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May 31, 1974 - Image 12

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1974-05-31

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Page Twelve

TH IHGAN DAILY

Friday, May 31, 1974

JOHN KAHLER:
Cagers: Where from here?

A SENSE of gloom overhangs the
cramped basketball offices at 1000
South State these days. Campy Russell
is gone, and his leaving laid a colossal
bummer on the Michigan basketball pro-
gram.
Camny made the right personal deci-
sion, for reasons that have been dis-
cussed before and that I agree with
wholeheartedly. But fnr the team his
decision is a disaster.
Michigan basketball was not a one
man show last year. As every basketball
magazine will no doubt point out, the
Wolverines have four double figure start-
ers returning. But Big Camp was the
key player, the cog around which all the
action moved.
Of all his many statistical contribu-
tions, Russell's scoring will be the easiest
to replace. The returning starters should
be able to pick up half his 24 points per
game, and Orr should be able to dredge
up some geek who can score another
twelve points to replace Camp in the
lineup.

Russell's 300 rebounds, on the other-
hand, will prove difficult to replace.
None of the candidates for the vacant
forward spot are exceptional boarders,
and one can't expect 6-2 Wawman Britt
to do the job, so the task of controlling
the boards falls to C. J. Kupec. This will
entail C. J. snending a good deal of time
inderneath the basket, where the re-
bounds are to be found.
This, in turn, does a fine job of mess-
ing op Kupec's game, since C.J.'s most
effective offensive weapon is the medium
range jump shot. C.J. could take that
shot last season because he knew that
Campy would be around to handle what-
ever occurred under the boards. Campy
will not be there next year.,
THEN THERE IS the matter of Rus-
sell's 100 assists, only five less than the
number garnered by playmaking guard
Joe Johnson. Over a third of Russell's
assists went to Wayman Britt, and were
the biggest single source of Cool Way-
man's scoring. It is doubtful that any re-

placement will be able or willing to pass
off that much.
The more one looks at last season, the
more one gets the impression that Campy
Russell made a lot of people on the
Michigan basketball team look good. And
the biggest beneficiary was his coach.
One can say that the situation Johnny
Orr finds himself in is his own fault;
that he should have known that Campy
wouldn't stay forever and recruited a
ready replacement. But anybody who has
had to take as much abuse as Orr has
over the years deserves a little sym-
pathy.
Next season, Orr will be in the last
year of his contract as head basketball
coach. With Campy, he would have been
assured a winner and a contract exten-
sion.
Without him,-Orr will have to do some
patching and scrambling. And Lord help
Johnny Orr if the Michigan basketball
team starts losing.
SOMEWHERE, somehow, a replace-

ment must be found for Campy Russell
among a limited number of available
bodies. Bill Ayler and Chuck Rogers
have played a good deal at forward and
will doubtless do so again. Rick White
could take over the job if he doesn't
become a starting tight end.
If John Robinson and Randy McLean
can pull themselves together after the
problems they experienced as freshmen,
matters would be aided considerably.
If Joel Thompson and/or Burrell Mc-
Ghee can step right in and do the job
as a freshman, there will be dancing in
the streets.
IN ANY CASE, Orr seems to do a
better job coaching teams that aren't
favored to do anything. The day Campy
was drafted, I was in the office ex-
changing pleasantries with the coaches.
Orr asked me what I would write about
the drafting of Campy.
"I'll say that Michigan has four start-
ers in double figures, returning," I re-
plied.
Orr winced.

4

Some who remain: Joe Johnson, Steve Grote, C.J. Kupec and Johnny Orr

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