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November 30, 1977 - Image 15

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1977-11-30
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Page 8-Wednesday, November 30, 1977-The Michigan Daily

The Michigan Daily-Wednesday, November 30, 1977-Page 5

Big Ten: Chock full of new talent

A good year

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(Continued from Page 4)
Iowa Hawkeyes thus far. Injuries
have depleted the corps to a point
where 10 healthy bodies often cannot
be found for intra-squad games.
"Ten or 11 players could be in
better shape," lamented Coach Lute
Olsen. The big blow is knee surgery
to top freshman prospect Greg Boyk.
"If he's back by league season,"
Olsen notes, "we'll be fortunate."
Other major hurts belong to Scott
Kelley, Terry Drake and Tomm-y
Still, Iowa has 6-10 soph Larry
Olsthoorn and super guard Ronnie
Lester. If the others heal quickly the
Hawkeyes can make their presence
A bunch of coaches called Michi-
gan State a good dark horse selection
for the Big Ten title. And the big mjan
is thoroughbred Earvin Johnson.
Johnson has yet to prove himself in
college ball, but all coaches agree he
is the can't miss of all can't miss
The MSU stable houses more than
just Johnson however. Solid offensive
threats Greg Kelser and Bobby
Chapman return along with sopho-
more Terry Donnelly. In the pivot,
State has 7-0, 200 (semi-skinny) Sten
Feldreich from Sweden or burly Jay
"This year we can generate the of-
fense," claims Spartan coach Jud
Heathcote, "but right now, we're not
a good defensive club.''
Northwestern has potential in the
likes of Tony Allen, Mike Campbell, a
6-9 center, and guard Jerry Ma-
rifke. But gone is Billy McKinney and

the challenge facing coach Tex
Winter is unenviable.
Following the alphabetical path the
two remaining teams are Ohio State
and Wisconsin. These two teams
probably had the best two recruit-
ing years in the Big Ten, and possibly
the nation.
OSU got big men, little men and
medium size men - all of whom
came to play. 6-11 Herb Williams, 6-8
Jim Smith, 6-3 Ken Page, 6-2 Carter
Scott and 5-9 Todd Penn have oodles
of promise.
Along with established players Jim
Ellinghausen and Kelvin Ransey,
who are now battling for starting
y roles, the Buckeyes will knock off
quite a few teams, and in a couple of
years - watch out!
"We have very little chance of
winning the Big Ten (this year) be-
cause of our inexperience," says
Coach Eldon Miller. "Maybe we'll
get years of experience in six weeks

Wisconsin Coach Bill Cofield has
put two super recruiting years back
to back. Freshman guard Wes Mat-
thews and center Larry Petty will
step right into the starting lineup.
They should , join sophomores
James ,'Stretch' Gregory, Clyde
Gaines and Joe Chrnelich, but in-
juries have hit both Gregory and
Gaines. 'Stretch' is recovering from
a fractured wrist' and Gaines from
knee surgery.
Filling these injury gaps are senior
Jimmy Smith and Gregory's brother
Claude, who Cofield claims is ahead
of 'Stretch's' progress at the same
time. Quite a compliment consider-
ing 'Stretch' finished last season with-
17 points and 10 rebounds a game.
At times Cofield has not had 10
healthy players, but "this is a sign of
effort and competition for positions.
They're enthusiastic,"-he says.
All in all, the Big Ten promises to
be hellacious this year, and cringe,
even tougher next year.

@00almost great

At this time last year, everything
looked rosy for the Michigan basketball
team. Four starters returned from a
club that had lost to a phenomenal In-
diana team in the NCAA finals.
, This season, on the other hand, the
Wolverines are an unknown quantity.
In effect, the team lost all five starters
from last year-Rickey Green, Steve
Grote and John Robinson were seniors.
Phil Hubbard is out for the season after
knee surgery. Tom Staton and Joel
Thompson shared a forward spot last
year, but each must adjust to a new
position, Staton in the backcourt and
Thompson in the middle in lieu of Hub-
Last year's team was not especially
noted for its defense-it allowed 74
points a game while scoring 85, of its
own-but some individuals were out-
standing (Staton, Grote, Hubbard) and
the team as a whole was accustomed to
pressure. From top to bottom the
present team probably has more
natural talent, but you just don't
replace that experience overnight.
IRONICALLY, THE backcourt lost
two starters but should be the most
stable element of this year's team.
Staton and Baxter are both intelligent,

experienced players and could be bet-
ter than last year's duo-in time.
Steve Grote started more games than
any player in Michigan history and was
the kind of guy coaches love. Not a
"practice player" (or a non-conference
scheduled player, for that matter),
Grote nevertheless came on strong
when it counted most. While his outside
shot was by no means spectacular, he
made a lot of. gutsy baseline jumpers
underintense pressure. And he was ex-
cellent at baseline drives.
Starting opposite Grote was Green,
who has natural talent to burn. His
quickness was indispensable to
Michigansover the past two years. Not
only did he break numerous games
wide open with fast break layups where
he simple sped by the opposition, but
opposing teams tesitated to press
True, Rickey sometimes forgot to
play defense, and because he was so
quick you overlooked his outside shot,
not on a par with Billy McKinney's
(Northwestern) or Ray Williams'
(Minnesota). But one can argue that
Green was the most exciting player
ever to come to Michigan, and his
unique talents were Michigan's
trademark for the past two seasons.
See BLUE, Page 12


Michigan hopes to benefit
from tough pre-season action

(Continued from Page 4)
ranked Louisville and fifteenth-
ranked Alabama all battle the Wol-
verines during the course of the year.
Michigan closes its season against
the Bruins in Los Angeles on March
5. In five previous "meetings, the
Wolverines have never emerged
victorious. Last year, Michigan's
season finale was a 69-68 thrilling
victory over eventual NCAA cham-

pion Marquette. Michigan hopes its
confrontation with UCLA will prove a
final tune-up for its fifth consecutive
NCAA tournament.
In December, the Wolverines
sharpen their road skills against
Fordham, Alabama and Athletes in
Action. Fordham entertains the Blue
cagers in Madison Square Garden
seeking.revenge for last year's 78-57
loss to Michigan. Alabama has never
appeared on Michigan's schedule
before but this Southern Conference
power should help Orr evaluate the
true caliber of the 1977-78 Wolver-

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In the friendly confines of Crisler
Arena the Wolverines play host to
Louisville and Dayton in the middle
of December. The Cardinals accumu-
lated a 21-7 mark a year ago and
jumping-jack Darrell Griffith re-
turns to haunt opposing forwards.
Dayton always gives Michigan a
tough time. The Flyers return ten
lettermen from the team that fin-
ished 16-11in 1976.
"Our philosophy is to continue to
play a national schedule and keep as
many national powers on our sched-
ule as possible," Frieder said. "We
also want to maintain relationships
with other Michigan schools."
MICHIGAN scheduled contests
with cross-town rival Eastern Michi-
gan along with Central Michigan for
the upcoming year. Coach Ray Scott
feels his Hurons should be improved
over their 9-18 record last year.
Meanwhile, the Chippewas are count-
ing on making a return appearance
to the NCAA tourney this season.
On New Year's Eve the Wolver-
ines sing Auld Lang Syne with the
Toledo Rockets - their final test
before starting the Big Ten season.
With much better balance in the
conference-this season, Orr and his
assistants aligned a tough non-league
slate - and hope to benefit from it in
the long run. From the looks of
things, the non-conference tests
should be every bit as challenging as
the threats from opposing Big Ten

Tonlight at 8.00
Tom Hemingway
91.7 FM Ann Arbor
A public radio station of The University of Michigan
Call 764-9210 for a free program guide.

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