Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, November 23, 1988
vs. Western Michigan
Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
Yost Ice Arena
The Michigan Daily
BY JEFF RUSH
Michigan guard Rumeal Robinson will lead the Wolverines Friday against Vanderbilt in the Maui Classic.
Blue looks for
BY STEVE BLONDER
An all expenses paid, one week
trip to Hawaii. Not bad for a bunch
of college students. So what if the
guys have to step out from under the
Hawaiian rainbows for a few hours
to play a game or two of basketball.
The Michigan basketball team
has until Friday to enjoy the
Hawaiian beaches and live it up. At
that point, the Wolverines open up
play in the Maui Classic against a
formidable Vanderbilt team.
"For us, this tournament is a
reward trip for the kids. It's a good
way for us to find out how good a
basketball team we can be," said
Michigan coach Bill Frieder. "If we
have a good showing, it will be
encouraging. But if not, we will
have a lot of work to do."
Some reward. Being forced to
play in a tournament that includes
No. 4 Oklahoma, No. 8 UNLV, a
rebuilding Ohio State squad, and
perennial NCAA tourney teams
Memphis State, Vanderbilt, and De
THE AREA concerning Frieder
the most is the play of his guards.
Since last May, Frieder has been
mourning the graduation of Gary
Grant and has been disappointed with
the candidates vying to play opposite
"We're going to be pressed, we're
going to have to defend good three-
point shooters. Our guard play will
be a problem all year, and this
tournament should show us how
much more work we have to do,"
The first test will be against a
Vanderbilt squad which returns eight
of its top nine players, including all
four guards. Each membr of the
quartet connected on at least 18
three-pointers last season, and will
be called upon to contribute
Fred Benjamin, a 6-11 sopho-
.more, and junior college transfer
Alberto Ballestra who averaged 15
points and over 11 rebounds per
game, should test a Michigan
frontline which resembles a
M.A.S.H. unit more than a national
CENTER Terry Mills sustained
a groin pull, and has not practiced all
week. Frieder has not been pleased
with the play of junior Loy Vaught,
and Mark Hughes has been hampered
with minor injuries.
Sean Higgins, who connected on
all five of his three-pointers against
Yugoslavia, jammed his right thumb
during practice. Frieder was unsure
as to whether the inury would affect
The Wolverines' success may
largely depend on their "ability to
light up the scoreboard," according
to Frieder. Glen Rice scored 30
points and pulled down 13 rebounds
against Yugoslavia, and the injuries
only add to the pressure being put on
the preseason All-American.
The Michigan-Vanderbilt winner
will face either Memphis State or
'M' schedule starts slow;
so does Frieder's book
Answer: They both get off to slow starts.
Question: What does the Michigan basketball team's schedule have in
common with coach Bill Frieder's book?
Calling Basket Case Bill Frieder's book is apt. There's been only one
book in Frieder's life since his days as a college student at Michigan, and its
appearance in Ann Arbor bookstores means he has written one more book
than he has read in the past 20 years.
Maybe he should have read a well-written book about a Big Ten coach
(see Feinstein, John, A Season on the Brink) before he co-authored his own.
There are 15 chapters: 12 written from the point of view of Frieder; one
written from the point of view of his wife, Jan; and two written from the
point of view of co-author Jeff Mortimer, an Ann Arbor News reporter.
MORTIMER writes two very interesting chapters that look at Frieder
in the detailed way Feinstein looked at Indiana basketball coach Bob Knight.
But like a Michigan basketball fan who must endure the December schedule
of patsies before being treated to Big Ten games, the reader of Basket Case
must endure 60 pages of uninteresting, superficial writing before enjoying
the best chapter in the book, titled Six Days in the Life of Bill Frieder.
Feinstein spent 300 pages talking almost exclusively about one season
of basketball. What does Frieder attempt to cover in the first 60 pages of his
book? Growing up, getting a high school coaching job, becoming assistant
coach at Michigan, becoming head coach at Michigan, going to the National
Invitation Tournament and winning it, and playing in three National
Collegiate Athletic Assocation tournaments.
Whew. No wonder the subtitle of this book is The Frenetic Life of
Michigan Coach Bill Frieder. It's a good thing Mortimer spends the next 38
pages on just six days in the life of Frieder so the reader can catch up.
Still, there are some good anecdotes in the first six
chapters. Frieder tells about a poker party in which
the biggest surprise wasn't the cards the guy across
the table held, but the entrance of several gun-
carrying masked men. One of the men recognizes
Frieder and tells him he is doing a good job coaching
at Flint Northern, so Frieder asks for his wallet back.
Though not funny to Frieder at the time (he writes -
that it is the most scared he's ever been), it makes for
a good laugh now.
FRIEDER also describes how he was hired at
Michigan, and in doing so gives the reader a.nice Frieder
glimpse at the personalities of both him and Don author
Canham, Michigan's recently retired athletic director.
But Frieder inevitably errs in trying to translate so much of his life into
so little space. His first mention of former Michigan player Antoine Joubert
leaves out Joubert's first name as if the reader is already familiar with him.
And while most Michigan basketball fans probably are familiar with
Joubert's up-and-down career at Michigan, Frieder writes little about him.
Later, Frieder spends only two paragraphs plus one sentence describing
what he calls the greatest victory in Crisler ever. His description of
Michigan's 80-52 victory over Indiana for the 1986 Big Ten title is as
devoid of emotion as one imagines Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry's
description of his team's hapless season this year.
Mortimer makes up for the sins of the first five chapters somewhat by
delving well into Frieder's personality in the sixth chapter. His vehicle is
Frieder's preparation for a game last December agains~t Eastern Michigan.
The Michigan basketball fan here gets a fresh look at what goes on during
all those hours the Wolverines don't spend playing an opponent.
Frieder's chapters, too, improve after this. He writes about drugs in
college athletics, and specifically, former Michigan player Roy Tarpley's
drug problem. He also writes about his players' penchant for cars, and how
he doesn't like them to have new cars because it starts rumors of
improprieties in his program. And finally, he writes about his relationship-
turned-sour with Knight.
Like the Michigan basketball schedule, Basket Case steadily improves
from beginning to end.
My advice to potential Michigan basketball fans? If you want season
tickets, fine, but get rid of those December tickets.
My advice to potential readers of Basket Case? If you want to read the
book, fine, but skip the first 60 pages.
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