitely has the best
talent in the league right now, while In-
diana filled its biggest hole by
recruiting Isiah Thomas (a 6-1 guard
from Chicago)," said Frider. "Iowa
has Ronnie Lester to run their offense
and Purdue is again led by Joe Barry
Carroll at center, so they should also be
joyed what they felt was a strong
recruiting year, with forwards Thad
Garner, John Garris and Keith Smith
comprising the promising newcomers.
So, what was the end result of all this
promise? An overall record of 15-12,
with a Big Ten season slate of 8-10. So
much for preseaon soothsaying.
A disappointment?, Surely. Yet in
retrospect it seems obvious that Hub-
bard, Garner and Garris were being
counted on to produce too much too
quickly. In fact, in Hubbard's case,
given his physical limitations, the 6-7
center probably played as well as
..... . . . . . . . . . .... . . . . . . . .
25 or more points on ten different oc-
casions and encouraged Orr and
Frieder greatly with his team-oriented
play at the season's end.
MEANWHILE, with Hub hampered
physically and McGee battling sporadic
performances, some rough edges in the
backcourt began to show some polish.
"We're going to be sound at guard
this season," said Frieder. "With the
Bodnars (Marty and Mark), Keith
Lozier, who returns for his senior
campaign as captain along with
Bodnar was particularly effective
down the stretch.
Yet while the Wolverines this year have
a bonafide frontline player in McGee,
along with that hatful of proven guards,
they still lack a third man who can take
charge up front. Frieder hopes a pair of
sophomores, Thad Garner and John
Garris, come to the fore, along with
Heuerman, who's back for his third
"WE'RE REALLY hoping Garris
will improve," Frieder said of the 6-9
leaper. "John had trouble adjusting to
college ball, mainly because he didn't
have to work hard his senior year in
high school. He played for several
MICHIGAN'S FLEETING forward Mike McGee arches one into the Crisler Arena
black during last year's home rout of Alabama. Cage coaches Johnny Orr and
Bill Frieder hope McGee can, spark the Michigan offense this year as he did in
his freshman year, when the speedster finished second in the Big Ten in scoring.
McGee returns for his junior year this season.
Final Basketball Stats
FG-FGA Pct. FT-FTA Pct. Rbs. Avg. A Pts.
Hubbard ... ........................
H ardy .................................
Sm ith .................................
Mk Bodnar ........................
4APPY BASKETBALL new year, right Keith? Hardly. Here Wolverine guard
Keith Smith's layup attempt is smothered in action from last year's home contest
with Illinois. The Wolverines this year hope to raise their Big Ten record above
he break-even mark, as the Blue cagers were 8-10 last year in the conference,
vhile going 15-12 overall.
TICE'S MEN'S SHOP
Remember those chilly Ann Arbor
Autumns, sitting in Michigan Stadium
with some "liquid warmth"? Or thosE
icy winters, sliding through the Diag
on the way to class?
Another Michigan winter is almost
here. But this year you can fight the
cold and show your maize-and-blue
colors in University of Michigan
U of M long-johns are made by the
Keeping warm in Rong-johnsRed Flannel Factory exclusively
for Tice's Men's Shop, a campus
landmark for nearly 40 years. They are knit from a machine-
washable blend of cotton and polyester.
For yourself or as a gift for your favorite alum, they are avail-
able in men's small, medium, large and extra large sizes at
$26.00, postpaid. (Men's small or medium will fit most women.
For the Junior Wolverine, boys' sizes, 2-16, are $19.00.
Tice's also features Michigan ties in
five patterns -- Block M, blue or maize,
Go Blue, Wolverine and U of M crest.
Woven from 100% polyester, they cost
We will gladly charge your Visa, Mas-
tercharge, American Express or Diner's
And if you're in Ann Arbor on a foot-
ball Saturday, stop at Tice's for some
pre-game refreshment from our side-
walk cider barrel. It's on the house.
Tice's Men's Shop, 1111 S. University, Ann Arbor, Mi. 48104
" EXPERT REPA
Aia\ rrV V rv
Y-We Know How
To Build Them!
WE MAKE: Irish Harps
Please send -
____ @ $26.00
_ @ $19.00-__
Michigan ties @ $8.00