Friday, March 30, 1973
THE MICHIGAN DAILY
Friday, March 30, 1973 THE MICHIGAN DAILY Page Eleven
EDITOR'S NOTE: Michigan basketball coach John Orr
and Executive Sports Editor Bob McGinn sat down yes-
terday and discussed the Wolverines bitterly disappoint-
ing cage season. Below a-e excerpts from that conversa-
tion (questions in boldface).
In order to put an end to any doubts over next year's
basketball coach, could you tell me now whether or not
you'll be back in 1973-74, and if so, what are the terms
of your contract?
Yes, I'll definitely be here next year. I have an
agreement with the University to be here through the
1975 season, at which time I have the opportunity to
sit down and renegotiate my contract for the future.
It has been my impression all season that 1972-73
was to have been the season for Michigan basketball.
Was this a valid assumption?
Well, I don't think that was true. I think we had high
hopes for this team, certainly, and that we may have
rated them a little too highly. But the big thing was
that we didn't take into consideration the other teams.
At the preseason press meeting the writers picked
Minnesota first, Ohio State second, and us for third,
with Indiana, I believe, fourth. But we were never
rated as high outside of our own Ann Arbor and Detroit
area. The Big Ten was a much stronger league this
In the preseason workouts the team looked ex-
tremely good to most observers, but you commented
that a "certain catalyst" was missing. What did you
mean by that?
It's hard to remember back that far, but I know
we felt all along that we needed a take-charge player
and we did not have that. That hurt us the entire
season as much as anything, that real leadership, and
we just didn't have it. We were counting on too many
of our younger players to give that to us.
During the early games the club was winning, for
the most part, but except for the Toledo game never
really putting it all together.
Were you concerned at that time?
We felt that when we were in New York (the
Holiday Festival tournament) that we were definitely
in trouble. We had beaten these teams, but we were
not beating them badly. We did beat Boston College
the first night, and then lost a tough one to St. John's.
But we knew we weren't playing good defense, so in
the week before the Big Ten started we decided to go
with a zone. I don't think you can win the conference
using a zone, but it worked for a while before we
started mixing it with a man-to-man.
Michigan opened the Big Ten by whipping a dis-
organized Ohio State team in Columbus, and then
following it up with good wins against Iowa and
Michigan State. What turned it around?
That's right, we were really enthusiastic. But,
really, we were just hanging on. The thing that turned
our complete season around was when Purdue's Frank
Kendrick made that last second shot to beat us. From
that time on every game seemed to be a real struggle
for us, except maybe the second Northwestern gamie.
We played well, but we just couldn't win the close
games. We just couldn't do the things we needed to
Kendrick's shot, however, was set up when he
stole the bail from Campy Russell 15 seconds earlier.
He never would have had the shot had it not been
for that steal.
"In coaching, they say that as you
become more experienced you get
dumber. I think I'm a better coach
now than I've ever been."
Yea, well, of course that's the game. We were
stalling, and we lost the ball. We had won the first
three games with the delay. It had been good to us.
At Ohio State Campy was just brilliant at the end.
Those things just happen, and had it not happened I
think we would have gone on and been very strong.
After having had the chance to analyze exten-
sively the past season, what were the factors that
contributed to the poor season?.
First of all, the lack of a floor leader was a vital
ingredient that was missing. Then I'd have to say that
had Henry Wilmore played forward the entire season,
we would have been more successful.
We probably didn't rebound as well as we should
have, and our shooting wasn't as good as I had
anticipated it would be. We lacked consistency
throughout the season in all phases of the game.
I also didn't think the publicity the players re-
ceived before the season helped them at all, and as the
year wore on it really bothered some of the players.
Even when we were winning games early we were
still being criticized for not winning them by big
This season Wilmore shot better than last season,
averaged over 20 points a game, and rebounded well.
But did he give you the kind of season you really had
I think that under the circumstances, playing
guard, I think he probably did. I don't think that is
his natural position. When we put him out at guard,
he just wasn't natural. Henry Wilmore can play for-
ward against anyone, regardless of size, irn college.
Professionally, he'll have a little trouble. Some guys,
like Wayne Grabiec and Danny Fife, can adjust. But
Henry just had trouble adjusting. There's just no
question about that.
But yet, on the other hand, the agents told him
he had to play guard. He had this in his mind, that
he had to play guard in the pros, and it was very
difficult to change him on that. It's a very unfor-
tunate thing, but it's there and you have to live with it.
Why, then, did you play half the campaign with
Wilmore out of position?
We didn't have anyone who was any better than
Henry back there in our early practice sessions. But
he didn't have to handle the ball much, and it worked
all right. With him at guard our offense wasn't fluid.
I was sorry for Henry that he couldn't have had a
greater senior season, because he's done a lot for
Michigan basketball. I think .he was probably dis-
appointed in himself, too.
Some say that he shot too much, but I feel that this
was the way he felt he could help the team. He took
some bad shots, sure, but he wouldn't do anything
to hurt the team.
What about the difficulties you had with two fine
one-on-one players on the same team. Was there a
conflict between Henry and Campy?
I don't know how that got started. I guess some guy
must have thought that up. Neither shoot that much.
But I do think that when you're a two time All-
American, and you see a sophomore's picture on the
cover of Sports Illustrated, this is bound to have some
effect on you mentally. They've never even had an
argument-they got along fine. I think Campy got
to the point that he liked to play on the road better
tpan at home.
Did the seniors provide the leadership you had
No, I don't think so. Their personalities just aren't
like that. I think Brady made a real effort to do so,
but it's hard if you don't have the ball a lot.
The seniors worked hard, but not quite to the point
that you have to reach to be really successful. They
didn't have the enthusiasm like they did when they
Do you feel that you and the coaching staff did a
good job this season?
I think that in the beginning of the season we did a
better job than we have in the past two or three years.
We really worked on fundamentals. There were things
in the games that we knew should have been done
differently, but there wasn't anything we could do
about them. We got much more coaching on the floor
this year with Jim Dutcher than we got from Snowden
After such a season as the past one, can your
players possibly have as much confidence in you next
Yes, I don't think that will affect them at all.
They're all really looking forward to next season.
I think we'll play with great enthusiasm again. Now
they know how tough it is torwin in the Big Ten, and
they'll put out that much more.
Do you think the media's coverage of yourself and
the team this season was fair and objective?
No, I don't think it was fair at all. I don't under-
stand some of the things they said about the team
and myself. At times we clearly deserved the criti-
cism, no doubt about that.
I think the news media, as a whole today, have to
write something sensational or critical in order to be
recognized. I think Michigan fans should be behind
the team, not against us. But these things change.
If UCLA loses, they'll hear it, too.
Just how much did it affect you when you heard the
"Dump Orr" chants in Crisler Arena?
A great deal. Nobody likes criticism. Many of the
coaches I talked to at the national convention last
week are in the. same situation. I thing it's a sign of
the times. The last six weeks of the season I didn't
feel well, and couldn't sleep at night because I was
If that's the case, do you still enjoy coaching?
Oh, yea, I enjoy it a lot. At times it certainly isn't
fun, especially when you lose. In coaching, they say
that as you become more experienced you get dumber.
I think I'm a better coach now than I've ever been.
It's a unique profession.
Has the poor season had any effect on your recruit-
ing so far?
Not a bit, I think we're closer to more good recruits
than we've ever been. The kids in Detroit and the area
have been affected by the media, but in Ohio, Indiana,
and Illinois they don't know about any of it.
I make it a point to meet a player's parents and
get their thoughts. Most think the press is incompetent.
Many are surprised when they see what kind of guy
I am. They think I should be completely different,
somewhat bad. I just haven't been able to trace the
origins of the "bad press" we got this season.
Where does 'M' basketball go from here?
I think we're going to surprise a lot of people next
winter. Gosh, we can have a respectable season. I
personally have worked harder recruiting than I ever
have before, and I feel we're going to be rewarded
with some good players.
ARCHIBALD SETS RECORDS:
Cowens chosen as NBA'
Sports of TeDaily
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS uses the nation's sports writers and
broadcasters. United Press International employs the coaches.
But the Daily, being a considerably poorer medium, wants you.
That's right, sporting enthusiasts, now is the time to let Ann
Arbor know just what you think of Michigan Athletics and the
people who run them. We at the Daily are interested in finding
out just what you liked. Just who is the Most Valuable Michigan
Athlete, and the Most Valuable Michigan Coach?
The rules of the poll are quite elementary. In the entry
blank conveniently provided below, pencil or crayon in your
choices. Eligible sports include: football, basketball, hockey,
track and cross country, swimming, gymnastics, wrestling,
baseball, tennis, golf, and lacrosse.
Now, if you don't know that the tennis coach is Brian Eisner,
or that wrestling's Jerry Hubbard is a current NCAA champ, youj
haven't been reading your Daily! Note that balloting should be
basedon most recent competition, which means baseballers, for
instance, should be graded on last year's performances.
If you lose the entry blank, anything that is readable is ac-
ceptable. In addition, send in any random thoughts that might
occur to you (on a separate sheet). The most coherent state-
ments will be published.
Poll closes April ninth, so don't be late. Act now. Be the first
on your block or dorm floor to vote.
From wire Service Reports "Each guy has his own strengths
As the NBA season grinds to a and weaknesses, You just play on
close, and the playoffs loom in the those weaknesses and do your!
distance, people start thinking of best."
awards and statistics. This year's The NBA released this season's
most valuable player is Dave Cow- statistics and Nate Archibald gain-
ens, the 6-9 red-headed wonder who ed many statistical honors. He led
played center for the resurgent the league in scoring this year
Boston Celtics. Cowens was award- with 34.0 points per game aver-
ed the honor yesterday by the age, setting numerous records in
NBA. the process.
"It's of no great significance Archibald was the first playerI
for me," the personable Cowens to lead the league in scoring and
said. "I never looked forward to assists (11.4 per game) in the
it. But I'm grateful, thankful for same year. He had more assists
those people for thinking about in a season than any other player
me." in history with 910. In scoring, he
Cowens said his sole motivation set records for most points scored
for a game is to win. in a season by a guard, highest
"It leaves a bad taste in my scoring average by a guard, and
mouth to lose," he said. "We've was the first guard to score over:
got 12 players that don't like to 1,000 field goals.
lose, when you're down and anoth- -
er team is beating you, it's de-
Cowens was asked what part of IN PE
his game he improved most this THE F
season, that has seen the Celtics
set a club won-loss recordof 68-14.
"It wouldn't be my ball han-
dling, my dribbling," he laughed.
"Probably my consistency in hit-
ting the outside shot."
Cowens refused to name a play-
er-opponent who has given him ther MAGIC
"They're all tough," he said,
jArchibald, KC-O 1028
IAbdul-Jabbar, Mil. 982
Haywood, Sea. 889
Hudson, Att. 816
aravich, Atl. 789
Scott, Phoe. 806
Petrie, Port. 836
Goodrich, L.A. 750
Wicks, Port. 761
Lanier, Det. 810
Havlicek, Bos. 766
F Pts Avg.
t63 2719 34.8:
'328 2292 30.21
473 2251 29.2'
397 2029 27.0
486 3863 26.1
436 2048 25.3
298 1970 24.9
314 1814 23.9
384 1908 23.8
307 1927 23.8
370 1908 23.8
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