The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - Monday, December 5, 1994 - 3
!,..,&A: WASHINGTON BULLETS' FORWARD CHRIS WEBBER
former Michigan star talks about recent
Chris Webber was the most her-
alded member of the Fab Five re-
cruiting class of 1991. He played an
integral role in Michigan's back-to-
back drives to the NCAA Champion-
ship games in 1992 and 1993 before
t Wolverines losttoDukeandNorth
Webber, along with Washington
Bullets teammate Juwan Howard,
Denver Nugget Jalen Rose and cur-
rent Wolverines Jimmy King and Ray
Jackson, comprised what is consid-
ered the greatest recruiting class in
college basketball history.
After Webber's illustrious two-
year run with Michigan, he was cho-
* first overall in the 1993 NBA
Draft and won Rookie of the Year
with the Golden State Warriors last
season. Unfortunately, despite his
many accomplishments, one of his
most memorable moments came in
the last moments of his Michigan ca-
reer when he called a time-out that
the Wolverines did not have, ending
their chances for a national champi-
WEarlier this season, Webber was
traded to theBulletsforTom Gugliotta
and three first-round picks.
Recently, Daily Sports Writer
Brian Sklar spoke with Webber about
his experiences at Michigan, the cur-
rent Wolverine squad and Webber's
expectations of playing in Washing-
ton and being paired once again with
aily: How did you feel when
you found out you were going to be
reunited with Juwan Howard?
Webber: I was happy. It was like
a like a dream come true to play with
lim and to be with him.
D: You've been in the league a
year already. Have you given him
any advice as to how to adjust to life
in the NBA?
W: The most advice I think I gave
is to just be patient, just to take his
time doing his job and to keep working
[ard. That's all I can tell him.
D: Would you like the Bullets to
try to acquire Jalen Rose?
W: (He laughs) Maybe when
immy (King) and them come out.
Maybe that would be good, butI don't
think Denver will ever give up Jalen.
D: Your arrival in Washington
created an excitement for the
Bullets that hasn't been around for
ver 15 years. How does it make you
W: It makes me feel good, but I
think sometimes the fans expect a
little too much. Like by booing, that's
ridiculous, no matter how bad you
play or who you are. I think it causes
a little too much excitement some-
s, but besides that, I've been very
lappy with it.
D: How do you think you and
Foward will help the Bullets?
W: I just think we bring two big-
ger bodies onto the team. More re-
ounding, more shot-blocking, so
opefully we can just work well with
he guys on the team. We're not
rying to be the two superstars of the
trade to Bulletc
league. We don't even like that, as a
matter of fact. We just want to work
with the team and try to win some
D: Do you feel any kind of pres-
sure to excel because the Bullets gave
up a lot to get you?
W: Not really. I'm not used to
losing. We didn't have a losing record
at Michigan. I didn't at Golden State.
just being happy. My religion and my
family come first. Then my boys.
After that, everything else falls in line
and I really mean that. So basketball
comes fourth. The money, well, I've
been poor and now I have money, so
it doesn't matter.
D: You've made it known that
you were not happy your rookie sea-
son and you've said that your two
I'm going to finish it this summer and
promise my mother since she's al-
ways on me about it.
D: How do you feel about the
comparisons of Michigan's new re-
cruiting class to the Fab Five?
W: Well, they're definitely not as
good as our freshman class was, but
they have some good guys. I watched
them play in Maui (in the Maui Clas-
sic) on TV and I think they will be
D: How well do you think the
Wolverines will do this year?
W: I think they're going to do real
well. I think they're going to surprise
a lot of people. I think the leadership
is going to have to come from Dugan
Fife at the point guard, and Jimmy
and Ray, and (Makhtar) Ndiaye. I
think that they are probably the most
important components of the team
right now and I think that if they show
their leadership, they will have a good
D: Do you still keep in contact
with your old college teammates?
W: I talk to Jimmy every day. I
talk to Ray almost everyday and I still
talk to Jalen. Our friendship is more
than basketball. We have fun. I
worked out with Jimmy a lot this year
and I know how hard he's worked so
I know he'll be successful.
D: How about Coach Steve Fisher?
W: Actually, I have to call Coach.
I know he was mad at me. I was
supposed to call him when I got here
but I've been so busy.
D: The Fab Five is considered the
greatest recruiting class of all time.
What was it like being a part of it?
W: It was a great experience.
Hopefully one day they will retire all
of our jerseys and we'll come back to
Michigan and just be happy. Any
time you can go back to a university
like Michigan, to a football game or a
basketball game, and you still receive
those ovations from the crowds, you
know that's what basketball is all
about - how hard we played for our
fans and how crazy they were for us.
NHLL plaers anxious to
resume regular schedule
When Wayne Gretzky says something is too hot for even him to handle, be
afraid. Be very afraid.
"You have to understand that one person is not going to be able to settle (the
NHL lockout)," said Gretzky Thursday night at the Palace. "It's way out of my
There does not appear to be a realistic end to the lockout on the horizon. Thus,
as January looms, the likelihood of the season beginning at all seems slim.
Gretzky and a collection of other high-end NHL players competed against the
Detroit Vipers of the International League Thursday, losing 4-3. The Ninety-
Niners are now in Europe playing against top professional teams. Under any other
circumstance this would be viewed as a goodwill tour for the NHL.
But not now. The players, speaking with one voice at every turn, say they feel
betrayed by the league owners.
"We were told that the rookie salary cap was the deal-breaker," said Brett Hull
after the game. "We gave them that and they just leep asking for more."
"Individually, players have been told by some general managers that we'd be
playing if we gave up the rookie salary cap," he said.
This is a brand of animosity that does not dissipate easily. NHLers will have
vivid memories of this lockout.
Players such as Ranger Mark Messier and the Blackhawks' Jeremy Roenick
are not the type of men you want to have on your bad side. They 1;ve for little beside
playing the game.
On top of that, most players will never recover the money they are losing right
now, as the average NHL lifespan is
just a handful of years.
Players making six and seven fig-
.. ures have to be embittered by the own-
'17. ers who are taking money from them
that can never be recouped. Still, the
I players' stance is not about money, as
the Ninety-Niner tour shows.
"We're trying to show the owners
we're the reason there's hockey," Hull
z vsaid. "It's to show it's not (the owners)
who are the game - we are the game."
"It's not a strike, it's a lockout,"
Gretzky pointed out. "We're not going
to sit around. We want to play hockey."
And while they do, the NHL suf-
AP PHOTO fers. The league will never recover from
this lockout, even if a season is held.
Messier, Gretzky And if there is no season, forget it.
"If we cancel hockey this year,"
Gretzky said, "it would be absolutely crazy."
This is a distinct possibility, though. Owners and players met in Chicago last
week, and nothing seems to have come from the talks.
After a while Ihave to wonder if the entire debacle is worth the bother. But after
watching Messier drive to the net and Gretzky make the perfect pass and Hull fire
his cannon, I know this game is worth the energy.
"You're damn right I was insulted (in losing)," Messier growled in the
lockerroom after the game. "If you're not, you might as well go home."
And this guy hasn't played a meaningful game in six months.
Perhaps Gretzky says it best. "I hope one day we're solid," he posited after the
In these dark days for the NHL, it will take much more than hope to rectify the
So I'm not used to losing. Just the
pressure of me not wanting to lose.
D: Today's professional athletes
make very high salaries. Has having
a lot of money affected you in any
W: Not really. I think that's why
I left Golden State, because my main
objective is to be happy. I could have
had more money at Golden State. I
could have had more security at
Golden State. The thing about me is
years at Michigan were great. Do you
ever regret leaving school early?
W: Michigan was the best time of
my life, but I don't regret leaving
because I think I had to do what I had
to. So I don't regret it. You'll see me
and Juwan in a lot of games this year.
D: Do you plan on finishing your
degree at Michigan?
W: Definitely. I might as well
finish it from Michigan since it was
hard enough going there and doing it.
I ffer valid
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