The Michigan Daily - Sports Monday-- April 12,
- Page 5
have seen him light up the score-
board against Kansas in the semifi-
nal, yet they could not stop his three-
E point attack. He deservedly captured
the tournament's Most Outstanding
Va Player trophy.
:Worst: Webber said he's glad he
f- won't be around when George
ds Washington's Yinka Dare is a se-
of r nior. Unfortunately for the Coo-
st nials, he was only a freshman this
past year, and all the media attention
in the world didn't give him a
e chance against Webber, Howard and
- Riley in the tournament. Zero points,
H-i and his squad fared considerably
If better against the Wolverines when
e,- he rode the bench. He'll be an NBA
ta. lottery pick someday, but not quite
hE OPPONENT - TEAM
ar.- Best: No matter the circum-
stances, beating this Michigan club
twice ranks as quite an accomplish-
ut ment, and that's why Indiana gets
e the nod. In the first battle, the
Hoosiers held off a Michigan rally,
while in the final they produced one
n" .of their own. Be it coaching, disci-
e pline, or just dumb luck, Bob
Knight's guys was the only group to
pull off this feat.
u- Worst: Coaches always talk
,about stepping it up a notch for the
,. NCAA tournament, but the Wolver-
ild ines could have stepped it down a
- notch or two against Coastal Car-
ke olina and it wouldn't have made
y much of a difference. These guys
'a just didn't even come close. In one
s. memorable sequence, two Michigan
es players missed three-pointers, onfy
,, to get the rebounds, and then Rose
seemed to get tired of taking threes
* and cruised for a hard slam. Sure,
ia Chanticleer Tony "Slam" Dunkin
ee. may have won the conference most
ks valuable player award four consecu-
to tive times, but "Diff'rent Strokes"'
d, Mr. Drummond's third-place finish
e in a marathon sounded impressive
to until we learned there were only
rr three competitors.
Best: Easily Webber. It's no
wonder they call him "The Truth."
e In the visitors' lockerroom at
s Cameron Indoor Stadium following
y Michigan's 79-68 loss to Duke,
Webber quietly said to a small group
a.' of reporters, "We still have North
so Carolina and Kansas," implying that
t he and his teammates would triumph
in the Rainbow Classic. He then
added, "We said we would make the
Final Four last year and we did, and
a we'll make it again this year." Not
f.a . bad for an overrated underachiever,
Worst: Everyone on the planet
ey except Bob Knight, for claiming
he that the Big Ten would have its
Pt greatest year since the dawn of time.
i- All the Big Ten coaches save Knight
a and all of the media jumped on the
bandwagon, only to have it derail in
around February. Granted, the con-
e: ference ranks as one of the nation's
on' best, but only two representatives in
's the Sweet Sixteen does not a jugger-
ck naut make. Only Knight had the per-
he spicacity to see through the hype and
in- pronounce this year just as ordinary
-rn, as a red sweater.
Best: This has to be a tie between
"as Rose and Webber. Both provided
* consistent entertainment all year
be long with their insight and humor,
on and both tolerated the idiotic media
inquiries more than they were re-
.st We'll give you an example of
each player's oratory genius: After
leHammer paid a visit to Crisler Arena
wv to see the Wolverines thump Iowa,
as the players were asked if they lis-
tened to Hammer. Not really, they
replied. Then what do you listen to?
ng they were asked. "You probably
e-- haven't heard of them," Webber ex-
or plained. "You guys probably listen
:n= to The Platters or something like
As for Rose, he kept his audience
he.. asking for mercy at his press confer-
), ence on the off day in New Orleans.
ar- At one point, a reporter asked Rose
if he realized he would get to visit
the White House if Michigan won.
st th 'I
preseason, Fisher said of star oppo-
nent Spider Edwards, "He caught us
in his web." At one point during this
season, a scribe asked Fisher when
he would press more. "In my next
life," he responded.
Still, credit must be given where
credit is due, and Fisher did show
flashes of potential in tournament ac-
tion. At the press conference pre-
viewing the Michigan-Temple
matchup, a reporter who should have
known better asked, "Coach, you're
going to have to play a disciplined
game against Temple. Are you going
to make your guys pass the ball a
certain number of times?"
"Yes," Fisher responded.
"They're going to have to pass it
seven and a half times before they
shoot. And (Webber) here is going
to have to keep track and swing his
arm in a circular motion when the
amount has been reached."
It should be noted that Fisher
kept a straight face during this ex-
Runner up has to go to Purdue's
Glenn Robinson, who chose not to
answer any questions after his team
lost to Michigan in its Big Ten
Best: The Rainbow Classic.
"Huh?" you wonder. "Why not the
NCAA Tournament?" Well, Tucson
with its 80 degree temperatures and
marvelous scenery and, of course,
New Orleans with all its pleasures
are close behind, but you just can't
compete with Honolulu.
Take this as travel advice: take
Kuhio Road to Waikiki, and directly
across the street from the Hawaiian
Regent hotel you find Kuhio Beach,
quite possibly the best strip of sand
in the world. Warm and soft with no
rocks and a break-wall to allow
wading in the Pacific without waves
... Heaven on Earth.
And the games were top-notch
too, with the Wolverines knocking
off three top-20 teams in as many
Worst: Imagine driving six and a
half hours to nowhere. Do that and
you will have made it to Penn State.
The Big Ten newcomer made few
inroads to the race, maybe because
the school is located nearly an hour
from the nearest interstate.
Best: Looking for a quality 12
Michigan coach Steve Fisher ranks as one of the nicer and more
accessible of his ilk, but also one of the worst quotes.
hours? Take the Duke challenge.
Five states. Plains. Mountains. Tun-
nels. The Football Hall of Fame in
Canton, Ohio. The capital building
in Charleston, W. Va. And when you
get there at 3:00 in the morning, all
of the Blue Devils loyalists have
been kind enough to wait up for you,
in their tents. A truly Zen-like expe-
Worst: Once you get off Inter-
state 69, the trip to Purdue becomes
one of the more nightmarish jour-
neys. No wonder all the UFO ab-
ductions occur in the middle of
nowhere; there's no witnesses that
way. Sorry, but directions like,
"Turn left at the pregnant cow" don't
cut it in our book. And it didn't help
matters when we got into an accident
on the way home and had to rely on
the kindness of the Jackson, Mich.
local folk. To make a long story
short, we've seen kinder local folk.
Best: Kansas. Done in the
"classic" style with an olde-fash-
ioned "Kansas" draped across the
front, these blue-and-crimson
dandies had "tradition" written all
over them. One could imagine this
style being all the rage 20 years ago,
but it's still fashionable today.
Worst: Coastal Carolina. We
were really tempted to say Michigan
State, because green and white is
such an ugly combination, but these
were the worst. Red and black
should be a sight to behold but the
Chants' digs were an eyesore. Per-
haps it was that giant 'C' with the
rooster head displayed awkwardly
on the front, perhaps it was the over-
done two-tone warmups -
whichever, we strongly suggest our
friends from South Carolina hire a
fashion designer before next season.
No, wait, then the uniforms
would turn out like North Caroli-
na's warmups, and the Chanticleers
certainly would never want that to
Webber has to decide
for himself when to go
"College life is full of tough decisions."
It is a phrase uttered by many aparent as he or she sends his or her child off to
school. However, I do not think most of these parents ever envisioned this kind of
decision for their son or daughter.
$41.5 million over seven years equals security.
This couldbeChris Webber's future ifhe left Michigan this month and decided
to enter the NBA draft where he is certain to be one of the top three players taken
by the pros. That was the salary gained by last year's top draft pick, Shaquille
The financial possibilities of a career in the NBA for a player of Webber's
talents andabilities wouldmake anumberof youths wish they hadpracticedalittle
more on the neighborhood court
In this day and age where the odds of landing ajob after four years of college
seems equal to winning the lottery, Webber has the rare opportunity to begin his
life's employment early. It is no secret that the 6-foot-9 power forward's occupa-
tion coming out of college will be as a professional basketball player.
The only question is when to embark on this vocation. While rumors have
surrounded Webber all season as to whether he will stay or go, the time to answer
them has commenced. As soon as his massive hands moved apart from their T-
formation last Monday night and the reality of a second straight defeat in the
NCAA title game set in, the drama of the Chris Webber story took on a new
Webber has taken from college just what any student here wishes to receive.
He has gotten a superior education, not just in the classroom, but in life. Webber
has handled himself with the grace and style of an adult twice his age, making it
even harder to rationalize that the man behind thatmuscular frame is only 20-years
And just like any other 20-year old, Webberis looking for only one thing at this
point in his life. He simply wants to have fun. Anyone who feels that the 1992-93
season was fun for Webber is the type that would probably enjoy having an ear
infection. While the season lasted only 156 days on the calendar, it seemed to most
of the Wolverines as long as the drive to New Orleans.
"When the college game stops being fun for me ... you know the NBA is a
different type of game, it lets you expand your game," Webber said at a press
conference earlier this week.
The year has worn down this
manchild who hunches over when giv-
ing interviewsnow, unlike inDecember
and January when basketball was more
than just "being lucky to get this far.°
Despite being on a squad that won
more games than any previous Wolver-
ine team, despite reaching the champi-
onship game for yet a second straight
year, despite being named All-Amen-
can, the memories Webber will bring
from this season will not be ... well all
"No, it definitely is not as fun as it
was last year,' Webber said of his sec-
ond year at Michigan. "But with fame
comes responsibility and criticism. You
have to take it with the good. I'm popu-
lar and I get criticized."
Having been one of the horde that
has cnticizedWebber'severymove this
season, I understand the kind of torture
he has had to endure. Haunted by the P
loss to Duke in the 1992 championship KRISTOFFER GILLEE/ Daly
game a year ago, Webber and the Wol- Webber
verines heaped enough pressure on
themselves to make the average team crumble.
When added with the expectations of the media, the very fact that Michigan
survived all the way to the final game is a testament to the Wolverines' incredible
Yet in spite of all the negative comments, such as being labeled the least
improved player in the country by Sports Illustrated, Webber never refused an
interview after a game, answering anyone's questions. He did not run and hide
from the media, but instead learned to deal with the fact that being gifted by the
Gods sometimes has a price.
Another year of ridicule, another year of "underachieving" is not something
anyone would look forward to, especially if other more fruitful options are
available. Webber himself addressed this concern.
"The innocence is still there in college athletics, but then when you have guys
like Bill Walton and Curry Kirkpatrick, people like that, you say why should I get
all this criticism for free. Shouldn't I be paid to be criticized like this?"
The decision really isn't that difficult. Any college student who was offered
over five million dollars a year to leave school would jump at the chance to take
down the loft in their dorm room and enter the real world.
What transpired last Monday only adds to the overall drama. Those hoping
he'll stay a Wolverine at least one more year cry that he can't end his Michigan
career on such a sour note; the shadow of the "phantom time out" lingers too large
for Webber to not rectify it.
Believe me, Webber can end his college career like that and very well will.
Even if he is saying he will stay right now - as he did last week - don't be
surprised if like Desmond Howard he changes his tune.
"You want to leave as a champion but also you don't want to go through it
again," Webber said. "Mentally I'm so tired, always trying to prove myself to be
a good person, always trying to prove my team and our coach that he's a good
person and you get tired of it."
Webber can really gain nothing from another year wearing No. four for the
Maize and Blue. His play will not considerably improve and he can only
disappoint his critics. Except for the precious national championship he still
believes he cost his teammates last week, Webber has already earned enough
accolades to satisfy any college hoops player.
Hanging up the shoes, while certainly not romantic, is very logical.
Money eventually will be the turning point in Webber's decision. Can Webber
afford to wait another year? Will the NBA impose a rookie salary cap next season?
Will he hurt his market value? And yet the money issue seems to be the one plank
which gives Wolverine fans a glimmer of hope.