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November 29, 1979 - Image 16

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-11-29
Note:
This is a tabloid page

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The Michigan Daily-Thursday, Novembe

the Michigan ai y- urs ay, ovem e

Page 6--Thursday, November 29, 1979-The Michigan Daily
Garris, Heuerman vie for open center spot

Frosh pivot power lacking .. .

By STAN BRADBURY
Prior to the 1978-79 college basketball
season, the Michigan Wolverines were
rated as high as thid in the nation by
one rating service. The reason was
simple-Phil Hubbard, everybody's
All-American, returnedto the lineup af-
ter missing his junior year with a knee
injury.
Hubbard led Michigan to the finals in
the NCAA tourney his freshman season
and Michigan was number one in both
the Associated Press and United Press
International polls at the end of his
sophomore year.
EVEN THOUGH Hubbard was an un-
spectacular performer last year, he
decided to make the jump to pro
basketball one year before his
eligibility at Michigan ran out. Gone is
one of Michig'an's most prolific scorers
and rebounders.
It's tough to replace a Phil Hubbard,
a Rudy Tomjanovich, or a Cazzie
Russell. It's like being the following act
to Harry Houdini.
And earning the dubious honor of
following Hubbard at the Michigan cen-
ter spot are Paul Heruerman and John
Garris.
To any serious Michigan basketball
fan, these are familiar names. Heuer-
man substituted for Hubbard last year,
playing an average of 14 minutes a
game with a 2.4 point scoring average.

GARRIS, ON THE other hand, was a
crowd favorite who rarely played. Late
in the games at Crisler Arena the
restless crowds would cheer, "Gar-ris,
Gar-ris, Gar-ris," but to little avail as
the ex-freshman tallied nine points all
season, playing less than a minute a
game.
"We're confident John and Heuer-
man are going to do a very adequate job
at the center position," said coach
Johnny Orr.-

"Our big surprise this year is John
Garris," said Orr. "I couldn't play him
when he played like he played last year.
If you saw him practice you wouldn't
believe it was the same Johnny Garris
that was here a year ago.
"Of course any improvement he
made would have been tremendous, but
he has really, really improved," Orr
said. "He's come on just amazingly
well. He's got a long way to go but he
looks like a player now. He looks like
the type of player we expected him to
be when we got him here.
"HE REALLY WORKS. Last year he
was just sort of there at practice, he
never really exerted himself. I think
John's improvement has just come with
age. Sometimes it takes guys a long
time to make the adjustment (to college
basketball).
"Of course he's the big key to this
team. His rebounding and defensive
work are vital. If he can hold his own
against some of these guys (other Big
Ten centers) it's going to go a long way
- towards making us a representative
team," said Orr.
Heuerman also figures in strongly at
the center spot. Orr has not yet announ-
ced who will get the starting nod when
the season opens, .as both players have
performed well during the preseason
practices.

"He. (Heuerman) is a much improved
player also," Orr said. "He's much
stronger, he's shooting the ball with
great confidence, he's a smart player
and a good team player-there's no
question about that."

A -k f

'/111

Joe, Jame Cs
.. a sweet shooter

Leo Iirutrmt
... future big man?

Ike Person
some rebounding hel

Joh (;(rris

.but starting potential is i

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GARRIS SAID about the rivalry to
replace Hubbard, "You can definitely
feel the tension but the rivalry is
helping both of us improve. Heuerman
has an advantage in experience
because I'm going in like a freshman
because I didn't play hardly at all last
year."'
Heuerman said, "It's tough to tell
what's going to happen (with the star-
ting position). Either way, I think who
ever plays there will often times be in
foul trouble so who ever isn't in at the
time had-better be ready to play."
Spelling foul trouble for Garris and
Heuerman will be some of the top big
men in the country-Purdue's Joe
Barry Carroll, Ohio State's Herb
Williams, Minnesota's Kevin McHale,
and Indiana's Ray Tolbert. Every con-
ference team has at least one starter
taller than Garris or the 6-8 Heuerman.
"IT JUST MAKES me, Garris, and
all the other guys work harder. Of cour-
se it's going to mean more pressure on
me because someone has got to get
those rebounds," Heuerman said.
"Everyone feels like they-'re under a lit-
tle bit more pressure to play well
because if everyone doesn't play well
then the team won't perform well.
Since last season, Garris said that
most of his improvement has come in
the area of aggressiveness. "I said to
myself that either I become more
aggressive or I'll be sitting (on the ben-
ch) again," he said.

U

BY SCOTT M. LEWIS
Michigan Coach Johnny Orr and his
staff thought they were going to strike it
rich last spring. For months Orr, along
with aides Bill Frieder, Jim Boyce and
Tom Kempf, staged an intense
recruiting war with Ohio State for the
services of one Clark Kellogg, a 6-8
phenom from Cleveland with a "can't
miss" tag.
And until the final minute, it seemed
Michigan was winning the war.
BUT WHEN Kellogg chose to remain
in his native state and Phil Hubbard
turned pro, Orr was left without a
powerful, dominating man in the mid-
dle. And, unfortunately, none of this
season's freshmen are expected to fill
that role.
However, it is most inaccurate to
paint a dismal picture of the 1979-80
recruits, for, as usual, the Wolverines
did secure some outstanding talent. A
pair of Ohio Players-of-the-Year -
Class 'AA' king Joe James and 1978 'A'
standout Leo Brown - have brought
their skills to Michigan, as has Illinois
all-stater Ike Person. The trio of
rookies plus three sophomores makes
Michigan one of the conference's most
youthful teams.
Orr, who admits his recruiting efforts
were launched with the assumption that
pivotman Hubbard would remain at
Michigan, views his freshman crop
with considerable optimism. When
asked how large a contribution his first-
year players will make this season,
however, Orr was cautious.
"IT'S TOO early to tell what kind of

contribution anyone will make," said
Orr. "Very seldom do our freshmen
come in and make an immediate im-
pact. If you look back, who besides
(Steve) Grote, Hubbard and Mike
McGee contributed right away?"
The most likely candidate to pay
quick dividends is James, a 6-41/2, 195-
pound guard-forward - from
Youngstown. A 64 per cent shooter at
Rayen High, he also averaged nearly 16
rebounds a game. Orr has compared
him to David "Skywalker" Thompson
of the NBA Denver Nuggets, probably
because of James' 40-inch vertical
jump.
Orr marvels over James' court sense
and natural ability. "Not many fresh-
men can come in and contribute their
first year, but we think Joe's a super,
super player," he said after a recent
practice. "He's going to make a major
contribution this year, on both offense
and defense. He's strong, a good
shooter and he'll be a good defensive
player, too."
JAMES IS aware that a few parts of
his game, particularly dribbling and
defense, need refinement, and he inten-
ds to work on these skills over the cour-
se of the season. He must also adjust to
a running game which Orr promises to
use extensively.
"I've had some trouble, primarily
with the plays," James confessed. "In
high school we didn't run much. The of-
fense was more of a 'controlled break'.
Here, we're running more than I ever
have. Personally, I prefer to set up but
I'm sure I can adjust."

James' primary, but not exclusive
role this season is: S C 0 R E. He sees
himself as a shooter, but also is effec-
tive under the boards. At 6-5, James
should be able to penetrate easily
against most guards, but he prefers the
forward slot because, he says, "I like to
be around the basket."
FRESHMAN MATE Person is expec-
ted to give the Wolverines rebounding

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