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September 05, 1991 - Image 58

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-09-05

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Page 4 -The Michigan Daily/New Student Edition - Thursday, September 5, 1991

Fisher's new recruits
show a touch of class

Hunter, Calip star

by Phil Green
Daily Basketball Writer
In 1986, Michigan garnered one
of the top recruiting classes in the
country. Guard Rumeal Robinson
and forward Terry Mills decided to
play basketball in Ann Arbor. Four
season later, Mills and Robinson
helped lead the Wolverines to the
National Championship.
This year's class is projected to
be even better, meaning expectations
are running high for the future of
Michigan men's basketball.
Wolverine coach Steve Fisher
signed five of the nation's top 100
players, including four in the top 25
and two out of the top three.
"We will be significantly
helped with the new kids coming
in," Fisher said. "I would not be
'I felt in my heart that
Michigan was the
place for me.
Academically, I had to
choose Michigan. I
don't want to be seen
as a 'dumb jock"
-Chris Webber,
'M' basketball recruit
surprised at all to see a couple of
them in the starting lineup. How-
ever, as I'm getting these players in,
I'm telling them nobody's promised
anything, and I'd be disappointed if
the guys here don't fight and fight
"They're good players ... but
college is a lot different (from high
school), both basketball wise and in
every regard. It is just how quickly
they adjust and blend in, and eventu-
ally they're going to be good play-
Chris Webber, Michigan's Mr.
Basketball, heads the list of Fisher's
young guns. He was named national
high school player of the year by
both Parade Magazine and USA
Today. The 6-foot-10 forward aver-
aged 28.2 points, 13.2 rebounds, and

6.3 blocks last season, while leading
his Detroit Country Day team to the
Class B state championship, its
third consecutive title. He also
earned team MVP honors at the
McDonald's and Dapper Dan all-
star contests.
"I felt in my heart that Michi-
gan was the place for me," said
Webber, who chose the Wolverines
after narrowing his choices to
Michigan and Michigan State.
"Academically, I had to choose
Michigan. I don't want to be seen as
a 'dumb jock.'"'
Webber will be joined up front
by Juwan Howard. The 6-foot-O
Howard registered 27.1 points, 12
rebounds, and three blocks per game
last season. Wolverine fans feared
that Howard would have to sit out
his first year as a Proposition 48 ca-
sualty. However, he reached the nec-
essary marks in the spring.
Detroit native Jalen Rose will
also fight for a starting spot in the
frontcourt. He averaged 23.8 points,
10.5 rebounds, and eight assists per
game to help lead Detroit South-
western to another state champi-
onship. At 6-foot-7, he can score
from inside or out and can play
shooting guard if necessary.
However, the Wolverines should
not need much help at off-guard.
Jimmy King, from Plano, Texas, is
also headed to Ann Arbor. He aver-
aged 25.5 points, nine rebounds, and
four assists, during his senior sea-
"Michigan was the best place for
me for academics and basketball;
with the coaches and players, I
thought I would fit in well," King
The 6-foot-4 guard was compared
to Michael Jordan by Kansas coach
Roy Williams, who, as an assistant
to Dean Smith at North Carolina,
lured Jordan to Chapel Hill. King
proved worthy of the comparison at
the McDonald's All-Star game. He
easily won the slam dunk contest
with an electrifying alley-oop slam,
leaping over Webber and Rose.

!In rebuilc
by Theodore Cox
Daily Basketball Writer
The memories of the 1990-91
basketball season will quickly be
reduced to the transition between
the old and the new. The previous
year, the Wolverines were stocked
with four players currently in the
NBA: Sean Higgins, Terry Mills,
Rumeal Robinson, and Loy Vaught.
This year, Michigan coach Steve
Fisher recruited a group who could
do just as well.
However, there were still plenty
of highlights during the year to
warrant a look back. Entering the
season with only one senior, the
youthful Wolverines finished with
a record of 7-11 in the Big Ten and
14-15 overall. Although their per-
formance fell short of earning a sev-
enth straight NCAA tournament
bid, it did qualify the team for the
Unfortunately, the Wolverines
had to play the opening-round game
in Boulder, Colo., against the host
Buffaloes. It was Colorado's first
post-season appearance in 22 years,
and the Buffaloes' hunger showed.
They came back from being down by
10 points to beat Michigan, 71-64.
By the time the game had ended
in Boulder, the Wolverines had used
10 different starting lineups. Only
senior Demetrius Calip and sopho-
more Michael Talley had started ev-
ery game. Fisher searched all season
for the right combination, as incon-
sistency plagued players all year.
Michigan got off to a fast start
early in the year by winning its first
three games. Two of those victories
came against eventual Sweet 16
teams, Eastern Michigan and Utah.
Eastern's Lorenzo Neely missed
a desperation three-point attempt
with seconds remaining, and Michi-
gan held on for a 78-76 victory. Af-
ter building a 19-point halftime
lead, the Wolverines collapsed de-
fensively, allowing Eastern back in
the game.
Three days later, the Wolverines
recovered to have one of their best
games of the year, easily defeating
Utah, 81-65. Talley proved he
wasn't going to give up his starting
posting at point guard easily, as he
posted 14 points.
The biggest test of the season
followed the Utah victory, as
Michigan had to travel to Cameron
Indoor Arena to face the Duke Blue
Devils. The eventual National
Champions pounded the Wolverines
early, building a 17-point halftime
lead. However, Michigan didn't
quit, outscoring the Blue Devils by
10 in the second half. Center Eric
Riley had one of his best games,
with 17 points, 10 rebounds, and
four blocks.
"I felt I could hit anything," Ri-
ley said afterward. "But in the sec-
ond half, I couldn't even touch the
ball - they collapsed onng."
January marked the beginning of

ling year
the Big Ten schedule, and life didn'
get any easier for the Maize and
Blue. The Wolverines played one of
their worst road games at Michigan
State. The debut of forward James
Voskuil marked the lone bright
spot. The junior had been plagued
with an ankle injury, but he came
back strong, eventually becoming a
Next up for Michigan was the
talented Ohio State squad. Th
Wolverines played one of their bet-
ter defensive games, but when the
game was on the line, the Buckeyes
Jimmy Jackson came through. The
forward scored 12 points in the last
four minutes to capture a victory
for Ohio State.
'You're always
disappointed. But we
have to use this as a
tool for next year.
We're going to win
next year'
-Steve Fisher,
Michigan would drop its next
two games to open 0-4 in the confer-
ence. It wasn't until Northwestern
came along that the Wolverines
chalked up their first victory. ;
Two of the squad's better games
came in the middle of January. The
first one was in Madison. After
Wisconsin had built a 14-point lead,
scrappy defense by players like for-
ward Freddy Hunter brought the
Wolverines back into the game.
Then, with 11 seconds left in regu-
lation, Talley went the distance of
the court for a lay-up to tie th
game. The overtime period was just
as exciting, as guard Tony Tolbert
nailed a soft jumper with four sec-
onds left to ice the game for Michi-
The Wisconsin game established
Hunter as a national legend. The ju-
nior, whose only previous playing
experience was in intramural com-
petition, made the team as a walk-on
in the fall. What was unique aboui
Hunter was the impact he madeo
the court. Arguably one of the best
athletes on the squad, he became a
starter based on his defense and hus-
Michigan's second outstanding
January effort also came on the road
- this time in Minnesota. With
1:40 left in the game, the Gophers
were up by three. Again, the
Wolverines refused to die, as two
consecutive Calip three-pointers
helped Michigan to a 66-62 victory.
The game. that put the NCAA
tournament out of reach for Michi-
gan was the 83-77 double-overtime
loss to Purdue at Crisler. Calip had
32 points, but it wasn't enough: as
Boilermaker Craig Riley had a ca-
reer game, scoring 23.
The NIT loss to Colorado gave
the Wolverines their first losing
season in nine years.
"You're always disappointed,"
Fisher said. "But we have to use this
as a tool for next year. We're going
to win next year."

Michigan coach Steve Fisher will count on Eric Riley and Freddie Hunter
to teach his heralded recruits about how to rebound in the Big Ten.

Another Texan, Austin native
Ray Jackson, rounds out the class.
He tallied 23 points, 9.2 rebounds,
and six assists per game during his
final high school season. The 6-foot-
5 Jackson played every position
with equal proficiency.
"It'll take a little time to ad-
just, but I'll be ready," Jackson said.
"It really doesn't matter where I
play. I'll probably be on the wing,


either two (shooting guard) or three
(small forward)."
With the Wolverines' depth at
guard and small forward, Jackson
may be redshirted this season.
As a unit, these recruits repre-
sent the best class in the nation this
year, and possibly the best of all
time. Furthermore, their versatility
should give Michigan a solid lineup
for years to come.
N e eds write rs


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