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November 18, 1993 - Image 20

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-11-18
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81- The Michigan Daily- Tipoff.3 --Thursday, November 18,.4993




'The Mich 8t1 dill

Howard returns as center of attention for Blue
Lack of size in the middle will force Fisher to resort to smaller, quicker lineup


Fab Four may be even
most celebrated memb

With 6-foot-9, 250-pound junior
Juwan Howard, a preseason all-Big
Ten pick and the only legitimate cen-
ter returning to the Michigan lineup,
this position is probably the Wolver-
ines' weakest link.
But that doesn't mean it will be
If you don't look at the position in
the traditional sense of size and
strength, and instead in the way Michi-
gan coach Steve Fisher will have to
look at it - in terms of quickness -
it may have its advantages.
Sophomore Leon Derricks (6-9,
215), listed as a forward, is the only
other Wolverine with center-type size.

However, having played limited min-
utes during his freshman campaign, it
remains to be seen if he has Big Ten-
type strength.
Derricks may represent the Wol-
verines' strategy down low this sea-
"At the position I'm going to be
playing, the players that are bigger
than me are not going to be as quick as
me," he said.
Fisher certainly hopes so.
A year ago, he had depth in the

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size category, with 6-foot-9 Chris;
Webber and 7-foot Eric Riley, along
with Howard, to clog the middle. a
Howard, an honorable mention
All-America selection last year, is
perhaps as talented a post player as
anyone in the country. He averaged
14.6 points and 7.4 rebounds last sea-
son, and promises to be even more
impressive this year with Webber and
Riley gone.
However, because he is Michigan's
size this year, he will be vulnerable to
foul trouble and double-teaming in-1
As a result, Fisher will have to
scratch the prototype center spot at
times. He has no choice but to use
smaller players extensively on the
blocks, hoping to capitalize on their
quickness, if not their size.
"We're going to be smaller, but
that will make other things better,"
Fisher said. "We're hoping to find a
way to accent our strengths to camou-
flage our weaknesses."
Look for Ray Jackson (6-6,225), a
little stronger after adding ten pounds
of muscle over the summer, and fresh-
man Olivier Saint-Jean (6-7, 200) to
see plenty of time inside for the Maize
and Blue this season. In addition,
with an abundance of Wolverine pe-
rimeter players, 6-foot-8 Jalen Rose
will be called upon to exploit his
height advantage over smaller point

guards inside.
Still, as Fisher well knows, for
any advantage the superior quickness
may provide Michigan, the biggest
question mark has to be rebounding.
Webber was all over the glass last
season, averaging over 10 boards a
game. Many times last year, other
players on the team admit they prob-
ably relied on Webber too much to
get the big board.
It worked then, as Michigan was
second in the league behind Iowa, in
both rebounds per game and rebound
margin, but it won't be easy this year.
Howard returns as the leading

rebounder, but for the team to be suc-
cessful, he cannot do it alone.
Without a go-to rebounder like
Webber, the Wolverines will have to
rely on a balanced rebounding attack.
"We won'thave the Big Ten's lead-
ing rebounder, but hopefully, we'll
have four guys with six to eight (per
game)," Fisher said.
Rose, Jackson and King each av-
eragedjust over four rebounds a game
last season.
"A lot of guys are going to have to
help," Howard said.
- TimRardin

For the last two seasons, Jalen
Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King
and Ray Jackson have all stood -
some more than others - in the
shadow of former All-American
and current NBA player Chris
But just because that shadow is
gone now doesn't mean the sun has
set for the Michigan basketball team.
In fact, though Michigan's
illustrious Fab Five is no more, the
newly-dubbed Fab Four could well
be more.
Allow me to elaborate.
For the last two seasons,
Webber was unquestionably the
leader of this basketball team - not
only because of his intimidating
physical presence on the court, but
because of his compelling
"Chris had such a will to win
that it was infectious," Michigan
coach Steve Fisher said of his star
pupil. "We lose the physical and
mental strength of our team from
last year."
Still, anytime you return four

starters, and especially four two-
year starters, you're going to be
good. But many suggest that
without Webber, Michigan cannot
possibly be as good as it has been
the last two seasons.
I think they can. In fact, I think
they may be better.
Because now, the Fab Five
Minus One will have more
opportunity to showcase its talents.
With Webber leading the
charge, the other four simply didn't
have to do as much.
This year, they do.
Featuring a smaller, quicker
lineup, the Fab Four must lead this
team, and each of them must step
up their respective games in order
for the Wolverines to be as
successful, and even more
successful, as they were the last two
No one on the team can replace
Webber. There is no question about
that. But a collective effort from the
Fab Four in particular can do the
See FAB FOUR, Page 18


T he members of the Fab Four will have to step up even more for the


- ---



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