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April 02, 1993 - Image 15

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The Michigan Daily, 1993-04-02

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The Michigan Daily-- Friday, April 2,1993 - Page 15

A game is a game is a game
Playerscoaches say that basketball is the same in every city

by Ken Davidoff
Daily Basketball Writer
The Michigan men's basketball team's
NCAA Championship semifinal match
against Kentucky Saturday night will be
more than a battle between the two
schools' playing and coaching styles.
Showcasing play-
ers from around the
country - including
New Yorker Jamal
Mashburn, Detroit t v
natives Jalen Rose
and Chris Webber, < ]
Texans Ray Jackson
and Jimmy King and
Chicagoan Juwan
Howard - the game
will display the dif-
ferences in each of
these area's styles. Mashburn
Or will it?
The issue of whether a player's "game"
can be attributed to background, if not
hotly debated, certainly gathers a variety of
opinions. While some feel that Mashburn
possesses certain qualities that make him a
"New York player," or Webber a "Detroit
player," others dispute the notion that a
player's hometown dictates his style.
"A Detroit player is exemplified by a
Derrick Coleman dunking on Shaquille
(O'Neal)," Webber explained. "I think ev-
erybody saw (when Coleman wagged his
finger and shook his head at O'Neal in a
recent game). Or a Steve Smith (of the Mi-
ami Heat), he's an example of a Detroit-

style player.,Kenny Anderson (New Jersey
Nets), Jamal, Brian Reese (North Carolina),
those are perfect examples of the New
York type of player. They shoot, dribble-
drive, finesse."
Michigan coach Steve Fisher disagrees
with his star.
"People try to say, 'That's a New York
type of a player.' I have not seen that,"
Fisher said. "(Mashburn) is tough. He's
mentally tough, he's physically tough, and
he can play. But the same thing can be said
for not only him, but for about 10 of their
guys. He's the best, but personally I don't
see 'New York' in how he plays."
Tom Murray, Mashburn's high school
coach at Cardinal Hayes High School in the
Bronx, also said he regarded Mashburn as
simply an excellent player.
"They play basketball," Murray said of
those growing up playing New York street
ball. "They handle the ball a lot, but a lot of
big guys, if they didn't have (Mashburn's)
skills, wouldn't have been given that op-
portunity. They just would have been
placed under the basket."
Most of the players and coaches con-
ceded that if they could not distinguish
between each city, they could at least a tell
the difference between a city player and
one who grew up in a rural area.
"Chicago's and New York's style are
just about the same," Howard said. "It's
competitive out there, a lot of trash-talking,
everyone comes out to play. The bumps,
the scratches and the bruises are just the
same as New York."

Howard's high school coach, Mike
Cook of Chicago Vocational, also said that
the only noticeable difference was between
the urban and rural styles of play.
"Coming from a large metropolitan
area, like Chicago or New York or Phila-
delphia, I think you play against tougher
competition game in and game out than
you would if you were from somewhere in
Iowa maybe, or some small town in Colo-
rado," Cook said. "The level of competition
is higher and much more consistent."
"I would say that all street ball is the
same no matter where you played it," Rose
said. "At the same time, I would say that in
a bigger city there's more talent lurking in,
the wings."
Perhaps Texas molds its natives into the
most unique form. After all, Jackson and
King possess several similarities, including
pride in their defensive play and the ability
to defy gravity.
"Texas street ball has a lot of players
that like jumping and dunking," Jackson
said. "There's just a lot of great athletes out
in Texas ... (We) just play the game. Jump,
run and dunk. Up and down. That's how
Texas is."
As much as people wax poetic about
their region and its personality, they never
forget the entire team's approach, not those
of specific players, decides the outcome.
"As far as the playground ball concern,
there's not gonna be any playground ball
played out there," Howard said. "It's about
business and winning. It's about Michigan
and Kentucky going against each other."

Guard Jalen Rose grabs a loose ball from Ohio State's Greg Simpson earlier this season.
Michigan will take on Kentucky in Saturday evening's Final Four game in New Orleans.

* Continued from page 1
a basketball team than I am now,
Pitino said. "We're very confident
but on the other hand we have a
great deal of respect for our
Pitino's offensive style, which
balances low post play and perimeter
shooting, allows the Wildcats to
strike in many different ways.
"The three-point shot is at its best
when you've got a good inside at-
tack, good ball movement and good
defensive pressure," Pitino said.
With a strong full-court press
creating numerous turnovers - the
Wildcats have caused their oppo-
nents to turn the ball over twice as
many times as they have - Ken-
tucky's defense fuels its high-pow
Bred offensive attack.

"The defense has got to be there
to have the big runs," Pitino said.
All-American Jamal Mashburn
leads the team in scoring and re-
bounding, averaging 20.4 points and
8.4 boards per game. An equally deft
player both in the paint and beyond
the three-point stripe, Fisher believes
the Kentucky junior is as tough a
r player as his team has come up
against this season.
"Mashburn is one of, if not the,
t best player in the country," Fisher
said. "He is just so versatile. To
1 have anything close to a comparison
it would be (Indiana All-American
Calbert) Cheaney, but Cheaney
doesn't have the size or the
While Mashburn is obviously the
center of attention for Kentucky, he
- is anything but a lone threat. Ken-
tucky is as deep as the Grand

Canyon, offering many weapons for
the Wolverines to neutralize.
"We can't get frustrated if we de-
fend well and they still make some
good shots," Fisher said.
In the same vein, Pitino sees
Michigan as much more than Chris
Webber, the Wolverines' All-
American forward, and company.
"I have concerns of stopping the
Michigan team more than any one
player," Pitino said. "That's been the
mistake other teams have had with
In the first semifinal game, North
Carolina and Kansas tangle in a re-
match of the 1991 semifinal in Indi-
anapolis. With each of the Final
Four teams ranked No. 1 in the na-
tion at one point this season, the out-
come of this weekend's play is any-
thing but certain.
"We have four teams that could
play on four different nights and
have four different winners," Pitino
Yet while all four teams have the
ability, only one will walk away
with the title.
NCAA champion.

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Jalen Rose strides past the Storyville Stompers, a Dixieland jazz band, who greeted the Michigan basketball team
upon arriving at its hotel in New Orleans. The Wolverines begin Final Four play Saturday night at the Superdome.
The Wolverines will take on Kentucky in the second semifinal. North Carolina will play Kansas in Saturday's first
contest. The winners play in Monday's National Championship.






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