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January 19, 1983 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1983-01-19

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Page 8-Wednesday, January 19, 1983-The Michigan Daily

Frosh rebounds after slow start

Daily Photo by JEFF SCHRIER
Freshman Rob Henderson is all emotion in an early season victory against Nor-
thern Michigan. Since that early-season game, Henderson has broken into the star-
ting lineup and is one of the Wolverines' best rebounders.

An ear-to-ear smile enveloped Robert
Henderson's face as he headed down-
court, searching for a teammate's hand
to slap.
He had just swished a 12-foot jumper
from the left side which stretched
Michigan's lead over Wisconsin to 58-
52, last Saturday. The Wolverines won
the game 62-57, but it was a basket he
never should have made.
IF COACH Bill Frieder had his
druthers, he would not have let the 6-9
freshman play at all that evening. Hen-
derson, normally a starter, was
recuperating from a sprained knee he
had incurred the game before, and
Frieder did not want to risk further in-
jury to the forward by playing him.
But when the Wolverines went into
the lockerroom down six points to the
out-matched Badgers, Frieder decided
he needed Henderson.
"We needed his steadiness and con-
sistency on the boards," said Frieder.
And the forward responded by playing
the entire second half, grabbing five
rebounds and scoring four points.
Missing on the stat sheet, though, was
the life he seemed to instill into his
listless team. His enthusiasm and
emotion-filled gestures are a crowd
"WHEN something big happens to
the team I feel really good and I start
jumping around," said Henderson. "I
just get that adrenaline flowing and feel
real good."
Jumping around and feeling good has
been easy for the freshman cornerman
lately. He is second on the team in
rebounding with a 6.4 average and,
more importantly, has earned a star-
ting job on the Wolverine front line.
"I think he's done an excellent job,"
said Frieder. "He's steady - he's got
all the tools to become a great one.''
But it hasn't all been easy for Hen-
derson. In fact, at the season's outset,
the East Lansing native found himself
seriously questioning his ability and
even his place on the team.
PRIOR TO opening day, Frieder
seemed very high on Henderson, and it
appeared he would step in and con-
tribute right away. But he looked
sluggish during the first few games and
played as if he just didn't know what he
was supposed to do.
"Lost was the word," said Hender-
son. "I just wasn't sure of myself and I
wasn't shooting well. It was like
whatever I did, it turned out wrong..
Every shot I put up I knew was going to
miss. I was unhappy, but I was trying
not to get down on myself.
"Preseason took a lot out of me. And I
didn't have my legs or anything. For a
few weeks there I didn't have any kind
of energy whatsoever."

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BUT AS much as he wanted simply to'
ride out the slump, he couldn't help
thinking about other alternatives.
"There were times when I thought
about just quitting and being a regular
student. But I talked to my parents, the
coaches and some friends - Kim (his
girlfriend) - and they just told me to
hang in there. They gave me a lot of
positive reinforcement.
"He (Frieder) told me it'd be just a
matter of time, things will get better.
It's basically what everybody tried to
do. I just didn't know how long before I
started playing better," he said.
IT WASN'T that he was playing
terribly, tentatively is a better word.
He did not know when to pass or when to
shoot. He had lost his confidence and
needed something to break him out of
That break came in the sixth game of
the season, against Detroit. Henderson
played well throughout the game, and
with the score tied at 63 and only 12
seconds remaining in the game, Detroit
fouled Henderson and sent him to the
foul line for a one-and-one. The fresh-
man sank both ends and Michigan held
on for the victory.
Those two free throws meant more
than a nonconference victory; they
may have turned the season around for
Henderson. "It gave me confidence in
my ability. From there things got
gradually better for me," he said.
AFTER THE Detroit game, Hender-
son began asserting himself. At the
Toledo Blade Glass City Classic, Hen-
derson scored 23 points and grabbed 14
rebounds for two games, earning him a
place on the all-tournament team. Plus,
he earned a starting position he has not
given up.
"I just started playing better. I was
starting to get used to all the running.
My legs were coming back to me and I
was getting a little bit of my quickness
back," he said. "I started doing the
things that we need to win.
"I guess it's the freshman syn-
drome," he said, analyzing his early-
season doubts. "So many things can go
wrong, and at that time it just seemed
like everything did."
HENDERSON, though, has come a
long way since those days back in
November. He is a fine rebounder and
has an added dimension for a 6-9 for-
ward - he can shoot from the outside.
His jump shot has a slow wind-up
release, but the ball comes off the
fingertips smoothly and accurately.
After 14 games this season he is
averaging 6.6 points per game while
shooting 44 percent from the field. He
said he must improve on his percen-
tage, but part of the problem is due to a
sprained finger on his shooting hand.
UPI Top Twenty
1. UCLA.............. 16 1-1 565
2. Indiana .............. 18 12-1 550
3. tie Memphis St........1 12-1 413
North Carolina......... 1 12-3 413
5. Arkansas............. 3 13-0 397
6. Virginia .............. 12-2 383
7. St. John's............ 14-1 374
8. Louisville ............. 1 13-2 340
9. Nevada Las Vegas.... 1 14-0 295
10. Iowa................. 11-2 201
11. Missouri.. 12-2 178
12. Houston............. 13-2 160
13. Kentucky............ 11-3 128
14. Vilanova............. 10-2 117
15. Syracuse............ 12-2 83
16. Georgetown.......... 11-4 51
17. Illinois St............ -12-1 50
18. Minnesota........... 11-2 48
19. Oklahoma St......... 12-1 28
20. tie N.C. St............ 8-3 19
Tennessee.............10-3 19

Blue Lines


Christmas on ice. ..
... Giordano gets presents
IF THE MICHIGAN hockey team is playing steady, tight-checking,
defensive hockey this must be Christmas.
After all, Michigan coach John Giordano said his young and inexperienced
team would be competitive by the December holiday. The fans spent the
early season wondering if he meant Christmas 1984. But a recent 7-4 surge
has helped the Wolverines overcome a dismal 1-8 start and they now appear
ready to move into the Central Collegiate Hockey Association's upper
But don't let the team's recent riseto playoff contention catch you by sur-
prise. It is the result of the icers' maturation on defense, games against
lower-level competition, and fine individual efforts. These elements have
given Giordano his Christmas presents, albeit a month too late, and these
donations to the "Give-John Giordano-a-Happy-Holiday Fund" deserve
" From Co-captains Brad Tippett and Ted Speers- Giordano got the
leadership-both on and off the ice-that kept the team together during the
early going. Speers' shift to defense and Tippett's never-ending hustle
helped lead the team out of the doldrums and hopefully into the playoffs.
" From freshman Chris Seychel - Giordano got goals, in bunches, which
kept media attention focused on the offense and gave the defense a chance to
quietly mature.
" From goaltenders Jon Elliott and Mark Chiamp - Giordano got
someone willing to stand in the net. At the start of the season, playing in the
Michigan goal was like running through a minefield. With all the shots the
youthful defense gave up, it was a miracle that the two didn't surrender.
Now, they have given Giordano steady improvement and solid goaltending.
" From junior transfer student Ray Dries - Giordiano gave Dries the
notice that he was cut from the team-twice. Then he relented and gave the
5-7, 165-pound center another= chance. Now Dries has given Giordano the
steadiest hockey of his career.
" From freshman defensemen Pat Goff and Todd Carlile-Giordano has
been truly gifted by this pair. They have given the coach two blue-liners in
the mold of the departed Steve Richmond and Tim Manning. In addition,
they have put the power back in the Wolverine power-play, with smart
passing and strong slap shots.
" From sophomore defensemen Mike Neff and Doug May, and freshman
Bill Brauer-These three have given Giordano steady, heady and strong
defense, mucking it out in the corners and quietly contributing to the offense.
When Giordano wants flashes of brilliance he can turn to Goff and Carlile,
but no one has been more steady than Doug May.
Big Mac attacks
" From junior right wing Jim McCauley - Giordano has gotten much
more than he could have hoped for from the 5-10, 175-pounder. Big Mac has
scored more points in 21 games this season than he scored in -his first two
seasons at Michigan.
" From. the CCHA schedule-makers - Giordano's gift from the league in-
cluded playing the top five teams in 10 of the season's first 12 games. This
baptism-by-fire enabled all the players to mature quickly, and also instilled
the confidence that enable them to beat up on the weaker teams in recent
" From assistant coach Mike Turner - Giordano got one of his best
presents from Turner. The second-year assistant helped Giordano to one of
Michigan's best recruiting years ever, and is keeping his present of this
year's recruits under wraps,
" From Giordano to himself - The coach instilled patience within himself,
and the end result was that his long wait for the team to mature has ended in
success. Indeed, if Christmas is really here for the Michigan icers, it is only
because John Giordano played Santa Claus and made it happen.
Yes, the Michigan hockey team is a tight-checking, hard-hitting, defensive
oriented unit, and, no, it isn't ready to win the CCHA. But the Wolverines
have brought their own season to life, and John Giordano is hoping that
Christmas lasts all year long.

Regardless, he has improved
tremendously all-around since the
early season and much of his physical
improvement can be attributed to the
intense competition he encounters in
practice. Last season Henderson ear-
ned the title "Mr. Basketball" as
Michigan's premier player after
averaging 24 points and 14 rebounds at
Lansing Eastern. But his numbers and
honors guaranteed him nothing in the
way of playing time because Frieder
went out and landed four other blue-
chippers - and all were big men.
"AT FIRST I thought it would be real
bad, more competition," Henderson
said about facing the other recruits in
practice. "But I realized it would make
me work harder. . . and be better for
the team as a whole. It's the advantage


of having them make you push yourself.
"I think it's helped me play near my
poetntial. If I just came in and started I
doubt I would have worked as hard.
When you look at the whole situation I
really needed the competition.
Sometimes we get in arguments, we get
mad at each other for a while, but then
we realize it's good for you. You're just
gonna have to get in there and fight for
everything and get prepared for the
For now, "the games" are in the
forefront of Henderson's mind. "I'd like
us to get a post-season tournament bid.
If we play well I know we have the
ability to finish in the top five or six."
Lack of confidence is no longer a



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