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March 21, 1979 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-03-21

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Page 8-Wednesday, March 21, 1979-The Michigan Daily
Freshman Leach bolsters netters

For the last four years, the name of
Leach has been firmly imprinted on the
minds of Wolverine sports fans. If
Michael Leach, a freshman on Brian
Eisner's Blue tennis squad has any say
in the matter, chances are that the
name of Leach will continue to be
synonymous with Michigan athletic ac-
Leach, a 6-1 lefthander from Weston,
Massachusetts, is currently playing
number four singles for the team, one
that has a tradition of winning Big Ten
championships and is a perennial
national power.
Leach is undefeated thus far in
singles and has won two out of - three
doubles matches with his partner, Jud
Shaufler. Last year, Leach, in his final
year of juniors competition, was ranked
11th nationally in the 18-and-under age
group and was also a member of the
National Junior Davis Cup team.
Eisner has had his eye on Leach for
quite some time. "In tennis, players are

identified at a very early age," said
Eisner. "That's the way it was with
Michael. I felt he was one of the finest
natural talents in his age-group. He's

learn, listen, and work hard.
"His groundstrokes are the weakest
part of his game," added the coach.
"This surface (at the Track-Tennis

"In tennis, players are identified at a very early
age. That's the way it was with Michael. I felt he was
one of the finest natural talents in his age-group.
Michael's extremely strong for his size and is extreme-
lv quick. He's willing to learn, listen and work hard."
- Tennis coach Brian Eisner

been consistently ranked nationally in
the top 15."
WHEN 'TALKING about Leach's
ability and his play so far this year,
Eisner positively oozes praise.
"Michael comes in with a good blend.
He's extremely strong for his size, and
is extremely quick. He's willing to

Freshmen Weekend
keynote Speaker
Friday, March 23 1979
2:00-4:00 p.m.
Nikki Giovanni Lounge-
Mosher Jordon Hall
8:00 p.m.
Hale Auditorium
School of Business Administration
Sponsored by: Housing-Special Programs

Building) is perfect for making
changes, since it's his poorest surface.
Already this year, he's made dramatic
improvement. He has everything it
takes to be successful."
In addition to Michigan, Leach con-
sidered several schools, including
Duke, LSU, Princeton, Wisconsin, and
Stanford. It seems that he is quite hap-
py with his choice. "I'm having a great
time," commented Leach at practice
recently. "The tennis team is great,
and the coach is super. I've gotdnothing
but praise for Brian. He's helped me out
with details of my game. I think he's
one of, the top three (coaches) in the
LEACH, ALONG with Eisner, is also
pleased with the progress of his game
so far. "Usually in the winter I don't
play as well. I really feel good about it.

I'm pleased with my game." Leach
cited being in better shape as one of the
reasons for his improved play.
"I'll probably be switching between
three and four during the year. The six
guys who play are really tight. We've
got a lot of depth."
Leach plays strictly a serve and
volley game, utilizing his biggest
weapon - his serve.gWhilebLeach
modestly says, "I guess you could say I
have a strong serve," Eisner calls it
"the best serve in the nation for
somebody just out of the juniors."
"My nickname is Boom-Boom," said
Leach. "I don't think I've ever had a
point last longer than three shots."
UNLIKE MANY of today's adult and
junior tennis stars, who seem to be con-
stantly screaming about something
during a match, Leach does not con-
sider his temper a problem. "In prac-
tice I'm pretty hard on myself. In mat-
ches, it's business, though."
Leach has several things he wants to
see accomplished during the upcoming
season. "From a team standpoint,
taking the Big Ten championship is
goal number one. Along with that goes
being undefeated. Secondly, (we'd like)
to get into the NCAA tournament and
pull down a top ten ranking. In-
dividually, if I play good tennis, the
only thing is to go undefeated in singles.
"I'd say my first long-term goal is to
get to the semis of the NCAA tour-
nament. Sure, I'd like to turn pro. I
don't think anyone puts in as much time
as I do without entertaining thoughts of
turning pro."

full court
Freshman eligibility. ,
... change for better
A FTER WATCHING DePaul's wild win over UCLA and the magnificent
play of the Demons' freshman sensation Mark Aguirre, I thought of
how amazing it was that a freshman could step in and play under that type of
pressure so well.
Stop and think for a minute. It wasn't even until 1973-74 that frosh'
phenoms were even allowed to step on the court with the upperclassmen.
Before that there were freshman teams, which gave the.irst-year recruits a
chance to adjust to the rigors of college ball.
Yet coaches around the NCAA began to complain. They, said they could
be using some of the kids from the freshmen squads on the varsity right then,
so what was the use of holding the player up a year? Thus, the freshman
teams were abolished by the NCAA, and freshmen began to dot starting
lineups across the country.
Two things resulted. First, the basketball public benefitted, getting ad-
ditional collegiate years from players like Phil Hubbard and Earvin John-
son. Who would dare to think where the Wolverines would have been without
Hub in his freshman year? With the Canton, Ohio phenom, they merely went
to the NCAA finals against Indiana, you remember.
Earvin on JV?
The same goes for the magic man. How could you justify a rule that
would have kept Earvin off the Jenison floor last year? Ask Jud Heathcote
where he'd have been without Earvin Johnson last season. Certainly not
fighting for the NCAA crown, nor the Big Ten for that matter.
Yet Hubbard and Johnson are exceptional. Both Johnny Orr and Bill
Frieder will tell you that each year there are only about ten players of that
caliber, that can step right in and turn your program around the way Hub
and Magic did.
The rest of the freshmen come in labeled as "good prospects" with their
chances of stafking varying according to how quickly they can adjust and
how hard they work in practice. No guarantees were given for Michigan's
freshman crew this year, forward Thad Garner, center John Garris, and
guard Keith Smith.
While none had the ability to step right in and dominate like Hubbard
did, Orr didn't rule out the possibility that each might make a significant
contribution. He knew what these kids were up against in their first year.
Due to the freshman rule, college coaches must now ask their freshmen to do
in six weeks what used to be accomplished in a year. Add to that the sudden
glare of the media, along with school pressures, and you've got quite an ad-
justment on your hands.
Smith handled himself well this year. After beginning very slowly, the
catlike playmaker made a big contribution during the Wolverines' Texas
swing, and was later the Wolverines' high point man against Northwestern
at Crisler. And although Smith's game showed some obvious flaws over
the season, his improvement was evident.
Most frosh benefit
Garner also showed progress, plthough he seemed to level off once the
season got well underway. The freshman from Hammond, Indiana was Orr's
baby in the pre-season. Orr couldn't get over Garner's unusual
aggressiveness, along with the frosh's take-charge attitude. Garner even
started the first few games of the season, before Alan Hardy took over.
Garris was the major disappointment. His first year of college ball must
have come as quite a shock. He suffered through two different coaches
during his senior year in high school, and was never really pushed in prac-
tice or in the games. When the time came to work hard day in and day out,
Garris just wasn't ready. The result was the least amount of playing time of
anyone on the team.
Might a year of freshman ball have helped these three more than being
thrust into the varsity situation? With Garris, the obvious answer is yes. The
natural ability was there, the necessary effort just wasn't. Garner and
Smith, on the other hand, ,were forced to respond to some pressure
situations, and they'll be that much better next year for it.
I think of sophomores Marty Bodnar and Paul Heuerman's contribution
this year. Both made 'great improvement after very quiet freshman cam-
paigns. If Garner and Smith can follow suit next year, the freshman rule will
have been justified once again.
Big Ten owns NIT

Daily Photo by CYRENA CHANG
MICHIGAN'S MICHAEL LEACH displays his form as he drives through a back-
hand. The talented 6-1 freshman from Weston, Massachusetts is currently the
number four singles player on the Wolverines. Last year Leach was ranked 11th
nationally in the 18-and-under division and was also a member of the National
Junior Davis Cup team.



Sun-Wed open til 1 am
Thursday til 2
Fri-Sat til 3 am

NEW YORK (AP) - The name is Na-
tional Invitation Tournament, and the
last four games still are held at
Madison.Square Garden in the heart of
New York, but tonight's title game for
college basketball's oldest postseason
championship really is just a regular
mom and apple pie civil war.
The Big Ten Conference has this
season's bragging rights as the No.' 1
college basketball area, with seven
teams in the Top 20 at one time or
another, Michigan State in the NCAA
Final Four and three teams reaching
the semifinals of the 42nd NIT. So who
outside the state of Indiana cares that
Purdue and Indiana meet at 9 p.m. EST
for the NIT title?

Don't be left out
of your
1980 MICHIGANENSIAN Yearbook!.

Nearly 15,000 showed up for Monday
night's semifinal doubleheader that
saw Purdue, 27-7, beat Alabama 87-68
and Indiana, 21-12, defeat Big Ten rival
Ohio State 64-55. A similar turnout is
expected tonight when the Boiler-
makers and Hoosiers meet for the third
time this season, each team having won
The Big Ten doesn't have a bigger
booster than Hoosiers' Coach Bobby
"Since 1939, every team in the Big
Ten, except Northwestern and Min-
nesota, have made the Final Four," he
said yesterday. "I did a survey three
years ago, and the Big Ten had 48
players in the pros, the PAC-8, now
PAC-10, had 25, and the Atlantic Coast'
Conference, 15. I don't think there's any
question that some of the 24 teams in
the NIT are better than some of the 40 in
the NCAA.
"We have to play Purdue in the
finals, but if I had any control over it,,
we'd be playing Rose Poly."
The focus of the game should be on
whether Knight's swarming defense
can stop Joe Barry Carroll, Purdue's 7;
foot-i center.
"There'll be five guys on Joe Barry at
times - like bees on a honeycomb,"
said Purdue Coach Lee Rose. "He
might as well warm up on the Indiana
side because they're going to be around
him all night."
Carroll, who Rose says has not
spoken to newsmen in three years at
Purdue, scored 42 points on 16-of-19
shooting against. Alabama.
"He's not necessarily shy," said
Rose. "He wants his ball-playing to do
his talking for him."
Rose said his biggest worry is not how
Indiana would handle Carroll, but the


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