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November 17, 1994 - Image 24

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-11-17
This is a tabloid page

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

6- Tipoff '94 - Thursday, November 17, 1994
Big Ten race wide-open after big stars depart

% a _ 9

The Big Ten is experiencing a ma-
jor transition. Players, such as Indiana's
Damon Bailey, who have seemingly
been around forever, have left for the
fame and fortune of the NBA..New
faces throughout the conference will
look to keep the league at the high level
of play it is accustomed to.
One thing that is for certain is that
there is a great amount of uncertainty.
For the first time in a long time it is
very difficult to predict how the con-
ference will break down.
The traditional power is the favor-
ite once again. Indiana will have to
deal with the loss of guards Bailey
(graduation) and Sherron Wilkerson
(injury), but Bobby Knight has been

dealt an impressive hand. Knight
landed one of the top recruiting classes
in the nation to add to his already
impressive roster.
Forward Alan Henderson leads the
Hoosier attack and joins Wisconsin's
Michael Finley and Rashard Griffith,
Minnesota's VoshonLenardandMichi-
gan State's Shawn Respert on the
'media's preseason All-Big Ten team.
Respert was selected preseason
Player of the Year and gives coach
Jud Heathcote hope for a conference
championship in his final year at the
helm of the Spartans. The senior guard
is the only returning member of last
season's All-Big Ten first team.
Stu Jackson may have dropped
Wisconsin for the NBA, but he left

behind two outstanding players in
Griffith and Finley. If the Badgers
can get improved play from their sup-
porting cast, the Big Ten title could
come to Madison for the first time
since 1947.
Many experts agree that the Big
Ten will remain one of the top confer-
ences in the NCAA this season. The
conference will have to deal with the
losses of national player of the year
Glen Robinson, Juwan Howard, Jalen
Rose, Deon Thomas, Bailey and
Lawrence Funderburke.
However, there are a host of qual-
ity returning veterans as well as some
outstanding new editions. .
"Once again the Big Ten is going
to be strong from top to bottom,"

Minnesota coach Clem Haskins said.
"With the coaches we have in this
conference and the type of athletes
you can always expect an exciting
season, a lot of fierce competition."
Haskins was rewarded during the
off-season by a rule he is completely
opposed to. Lenard, the Golden Go-
phers' senior guard, took advantage
of the new rule that allows players to
return to college after seeing where
they were selected in the NBA draft.
Lenard's return instantly put Minne-
sota back in the race for conference
Michigan is not the only team that
landed a top recruiting class this year.
Indiana has reloaded with a six-mem-
ber freshmen class expected to make

an immediate impact. Knight's new-
est Hoosiers are led by 6-foot-3 guard
Neil Reed ofMetairie, La. and 6-foot-
8 forward Andrae Patterson.
Illinois avoided a huge blow when
guard Bryant Notree was reinstated
Nov. 9 by the NCAA after originally
being declared ineligible for failing
to meet eligibility requirements. Still,
coach Lou Henson is pleased with
newcomers, like 6-foot-7 forward
Jerry Gee, who will likely be a starter
by the end of the season.
All of this adds up to another ex-
citing season of Big Ten basketball.
No team truly stands head and shoul-
ders above the rest, and as many as six
teams could contend for the league




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Purdue loses its top weapons in
defense of Big Ten championship

It's not often that a coach who's
returning four starters from a Big
Ten championship team has to fend
:ff cynics and detractors.

14-4 Big Ten
29-5 Overall
Home: January 3
Away: March 12

Yet Pur-
due coach
Gene Keady
has been
made to an-
swer the
same skepti-
cal question
ever since
star forward
G l e n n
left to the

Keady said. "He was such a good
leader, he was our best practice player.
He was the first guy on the bus and he
had a great attitude."
Keady hopes senior forward
Cuonzo Martin (16.3 points per
game, 4.3 rebounds per game)
can fill some of the void.
Last season, Martin emerged
as a star amidst the hoopla sur-
rounding Robinson and will be
depended upon to fill Robinson's
leadership role.
However, one player alone is not
going to compensate for the loss of
Robinson. Instead, Keady instead is
looking for a balanced team effort to
make the contributions Robinson
could make all by himself.
"This is probably the best class of
juniors or best class of athletes we've
had. Their quickness is pretty good.
That should be fun," Keady said. "If

How are the Boilermakers going
to win without their star talent?
"It is going to be interesting to see
how our kids react to now playing
without Glen Robinson after two years,"

they can improve as much as our kids
did last year after the Rhode Island
loss, the junior class could be a force
in the league."
Keady can certainly count on the
proficiency of his perimeter shooters.
Last season, the Boilermakers were
second in the Big Ten in 3-point field
goal percentage (.389), and hit 252
total - 27 more than any other con-
ference team.
Robinson nailed 79 of those, but
Martin and junior point guard Porter
Roberts (5.3, 3.9) are still around to
light it up.
"I don't know why anybody would
feel sorry for Purdue," Illinois coach
Lou Henson said. "Sure they've lost a
great player. But they have four starters
coming back that almost got to the
Final Four. They've got some guys
coming off the bench that are really
good. They are going to be a very
strong team."
However, one of the four starters
Henson alludes to is lost for the
season. Matt Waddell suffered a
knee injury in the preseason, and he
will miss the entire season - along
with his 44 percent 3-point shoot-
Purdue may have a much harder
time replacing Robinson's presence
inside. Junior center Brandon Brantley
(4.5,4.5) returns, but the Boilermakers
will need significant contributions from
either 7-foot-2 redshirt freshman cen-
ter Matt ten Dam or freshman Brad
Another option may be 1994junior
college national player of the year
Roy Hairston. The 6-foot-8 forward
averaged 22.6 ppg and 9.0 rbg while
leading Hutchinson, Kansas Junior
College to the 1994 national champi-

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332 Maynard St.
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The Wolverines will count on Makhtar Ndiaye's presence upfront this year.

Continued from page 5
his game is more suited for playing
small forward.
King will have an added responsi-
bility to score this year at shooting
guard, but so will Fife, who will be
counted on to shoot the ball more.
Conlan gives Fisher another op-
tion to back up Fife, while Crawford,
when he returns, will see action at
both guard spots.
"I love to pass the ball," Conlan
said. "It's my favorite thing to do. I'd
rather get 20 assists and five points,
instead of the other way around. I think
that excites the players more and ex-
cites the crowd more."
With so much talent on the bench,
Fisher could go as many as 10 players
deep on a given night.
"It's a little bit amusing when you
walk in to some place and they say,
'Are you going to have enough balls to
go around?" Fisher said. "I tell them,
'You said that four years ago when
Webber came, and if I get similar re-
sults I'll be happy."
The Wolverines waste no time be-
fore playing some of the nation's best
competition. They open up the season
at the Maui Classic against Tulane.
Indiana and Maryland are among the
other teams in the tournament.
A matchup with Arizona State and
former Michigan coach Bill Friederis
possible in the second round.
"I've been here a long time and this
is a tough, tough schedule," said Fisher,
who came to Michigan as an assistant
in 1982. "Our kids like that, and if we

can have success with it, it will be a
good schedule."
Not long after returning from
Hawaii, before the Wolverines can
even get used to the time zone
change, they face No. 5 Arizona at
the inaugural Great Eight College
Basketball Festival at the Palace of
Auburn Hills.
Trips to Tennessee-Chattanooga
and Duke during December and home
games against Detroit, Pennsylvania
and Jackson State give the Wolverines
,It's a little bit amusing
when you walk in to
some place and they
say, 'Are you going to
have enough balls to
go around? I tell them,
'You said that four
years ago when
Webber came, and if I
get similar results I'll
be happy."
- Steve Fisher
Michigan coach
one of the nation's toughest schedules
- before the Big Ten season ever
The Wolverines also play host to
St. John's on Super Bowl Sunday right
in the midst of the conference season.
With all the tough opponents and
Michigan trying to break in its several
new players, it will be no easy road to
the NCAA Tournament.

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