Page 8-Tuesday, February 20, 1979-The Michigan Daily
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By GEOFF LARCOM
When Johnny Orr recruited Keith
Smith last spring, he envisioned the
role of penetrating guard for the six-
foot freshman from Detroit. It was a
spot that sorely needed filling for the
Wolverines, and to Orir, Smith seemed
to be just what he wasA)boking for.
Fast and quick, Smith hopefully could
step in and continue Michigan's
tradition of quality backcourt play.
With names like Rickey Green, Joe
Johnson, Waymann Britt, and Steve
Grote in the Michigan past, that
seemed like quite a tall assignment,to
But now, with the Big Ten season
winding down, it's still all systems go
on project Keith Smith. Smith's im-
provement has been steady, if not spec-
tacular, and the speedster is gaining
experience and confidence with each
Last Thursday marked the season's
high point for Smith, as he hit a career
high 22 points in leading the Wolverines
past Northwestern. Smith's play was
the solitary spark in what was other-
wise a snoozer of a game.
A perfect success story? Hardly.
Smith followed his success against the
Wildcats with a bad game against the
Spartans in the blowout up in East Lan-
sing, as he took only two shots the whole
But that's the type of season it's been
for Smith. It's been a 'year of ups and
downs, and through it all Smith has
diligently worked on his all-around
game, improving with each week.
"The more I've played, the more at
home I've felt," said Smith. "At the
beginning of the year, I didn't have the
best defense and my offense was non-
existent. Now my all-around game is
starting to come to me."
Smith began the year as third guard,
working behind Marty Bodnar and Tom
Staton in the Wolverine backcourt. Orr
played him sparingly before the
Christmas break, as the former All-
Stater gradually adjusted to college
Over the holiday break, the
Wolverines played in the Sun Carnival
tournament in Texas and it, was there
that Smith earned his starting spot. "I
thought both Keith and Johnny Johnson
should have been named to the all-
tournament team," Orr said.
Orr continued, "We didn't know Keith
was going to start at the beginning of
the season. That's a hell of an
achievement for a freshman."
But just when Smith's status with
Michigan seemed to be settled,
academic problems cropped up,
sidelining him for two games before
being resolved. Without Smith, the Blue
cagers dropped consecutive road
games to Purdue and Wisconsin.
In the 77-66 loss to Wisconsin, Smith's
absence was particularly apparent.
The Badgers smothered Michigan with
a full court press, which Smith
specializes in combatting.
"We-definitely would have won that
game if we'd had Keith," said Orr. "We
didn't handle the pressure defense well.
With Keith, we would have been able to
bring the ball upcourt better and have
gotten more inside points on layups."
Smith finally returned to the lineup
for the Northwestern game at Evan-
ston, which Michigan won by a whisker,
53-51. Two games later against
Michigan State, Smith received the
maximum legal dose of a confidence
With time almost out, Smith threw up
a desperation shot from the right
baseline. The shot hit only air, but
Smith was fouled by Earvin Johnson on
the play. With no time on the clock,'
Smith canned the free throw that sent
Crisler Arena into an uncharacteristic
state of pandemonium.
"The Michigan State game did a lot
for my confidence," said Smith. "I felt I
played good in a really big game."
After all these ups and downs, Smith
is satisfied that he has progressed
toward his goals as a player, although
both he and his coaches see room for
"My game is starting to come to me.
My shooting touch is still not where I
wantit though. I'd like to be a fifty per
cent shooter eventually, (currently.
.454)," Smith said.
Orr added, "Keith now goes to the
basket with more confidence. He's had
a great experience this year and he's a
lot more knowledgeable now. He still
needs to develop more consistency,
That consistency shall come through
experience, something Smith has
acquired in bucketfuls this year. He's
had to guard the likes of Big Ten'
scoring leaders Ronnie Lester of Iowa
and Kelvin Ransey of Ohio State. And
that, as Smith says, "teaches you a lot
Along with his individual progress,
Smith has enjoyed his association with
the other Wolverines, most -notably
Mike McGee and Phil Hubbard. Only a
few more Michigan notches in the win
column could have completed the suc-
cess story for Smith this season.
"'Naturally I'm disappointed. There
were a few games that we, shouldn't
have lost, like Purdue and Wisconsin,
that have come back to haunt us now,".
Smith said, "The team atmosphere has,
been good though. We're all really,
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Big 10 Standings
MICHIGAN'S KEITH SMITH certainly gets an A for effort as his shot is blocked
-by James Griffin of Illinois, in a game played earlier this season. The freshman
guard has improved steadily and now adds quickness to Michigan's backcourt.
} ' / ' 7. .p ;, .#~
Ohio State ....
WOOLFOLK EYES NCAA SPOT:
Blue tailback doubles in track
-rimn f vf" 'S
Wisconsin at MICHIGAN
Illinois at Ohio State
Minnesota at Northwestern
Purdue at Michigan State
Iowa at Indiana
By STAN BRADBURY
Freshman football tailback and track
sprinter Butch Woolfolk agrees with a
popular local bumper sticker, "Life's
rough at Michigan."
Woolfolk said, "I thought that when I
was being recruited this would be like
heaven," but the football and track high
school All-Americgn from Westfield,
New Jersey says it has been far from it.
"I THINK I got a lot less playing time
than I should have," said Woolfolk. The
6-2, 202 pounder did not see any action
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his freshman football campaign until
the sixth game, and that was largely
due to injuries received by the more
expet'ienced tailbacks Harlan Huckelby
and Roosevelt Smith.
In just limited regular season action
Woolfolk was fifth on the team in total
yards (second in yards per carry) and"
he had the longest Wolverine run from
scrimmage, 49 yards.
"I've also had trouble adjusting to
track," said Woolfolk.'"I didn't think it
would take so long to get in shape but I
think I've made it."
WOOLFOLK MADE the 300 meter
finals of the Central Collegiate Cham-
pionships last weekend but did not race
because of an ankle problem. Though
he has surpassed his top 300 yard
clocking in high school (31.0, a prep
record), Woolfolk has not yet won the
race in meet pction.
"Before I was blaming my losses on
football," Woolfolk said, "but I can now
say that if I lose any more from here on
out it's not because of football.
"I think within another week or so I
can be one of the top 300 (meter) men in
theBig Ten," Woolfolk added. "My
main goal right now though is to make
the mile relay team for the NCAA's in
Cobo Hall. I get my first chance to do
this Friday night in the Wolverine In-
WOOLFOLK. WILL not be running in
any of the shorter events during the in-
door season because he hasn't had time
to do much start or speed work. Out-
doors he says he hopes to run the 100,
200, mile relay and 400 meter relay.
"I like the track program here a lot,"
said Woolfolk, "but I think the coaches
are too hesitant of running me in the big
Woolfolk says that winning was never
a regular event for him until his senior
year in high school. "I was always
second or third best but then I took
over," he said.
ACCLAIMED AS the faster prep
sprinter after winning the 100 and 200
meter dashes at the Prep Internaionals
in Chicago, Woolfolk sums up the
reason for his great successes in just
two words: Renaldo Nehemiah.
Nehemiah, the world record, holder in
all three high hurdle distances, taught
Woolfolk a new mental attitude the
summer between his junior and senior,
years. "We formed a relay team called
the New Jersey Flyers," he said. "It
was composed of Nehemiah, Frank
Kelly (a high school teammate of"
Woolfolk who now plays football for
Navy), Bob Calhoun (Nehemiah's
roommate at Maryland), and myself.
"He (Nehemiah) thinks he's the best
track guy in the world. He's not being
cocky but he has two legs just 'like.
everybody else so why can't he be just
that? I took up his attitude and it helped
me -°a lot; after all, track is mostly!
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WOOLFOLK USED to consider, the';
Olympics as an ultimate goal but, "It'sx
just too far gone for me," he said.
"With football and everything I just
don't see myself as one of the top three
sprinters. I don't see how Bob Hayes
ever did it."
After the NAA championships con-
clude, it's back to football for Woolfolk
as spring football for the Wolverines
begins next Monday.
"Unfortunately it will probably be at
the height of my indoor season," said
Woolfolk, "but Bo ,and I made an
agreement that my first year I'd have
to play spring ball. Actually I'd want to
play spring ball this year even if we
hadn't agreed to it because of all I'm
hearing about Stanley Edwards."
Woolfolk added, "I want to win a star-
ting position, that's my goal. If I can do
that then my position can become
stationary, and I can go after Big Ten
and All-American recognition."
This game needs
to be checked out.
1 -Al - A --a tAr1-