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December 10, 1982 - Image 16

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1982-12-10

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SPORTS

The Michigan Daily

Friday, December 10. 1982

Page 16

Friendly forward flourishes far from Florida

i

By JOHN KERR
When you're 6-6 and weigh 230 poun-
ds, it's easy to scare people off, even
when you don't intend to do so.
But Richard Rellford, who just hap-
pens to fit the above dimensions, has
developed a sure-fire way to avoid in-
timidating people with his massive
frame-he smiles. All the time.
"I DON'T want anyone to think I'm
mean," Rellford said with a grin on his
face.
It's safe to say that Rellford, a
freshman forward on the Michigan
basketball team, has accomplished his

objective. Anyone who has come into
contact with him (except perhaps op-
posing forwards) would be hard
pressed to describe him as mean. And it
isn't just the smile that does it.
From his relaxed, out-going manner,
to the fact that he really enjoys talking
with people, Rellford's whole per-
sonality exudes friendliness. "I try to
keep that kind of attitude because you
see a lot of people around and they are
always frowning," he said. "You lose a
lot of friends like that."
IT'S THAT type of demeanor that has
allowed Rellford, who is from Riviera
Beach, Fla., to adjust easily to life at

the University of Michigan. For many
first-year students, being over 2,000
miles from home for months at a time
can be a trying experience. But
Rellford, who has been in Ann Arbor
since this summer when he came to
play in a summer basketball league,
hasn't had much of a problem.
"I'm really enjoying myself," he
said. "I know a lot of people, and I'm

not worried about being homesick.
During the summer I was homesick
when I first got here, but about two
weeks later I was okay."
But what made Rellford, an All-
American in high school who could
have gone to any college he wanted,
decide to leave his family, friends, and
the Florida sun and come to drab, cold
Michigan? Because he graduated from
the same high school as Wolverine foot-
ball All-American Anthony Carter,
many Michigan basketball followers
assume that Carter played a big part in

his time in the winter, Rellford may not
be able to go snowmobiling. Even
though Frieder is counting on him to
start at forward and he is averaging
9.6 points a game, he still must improve
greatly, especially on defense, if he is to
do well in the Big Ten. Rellford's
relaxed manner can sometimes be
detrimental in a game, like basketball,
that requires such intensity. In fact, at
the beginning of the year Frieder said
that Rellford's big problem was he had
"to learn to work harder." But the
freshman forward realizes that the
coach was right and is working to im-

prove himself.
"In the pre-season I was coming in
and going through all the motions," he
said. "But then I found out something:
I had to really play and not just liven
my name. I had to play the wqy
(Frieder) wanted me to play and I h
to do the things that I knew how to 6
Eventually, I started getting into shape
and I started playing defense add
everything started coming to me," te
continued. "That's when I started o
feel good. right now my whole gamexis
just now coming back to me."
Now that's scary.

-fr Welcomes the
WOLVERINES
to California
If you are coming to the Rose Bowl

I

"Right now my
whole game is just
coming back to me."
-Richard Rellford

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Rellford's choice of a college. The
talkative forward says, however, that
Anthony only influenced him "a little
bit.
"HE (CARTER) never said to me
'Richard, you might want to come here
to U of M because it's a great school,' "
Rellford recalled. "He never said that.
All he said was 'If you go (to Michigan)
you'll enjoy yourself.' "
In the end, along with Wolverine
coach Bill Frieder's recruiting ability,
it was the appeal of a different setting
that got Rellford to Ann Arbor.
"It's a different atmosphere entirely
because you have three seasons here,"
he said, "where at home you have only
one - sun, and that's all the time."
ONE OF THE drawbacks of heading
north to go to school, though, is that
Rellford can't enjoy one of his favorite
hobbies, fishing, in the winter.
However, the Michigan winters will
allow him to do something he never
could do in Florida - go snowmobiling.
"I never did it and you see it on
television and it looks like fun," he said.
But with basketball taking up most of

About the only thing that
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d
T he streak builds . . .
.. .so does cagers confidence
YOU CAN SENSE it during the games.
You can sense it in the locker room.
You can sense it in the post-game press conferences.
You can even sense it in the practices.
An aura of confidence is beginning to sweep through the Michigan basket-
ball team, which is no small accomplishment when you are coning off a 7-20
season.
But that is exactly what five straight victories will do for a young team.
Never mind the Wolverines registered those triumphs against the likes of
Akron, Central Michigan, Northern Michigan, and Cleveland State. Thur-
sday night's 95-72 drubbing over the Vikings was a prime example of the ad-
vantages of a light non-conference schedule.
Michigan coach Bill Frieder was able to give time to his top ten players,
while experimenting with different strategies. This scenario has been much
the same throughout the infant season. And add the decisive win over highly-
regarded Kansas to the other four victories and even Frieder, the eternal
pessimist, has reason to smile.
"Hey Ike," chided the happy coach, following the Cleveland State
thrashing. "When did we win our fifth game last season?"
"I don't know," replied the smiling Person, one of the survivors from last
season.
"Late February Ike," laughed Frieder, who evened his career mark at 31-
31.
Freshmen start to shine
Perhaps nobody typifies this carefree, newly-found Michigan confidence
more than Freshman Richard Rellford. The personable 6-6 Floridian ap-
pears self-assured on the court, leading fast breaks, diving for loose balls
and playing aggressive defense. Even when some of his on-the-court
acrobatics go awry, he still maintains his poise. And why not? Rellford
missing a slam looks better than most players making them.
"I've learned a lot," Rellford explained. "I found out what I'm doing
wrong, and I've capitalized on it in the last couple of games. I've started
playing tougher defense and everything has started coming. That's when I
feel good. Right now my whole game is just now coming back again."
But Rellford has far from monopolized this growing confidence. All five
freshmen, at one time or another, have illustrated it. Whether it be Paul
Jokisch's all-out Kelly Tripucka-like play, or Robert Henderson's and Butch
Wade's rebounding, or Roy Tarpley's shot blocking, it has been refreshing to
watch these freshmen gain confidence and mature on the court.
However, the key recipient of this wave of confidence might be center Tim
McCormick, who was red-shirted last season. "I'm playing with more con-
fidence now," said the 6-11 junior. "Each game I feel more comfortable. My
defense, game awareness, quickness, and rebounding are all getting better;
with each game."
Toss in the play of backcourt duo, Eric Turner and Leslie Rockymore, and
the Wolverines should take the Big Ten by storm. Right? Well, maybe.
"They're getting more confident and learning what it takes to be suc-
cessful in the Big Ten," said Frieder. "However, they'll have to stop makinga
careless mistakes-too many turnovers, not executing free throws. It's a'
case of mental toughness, if we get tougher it could make the difference in a
few conference games."
And with half of their non-conference schedule remaining, including three
tough road tests, the young Wolverines should be fine-tuned for a challenging
second-semester worth of basketball.
If Rellford, McCormick and company keep maturing at the pace they have
previously, maybe Frieder will be back testing Person at the end of the
season.
"When was the last time Michigan made it to the NCAAs?"

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