The Michigan Daily-Thursday, September 4, 1980-Page F-7
By DAVE JOHNSON
.To say that Michigan's 1979-80
basketball season provided numerous
surprises to hoop followers is an under-
statement. Its 17-13 won-loss record
(including W's over nationally-ranked
Marquette, Ohio State, and Purdue)
and NIT performance surpassed most
But the biggest surprise came via a
,o t-season announcement from head
coach Johnny Orr-he was resigning as
the Wolverines' all-time winningest
coach (209-113) in favor of a lucrative
head coaching position at Iowa State.
This time, even Orr seemed surprised.
"IT'S AN offer I can't refuse," ex-
claimed the 52-year old Orr. "It gives
mhe the kind of financial security we all
seek in life. It's gotta be the greatest
coaching position in the country."
Succeeding Orr is six-year assistant
coach Bill Frieder, who entered the
Wolverine coaching ranks in 1973
following back-to-back Class A state
championships as coach of Flint Nor-
thern High. With Frieder at Orr's side,
the Wolverines attained an impressive
While Orr departed, the key talent
remains for Frieder to mold. Michigan
returns all but three of its 1979-80
roster, including all five starters.
Senior co-captain Mark Lozier (2.2
Dave.) graduated, and juniors Keith
Smith (6.0) and John Garris (4.1) trans-
ferred in hopes of securing increased
TO MORE THAN compensate
Frieder landed a crop of blue-chip
recruits who could immediately lend a
helping hand or two, including prep All-
American Tim McCormick of
Clarkston. At 6-10, both McCormick and
7-2 Sarnia (Canada) center Jon An-
tonides could give the Wolverines the
board strength they've lacked in recent
1979-80 Big Ten
years to seriously contend for the Big
Ten title-although it may take a while.
Three additional freshmen who may
see considerable action are forward-
guards Dean Hopson (Ann Arbor), M.
C. Burton (son of the Wolverine's 1959
MVP by the same name), and Dan
Pelekoudas (Downers Grove South).
Frieder intends on using the same
starting lineup as last winter until
someone else breaks the group up: a
lineup including senior Mike McGee
(22.5) and junior Thad Garner (10.1) at
the forwards, senior Paul Heuerman
(9.4) at the pivot, and seniors Johnny
Johnson (7.6 and Marty Bodnar (8.2) in
"BUT I'M ALSO hoping all our kids
improve and push some of these guys
who have played a lot in the past. And
that goes for Ike (Person), Joe (James)
Leo (Brown) and Mark (Bodnar), too.
"Whether or not a kid like McCormick
can come in and play right away, well,
that's just gonna depend on how he
WOLVERINE scoring machine
Mike McGee goes up and over
6-11 OSU center Herb Williams
in Crisler Arena action last sea-
son. McGee's 22.2 ppg average
placed him second in the Big
Tenhand fourth among all-time
matures and how he fits into the
scheme of things. But it's also
something we won't really know until
we start practice in October.
"I'm just hoping that some of these
kids can come in and make a con-
tribution," commented Frieder,
"because if they don't, then we're in for
a struggle again."
THE STRUGGLE IS one against in-
consistency. All last season, the
Wolverines' performance assimilated
a roller coaster-a (maize and) Blue
Streak-laden with numerous ups and
Unfortunately for Michigan, its climb
toward a conference championship
derailed before the season began.
Senior center Phil Hubbard, forgoing
his final year of college eligibility, jum-
ped tracks to hook up with the cellar-
bound Detroit Pistons. Having lost out
in recent years in landing a blue-chip
replacement for Hubbard, the
Wolverines were seemingly left with a
nIailom~o IDIL~L1LJ~LCII l~a
gaping hole to fill at the pivot, dimming
their Big Ten hopes.
With the loss of Hubbard, Michigan's
fifth leading all-time scorer (1455 poin-
ts) and two-time MVP, it's no wonder
the media immediately predicted an
eighth- or ninth-place Wolverine finish.
Fan interest was low, and among those
who attended the early-season games,
many chose to shower Orr with boos.
MICHIGAN'S EARLY success,
however, turned many of those boos to
cheers. The fans soon recognized that
Orr was probably doing his best
coaching job. The Wolverines,
propelled by a new, team-oriented
McGee, reeled off seven victories in
their first nine outings, including a
come-from-behind upset over Marquet-
te on the Warrior's court.
The Wolverines continued their
winning ways on into the Big Ten
season with victories over Minnesota
and Iowa sending Michigan and an
exuberant Orr into a share of the con-
Michigan's first-place status was
shortlived, however. Its rollercoaster
season took a downward plunge. Three
consecutive road defeats dropped the
Wolverines to the middle of the pack. It
was this inability to win on the road
which kept the Blue cagers from'
serious title contention. They finished
1-7 on the road in the conference and 2-
IT WAS A different story at home,
however. The Wolverines won seven of
nine conference contests at Crisler (13-2
overall), including a stunning upset
over previously unbeaten and
nationally-ranked Ohio State in the first.
of four consecutive overtime games for
"I believe we were one of the main
reasons they (Ohio State) didn't win the
Big Ten title," said Frieder. "They
came in 5-0, and we put 'em on a losing
Inconsistency remained Michigan's
nemesis through the rest of the season,
and they lost their final three games to
eliminate them from the NCAA tourney
picture. The NIT, however, included
the Wolverines in their wournament,
figuring victories over a half-dozen
nationally-ranked teams warranted
Michigan's first NIT appearance since
1971. No one was more surprised than
the Wolverines themselves.
"I THOUGHT WE had to win at least
one of our final three games," reflected
Frieder. "As it turned out, I think we
represented ourselves and the league
Playing before two Crisler crowds,
Michigan bounced Nebraska and
Texas-El Paso from the tournament
before bowing to 7-4 freshman center
Ralph Samspon and eventual NIT
champion Virginia on the Cavaliers'
Looking ahead, Frieder sees the 1981
conference race much as it was last
"BUT, IF I had to pack two teams, it
would have to be between Indiana and
Ohio State again," said Frieder. "They
both have most of their players back.
"But, of course, Illinois had the best
recruiting year in the league in getting
two outstanding guards. They signed
people at the positions they needed the
most help. And they've already got a
great front line to go with.
"As for the rest of the
teams ... Iowa's gonna be good, Min-
nesota's gonna be good ... we hope to
be . . . Wisconsin's got great
talent-it's just a matter of putting it
together. . . Northwestern's gonna be
etter ... Purdue is losing Joe Barry
Carroll, which'll hurt 'em. And, of cour-
se, (Michigan) State's got the leading
scorer in the league (Jay Vincent)
"It's gonna be the same type of con-
ference it was a year ago. Tough. And
the teams which can avoid the losing
streaks are gonna be successful."
1979-80 Basketball Statistics
Pct. FT-FTA Pct.
Rbs A Sti PF-D Avg
1. Indiana ... 13
3. Ohio St.... 12
3. Purdue ... 11}
6. Illinois.... 8
8. Wisconsin 7
10. N'western 5
McGee ................. 30-30
Bodnar, Marty 30-25
Bodnar, Mark 18-0
*Includes Team Rebounds
BLOCK SHOTS: Garris 34; Garner 13; Person 6; Heuerman 5; McGee 4; Johnson 3; Lozler 2; Marty
Bodnar 1; Smith 1; Brown 1.
TOTALS: Michigan 70: Opponents 74
DUNKS: Garner 15; Garris 8; McGee 2; Johnson 1. TURNOVERS: Michigan 424; Opp. 518
DEADBALL REBOUNDS: Michigan 57; Opponents 52
RECORD: (17-13) Home (13-2) Away (2-10) Neutral (2-1) Big Ten (8-10)
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