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November 28, 1984 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 1984-11-28
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Page 20S - The Michiaan Daily - Wednednv November 28. 1984


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Don't mean to be gloomy but .. .
.00 whatever can go wrong, might

By Steve Wise

CHICKEN LITTLE was right. The sky is falling, and
all you hear about the Michigan basketball team
is what a great year it's going to have.
So what if the Wolverines have momentum from
the NIT championship. So what if Roy Tarpley was
moving toward superstardom at the end of last
season. So what if Gary Grant looks like he'll erase
any memories of Eric what's-his-name.
To hell with all of this positive stuff. It's time for a
little pessimism.
It could all fall apart as early as the non-conference
season. Ohio native Steve Stoyko could get homesick
and stow away on the Youngstown State team bus,
hitchhiking the hour or so back to Bay Village and
never returning. Gary Grant could similarly sneak
home after the Dayton game three days later, looking
for just a taste of Mrs. Grant's home cooking but
staying for the duration. Bang-bang! Head coach
Bill Frieder's prize recruits are gone and the team is
Sure, you're laughing now, but nobody expected
Marcus Dupree to leave Oklahoma either.
Even if nobody decides to quit school, disaster still
could strike the Wolverines. Richard Rellford could
follow in Paul Jokisch's footsteps, deciding to return
to the gridiron and quitting the hoops squad early to
get ready for spring football. Grant, Garde Thom-
pson, Antoine Joubert and Leslie Rockymore, all
baseball players in high school, could empty
Frieder's backcourt, going to bat instead for Bud
Middaugh and his team.
,dAlright, alright. So these are all remote, if not
ridiculous possibilities. The ifs and buts still could
catch the Wolverines unaware in a few areas.
Granted, the NIT is important and gave the players
a taste of the time clock-governed game they'll play
in the Big Ten this year. The Wolverines used the fast
break effectively and will likely continue to do so this
season. But according to Frieder, a conference title
won't be an easy target for Michigan run-and-guns.

"Our preference is to run. You'll see that when we
get started," Frieder said. "When you get into the
Big Ten, they take that away from you."
The Wolverines also had Tim McCormick and Eric
Turner in the NIT. With the pair, Michigan lost about
23 points and eight rebounds per game. McCormick
and Turner also took with them this season's senior
leadership, an intangible but supposedly significant
element of a winning team.
"We really felt good about this season," Frieder-
said. "When McCormick and Eric decided to go pro,
that put a dent in the situation."
The situation could get worse if, say Uwe Blab or
anybody from Iowa's oversized interior puts a dent in
Roy Tarpley. Michigan forwards are going to have
their hands full without trying to compensate for an-
injury to the 6-11 center. Rellford, Butch Wade and
Robert Henderson. could face the same difficulties if
Tarpley gets in foul trouble.
"We don't have a lot of depth. ..," said Frieder.

"Had we known that or looked into that a little
earlier, we might have taken another kid (during
"If we have injuries, it could be very serious," he
But health isn't necessarily the key to happiness.
An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but it
doesn't do much for your free throw percentage.
Nor will a proper fruit intake give Michigan front-
line scoring, something Frieder has cited as a banana
peel the Wolverines may slip on. Keep in mind that
Rellford, Henderson and Wade averaged just 15 poin-
ts between them last season.
Sure, consistent involvement in the offense may
squeeze more points out of that bunch. But wring
your hands and shake your head. This is pessimism,
And what about the guards? Who's gonna be the
backcourt wizard? Don't tell me Gary Grant can just
step in and run a Big Ten offense. He's just a fresh-
man, and he can't derive instant stability from an
immobile disco haircut like Indiana's Steve Alford
So Joubert's not a freshman anymore. So he
doesn't have to play under the pressure of incredible
pre-season hype. That doesn't guarantee 20 points a
game from him, or even 15. He could struggle. Like
Rockymore before him, the Judge could lose his
touch and become the defendant.
And what about the Rock? Can he bounce back
from the season that saw him shoot 33 percent in con-
ference games? If he doesn't, who'll be the outside
Oh my. Oh dear. This is too much for one person to
fret about. It could get ugly. Remember, the fans
don't have Dan Pelekoudas to kick around anymore.
Murphy may not be on any of Michigan's op-
ponent's rosters, but his law could still undermine the
Wolverines' fortunes.




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Supplement to The Michigan Daily,

Ann Arbor, Michigan - Wednesday, November 28, 1984

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