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December 04, 1992 - Image 12

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1992-12-04

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Page 12-The Michigan Daily- Friday, December 4, 1992

DUKE
Continued from page 1
The 6-foot-il sophomore also
concerns Michigan head coach Steve
Fisher and his staff.
"We can't allow Cherokee Parks
to have Christian Laettner-like num-
bers," Fisher said. "Sooner or later
he's going to put up those numbers
against everybody, and we can't let
him start against us."
Both teams post a clean bill of
health. Duke's Marty Clark suffered
a black eye in pursuit of a rebound in
practice, but he will play through the
minor injury.
The Wolverine starting lineup
has not changed from the end of last
season. The heralded Fab Five return
with a summer of experience behind
them, backed by four seniors who
have played over 330 games.
The pressure Duke faced all last
seasca as it tried to defend its title
has shifted northwest towards the
Wolverines, according to point
guard Bobby Hurley.
"I really don't feel any pressure
at all. We have a new team facing
something new," Hurley said of his
No. 4 Blue Devils. "If there is any-
thing like that, I think it faces
Michigan. They haven't done any-
thing yet as far as winning titles.
They had a really good season last
year but if they don't win it all this
season, it won't be a major success."
Top-ranked Michigan does not
fret over the pressure that it faces.
On the contrary, the players em-
brace it.
"Emotionally, it's going to be
one of the biggest games of the sea-
son," Michigan forward Chris
Webber said. "What it really means
is nothing. If we beat them, it does-
n't mean we're going to win the na-
tional championship, and if they beat
us it doesn't mean they're going to
win ... If we win the Big Ten and
the national championship, and we
lose this game by 100 points, it
won't mean anything."
The intensity of this interconfer-
ence challenge has, if anything,
grown stronger. Showdowns be-
tween such highly-rated teams have
become more common in recent
years. Since the NCAA selection-
committee has paid more attention to
strength of schedule and lifted the
unwritten rule of a 20-victory season
as automatic qualification for the
tournament, schools are adjusting
their schedules accordingly.
"This game has been really hyped
up. It's a lot like a Duke-UNC
(North Carolina) game," Duke's
Grant Hill said. "This game has
grown almost to an ACC (Atlantic
Coast Conference) or a Big Ten con-
ference game."
Besides the personnel changes,
the largest difference is the site of
the contest. Certainly a poll of the

BLUE DEVIL'S CONFIDENCE ADDS TO TALENT
Hill enters Duke spotlight

by Marc Sacks
The Chronicle
It is a priceless picture. A single
figure in flight high above the rim,
slamming the ball home as two (fill
in adjective) - astonished, amazed,
mesmerized,... - opponents look
on.
The man up in the air, a basket-
ball superman, is Grant Hill. The
grounded lesser mortals are Kansas
Jayhawks. And the moment is one
Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski
will never forget.
"Grant is on another planet," he
said.
Krzyzewski was probably exag-
gerating, but then again, mayTbe he
wasn't.
Now heading into his junior year,
Grant Hill appears poised to add new
pictures to an already bulging
portfolio.
A quick exercise in recollection.
February 1991: In a key late-sea-
son contest at Arizona, the Blue
Devils find themselves on the ropes.
The Wildcats and their Tucson sky-
line are man-handling the smaller
Blue Devils.
Enter Grant Hill.
Only a freshman, Hill becomes
the focal point of the Duke offense
in the ltter part of the game.
Although Duke eventually falls in
double overtime, Hill, with 19
points, has served notice that his ca-
reer will be a special one.
February 1992: When iron-man
point guard Bobby Hurley went
down with an ankle injury in a mid-
season battle at North Carolina,
many pundits figured the Blue
Devils, like a ship without its rudder,
would capsize against the rocks.
Enter Grant Hill.
Like an experienced captain, Hill
took to the helm with complete self-
assurance, leading Duke to four
straight victories including triumphs
at LSU and Georgia Tech.
His numbers for those games re-
veal his true versatility. He averaged
nearly 40 minutes - putting up 18,
points, pulling down six boards and
dishing out six assists.
April 6, 1992: The Blue Devils
have their hands full with the under-
dog and over-talented Michigan
squad. Christian Laettner is strug-
gling, as are hopes for repeat title.
Enter Grant Hill.
The all-everything sophomore
took his game to another level dur-
ing crunch time, finishing with 18
points, 10 rebounds, five assists, and
Krzyzewski's commendation for be-
ing the best player on the court over
the final seven minutes.
The best player on the court for

the most crucial stage of the game?
With hoop giants like Laettner,
Hurley and Chris Webber lurking
around?
"I thought I was the best player
on the court for all 40 minutes," says
Hill with no small hint of a laugh.
It is an immodest comment from
a man who wears modesty like a po-
liceman wears his badge. At times it
seems Hill's confidence level is the
inverse of his boundless talent. It is a
paradox that dates back to his high
school days in Reston, Va.
"I always dreamed about playing
in college, but not until my junior
year did I realize that it would hap-
pen," the 6-foot-8 guard-forward-
renaissance man said. "I lacked
confidence in high school and never
thought I was going to play in the
NCAA at all. I thought I would go to
UVa like most students in my high
school and then go on to grad
school. I never thought of a career in
basketball."
Krzyzewski did think about it,
and remembers first seeing Hill's
genius in his sophomore year at
South Lakes High.
"I've always loved Grant," he
said. "I believed in Grant before
Grant believed in Grant. I saw him
play as a sophomore and there was
never any doubt in my mind that he
would be a great player. The game
came easy to him."
While the game came easy, the
confidence did not. But as Hill looks
towards what promises to be a
break-through year, the confidence
- like national stardom - may fi-
nally be here.
The process began as a freshman
with Hill's play in the Final Four
and into the summer during the try-
outs for the Pan Am Games basket-
ball team.
"I did real well in the trials," he
said. "Going in I didn't think I could
make the team, but I went in with
the attitude that I could be a defen-
sive stopper."
Hill was a defensive stopper, but
it was his role as an offensive starter
that landed him on the team and in-
creased his self-confidence. The ex-
perience led to a sophomore year
filled with highlights that the special
moments listed above only begin to
recount.
The time and energy spent in
practice over the past two summers
should come to a brilliant fruition in
1992-93. Gone is team focus Chris-
tian Laettner and gone are all the
shackles that have kept Hill from
reaching his full potential.
"I don't want to hold him back at
all," Krzyzewski said. "The biggest

thing that Grant can learn this year is
how to enjoy being a special player.
He shouldn't let anything stop him
from showing his skill."
"He's not going to hold me back.
He wants me to be myself and not
have to worry about anything."
Being held back may have been a
result of the strong presence of
Laettner, whose personality and
skills demanded the spotlight With
the 1992 Player of the Year off to
the NBA, the spotlight is searching
for a new focus.
Enter Grant Hill.
"It was hard for me to be real as-
sertive last year when we had the
talent we had," Hill said. "We had
the national player of the year.
People say that I didn't assert myself
last year and maybe I didn't, but you
have to look at what the team did
and it won. Hopefully this year I'll
be able to do more."
If Hill can add assertiveness to
his already imposing physical skills,
the package may be too much for

0

The top-ranked Michigan basketball team travels to Duke for a Saturday
night encounter with the No. 4 Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Duke students would reveal this. Do
not try calling them at home, though,
unless they have a tent phone; Duke
students have been camping outside
Cameron -Indoor Stadium-since a
preseason game against the Brandt
Hagen of Germany team Nov. 27.
Fisher knows how the atmo-
sphere in Durham, N.C., can chal-
lenge the visitors. Duke has a 73-
game home winning streak against
non-ACC teams. Michigan's streak
in the same category, on the other
hand, currently stands at three.
"I think if we played last year's
game down there we probably would
have lost by 20," Fisher said. "We
were down by 17 at the half, and the
crowd allowed that game to not be a
blowout and helped us get back in it.

The first time I was down there was
two years ago, and it was really a
great atmosphere."
The environment, surrounding
both the campus and the collegiate
basketball world, certainly excites
the Duke players.
"I like playing these types of
games. I wish we could play more of
them," Hill said. "We know they
want to beat us. I don't care what
they say. Anytime you beat a team
twice in a year they want to win the
next year. Both teams want to beat
each other. It's like a Final Four
game. It's being hyped like one and
the players are like one."
Following the visit to Durham,
the Wolverines will return to Ann
Arbor for a five-game homestand.

Hill
other teams to handle. Tops On the
resume of the gifted junior is versa-
tility. The main area in which Hill
looks to improve is leadership. It is a
challenging role to play, but Hill has
had plenty of opportunity to learn
the lines.
"What Coach K means by assert-
ing myself includes off the floor -
being a leader," Hill said. "I'm a
veteran and I need to be more vocal
and bring a lot of stuff to the table
that Brian (Davis) brought as far as
hustle and hard work and leadership.
That's primarily what=Krzyzewski is
looking for.
"I know what (Krzyzewski)
wants and what he expects. I can
help pass it along to the younger
guys. Instead of being a follower, I
want to be a leader."

0

GUARDS
Depth vs. Everybody's all-American.
On Michigan's side, you have Jalen
Rose, Rob Pelinka, Jimmy King, etc.
etc. For Duke, you have Bobby Hurley.
You make the call.
Or let us make it for you.
ADVANTAGE: MICHIGAN
FORWARDS
Last year, the premier battle was
between Chris Webber and Christian
Laettner. Laettner's now a Timberwolf.
Webber's back.

MORE MID

NIGHT ADEs

Guess what that means?
ADVANTAGE: MICHIGAN

~Ii~I~

CENTERS
Good news for Duke! Cherokee Parks
(6-foot-11, 235 pounds) is now a
sophomore. Bad news for Duke!
Juwan Howard (6-foot-9, 240) and Eric
Riley (7-foot, 245) will be
waiting for him.Y

)

ADVANTAGE: MICHIGAN

LJ

BENCH
Michigan's greatest depth is at guard,
with six reserves. Additionally, one
can not overlook the power of James
Voskuil as the first forward off the
bench. Duke's depth pales
by comparison.
ADVANTAGE: MICHIGAN
COACHING
Steve Fisher should get more credit as
a coach. But Mike Krzyzewski still has
won two straight NCAA crowns, and
keeps his team perenially on top of
the tough ACC.
ADVANTAGE: DUKE
INTANGIBLES
Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Zoo-
Crew. Seventy-three straight non-

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