8-- The Michigan Daily - Monday, January 30, 1995
By Danielle Rumore
Daily Sports Writer
The No.17 Michigan wrestling team
entered its match against No.25 North-
western Saturday with a two-game Big
Ten winning streak. The Wolverines
had not won three straight conference
matches since 1992-1993.
Accomplishing such a feat did not
seem too difficult for Michigan, which
hadwon 61 outof68 dual meets against
the Wildcats previous to Saturday.
The Wolverines won again, 20-15,
in a meet which proved to be more than
just an addition to their win column.
The meet remained close as the
score fluctuated the entire evening. But
that excitement was overshadowed by a
scary moment in the 177-pound match.
Junior Jesse Rawls, Jr. suffered a
knee injury with 56 seconds left in the
second period of his match against
fourth-ranked Rohan Gardner.
Rawls screamed out in pain and
grabbed his right knee. He laid on the
mat for a few minutes before he was
able to move his knee and walk, and he
was forced to forfeit the match.
"He's moving it pretty good, so
we're gonna cross our fingers," coach
Dale Bahr said.
"Right now, we're not quite sure
(what happened)," said Robin Moore,
one of the staff trainers. "He's going
(today) to see another one of the staff
physicians and get some more tests
done on his right knee."
The Wolverines split the first four
weight classes with the Wildcats. Fresh-
man Brandon Howe (126) defeated
Micah Hey, 11-4, and senior Mike
Ellsworth (142) beat his man, 7-1.
Northwestem's Jeff Mirabella(118) and
Tony Pariano (134) captured their
classes by defeating senior Matt Stout,
6-1, and freshman Brian Aparo, 11-6.
Victories at the 158 and 167-pound
classes gave Michigan a 13-9 lead en-
tering the 177 pound class. Rawls' for-
feit handed Northwestern six points,
which placed it in the lead.
Michigan regained the lead, 16-15,
going into the heavyweightmatch. Then,
Michigan freshman Airron Richardson
came out on fire to defeat Wildcat Rob
Chicoine, 12-4, solidifying the victory.
"I was using the frustration that
(Rawls) must have been feeling,"
Richardson said. "I was using that in-
tensity to drive my own."
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Continued from page 1.
The attention is the price he pays
for being the man of this team. After
watching the likes of Chris Webber,
Jalen Rose and Juwan Howard lead,
it's his turn to be the go-to guy.
"He's gone from being the only
member of the Fab Five that didn't
play in the most prestigious post-sea-
son all-star games (in high school) to
where he thought he was the fifth
wheel, to where he is now the leader
ofthis team," coach Steve Fisher says.
"Ray Jackson is our leader - vo-
cally and in how he plays."
Learning to take on the leadership
role didn't come easy for Jackson this
season. As his team struggled through
a difficult 6-5 pre-conference sched-
ule, Jackson forced his game. He took
shots he shouldn't have, made passes
that found no one.
"It took some time to get used to,"
Jackson says. "I put too much pres-
sure on myself early on in the season
-I tried to make too much happen. It
caused me to lead the team in turn-
overs, and make some unfortunate
mistakes at tines. It hurt the team."
Accepting responsibility for his
team's problems was Jackson's first
step in reaffirming his command of the
game. The second step, according to
Fisher, was Jackson becoming sure of
himself as both a player and a person.
"There probably was a little inse-
curity manifesting itself when he
wasn't scoring a lot," Fisher says. "I
think the pressure he put on himself
was part of the reason he got off to a
slow start, and our team got off to a
slow start. He tried too hard to prove
that he was really good, rather than
allowing the game to come to him."
Whatever problems Jackson had
to overcome, he did keep one aspect
of his game finely tuned - his de-
fense. When he first came to Michi-
gan, he had a reputation for playing
stingy defense, and he quickly made
that reputation fact.
This season especially, Jackson
has honed his brand of defense. He
often sizing against the opponent's
best player and shutting him down.
"He's physically strong and big
enough to guard a guy inside," Fisher
says. "And he is strong enough and
athletic enough to guard apoint guard.
He's a guy you can put on anybody
and be confident that he can do a good
Just ask Tennessee-Chattanooga's
Brandon Born about what Jackson can
do. The Moccasins' leading scorer, and
one of the most accurate shooters in
Division I, made only four field goals
Name: Ray Jackson
Team: Men's Basketball
Accomplishments: Wolverine co-
captain for 1994-95 season.
Member of Heralded Fab Five
when he faced Michigan December 4.
Or ask Purdue's Cuonzo Martin,
who was on many experts' preseason
all-Big Ten team. He shot just 3-of-11
with Jackson in his face January 3.
OrIllinois' Jerry Hester. A double-
digit scorer, the small forward shot 0-
for-6 and scored no points when Jack-
son defended him January 17.
But especially ask teammate
"I've had to go against him in
practice for three years - and no one
defends like Ray Jackson," King says.
"He's real quick, he's physical, and
he's a great anticipator. He'll really
make you work for everything you
get. Trust me, I know."
But Jackson knew that he was going
to have to do more than just play great
defense if he wanted to lead the Wol-
verines to victory. He had to find his
shot without forcing bad attempts; he
had to take it to the hole more aggres-
sively without being reckless.
Ironically, he may have found a
balancing moment in one of
Michigan's worst losses of the season
-against Penn State January 8. When
King, the Wolverines' most prolific
scorer, came up empty in the 73-63
loss, Jackson took over. He scored 24
points, and better yet, played as smart
as a senior should.
"I've always had flashes of offense,"
Jackson says. "I just had to slow it
down, take it easy and notrush anything
- and I've been doing that lately."
He has not scored fewer than 13
points in any of the Wolverines' last
six games since. Michigan, not coin-
cidentally, is fighting for first place in
the Big Ten.
King, a Fab Five colleague of
Jackson's, knows yet another side to
his roommate and best friend. King
calls him the joker of the team, al-
ways smiling and laughing. Someone
who says something to soften tense
and challenging moments.
"He's just a fun person to be
around," King says. "He's like my
brother. We've been through so much.
Every time you see him play, he's
always laughing, pumping up the
crowd, pumping up his teammates.
That's Ray Jackson."
Freshmen Maceo Baston has also
seen this side. The talented forward is
Jackson's roommate on the road, and
has benefited from being around a
man who knows how to handle the
pressures of the rookie spotlight.
"We talk about life in general, com-
ing out of high school and into college
and how he adjusted,"Baston says. "He
told me get out on the court and show
what I can do. He told me to play like I
played at Spruce H. S."
This personality never shined as
much as it should have in Jackson's
first three years at Michigan. And
how could it? With Webber, Rose and
Howard around, Jackson was hardly
the center of attention. Webber was
the No. 1 pick in the 1993 NBA draft.
Rose was savvy and controversial.
Howard was always being comple-
mented for his stoic and admirable
"He was lost among the Fab Five,"
Now with three of the Fab Five
collecting professional paychecks,
people around Michigan are curious
about Jackson's personality. For in-
His favorite music group?
"Geto Boys," Jackson says.
His favorite food?
His favorite recreational activity?
"Relaxing and sleeping."
Of course, in 20 years, people may
not ask him about such trivial matters
anymore. They'll want to know instead
what it was like to be part of the greatest
recruiting class ever, about going to two
straight NCAA title games.
And perhaps, if things work out
right for Jackson, they'll want to know
what it was like to play in the NBA, too.
In short, they will want to know
about Ray Jackson, the basketball
player. And he'll have no problem an-
swering the questions ... as long as they
don't wake him up from a nap to ask.
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