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September 02, 1970 - Image 26

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1970-09-02

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Page Two Wolverihe Sports


Wednesday September 2 1970,4I

'Page Two-Wolverine Sports THE MICHIGAN DAILY Wednesday, September 2, 1970 ~





M' bas]
It's time for a revival.
No, not the Creedence Clear-
water Revival, you idiot, the
Michigan Basketball Revival!
The Wolverines have suffered
a recent post-Cazzie slump, but
grea things are planned for the
1970-71 cagers. Despite their
youth and the loss of last year's
All-American mainstay Rudy
Tomjanovich, Michigan will be
an improved team and a Big
Ten title threat this year.
Leading the way for the Blue
are returning seniors Rodney
Ford, Dan Fife, and Harry Hay-
ward, and a flock of big, quick
sophomores like Henry Wil-
more, Ken Brady, Ernie John-
son, John Lockard and Leon
Roberts. Throw in junior for-
ward Wayne Grabiec and you
have the makings of an NCAA
contender, this season or in the
Wilmore, a flashy 6-5 forward
from New York City, may be the
big gun for the Wolverines if he
can adjust to playing up front
after manning a guard post dur-
ing most of his freshman season.
He led last year's 9-2 frosh
squad with a 23.1 scoring mark
and often startled fans with
quicksilver moves that left ap-
ponents spinning helplessly in
his wake. An honors graduate
of the behind-the-back-and-be-
tween-the-legs school of ball-
handling, Wilmore is an exciting
performer who should do yeo-
man duty at a forward post far
Michigan and establish himself
as one of the nation's top sophs
The other forward spot will be
ably manned by holdover Rod
Ford, a center last year and,
next to Rudy, the Wolverines
most valuable player. The 6-4
Ford, playing against men much
taller than himself, c a m e
through with a scoring average
of 14.5 and a rebounding mark
of 7.3
BACKING UP Wilmore and
-Ford at the forward posts are
Lockard, Grabiec, and Hayward;
all are capable of breaking into
the starting five and will at least
log a lot of playing time.
Lockard, 6-6 and another
graduate of Will Robinson's bas-
ketball machine at Detroit
Pershing, is a great leaper who
must work on his shooting; Gra-
biec is at times spectacular on
offense and averaged 4.6 last
i year; and Hayward, a junior
college transfer last year from
North Dakota, is a rugged board
man and good scorer who hit
for 2.6 points a game.
This year's natural choice for
the pivot position is 6-11 Ken
Brady, familiar to in-state fans
for his outstanding schoolboy
career at Flint Central. Brady
sat out the 1969-70 season on
academic probation, but pulled
an A in a basketball course and
will be ready to go this year.
Brady and Michigan's high-
jumping forwards will give the
Blue a big boost on the boards;
if big Ken falters, 6'8" Ernie
Johnson, another former state
prep great from Grand Rapids,
can fill the post position in fine
Michigan's backcourt can't




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-Daily-Thomas R. Copi
Rodney Ford (43) goes up against Purdue

-Daily-Thomas R.
Dan Fife (24) peers around Purdue's Rick Mount

match its frontcourt in either
talent or depth, but Dan Fife
and Leon Roberts, along with
mini-guards Dave Hart and Greg
Buss, give the Wolverines tour
respectable guards. A oossible
solution to any backcourt weak-
ness could be either to move
Grabiec to guard.
Fife will captain the Wolver-
ines this year, aftertmarning a
starting guard post for two
years and compiling averages of
13.2 last year and 12.8 the year
HE HAS THE experience and
talent to solidify the backcourt,
and should bow out this year
with his most potent offensive
season in a Michigan uniform.
Roberts, 6-4, averaged in
double figures for the Baby Blue
last year and impressed fans
with his tenacious defense. A
former All-Stater from Portage
Northern, Roberts is also a mem-
ber, with backcourt partnersFife,
of the Wolverines varsity base-
ball team.
Dave Hart, 5-9, and Greg
Buss, 5-11: will back up the
starting guards, but neither is
likely to break into the starting
lineup. Hart has the better
chance, being a hustling and
occasionally very flashy guard,
capable of playing brilliantly at
both ends of the floor. Buss was
the playmaker of the frosh team
and has a nice touch from out-
side; he is also very quick.
A capsule comparison of this
year's Wolverines and those of
1969-70 is as follows: Wilmore
and Ford are not quite a match

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for Rudy and Bird Carter, as
neither can replace Rudy's 30.1
scoring and 15.7 rebounding. But
this year's Blue will have more
depth up front, with Lockard,
Hayward, and Grabiec. Brady
and Johnson give Michigan two
potentially great centers, a defi-
nite improvement over last year.
Guards Fife and Robertsgare a
match for last year's guards:
Fife, Mark Henry, and Rick
Overall, the Blue have great
depth and talent, especially up
front, but .need another solid
guard. Also, due to their youth,
they may be a year away from
greatness;rthe potential, how-,
ever, is there.
AS FAR AS coaching goes,
few teams can match the Wol-
verine dynamic duo of head
coach John Orr and his assist-
ant Fred Snowden; they get
help from f r e s h m a n coach
George Pomey and recruiting
coordinator Dick Honig. Both
Orr and Snowden possess a fine
combination of amicability and
coaching talent.
The main competition for the
Wolverines in Big Ten play will
come from Minnesota, with fine
guard duo Ollie Shannon and
Eric Hill and 6-8 frosh stars
Jim Brewer and Marvin Tayloi.
(from Detroit Mumford); Illi-
nois, r e t u rn i n g center Greg
Jackson and guards Rick Howat
grid Bob Windmiller .along with
supersoph N i c k Weatherspoon;
Purdue, with G e o r g e Faerber
and ace guard Larry Weather-
ford back; and maybe Ohio
State, with letterman Jim Clea-
mons and soph Allen Hornyak
and that upstate agricultural
school, coming at us with soph
Bill Kilgore.
(Home Games in caps)
Dec. 5 at Kentucky
Dec. 7 at Duke
TIONAL (Wyoming, Harvard,
Dec. 26-30 Rainbow Classic in
Hawaii (Illinois, Villanova, BYU,
NYU, St. Louis, Hawaii, Sub. Pac.)
Jan. 9 at Wisconsin
,Jan. 16 INDIANA
Jan. 23 at Northwestern
Jan. 30 at Minnesota
Feb. 13 at Purdue
Feb. 23 at Indiana
Mar. 2 at Illinois
Mar, 9 at Iowa

A red-hot team.. .
.for a cold arena
WHEN I ARRIVED on the Michigan campus in August of
1967, I, like many of my classmates looked forward to the
opening of the University All-Events Bldg. (now the Crisler
Arena). The Building was going to be Ann Arbor's answer to
Madison Square Garden-a fitting monument to Michigan's
departing athletic director, Fritz Crisler, and the kind of place
in which the likes of Cazzie Russell would feel proud to play.
However, in the rush to complete the arena before Crisler's de-
parture, several blatant miscues were committed.
One of the mistakes involves the fact that he arena's play-
ing area is no quite large enough to accommodate Michigan's
hockey team. Of course, the fact that hockey can not be played
in an arena would not be a sin if hockey was simply a minor
sport, but as anyone acquainted with the sport will tell you, the
Michigan hockey team is traditionally one of he best In the
nation and is usually at least a darkhorse threat to capture the
national championship. The sextet, with the unavailability of
Crisler Arena, is relegated to the outmoded Colesium, and Its
rabid fans must suffer through cold and poor seats to cheer
their favorites on.
THE LACK OF proper press facilities is another problem
inherent with "The House that CazzieBuilt." The current layout
of the arena barely allows for the seating of those reporters
who cover for local Michigan papers, and any time there is a
larger than normal attraction, the Michigan athletic depart-
ment is strapped to handle the accompanying requests. Thus
Michigan's basketball's fans have been deprived of the oppor-
tunity of seeing NCAA tournament games.
Crisler Arena does have one redeeming feature-everyone
of the approximately fourteen thousand seats in it provides the
fan with an excellent viewof the ongoing event. There is, how-
ever, one problem even with this. During the three years it has
been open, Crisler Arena has usually been rather, barren of
fans. Except for contests involving Michigan State or individual
stars like Rick Mount, the average basketball contest only at-
tracts between eight thousand and ten housand.
This year, however, the turning point may be in sight for
Crisler Arena at least as far as drawing fans into it is con-
cerned. Coach John Orr and his assistant Fred 4Snowden have
recruited a team which could very well become one of the leading
contender for the Big Ten basketball championship. The 1970-71
Wolverine Basketball squad will continue to feature the speed,
which has continually tormented so many of its opponents,
(One opposing coach last season commented, "They don't call
timeouts, they take pit stops"), but will also be one of the tallest
in the country.
THE LEADING NAME on the quintet is likely to be.New
York's Henry Wilmore, a 6-5 swingman, who will probably man
one of the forward positions, since he appeared much more com-
fortable up front while competing with the Wolverine freshmen
last year. Wilmore has the potential of becoming the next Michi-
gan superstar. He has great moves, which aid him in finding
openings allowing him to repeatedly penetrate with strong drives
to the basket. He also possesses an uncanny jumping ability,
which is likely to make him an excellent rebounder.
As already implied, Wilmore is not the only bright light,
which will be cavorting for the Wolverines when the basketball
seasons opens in December. Three giant sophomores, 6-10 Ken
Brady, who was forced to sit out his freshman season, and 6-8
Ernie Johnon and 6-7 John Lockard, both of whom had fine
freshman years, should insure Johnny Orr's crew of having an
excellent front court trio.
Backcourts hopefuls will include 6-5 Leon Roberts, who
demonstrated a strong outside shot while operating as a starting
freshman guard, and 6-2 Dan Fife, the captain of the team, who
is one of the better backcourt men In the conference when he
overcomes his tendency to making an abundant number of mis-
takes. Rod Ford, who averaged fifteen points while operating
out of the pivot position with last year's Wolverines, may be
asked to make the shift to the backcourt. In a like position
is 6-5 thinman, Wayne Grablec, who may possess the best out-
side shot on the team.
OBVIOUSLY, WITH such an abundance of names being
thrown around, the Wolverines will have some extra talent on
hand this winter, a situation that hasn't occurred in the Ann
Arbor area for several seasons.
But, unfortunately, just like all silver linings, there are still
a few clouds present. The first difficulty confronts the players
themselves and involves the brutal battles that will result In
practice when athletes are competing for positions.
Michigan will have a lot of depth up front this year and
it is the kind of depth that has muscle. As Rodney Ford says,
"Those guards better not be crazy enough to come underneath,"
The sophs may have great potential but they still have to
prove they will continue to develop and be able to handle Big
Ten competition. They face a murderous schedule and will need
time to adjust, not only to opponents but to the veteran players
on the varsity. And then it must be considered that other con-
ference schools also boast supersophs such as George McGinnes
of Indiana, Nick Weatherspoon of Illinois and Jim Brewer of

Minnesota, among others.
Sophs usually create surprises, though, and when they have
great potential, as Michigan's do, basketball can contain many
pleasant surprises.



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