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January 07, 1982 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 1982-01-07
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Page 18-Thursday, January 7, 1982-The Michigan Daily

The Michigan Daily-Thursdc



Will Big Ten be tops again?

Young 31' team faces tougi

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TV commentators Al McGuire and
Billy Packer have hotly debated the
topic, college coaches have endlessly
discussed the possible answers, and
fans from across the country wave their
pompons to indicate their preference.
After all this hoopla, the answer still
remains unclear as to which conference
is the best in college basketball.
claim to the title for the last several
seasons citing some impressive creden-
tials: three of the last six NCAA cham-
pions (Indiana-1976, Michigan
State-1979, and Indiana-1981),
several final four showings and a non-
conference record of 144-44 for the past
two seasons.
"The Big Ten is a lot like the powers
of football," Illinois coach Lou Henson
explained. "We're going to be good
every year, regardless of what players
we lose. I think some of the good teams
are overshadowed by some of the great
teams-like Indiana."
Henson touches on one point that has
other conference boosters saying good-
bye to Big Ten supremacy-the heavy
losses to graduation or hardship, and
the youthfulness of the conference.
Isiah Thomas early to the pros, but it is
also without Mike McGee of Michigan,
Jay Vincent of Michigan State, Ohio
State's Herb Williams and Claude
Gregory of Wisconsin-all of whom
finished successful four-year careers.

In their place, the Big Ten was
rejuvenated with a blue chip crop of
freshmen. Among the high school All-
Americans who are predicted to make
their mark on the Big Ten are 6-10
Michael Payne (Iowa), who was the
pre-season choice as conference rookie-
of-the-year by the media, Eric Turner
(Michigan), Sam Vincent (Michigan
State), and John Flowers (Indiana).
"It's very difficult for a freshman to
come into the Big Ten and play right
away," Henson said.
IF THE FRESHMEN do not come
along as expected, there shouldn't be
any tears shed for the Big Ten. Still
returning are All-Big Ten performers
Clark Kellogg (Ohio State), Kevin
Boyle (Iowa), and Kevin Smith
(Michigan State). In addition to these
individual stalwarts, last season's
freshman-of-the-year Russell Cross,
Keith Edmondson of Purdue along with
Randy Breuer of Minnesota all return.
to Big Ten play.
If the Big Ten does falter, like many
"experts" are predicting, there are
several conferences ready to take over
the claim.
The ACC is usually the other con-
ference mentioned with the Big Ten,
and this year is no exception. With two
teams in the final four last season and
the same two (North Carolina and
Virginia) predicted to make the trip to
New Orleans this year, ACC fans can

once again wave their pompons in
in short supply down south. Mr. all-
everything Ralph Sampson snubbed
the pros and elected for another year at
Virginia. North Carolina returns most
of its starters from its second place
team, which might provide coach Dean
Smith with his much sought after
national championship.
Alvin Rogers (Wake Forest), Horace
Wyatt (Clemson), and Vince Taylor of
Duke join North Carolina's Sam
Perkins and James Worthy in the hunt
for All-ACC honors.
The Southeastern conference could
be considered the sleeper of all the
major leagues seekingdominance.
With perennial power Kentucky and
upstarts like Georgia which features
Dominique Wilkins, considered by
many scouts to be the best pure talent
in college basketball.
After Indiana's convincing victory
over North Carolina in the NCAA finals,
one Big Ten fan, David Fryten of
Dubuque, Iowa, sent a letter to every
ACC sports editor. "Now that the Big
Ten has once again proved it is the No. 1
college basketball conference in the
country where it counts-on the court
instead of in the stands-why don't you
ACC fans sit down and shut up?
Children should be seen and not heard."
Although Billy and Al have been split
up, endless arguments will persist and
this year will be no different.


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By JOHN KERR "Ike Person is capable of being a But it's (coaching a youghful team) a
Michigan basketball coach Bill good scorer and a good rebounder," he challenge and you look forward to it.
Frieder looked out at the writers said. "He's a good kid and he works We're just going to hang in and not
gathered for the Wolverines' annual hard." panic, no matter what happens."
pre-season basketball press conference There is one area, though, that the MICHIGAN'S inexperience has for-
and laid it on the line. "It's going to be a Wolverines are big in; inexperience. ced Frieder to alter the Wolverine style
tough season," the second-year mentor The only senior on the team is returning of play.
admitted. starter Thad Garner.- At least one "We're going to have to change our
What's this? Bill Frieder pessimistic freshman, guard Eric Turner, has ear- defenses up, try to run whenever we
about Michigan's basketball season? ned a starting spot for the Big Ten can and try to catch the other teams off
Aren't coaches supposed to spout off campaign, while another, Leslie guard," he said. "We do have some
pre-season cliches about their teams Rockymore, is a possible starter. quickness, and if we can rebound we'll
like "We're much improved over last Two other freshmen, 6-3 Greg be able to fastbreak and utilize this
year (a favorite at Northwestern)," or Washington and 6-8 Willis Carter will quickness."
"We think that we can contend this see playing time, while sophomore Indeed, frosh guard Turner gives the
season"? Dean Hopson was an early-season star- Wolverines soemthing they haven't had
Not Bill Frieder. Unlike many
coaches, Frieder knows that it is no use
trying to portray his team as something
it isn't. But don't call him a pessimist.
Realist is more like it.
With only one starter back from last
year's 19-11 season, two returning
players out with injuries and one retur-
ning player possibly no longer on the
team (M.C. Burton), only a fool would
paint a rosy picture for the tough Big
Ten season. Frieder is no fool.
"It's stupid to say we can win the Big
Ten," said the coach, "But it isn't
stupid to say we can have a good
"Our goal is to get into a post-season
tournament which will take a middle-
of-the-pack Big Ten finish."
However, even that seemingly
average goal could be out of reach for
this year's edition of 'the Michigan
basketball team. A lack of height and
experience could be too much to over-
After last season, it did not appear
that height would trouble the
Wolverines this year. After all, they
had 6-11 sophomore Tim McCormick
and 7-2 sophomore Jon Antonides. The
only problems their height could cause
would be to low flying planes. But two
knee operations last summer' for Mc-
Cormick and a groin injury early in the
season to Antonides raised the
possibility that neither will see much, if
any, action in the Big Ten season.
Frieder never went so far as to pencil
Antonides at the starting center spot,
but the seven-footer's height would
have allowed the Wolverines more
flexibility at that position.
"We had two seven-footers and we ter at the forward position opposite since the days of Ricky Green; a quick,
were counting on both," lamented Garner. Junior Joe James, the player penetrating guard. Turner, the recruit
Frieder after Antonides was hurt with the most experience other-than who was supposed to save the Michigan
before Michigan's opening game, an 83- Garner, will battle, Rockymore for a basketbakk program, has held his own
72 loss to Arkansas. "Now we have to go starting guard spot. in the pre-conference season, but
with Ike (Person), with no real backup The rest of the team, junior Leo Frieder knows that Turner has work to
to him." Brown, and sophomores Dan do if he wants to have a successful Big
Now it is up to Person, a 6-7 junior, to Pelekoudas and Dave Hall, have not Ten campaign.
battle the tough centers of the Big Ten. seen much playing time in the past, but "HE'S GOT THINGS to learn defen-
Person saw only limited action his they may have to get into the action this sively" Frieder said. "He's got a lot of
previous two years at Michigan, but got year. improvement to do if he's going to
a good indication of what he would be Coaching a team that is so young is make it (in the Big Ten)."
up against when he guarded Arkansas' not the most desirable experience But Turner's ability to penetrate op-
6-10 Scott Hastings. Hastings came known to a Big Ten coach, as Frieder posing defenses and dish out passes can
away with 24 points and 10 rebounds. will tell you. only help toease the worries that
Can Pierson, at 6-7, become a steady "YOU'D RATHER have a veteran Frieder has on another aspect of the
rebounder in the Big Ten? team," he admitted. "They know what Michigan cagers-whether or not Gar-
"We've got some definite problems to expect and know the system. Last ner can pick up the scoring slack left by
there, no question," Frieder said. And year, we had veteran players who had the graduation of four senior starters.
indeed he's right. For Person to com- been through it before and knew what it With the departure of Mike McGee,
pete on the boards with the likes of 7-3 took to win and never got blown out. Garner is the natural choice to become
Randy Bueuer of Minnesota and 6-11 "This is a younger team ... You have the top scorer on the Wolverines. Tur-
Russell Cross of Purdue will take more a guy like Ike Person who hasn't played ners ability to get the ball to the front
than an incredible effort. But Frieder much, and he has. to guard guys like line should aid Garner.
feels that Rerson has the qualities fo Russell Cross and Randy Beruer, .it "I'm hoping he (Garner) gets a few
provehims finthe coaference- presert aproblem;. . more baskts this yar, Frieder said.

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Lan donAP Photo
Indiana, the Big Ten, and basketball followers all over the country will miss Landon Turner this year. The 6-10 former
Hoosier center, who helped take his team to the 1981 Big Ten and National Championships, was to play a pivotal role in
Indiana's success this year, but suffered spinal injuries in a tragic car accident last July which paralyzed him from the
-eck down.. As they're saying in-Indiana, "This year-is for you, Landon Turner."


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