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March 26, 1987 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 1987-03-26

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Page 10 - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 26, 1987
Former Wolverine star now coaching in the CBA
Russell preaches noble values

By IAN RATNER
He is a three time All-American,
a legend, whose name is
synonymous with Michigan
basketball. Yet Cazzie Russell's
achievements have transcended the
game. A deeply religious man,
Russell learned the foundations for
prosperity early.
"My dad told me, 'If you want to
play sports you have to bring in
good grades, (and) if you don't, then
don't bother picking up the
equipment,"' he said. "Sports is an
extracurricular that you will be
allowed to do if you take care of
your work."
Russell, currently the head coach
of the Continental Basketball
Association's Wyoming
Wildcatters, believes this point is
overlooked in college basketball
today.
"THERE IS so much money
involved (in college basketball) for
the university that (the athletes) are
forgetting about getting an
education. When (athletes) talk,
they have to be able to carry on a

conversation without stuttering,"
Russell said.
He is quick to point out,
however, that the solution will not
be resolved through denying
admission to underqualified athletes
such as Terry Mills and Rumeal
Robinson.
"My high school didn't give me
everything I should have had to
prepare me for Michigan." said

R U S S E L L' S superior
basketball ability elevated him
beyond life in the Chicago ghetto.
A heralded basketball player at
Carver High School, he surpassed
all expectations with his
performance at Michigan.
Russell, who was only allowed
to play three years because of a
previous NCAA freshman
ineligibility rule, became an
immediate superstar as a
sophomore. Named an All-
American each of his three seasons
(1964-66), he captured virtually
every offensive statistical record at
Michigan, including a 27 point per
game average.
Number 33 fondly remembered
his career at Michigan.
"They were a great four years of
my life," said Russell, who hosted
Monday night's Basketball Bust.
"(Michigan) is in my blood. We
won three Big Ten titles and went
to the NCAA Final Four two out
of my three years. You don't lose
that feeling."
The New York Knicks made
Russell the first pick in the 1966
NBA draft following a dazzling
collegiate career. He was a member
of the Knick's championship team
of 1969-70.
After a prosperous 12 year NBA

career, he retired in 1977. But his
love for the game brought him to
the CBA's Lancaster Lightning in
1980 as a 36-year-old player. After
retiring as a player, Russell
assumed the coaching duties for the
Lightning the following season,
guiding them to the CBA
championship and garnering Coach
of the Year honors.
Russell eyes the possibility of
an NBA or major college coaching
position. For now, however, he is
doing what he loves - teaching the
game of basketball.
"This (coaching) is my greatest
enjoyment because I'm giving
something back to the game.
Watching the players develop is
very satisfying and very gratifying,"
he said.
Yet Russell warns that all
ballplayers must be wary on and off
the court.
"Athletes have to watch their
associations. They are targeted
people. In my day we didn't have
the problem (with drugs)," said
Russell. "The kids must get their
priorities in order and take
advantage of their four years so
they'll never have to say, I wish
that I could have."'~
Cazzie Russell has never had to
make such a statement.

Russell. "But don't close the door
and deprive these kids of an
education.
"Don't penalize them for not
getting the proper background. At

least give them a shot. If
prove themselves worthy,
they'll stay in college. If
don't, they'll go home."

they
then
they

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-Sports Information Photo
Former Michigan superstar Cazzie Russell helped lead the Wolverines to
three Big Ten titles and two trips to the Final Four during his three
seasons here. In the NBA, he was part of the 1969-70 World Champion New
York Knicks.
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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
Center Steve Stipanovich scored
nine of his 24 points in the fourth
quarter, and Wayman Tisdale came
off the bench to add 24 more as the
Indiana Pacers defeated the
Milwaukee Bucks 125-108 last
night in the NBA.
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With the Pacers leading, 90-81,
at the start of the fourth quarter,
Stipanovich scored his nine in the
first 2:20, including an 18-foot
jumper that capped an 11-2 Indiana
run and pushed the lead to 101-83.
The Bucks hit just one of six
shots in that span, a 15-footer by
Terry Cummings. The closest the
Bucks came after that was on a
Craig Hodges layup that reduced the
margin to 103-87 with 8:58 to
play.
Indiana led at halftime, 70-53,
but the Bucks closed within 76-70,
led by Cummings, who scored nine
of his team-high 21 points in the
third period. But four consecutive
free throws, two by Vern Fleming
and two by backcourt mate John
Long, pushed the lead back to 10.

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