The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - Monday, February 14, 1994 - 3
The former Michigan assistant
* basketball coach talks about his new job
Perry Watson coachedatDetroit's
Southwestern High School for 13
years before becoming an assistant
basketball coach at Michigan. His
teams compiled a 302-24 record while
winning two state championships and
a top ranking in the USA Today high
school basketball poll. Watson
coached former Michigan players
Leslie Rockymore and Antoine
Joubert, as well as current Wolver-
ines' star Jalen Rose.
Watson served as an assistant
coach to Steve Fisher at Michigan
when the Wolverines went to the
NCAA Finals in 1992 and 1993. Fol-
lowing last season, he was hired to
I coach the University ofDetroit-Mercy
Titans of the Midwestern Collegiate
Conference, replacing currentNorth-
western head coach Ricky Byrdsong.
Recently, Daily Sports Writer Will
McCahill spoke with Watson about
Daily: What kind of goals did you
have for the Detroit-Mercy basket-
ball program coming into this sea-
Watson: I wanted to raise the level
of the program in total, especially as
far as getting a commitment from the
players themselves. This was a pro-
gram that hadn't won in a number of
years, and it was really a question of
changing attitudes. I wanted to change
the aspirations (of the players in-
volved) from mediocrity to expecting
to be the best. I also wanted to create
a presence in high-school athletes'
decision-making process, to establish
this program as a viable option for
them, to try and tap the talent in the
Ietroit metro area.
°D: Do you feel you are competing
with Michigan in recruiting in the
Detroit area? Does being a Detroit
native with your high-school coach-
ing background give you an edge in
- W: There is a vast amount of tal-
ent in the Detroit area, and I think
we're bumping heads with Michigan,
Michigan State, whoever, in trying to
recruit in Detroit.
Yeah, I guess I have an edge (be-
ing from Detroit). I suppose there is a
greater acceptance level among high-
school athletes and their parents. (My
background) helps me get in the door
* with some of those kids, lets me have
that opportunity with them.
D: What kind of differences have
you seen in going from being in charge
of a really serious high school pro-
gram like Southwestern's, to being an
assistant coach at a Division I pro-
gram like Michigan's, then becoming
head coach at the college level? What
are some of the different roles you
have filled at each level?
.W: There are a lot of similarities
between coaching high school and
college, being a head coach. You have
a lot more responsibilities being a
head coach at both levels as opposed
to being an assistant.
~Michigan was a great growth op-
portunity for me. I got to see what it's
like with a big-time basketball pro-
gram at a great institution like Michi-
gan. It showed me what to look for,
what to do and what steps to take in
building a successful basketball pro-
(At Detroit) I've been able to use
some.of the experience I got at Michi-
gan with things surrounding coach-
ing: having an office staff to deal
with, recruiting, things like that.
As far as different roles, there's
not much difference in dealing with
people at the high school and college
levels (as a head coach). There are
different pressures on the players at
the two levels, but you try to give
them as good advice as you can and
keep them on the right track.
D: In all your years of coaching,
what would you say have been your
W: I feel its hard to say there's
Of course, my two years with U-
M were just unbelievable. Again, I
was blessed to be a part of that, going
to two national championship games
two years in a row.
D: Who was the best playeryou
W: I can't really say who the best
is, because there are so many differ-
ent levels and times-the guys from the
championship teams, the guys from
the early years. I was blessed to have
had so many great, talented players
Of course, there was Jalen Rose,
obviously, and (Minnesota guard)
Voshon Lenard, (former-UNLV
guard) Anderson Hunt.
Also the guys from the earlier
years: (former Michigan players)
Antoine Joubert and Leslie
he's really remained Jalen. Some
people give in to the pressure and
criticism around them and conform to
the expectations, but not Jalen, and
it's great to see him live up to it all.
D: How has your relationship with
Jalen changed in the last year, since
you are now farther away from him
than you've been for the last ten yearsj
W: That's the only change: dis-
tance. He will always be a part of my
life and I of his. Of course, I don't see
him as much, but we still talk often.
He's still apart of my family. My wife
was just at the game last Tuesday
(against Indiana), and Jalen comes to
my games whenever he can. So really
our relationship hasn't changed that
D: How do you respond to criti-
cism of the way Jalen was recruited?
W: Well, I think there's been
some fabricating going on with that,
anything to sell copy, really. Any-
body who knows Jalen - whether
it's Steve Fisher or (former Michi-
gan assistant coach) Mike Boyd -
will tell you that nobody can tell
Jalen what to do, that he wouldn't
let anybody manipulate him.
Again, I haven't read most of the
stuff. People have only told me
what's in the book (Mitch Albom's
Fab Five). I didn't buy it, didn't
D: Are you surprised at all by the
immediate success of Chris Webber
in the NBA?
W: No, I'm not surprised at all
with Webber. He was the best eighth
grader in the country supposedly, and
carried that through his two years in
college. I think he's just carried that
with him to the next level.
D: How much did you talk with
Chris about his decision to leave
Michigan? What did you tell him?
W: Well, I told him that it's not
just about basketball -the change to
the next level - there's a change in
situation going from one level to the
next. I think he was more ready for the
high pressure than the average col-
He had to face a lot of adversity
in his two years at Michigan,
whether it was the timeout (in the
1993 NCAA championship game)
or guaranteeing the win against
Duke. He's learned through all that,
and I think the pressure he's come
through at Michigan prepared him
well for the NBA.
Chris and I used to talk each night
about the pros and cons about going
pro. He used me as a sounding board
for his ideas about everything, trying
to look at all the angles of it. I just told
him to do what he thought was best
and encouraged him to look at all the
D: What aboutJalen? Has he talked
to you about leaving after this sea-
son? What have you told him?
W: I have not talked to Jalen about
that. Jalen is concentrating on win-
ning basketball games. Right now
Jalen wants to win a Big Ten champi-
vClose But No Sugiura
Some Winter Olympic
sports for lugers only
it's that time again. Yes, it's time once again to watch with puzzlement
those sports invented and cherished by our Scandinavian, friends, the
sports that make us all realize that. Yes, too much snow, cold and ice
can seriously impair one's sport-inventing faculties.
But with the Olympics in Lillehammer already underway, there is
nothing we can do this time around. We will have to endure two weeks or
so's worth of CBS late-night host Pat O'Brien pretending he has a clue
about winter sports, two more annoyingly cute mascots, Haakon and
Kristin, and most importantly, a glut of sports dominated by people whose
names run rampant with silent j's, not to mention those dots over the
Something must be done. Not just because some of the sports are
boring; though some of them are, we can accept that. You try inventing a
sport after not seeing the sun for six months. Instead, something must be
done with a couple of these sports because one of them is not actually a
sport, and the other is weird to the bazillionth degree. That said, here are
one man's suggestions:
1) Keep hockey, Nordic skiing, Alpine skiing, speedskating and
bobsledding. Keep them because these are sports that, in some form or
another, most of us have played. If we haven't been on a sled, or skied, or
played hockey or raced our friends on the ice, then at least it is not hard to
imagine. And, more importantly, they're all real sports - there are scores,
times and distances. It is not hard to determine who the winners and losers
are, one of the best things about sports. These sports, boring though some
of them may be, stay.
2) Bag figure skating. Sorry, this is'not a sport. Men, women, pairs, all
of them must go. Yes, figure skating requires great skill and is very
popular. However, these things can also be said of many things, for
instance, "The Price is Right."
Besides, the whole thing is more fixed than the stray puppies down at
the pound (Incidentally, so is "The Price is Right.").
There is no "sport" to figure skating. It is just people dancing on ice. If
you disagree, please remember that one of the competitions is called "ice
And the last time anyone checked, dancing was not a sport. It was just
Does being able to do on ice something that someone else can do on
land make you an Olympic athlete? No, it doesn't. All it makes you is
someone with good balance.
So at least until we see that Achy-Breaky guy bringing home the gold at
the Summer Games, let's keep the Axels and crowbars in the garage.
3) Good-bye, doubles luge. No go for this one, either. Single luge can
stay; we have all seen people on sleds before. But two people lying on top
of each other on one sled is a little foreign and frankly, doesn't make a lot
of sense. How did they come up with this anyway?
After a luge race, did the loser want to go double or nothing, and the
winner just got the wrong idea?
I don't get the part of the top guy, either. The bottom guy, sure, he has
to control the sled. That takes athletic ability. But the guy on top, what are
Wanted: Male, must enjoy cold weather and high speeds. Comfortable
and aerodynamic pref.
If there were a Summer Olympic equivalent, it would be two guys
riding a bike, only it wouldn't be a tandem. Instead, one guy would be
doubling the other, like we used to do in grade school. That doesn't cut it.
Doubles lugers, you can show yourselves to the door. You are free to
separate yourselves now.
Obviously, dropping these two sports creates a dearth of events for
Winter Olympic fans. In their place, here are two more suggestions.
4) Snowball fights, anyone? This is inarguably the epitome of winter
sports. The only thing more associated with winter than snowball fights is
freezing your appendages stiff, and faint is the cry for that to be a
demonstration sport in '98.
Yes, you would be correct in saying the concept of snowball fighting as
sport has never exactly gained raging popularity. In fact, the World League
of Snowball Fighting never did get past the "Where did you come up with
that idea?" stage. But then again, how many "I'd rather be doing the Nordic
Combined" bumper stickers have you seen?
Think about it. You could have large teams, filled with both men and
women of all ages. It would be very '90s. All we'd need is some basic rules
been one best thing. It's hard to
single out any particular incident. I
feel blessed to have been involved
with so many great achievements at
all levels. The firsts often come to
mind as far as bests. Our first city
championship was a great thing,
because we sent a message to the
community that we had arrived as a
With the first state championship
I feel that we had made so many
strides toward really establishing
Southwestern as a real power.
The national championship (the
number one ranking in the USA To-
day high school poll), I never in my
wildest dreams thought that could
DETROIT-MERcY SPORTS INFORMATION
D: Speaking of Jalen, how do you
think he has developed since you've
W: Well, I've known Jalen since
he was 12 years old, and I think it's
great the way he's grown and devel-
oped both personally ard in his game.
His success is really a credit to his
desire and willingness to work hard to
achieve his goals.
Even when he was 12, anyone
who knows the game of basketball
could see the great potential he had.
What thrills me is to see him live up to
that potential, because a lot of people
Another thing is that, through all
this - the pressure he's been in -
See SUGIURA, Page 8
Pavin outplays Couples to win L.A.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Corey
Pavin spotted Fred Couples up to 60
yards off the tee, but beat him on the
greens and scoreboard yesterday in
their match play-like showdown in
the Los Angeles Open.
- Pavin scored his first U.S. PGA
Tour victory in almost two years with
a 3-under-par 68 over the final 18
holes at Riviera and a 271 total.
Couples, one shot ahead when the
final round started, could do no better
than a closing 71 - much to the
dismay of a large, vocal pro-Couples
gallery - and finished at 273.
- Pavin immediately dedicated the
victory to Paul Azinger, the current
PGA champion and aRyderCup team-
mate who is undergoing treatment for
"This is for you, Paul. Hurry up
and get well and come back. We miss
you," Pavin said.
No one else really got into the title
chase. It was a two-man race of clas-
sic proportions; the powerful, long-
hitting Couples against wiry, resource-
ful, tenacious Pavin.
Playing together in the final three-
some in what amounted to match play,
they once again confirmed the accu-
racy of one of golf's more ancient
adages: drive for show and putt for
Pavin won the dough, $180,000
from the total purse of $1 million,
after he made two long birdie putts,
from 30-35 feet on the third and from
25-30 feet on the 16th, while Couples
missed two from within three feet.
Couples, however, put on the show
with his massive drives. The 447-
yard par-4 15th served as an example.
Pavin put all he had into his tee
shot, grunting with the effort, and
launched one of his best. He had 153
left to the flag.
Couples, who had three-putted for
bogey on the previous hole, let out
some heat when he followed Pavin to
the tee. He put his drive 63 yards
ahead of Pavin's tee shot, drawing
gasps from the gallery and exclama-
tions of disbelief from the television
Both, however, made par and Pavin
retained a one-shot lead and nailed it
down with one of those long putts on
16, going two up with two to go.
Pavin, a key figure in each of the
last two American Ryder Cup tri-
umphs, picked up his 11th victory in
as many seasons on the U.S. tour and
his first since the 1992 Honda Clas-
sic. His only triumph last year came
in the prestigious World Match Play
Championship in London, where he
beat Nick Faldo of England.
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