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January 21, 1992 - Image 15

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1992-01-21

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The Michigan Daily- Sports Tuesday- January 21, 1992- Page 7

Continued from page 1
Watson finally decided that the
time was right to move up a level.
Detroit's loss is Ann Arbor's gain.
"I've watched him grow and de-
velop the Southwestern program,"
Fisher said. "He is good at what he
does. He is a smart, intelligent man
who can think on his feet. But more
importantly than the X's and O's,
Perry cares about people and kids.
That's what I want in the pro-
Fisher lost top assistant Mike
* Boyd, who left to take over the
Cleveland State program 18
months ago. The coaching vacancy
remained throughout last season as
rumors flew.
Ignorant stereotypes insist that
every team requires a Black assis-
tant to recruit Black basketball
players. Boyd dealt with such as-
sumptions throughout his 10 years
in Ann Arbor. Watson repels im-
*plications of a similar role for
Watson's job description en-
tails many duties, and that's just
the way he likes it. He bristles at
the thought that he was brought to
Michigan merely to recruit blue-
chip Black basketball stars. A
prime reason Watson turned down
the UNLV job was because his nar-
row role would have been just that
- a Black salesman of the Rebel
Continued from page 1
from the Wolverines - missed free
throws. Ray Jackson missed two,
Rose missed two, and Webber
missed two.
After Webber missed two, Jack-
son redeemed himself by putting
away two free throws with 0:15
left, putting the game out of Illi-
nois' reach for good.
"After Duke, I told our kids, 'Do
not believe everything that is being
said. You're not as good as people
are telling you."' Fisher said.
"After Purdue (a 65-60 loss), I said,
Don't believe everything that is be-
ing said, you're not as bad as people
are saying.' We are going through
peaks and valleys. Nothing helps as
much as victories."
Michigan's next Big Ten
matchup is tonight in Bloomington
against the Hoosiers. Indiana leads
the Big Ten with a 4-0 record and
stands at 13-2 overall.

When Fisher promised him
much more participation, Watson
jumped at the chance.
"Fisher wanted someone who is
proven as a coach, and has national
exposure," Watson said. "If we see
a great player in Detroit, I should
initiate the ties because of what I
bring to the table. Not because I'm
Black, but because of what I've
done in this state.
"None of the assistants will be
labelled - that limits you and nar-
rows your growth. I see an impor-
tance in growth in all areas. All of
(Fisher's assistants) have responsi-
bilities during the game. I like the
Fisher's goal is to create as
much versatility in his coaches as in
his players.
"When you get good people,
you give them responsibility and
let them carry it out," Fisher said.
"Everyone has a say, everyone is in-
At the time of Watson's hiring,
rumors drifted down from MSU
coach Jud Heathcote. The Spartan
sour grapes suggested that recruits
Jalen Rose and Chris Webber had
signed with Michigan due to an il-
licit agreement that Watson would
soon join them in Ann Arbor.
"(The rumors) were tough, but
you can't control that," Watson
said. "Steve and I had talked and
said we'd see at the end of the sea-

son. (An agreement) had not oc-
Fisher's 1991 prep class was the
greatest defense against the theory
of Watson's hiring purely as a re-
cruiting tool. Why would Michi-
gan bring in a recruiting coach
when the program is already set for
the next few years?
The program does not need more
players, it needs to concentrate on
those already here.
"Recruitment is not such a
great priority right now," Watson
said. "Coaching is the top prior-
The Folklore
Perry Watson the man became
Perry Watson the urban legend in
an old building in the heart of his
native Southwest Detroit. This is
where he built a name for himself,
but more importantly, he built a
name for his players and school.
"The man is an institution in
this building," Southwestern prin-
cipal Betty Hines said. "He has
done a lot for the school. When you
win a lot you have a positive im-
Since Watson took over the
Southwestern program in 1978, the
Prospectors went to the state fi-
nals nine times, winning champi-
onships in 1990 and 1991.
Watson's astounding record of
302-34 in those 13 seasons was
boosted by a Who's Who of Michi-
gan high school stars. Leslie Rock-
ymore and Antoine Joubert starred
for the Wolverines in the mid-
1980s. Alumni Anderson Hunt
helped UNLV to the 1990 NCAA
title by winning the Final Four

MVP trophy. And now Jalen Rose
has begun a career amid high expec-
tations in Ann Arbor.
Last season's Prospector squad,
led by Rose, ended their season as
state champs and the No. 1-ranked
high school team in USA Today's
national poll. Every one of the se-
niors on the club earned a college
"Basketball is like a religion to
a lot of people here," Watson said.
"There is a lack of a lot of other
available activities, so a lot of kids
realize basketball would be their
ticket to get out.
"We reached out to kids. We
found success because the coaches
live in the Southwestern area.
Young kids came to camps and
games. Kids began to think about
basketball at a young age."
As a basketball coach, Watson
was generally the sole father fig-
ure in the lives of his players - 14
of last season's 17 players had no
father at home.
Many Southwestern players
find success inside and outside the
gym, because they listen to Wat-
son, and they learn.
"Coach Watson and the parents
did a good job of teaching together-
ness," Rose said. "Through sports
we could learn teamwork and
heart. On the streets we could learn
the same things, but could get
"He emphasized being a well-
rounded person, so you could han-
dle all situations."
Coach Watson often acted as an
adviser, teacher and friend to many
people in Detroit. And one could
see it was no act.
"Perry had a vested interest in

Southwest Detroit," Hines said.
"He has a knowledge of and sensi-
tivity to children enrolled here. He
knew the young people and the
forces going on within the commu-
nity. He was so active.
"I have watched him work with
young men. Some with serious
problems and concerns in their
family or society. He was able to
reverse the directions of those stu-
dents. Perry was a vital part of
their lives and knew what was hap-
pening at home and in the streets.
Perry had expectations of them,
and they were aware of those. They
knew he would accept nothing
Watson's expectations were
simple: teach kids to be strong
people outside of the gym, and they
will become even stronger inside.
"We tried to make kids under-
stand that basketball could be the
ticket, but they must be prepared
academically," Watson said, "Our
kids bought into that and accepted
the challenge. They trusted me a
lot, and things worked out."
Things worked out so well in
fact that one senses that he could
make a strong run in Detroit's next
mayoral election, if he so desired.
One That Got Away
Five years ago, Watson did lose
an election in one Detroit home. A
talented eighth-grader living in the
Southwestern district decided to
attend high school out in the sub-
Watson spoke with Chris Web-
ber's family before the 14-year-old
chose to study and play basketball
for Detroit Country Day School.

He emphasized Southwestern's
strong academic standards. He
stressed the program's success in
athletics. But Country Day was
able to sing the same tune. Watson
could not convince the family to
choose the home neighborhood over
one of the finest college-prep
schoojs in the state.
"Chris wanted to come to
Southwestern, no doubt," Watson
said. "But his parents really
wanted (Country Day)."
Webber remained close to the
Southwestern program. He main-
tained contact with Watson and
played AAU ball with Rose in the
The loss of Webber, who con-
tinued to live in Detroit, could
have grown into a source of fric-
tion for all involved. But Watson
and Webber refused to let it dis-
turb their close relationship.
"I didn't want to lose a friend-
ship by saying 'bad choice'," Wat-
son said.
Whatever remorse Watson felt
after the Webbers took their son
out of town was quickly salved by
the presence of two other eighth-
graders, Rose and Voshon Lenard
(now at Minnesota), who may
comprise the backcourt on the
1991-92 All-Big Ten Rookie squad.
"We knew we'd be successful
anyway," Watson said. "Without
Chris Webber, we won a national
championship. What more could
we have done?"
What more could anyone have
done in his position'? Watson
earned even more victories off the
court than he did on it, and his
move to big-time college basket-
ball was only inevitable.

FG FT Reb.
Min. M-A M-A O-T A F Pts.
Webber 31 8-13 0-2 6-16 1 4 16
Voskuil 23 4-5 1-2 1-2 2 5 10
Howard 29 6-9 1-3 1-5 1 4 13
Rose 36 4-13 9-15 4-4 4 1 17
Talley 29 1-5 2-2 1-1 3 2 4
Pelinka 3 0-1 0-0 1-2 0 0 0
Jackson 16 1-1 3-6 2-2 0 1 5
King 15 1-2 0-0 0-3 0 3 3
Riley 10 0-2 0-0 0-2 0 5 0
Mclver 8 0-0 0-0 0-1 0 3 0
Totals 200 25-51 16-30 16.42 11 28 68
FG%- .490. FT%- .533. Three-point goals: 2-5,
.400 (King 1-1, Voskuil 1-1, Rose 0-2, Talley 0-
1). Team rebounds: 4. Blocks: 5 (Mclver 2,
Webber 2, Voskuil). Turnovers: 19 (Webber 4,
Howard 3, Mclver 2, Riley 2, Talley 2, Voskuil 2,
Rose). Steals: 4 (Rose 2, Talley 2). Technical
fouls: 0.
FG FT Rob.
Min. M-A IM-A O-T A F Pt.
Michael 35 4-11 0-0 1-3 2 4 10
Bennett 27 0-3 3-7 1-4 1 2 3
Thomas 40 5-8 8-11 1-1 0 2 18
Clemons 37 0-3 0-0 0-1 3 4 0
Taylor 22 3-7 1-2 1-4 2 5. 7
Wheeler 27 4-8 8-9 0-3 2 4 17
Pierce 9 1-3 4-7 2-3 1 2 6
Tuttle 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Roth 2 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Totals 200 17-44 24-36 6-20 11 23 61
FG%- .386. FT%- .667. Three-point goals:
3-9, .333 (Michael 2-4, Wheeler 1-3, Taylor 0-
2). Team rebounds: 1. Blocks: 0. Turnovers: 14
(Clemons 4, Thomas 3, Bennett 2, Wheeler 2,
Michael, Taylor). Steals: 7 (Thomas 3, clemons
I2, Bennett, Wheeler). Technical fouls: 0.
Michigan............32 36 - 68
Illinois ................ 24 37 - 61


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