a 4C - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 5, 1985
Cagers aim to better
By STEVE WISE
This could be a disappointing
season for the Michigan basketball
Wait a minute. Did he say disap-
IS THIS the same group that retur-
ns' all five starters from an NCAA-
qtfalifying, Big Ten Championship
team, having graduated only one
regular player. Is this the same team
that posted a 26-4 overall record and a
0.-2 Big Ten mark? Is this the same
§guad whose 17-game winning streak
set a school record and matched the
best season in Michigan history? Are
we talking about the Wolverine squad
that brings in last year's Michigan
Mr. Basketball and five other highly
" Affirmative on all counts, but head
coach Bill Frieder thinks all that
could create inflated expectations.
"People are gonna have to under-
stand that there's a very good
possibility that even though we might
be a better basketball team and go
further in the NCAA tournament, we
might not duplicate our record,"
"PEOPLE WILL be shooting for us
more. We might not get as many
breaks. We might not win as many
close games. We might not stay as
healthy. A lot of things can happen,"
added the ever-cautious coach.
But for those less disposed to
pessimism, the 1985-86 Wolverines
provide plenty of fuel for the fires of
The list has to begin with center Roy
Tarpley. The 6-11 senior achieved
much of the potential that few other
than Frieder saw in him as a high
school player. Tarpley's 19.3 points
per game and 10.3 rebounds led
Michigan and helped earn him the Big
Ten's Most Valuable Player award.
DESPITE Tarpley's fine season,
Frieder hopes the Detroit native can
improve in a few areas.
"He's gotta get so he doesn't put the
ball on the floor every time he touches
it and where when he gets it, he finds a
way to get to the basket," Frieder
The fact that Tarpley had trouble
getting to the basket was one reason
MICHIGAN'S other great strength,
its guards, also struggled in the
NCAAs. Sophomore Gary Grant, the
Wolverines' second best shooter in the
regular season with a 56.3 field goal
percentage, went oh-for-everything in
By November, Grant will likely
have put those two bad nights behind
him and recovered to his Big Ten
Rookie of the Year form. The 6-2 point
guard will again lead the Michigan
defense with his quickness and inten-
Junior Antoine Joubert also
struggled in the post-season. Having
improved in all areas last year, the 6-5
guard seemed somewhat confused in
Ithe NCAAs, especially against Villanova
Like Grant, Joubert's shooting touch
"YOU CAN'T have guys in your
lineup shooting one-for-nine," said
Frieder, the Associated Press'
national Coach of the Year.
"(Joubert) was one-for-nine on two
occasions in the last six or seven
"That's inexcusable. You can ac-
cept it from a freshman or
sophomore, but you can't accept it
Daily Photo by DAN HABIB
Despite plenty of muscle, Roy Tarpley (42), Robert Henderson (15) and the rest of the Wolverines could not
slip past Wakefield, Mass. Mark Plansky and eventual national-champion Villanova in the second round of the
from a junior or senior."
Frieder rarely needed to accept
poor shooting from starting forward
Richard Rellford. Last year the 6-6
senior shot 57.7 percent from the floor,
but for this year, Frieder is less con-
cerned about Rellford's sometimes
spectacular tip-ins than the way he
tips the scales.
RELLFORD'S pattern the past
three years has been to begin the year
weighing around 230 pounds and even-
tually trim to 220. For the Florida
native to improve significantly this
year, according to Frieder, he must
begin the season at the lower weight.
"His goal," said Frieder, "should
be to get himself in the type of shape
this summer that he eventually gets
into in February."
The shape of Michigan's other star-
ting forward, Butch Wade, is only a
problem to opponents. The 6-7, 235-
pounder evolved into a defensive en-
forcer last year, consistently slowing
.... Frieder thinks he'll improve ... trimmer?
Ulrich's makes G~r
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or shutting down the other teams' big
WADE'S OFFENSE, though, falls
into Frieder's "unacceptable"
category. Not quite a 49 percent field
goal shooter, Wade's touch is uncer-
tain outside, sometimes even within
two feet of the basket.
While lamenting Wade's offensive
deficiencies, Frieder said the senior's
defensive and leadership abilities
may secure his starting spot this year.
"I'm not so sure if we replaced one
of the starters it'd be Butch Wade,"
Frieder said, "but that's a way he can
IF ANY of the front-line starters
were to be replaced, the most likely
candidate would be senior Robert
Henderson. The 6-9 former Mr.
Basketball seemed to get more
aggressive and more confident with
each game last season.
Henderson's rebounding and defen-
se may have been the best of any
Wolverine in the NCAA games, but
Frieder feels his offense must get less
While Henderson works on
mechanics, sophomore Steve Stoyko
needs body work to beef up his fairly
slim chance at a starting job. Stoyko
must add to the 6-9, 195-pound frame
he threw around fearlessly in brief
appearances last year.
"HE'S GONNA help us some," said
Frieder, "but he's gonna have to im-
prove a great deal to go past those
four seniors. His job is to beat the
freshman coming in."
The main threat from the freshman
should come from 1985 Mr. Basket-
ball, Glen Rice. A 6-6 forward, Rice
averaged 28 points per game his
senior year in high school.
The other freshmen include four big
men, 6-10 J.P. Oosterbaan, 6-8 Loy
Vaught, 6-7 Mark Hughes and 6-6 Mike
Griffin, and one guard, 6-2 Billy Butts.
SOME OBSERVERS compare this
year's freshman to the class that in-
cluded Tarpley, Wade, Rellford and
Henderson, but Frieder says other
than Rice, the current crop "did not
have the same credentials."
The true importance of the fresh-
man, Frieder said, is how they com-
pare to their elders in practice. Said
Frieder: "You worry about them let-
ting up a little and forgetting how
hard they had to work to attain what
"But that's the good thing about our
freshmen. If one of these (veteran)
guys starts taking things for granted
or not doing the things he's supposed
to be doing, we're gonna have kids
who can replace them.
"THAT'S GONNA make the seniors
better because they've got young kids
pushing them and make the young
kids better because they're playing
against good seniors."
Those seniors are so good partly
because they have experienced a suc-
cessful season and also stumbled
through a couple of NCAA tournament
games. Their experience should
provide the Wolverines with a wealth
of senior leadership, something with
which Villanova was laden last year.
"You hope it brings them closer (to
an NCAA title) and you hope they'll
work that much harder," said
Frieder. "(The team's improvement
is a result of maturity. You try to keep
it, dwell on it and hope it even im-
proves from where it is now."
As for where it is now, even Frieder
admits he's not disappointed.
I F -
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