The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - Monday, January 29, 1996 - 3B
Former Wolverine guard talks
about the Fab Five and law school
Meeting Rob Pelinka, you wouldn't
thinkyou werefaced with aformer Divi-
*on I basketball player, let alone a man
who has played in more NCAA tourna-
ment games than most people in the uni-
verse. Pelinka, who stands at an unim-
posingheightof6-foot-5, ismorelikely to
be a Michigan law student. And, not
surprisingly, that's what he is.
Pelinka, you might remember, played
basketball atMichiganfrom 1988-93. He
was a member of the '89 championship
team, and returned to the finals in 1992
9nd 1993. Now, Pelinka spends his time
in Ann Arbor as a law student. But don't
think the work load has been too difficult.
Pelinka graduated from the Michigan
Business School with a 3.91 GPA.
As aformer athlete, you would expect
Pelinka to bask in the memories of made
3-pointers and come-from-behind wins.
Instead, his memories are related to how
he was able to impact others. At Michi-
a pedestal as a member ofthe basket-
ball team. He acceptedthis responsibility
with open arms as itgave him the chance
to reach out to people.
Lee Seelig recently had the chance to
speak with Pelinka for the Daily.
Daily: So, why did you choose Michi-
Pelinka: It really came down to a few
different things in making the choice. I
had a real close relationship with my
#ther. He was involved in my basketball
career in the fact that he went to, I think,
every home game during my entire career
in Ann Arbor. He was there.
I wanted to pick a school that had the
top credentials academically and then
with the athletic prowess that a school
like Michigan has. I think the combina-
tion of Michigan and being in the vicinity
wheremy father could still be as involved
in my career as he was when I was a high
ehool player. The whole combination of
those factors made it seem like a self-
made choice to come here.
D: What was your first impression of
Steve Fisher when he recruited you?
P: Coach Fisher, when I was a fresh-
man, was an assistant. He did a large part
of the recruiting in the Chicago area be-
cause he-was a high school coach at one
point. So his ties to the Chicago area were
real strong and he kind of had a name
He did a lot of my personal recruiting.
He went to a lot of my games. In fact, he
was a big factor in my decision. I really
liked coach Fisher. I liked how he re-
cruited, I liked what he had to say about
the school, and how coach Frieder ran the
D: What are you doing now?
P: This is my last year of law school.
I'm on my way out. I have three more
months. Atthe end ofthe semester, I'll be
D: How many years have you spent in
P: Eight years. A third of my life. I
wouldhave neverimagined when I picked
up and left Chicago that I would have
spent that much time here. But it has been
a great run of years for me. The Univer-
sity of Michigan will always hold a very
special place in my heart.
.D: What has been so gratifying about
P: I think what's been neat about this
Urtiversity to me is that what you put into
your experience here, you can pull out.
And, it has so much to offer, that if you
explore different things you're going to
find benefits from each and every area
that you look into. I think I've really
developed intellectually as a person here.
I think my character has grown. I think
I have learned how to relate and how to
interact with a lot of different people in a
lot ofdifferent arenas. I think I've learned
to appreciate a broader perspective. The
University of Michigan has been a train-
ing ground for my character.
D: Do you think that is due specifically
to the University or' could it have hap-
P: I think the University of Michigan is
unique in a sense, from an athlete's per-
spective especially, because I don't think
you've got another school in America
blessedwith the opportunity ofbeing able
to parlay my athletic experiences into
doing some things with people after I
graduated, and even while I was still
playing, focused around youth. I got to
work a lot with kids, and that was neat,
D: Is that support you were talking
about something you think is unique to
P: I maintained that when you put on a
Michigan jersey, it is an amazing plat-
form. I use the analogy that it is kind of
like akey that unlocks the hearts ofyoung
can't live in the past, you need to look
A lot of my dreams and visions are
what I can do down the road, in future
years, as opposed to what I have done in
the past. Not to say, that there aren't times
when I'm sitting on the couch listening to
music, or talking with friends, and flash-
backs come up ofthe'89 season. Of Glen
Rice, and therainbowjumpers, and bring-
ing us to the promised land. Or, the game
that everyone always wants to talk about,
the "timeout game" with Chris Webber.
There have been nights where I haven't
slept, literally, for whole nights because
I'll be thinking about that game. I've
talked to Chris since the game and I've
seen it even on ESPN, and stuff. And they
show the clip of that, and I was standing
on the court opposite Chris, on the
baseline, in a spot that was known to be
the "hot spot" in the Super Dome. I was
with Eric Riley, I remember, in the hotel
watching the ESPN teasers to the game.
They said the past two Final Fours that
had been played in the Super Dome had
been decided by a baseline jumper.
One was Keith Smart with Indiana,
and before that it was Michael Jordan.
Both baseline jumpers to decide the
game. And where was I standing when
Chris Webber called a timeout? I was
standing on that baseline and I was
wide open for a three and he said since
then: "I saw him, and he was open, and
I thought I'd get it to him."
That's a shot that could literally change
someone's life. If I had gotten the ball and
missed it, I would have been the scape-
goat in Michigan history. But if I had
made it, I would have been the Sports
Illustrated cover boy. Maybe it's best that
it stayed the way it did.
D: If you could choose, do you get the
P: No question, I get the ball and I
shoot it. Either way, it would have made
me a better person.
D: What would be your ideal situation
after graduation from law school?
P: I think, ideally, I would love to be in
some sort of position, and I don't know
how it would happen, where I could have
an impact on young people. I don't know
if that means coaching, or if that means
broadcasting, or ifthat means as a lawyer
helping out families, doing pro bono work
in a time ofneed, orbeing there for people
as a counselor. I definitely think that what
drives me is to hopefully get into a posi-
tion where I can benefit the lives of other
Interleagueplay a blight
on baseballs tradarn
T iger fans can hardly wait, I'm sure.
Just picture it: Barry Bonds and Cecil Fielder matched up in a one-on-
one home run derby at Tiger Stadium.
They couldn't imagine such a scene before, not in the regular season. But
now, at the behest of Major League Baseball's team owners, clubs from the
American and National leagues will be facing each other. That means a guy
like Bonds, who as a San Francisco Giant may never have played against
Detroit, will be making appearances here.
Tiger fans can hardly wait, to be sure.
But then again, I guess they'll have to, since interleague play doesn't begin
until 1997. And even then San Francisco and Detroit won't play each other,
because the Eastern Division Tigers will only face teams from the NL Eastern
By the time Bonds gets here in 1998 or 1999, 1 hope he'll still be on an
NL West team; otherwise Tiger fans might have to wait even longer, for the
divisional matchups to rotate around again. And by then, who knows: The
novelty of interleague play may have worn off, or perhaps they and
everyone else will have finally seen the concept for the senseless gimmick
that it is.
Interleague play is just that: a shortsighted, asinine, get-marginally-rich-
quick scheme on the part of baseball owners - and not just because of the
psycho rotating schedule plan.
For starters, it destroys a 127-year tradition, which is the separation
between the two leagues. The fact that all of the teams don't play each
other is part of baseball's charm, as it keeps the leagues distinct from one
In other sports, teams in different conferences play each other, and that's OK
- their styles of play are basically the same. The American and National
leagues, though, are as different as Fielder's and Bonds' waist sizes - the NL
has its double-switches and running style; the AL has its designated hitters and
How they'll match up is always a mystery, one we have to wait until
October to see. But after this upcoming season, the unique quality of the
World Series - that it's a matchup between teams that never play one
another - will no longer exist. For many fans, this is reason enough to
hate interleague play.
For many others, this is not a big loss. But even those people must agree that
interleague play only does harm, as it will mess with baseball's playoff
How does it do that'? Via another recent concoction of the owners; the wild
Because of the wild card, which allows the best non-division-winning team
in each league to make postseason play, teams from different divisions
compete with each other for playoff spots.
Interleague play now makes this system problematic, since teams will be
playing schedules of varying difficulty. Remember: Teams from, say, the AL
East will face only teams from the NL East in a given year, and no other NL
So if interleague play had existed last year, the AL's wild-card team, the
Yankees, might have missed the playoffs - not because they didn't prove
themselves superior against AL teams, but because they had the misfortune of
playing six games against the NL East's Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia
So with all of this to consider, why are the baseball owners pushing
Perhaps because they didn't consider all of this. Or perhaps because tradition.
and the integrity of the playoffs don't matter to them.
The answer, however, is most likely money. Interleague play is a quick way
to get more of it, because fans will surely jump at the chance to see a Barry
Bonds face their American League team.
Surely; though, they'll soon stop jumping, leaving it up to the owners to
come up with yet another gimmick. That's what I can't wait to see.
- Darren Everson can be reached over e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
that you could say has the graduate pro-
grams that Michigan has to offer. I went
to the Business School and it is one of the
top business schools in America.
From an academic side, obviously the
school has so much to offer there. And
then from the sports side of things there is
just so much tradition here. Being apart
from the program now for a few years like
I've been, I still see the support of people
If I'm grocery shopping, or at
Briarwood, people still come up and say:
"Man, I remember those great years, and
the runs, and the Final Fours." It's always
there, and you can just tell that there is a
common bond in this community with
this University built around the sports
D: It must be flattering having people
stop to say "hi" every now and then.
P: Yeah, it's neat. It's neat to know
when you have done something with your
athletic career that has touched someone
else's life. It's not necessarily: "Yeah, I
remember, I was watching the national
championship game on the couch, eating
a bowl ofpopcorn, and it was the best time
of my life."
But, it is stories like: "You know, when
you were a sophomore, I ran into you
uptown. You were buying some CDs, and
my son was with me, and you came over
and bent down and talked to him for a
couple ofminutes. And that changed him
as a person."
You hear stories like that, little things
you didn't even realize that were happen-
ing at the time. But, that made a larger
impact on the lives of other people. I was
kids. When a Chris Webber, a Juwan
Howard or anyone wearing a Michigan
uniform walks into a high school gym, or
walks into a store, they have a platform.
Thekids immediately are looking up to
and respecting that person. There is alittle
bit of a troubling aspect to that because
you need to be so responsible with that
platform that the school grants you. But,
if you use it correctly, it's very powerful.
It can be used to really help out the lives
of other people and that is what was so
great about it for me.
D: How involved were you with youth
groups during your undergraduate years?
P: I had the chance to go around and
speak to a lot of people. Some people
helped me out after my senior year and I
got to get around. Someone counted up
the numberofpeople I got to speak to, and
it was like 400,000 people. Just at differ-
ent basketball camps, and different orga-
Those experiences to me were as pow-
erful as putting on the championship ring
or playing in the Final Four in front of
millions of people. I still talk to kids
around the country.
D: How often do you think about the
actual basketball aspect of your career?
P: Igetprettynostalgicwhen I get back
into Crisler Arena. I've been doing the
games on the radio for WJR, I even got a
chance to do one on PASS TV, which was
fun. I think when I put myself in the hot
seat, and start to analyze the games, I tend
to really reflect a lot on my career. Out-
side of that, I think it is important as an
athlete to relish and be happy with those
memories. But, on the other side, you
I'umblers topple Minutewomen
By Nancy Berger
Daily Sports Writer
Every afternoon at the Sports Coli-
seum, the women's gymnastics team
spends hours practicing routines and
yerfecting their flips, twists and splits.
4 In the sport of gymnastics, practice
makes perfect and perfection is what is
going to win meets. In recent weeks,
Michigan has learned that competing as
a team is just as important as executing
a flawless routine.
In preparation for the Wolverines'
meet with Massachusetts this past week-
"There was no individual out there,
because, if there was, then we
wouldn't have won the meet," senior
Wendy Marshall said.
That team effort was well reflected
in the scoring results. Seven gym-
nasts who were not sidelined by inju-
ries stepped up and all made vital
"We have really gone to the bot-
tom of the depth chart," Plocki said.
"One hundred ninety-three points
shows how far our talent extends."
The depth of the talent extends
and pleasure with the performance of
her freshmen, was pleased with her
more experienced gymnasts as well.
Junior Andrea McDonald probably
had the most impressive day of any of
her teammates. On her way to placing
first in the all-around (39.025),
McDonald finished first on the beam
(9.925) and second on the bars (9.800).
Marshall, who tied Amelkovich for
second in the all-around, was a model
of perfection on the vault, as she re-
ceived the fifth perfect 10 ofhercareer.
Forthose who did not compete in the